24 February, Montreal QC – In response to First Nations blockades, Canadian federal and provincial governments brokered an agreement between CN and CP to implement a cooperative movement plan.
Fearing that more blockades could pop up if the collaboration was publicized, a quiet process began to route high priority traffic over one or the other railroad’s non-blockaded lines even customers weren’t told about the arrangement. In one example, CP Montreal — New York State traffic moved over CN’s adjacent Montreal — Rouses Point NY route.
CP normally operates freight traffic on southbound Montreal to Saratoga Springs, NY, train CP252 and returns on northbound CP253. These trains carry vital deliveries to International Paper in Ticonderoga and much traffic for the VRS, including the bulk of LPG for northern New England customers.
Late on Monday night 24.Feb, the first detoured southbound train, designated 752-24 (indicating detoured 252 train originating on 24. Feb) contained a group of LPG cars for VRS interchange at Whitehall. One customer receiving its first LPG in some time was Ray Energy in Hampton, NY, who was down to one-day’s supply. Aware of their customer’s dire need, a crewed VRS locomotive was stationed at Whitehall, awaiting CP 752. Ray Energy received six cars on 25.Feb morning.
Canadian transportation officials described the Class I collaboration as “very rare.” But the rivals quickly closed ranks, to serve Quebec, Maritime, and New England/NY communities facing shortages of essential goods such as propane, chemicals for water treatment facilities, and animal feed.