Paterson Grain says it has shipped the largest-ever grain train on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) network.

According to the company, the train consisted of 167 new high-capacity hopper cars, and carried 16,313 metric tonnes of grain from Paterson’s Foothills Terminal in Bowden, Alta., to the Alliance Grain Terminal in Vancouver.

Paterson reports the train was loaded in less than 14 hours, and took less than four days to reach the West Coast port facility.

The achievement follows significant investments by grain companies like Paterson in efficient, high-throughput loading facilities at elevators and by railways in new, larger hopper cars.

“Our new third-generation grain terminals are amongst the most efficient grain facilities in the world today,” says Andrew Paterson, Paterson’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

CP is investing $500 million to purchase 5,900 new hopper cars with 15 percent more volume per car than previous models. The railway is also shifting to longer 8,500-foot “High Efficiency Product” trains where facilities can accommodate — so far the company says 14 grain elevators are capable of loading them. When using the new hopper cars, the company says these longer trains carry 40 percent more grain than 7,000-foot trains.

“We celebrate with Paterson the largest ‘origin grain unit train’ ever launched,” says Keith Creel, CP’s president and chief executive officer. “We applaud Paterson’s continued efforts to lead progressively to new levels of production capacity in the grain supply chain.”

Both CP and Canadian National Railway (CN Rail) reported record monthly grain movement in April.

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