This year CN will invest around $C100m in improvements to branch lines in Northern Alberta, where traffic has increased dramatically as a result of the exploitation of the region's oil sands. Track will be upgraded with heavier rails, new sleepers and ballast to ensure the network can accommodate growth in the Peace River area.

CN says it has seen a 50% increase in freight volumes on its network in western Canada over the last five years. In addition to enhancements on feeder lines, CN is also upgrading its Edmonton – Winnipeg main line with additional sections of double track, loop extensions, and improvements to major marshalling yards.