Canadian National launches fire-fighting trains to combat wildfires

June 20, 2024

Introduction of new fire-fighting trains

“Our priority is to maintain the integrity of the supply chain.”

Canadian National

Canadian National has introduced two new fire-fighting trains, named ‘Trident’ and ‘Neptune’, designed to enhance fire suppression capabilities in isolated areas.

These new trains are additions to ‘Poseidon’, which was initially developed as a proof-of-concept.

All three trains will be operated by specially trained employees and contractors to combat wildfires along CN’s routes.

Features and specifications

The ‘Poseidon’ train comprises a flat wagon with two 16,000-liter tanks, three water pumps, fire hoses, and a diesel-electric generator.

It works in conjunction with two tank wagons, each capable of holding nearly 95,000 liters of water.

‘Poseidon’ can deploy water, foam, and fire retardant.

The newly introduced ‘Trident’ and ‘Neptune’ trains feature enhancements such as additional 360° cameras at each end, a separate 20 ft container for pumps, hoses, and generators, and a 40 ft container with a crow’s nest equipped with two extra water cannons.

Company statement and safety measures

Matthew McClaren, Assistant Vice-President, Safety, stated on May 29: “Our priority is to maintain the integrity of the supply chain so that we can continue to serve our customers and power the economy.”

He added: “By deploying these new fire-fighting railcars, we’re not only reinforcing our commitment to securing the supply chain, but also helping to support the safety and security of our neighbors in communities along our network.”

Canadian National acknowledged that extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and duration, highlighting the importance of proactive measures to protect supply chains.

FSJA Comment

Canadian National’s introduction of the ‘Trident’ and ‘Neptune’ fire-fighting trains demonstrates an innovative approach to addressing the challenges posed by wildfires along railway routes.

These specialized trains, equipped with advanced features, underscore the company’s commitment to maintaining operational continuity and community safety.

The addition of enhanced camera systems and dedicated containers for equipment indicates a thoughtful design aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness in fire suppression efforts.

This development is a proactive step in mitigating the risks associated with extreme weather events, which are becoming more prevalent.

As industries increasingly prioritize resilience in the face of environmental challenges, Canadian National’s initiative may serve as a model for other railway companies globally.

By investing in specialized equipment and training, the company is not only safeguarding its operations but also contributing to broader efforts in wildfire management and community protection.

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