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Big Business Blowing In

Big Business Blowing In

Moving dimensional loads across our network is a remarkable feat and our latest dimensional contract is no exception. Working with Vestas – one of the world’s leading sustainable energy solution manufacturers – we successfully moved the largest blade and tower sections of a wind turbine in Canada.

“It’s really exciting because we’ve done something no one else in Canada has done,” said Veronica Mantler, Director Regional Sales. “We are proud to be the first to clear tower and blade sections of this size by rail. Project cargo (dimensional loads) are some of the most complex jobs to organize and execute. With the help of CP Logistics, Service Design, Clearances, Mechanical, Engineering and Operations we started to build the solution to transport more than 1,600 wind components on rail to Sudbury, Ont. Although complex to manage, this lucrative business is certainly worth the extra effort.”

Roughly three times the size of an average boxcar, a single turbine blade measures almost 220 feet in length, stretches nine feet wide and rises almost 14 feet tall. This imposing cargo requires space on two and a half flat cars. Maneuvering these colossal wind turbine blades by rail has its challenges. Every curve, grade and right-of-way along the route is examined to meet proper clearances.

“We quite literally moved mountains for this customer,” said Kristie Riddle, National Account Manager. “We made some capital investments to our network where we had areas that required rock scaling and we brush-cut the entire 630 mile route to ensure clearances were met.”

The successful move of the Vestas blades and towers breaks our record for longest and largest wind components ever moved on our railroad. Through the ingenuity and creativity of our Clearance team, we found a way to safely move the sections through some very tight terrain. Scaling and shaving mountain areas to ensure an approved, safe route was a natural conclusion to provide the best transportation solution for our customer.

Canadian Pacific Magazine followed along to capture these enormous blade sections loading onto railcars at the Port of Trois-Rivières in Quebec before making their way to Sudbury.

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