Interchange - Winter 2012 - (Page 33)

A short line Don’t gauge the success of today’s short lines by their mileage counts, says Lee Jebb, vice president of Railway Operations for Cando Ltd. Instead, look at how much they are doing to add value by meeting customer needs in other ways. Jebb points to the success of Cando’s Central Manitoba Railway that runs south from Winnipeg. It provides freight service to 20 customers on about 80 miles of track, “but our business has become much more than line haul. A significant portion of our revenues are now derived from offline customers and the provision of ancillary services.” Diversification into a broad base of railway-related services can be a key to success for a short line, he adds. On its property, CEMR operates a 13,000 square foot contract repair shop for freight cars and locomotives, runs a transload centre operated under Cando’s Modal-logic brand, provides track maintenance services, and accommodates storage for up to 1,500 freight cars. The short line railway has won an award from the Railway Association of Canada for its innovative fuel blending services. “Our role as a railway support services business is to make it easy for industry to utilize the rail network, solving problems and providing service solutions,” Jebb says. is more than the sum of its tracks The increased emphasis on the first mile and last mile of freight service highlights the value created by short lines and railway services companies like Cando. Companies can provide contracting switching for large plants or operate industrial lines for customers. “It is less about line assets than getting what the customer needs done, when and where they need it done,” says Jebb. Jebb came to the rail business 11 years ago after working in community economic development and business advocacy in the Chamber of Commerce movement. Prior to assuming the leadership of CEMR, Jebb headed Cando’s Contract Services division which provides track construction, railway material sales, abandoned track reclamation and on-rail material handling services. This gives Jebb the unique ability to operate CEMR from a holistic approach. “At Cando, we approach our business broadly as industry generalists using an integrated perspective to create value for our customers.” The business model for short lines has changed dramatically since federal deregulation of the rail industry nearly 20 years ago led to the creation of scores of them across Canada. Lee Jebb, Vice President, Railway Operations, Cando Ltd., and Chairman of the RAC  Short Line Committee While some lines have faded away or been absorbed, others are doing well, adds Jebb, who is chairman of the RAC’s short line committee. “The management in our sector is very professional and that has helped us in dealings with class one partners, customers and government. The short line business has matured.” Overall the rail industry is in good shape these days and adding a lot of value to the economy, he explains. “The fundamentals are very strong for the rail industry as a whole,” says Jebb. While his railway “has never been stronger,” he tempers his enthusiasm by pointing out that other carriers are in different situations. So much depends on the business condition of their customer base and the condition of their capital infrastructure. For example, carriers that are dependent on the forest products industry would have struggled in recent years. “Government tends to fail to understand how capital intensive the rail business is and how important rail is to the economy. We need to get everyone to understand this and that short lines are part of the big picture,” says Jebb. ■ OUR TRACKMOBILE® FAMILY ALBUM TRACKMOBILE LLC VIKING Up to 44,850 lbs tractive effor t HERCULES Up to 46,100 lbs tractive effor t TITAN Up to 49,500 lbs tractive effor t 477924_Trackmobile.indd 1 Railway Association of Canada / Association des chemins de fer 9:22:57 AM 5/28/10 du Canada 33

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Interchange - Winter 2012

President’s Message
A Great Deal More Change Coming
New Lab will Tackle Canadian Railway Geographical Challenges
CN Adds New Terminal and Launches New Maintenance and Training Facilities
A Short Line is More than the Sum of its Tracks
VIA Transformation Paying Off
CRS 2012 Highlights Rail’s Position as a Backbone of Canadian Economy
2012 Safety Awards
Index to Advertisers

Interchange - Winter 2012