Mixed Reviews on CP Rail Grain Changes - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Mixed Reviews on CP Rail Grain Changes

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A 100-car grain train pulled in to CHS SunPrairie in Minot today.

That's news because the elevator has had grain cars on back-order for months.

This particular train had been promised in April - and the elevator was told in recent weeks it would arrive last week.

And finally, it arrived in Minot today.

Workers quickly began filling the cars with hundreds of thousands of bushels of hard red spring wheat for shipment to the west coast.

The delay in getting the grain cars has been a sore spot for elevators and farmers this year - because storage space is at a premium and there's a potential bumper crop nearly ready for harvest.

CHS SunPrairie's grain division manager says it's good to see the C-P Rail train arrive.

And he's optimistic about getting more 100-car trains from the railroad under a new plan announced this week that he says should provide a C-P Rail train every couple of weeks or so.

(Jeremy Burkhart, CHS SunPrairie Minot Grain Division Manager) "It depends on congestion and getting to the west coast and unloaded and that but they're saying about eleven to twelve day turn around time." (So that's going to help a lot?) "It should help a lot, yep."

But North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp says the new C-P Rail plan is just a game of make-believe.

She says elevators have been forced to clear their books of back orders for C-P Rail cars and start fresh - right in the middle of harvest season.

Heitkamp has sent a letter of protest to C-P Rail's CEO, demanding explanations about the changes.

She says, quote, "Our farmers and grain elevators are suffering, and just leaving crops from the past few months that haven't been shipped - because of the railroad's failure to deliver cars - on the side of the road hurts us all, including our state's economy."

Heitkamp says the new system promises grain train services heading west, but makes no promises on south- or east-bound trains.

 

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