Portal:North American railways

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The North American railways portal

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North American railways are permanent ways or roads having a line of rails providing a track for freight and passenger cars and other rolling stock. It is a means of transport by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. Track usually consists of steel rails installed on sleepers/ties and ballast, on which the rolling stock, usually fitted with metal wheels, moves. Other variations are also possible, such as slab track where the rails are fastened to a concrete foundation resting on a prepared subsurface. Power is provided by locomotives which either draw electrical power from a railway electrification system or produce their own power, usually by diesel engines. The operation is carried out by a railway company, providing transport between train stations or freight customer facilities.

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The Canadian National (CN) is the largest railway in Canada, in terms of both revenue and the physical size of its rail network, and is currently Canada's only transcontinental railway company, spanning Canada from the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia to the Pacific coast in British Columbia.

Following CN's purchase of Illinois Central (IC) and a number of smaller US railways it also has extensive trackage in the central United States along the Mississippi River valley from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Today CN owns approximately 20,400 route miles of track in 8 provinces (the only two not served by CN are Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island), as well as a 70-mile stretch of track into the Northwest Territories to Hay River on the southern shore of Great Slave Lake; it is the northernmost rail line anywhere within the North American Rail Network, as far north as Anchorage, Alaska. (although the Alaska Railroad goes further north than this, it is isolated from the rest of the rail network) The railway was referred to as the Canadian National Railways (CNR) between 1918 and 1960 and as Canadian National/Canadien National (CN) from 1960 to present.

The Canadian National Railway is a public company with 22,000 employees and market capitalization of 29 billion USD in 2010.

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The Union Pacific Railroad (UP) (NYSEUNP), headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States. James R. Young was president, CEO and Chairman. UP's route map covers most of the central and western United States west of Chicago and New Orleans. As of December 31, 2008 UP operates on 32,012 miles (51,518 km) of track, of which it owns outright 26,171 miles (42,118 km). It has achieved this size as a result of purchasing a large number of other railroads, notably the Missouri Pacific, Chicago and North Western, Western Pacific, Missouri–Kansas–Texas, and the Southern Pacific (including the Rio Grande). Currently, Union Pacific owns 26% of Ferromex while Grupo México owns the remaining 74%. UP's chief railroad competitor is the BNSF Railway, which covers much of the same territory.

North American railways/railroads


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On November 3, 2009, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced that it would acquire the remaining 77.4% of BNSF that it didn't already own for $100 per share in cash and stock - a deal valued at $44 billion. The company is investing an estimated $34 billion in BNSF and acquiring $10 billion in debt. On February 12, 2010, shareholders of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation voted in favor of the acquisition.


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