“In 1980-81, the Government of Alberta (GOA) purchased 1,000 hopper cars to facilitate grain export in Alberta,” explains Chuanliang (Johnny) Su, domestic policy analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Trade and Transportation section.
“The original policy objective is still considered valid today, but not to the same extent as it was 40 years ago. Railways’ sound financial performance in recent years has allowed more investments in their own railcar fleet.”
He says that both the Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) are currently acquiring new, high capacity hopper cars. He adds that CN plans to keep the GOA hopper cars in their fleet, while CP is now returning the GOA railcars to the government.
“The GOA hopper cars are expected to have a physical life of approximately 50 years. They are now nearly 40 years old and may last 10 more years.”
The GOA hopper cars are covered, constructed from steel with trough roof hatches and four discharge gates. The capacity of each car is 4,550 cubic feet and 263,000 lb - 129 cubic metres and 119,294 kg.
“Short line railways and grain shippers in Alberta may lease the GOA hopper cars on a net service basis,” he says. “Lessees shall be responsible for car maintenance and repairs, and related costs. The lessees will also need to cover expenses on railcar re-stenciling and marking, UMLER registration, and the initial railcar delivery to their locations if they are not on a CP line.”
Connect with Chuanliang (Johnny) Su about leasing the GOA hopper cars: