The Canadian National Railway Company (CN) has announced plans to invest about C$340m ($262.55m) into the expansion and improvement of its rail network across British Columbia (BC).

The move comes as part of CN’s C$3.4bn ($2.62bn) capital programme for 2018 and focuses on key track expansion projects that will enable CN to better serve growing intermodal, forest products, grain and industrial customers.

Other projects under the programme include the replacement, upgrade and maintenance of key track infrastructure in order to improve overall safety and efficiency.

CN Western Region vice-president Doug Ryhorchuk said: “We are investing for the long haul with these projects to boost capacity and network resiliency to meet growing traffic on our corridors to and from the West Coast and across BC.

“Our investments in infrastructure, equipment and people will help us deliver superior service to our customers across the province and North America. Additionally, our substantial investments to renew our existing railway infrastructure underscore our commitment to operating safely.”

“We are investing for the long haul with these projects to boost capacity and network resiliency to meet growing traffic on our corridors to and from the West Coast.”

The planned expansion projects include the construction of four new train passing sidings between Prince Rupert and Jasper, Alberta, in addition to the extension of three existing passing sidings in the same area.

A siding extension is also planned north of Kamloops on CN’s Vancouver to Edmonton corridor.

The maintenance programme will involve the replacement of nearly 115 miles of rail, installation of over 335,000 new crossties and re-construction of about 50 road-crossing surfaces.

Maintenance will also be carried out on bridges as part of CN’s multi-year maintenance project on the Fraser River Bridge. Similar works will be undertaken on culverts, signal systems and additional track infrastructure.

British Columbia Delta Member of Parliament Carla Qualtrough said: “CN’s infrastructure investments this year throughout BC will help strengthen local economies, support good middle-class jobs and further solidify BC’s economic advantage as Canada’s Pacific Gateway.”

CN’s rail network in BC serves the West Coast gateways of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, as well as key inland terminals in Surrey, Prince George, Kamloops and Fort Nelson.