Canadian National Railway Company History

935 de La Gauchetière Street West
Montreal, Quebec H3B 2M9

Telephone: (514) 399-5430
Toll Free: 888-888-5909
Fax: (204) 987-9310

Public Company
Incorporated: 1919 as Canadian National Railway Company Limited
Employees: 22,679
Sales: CAD 6.55 billion ($5.46 billion) (2004)
Stock Exchanges: Toronto New York
Ticker Symbols: CNR (Toronto); CNI (New York)
NAIC: 482111 Line-Haul Railroads; 482112 Short Line Railroads; 483113 Coastal and Great Lakes Freight Transportation; 488210 Support Activities for Rail Transportation; 488510 Freight Transportation Arrangement

Company Perspectives:

Success in any business depends on motivated people managing valuable assets to deliver safe and reliable customer-focused service while conscientiously controlling costs. These five elements are key to delivering our service and keeping our promise to "do what we say we will do." Understanding how these interconnected elements work together is crucial for everybody in the company, and is part of a concept we call "How We Work and Why."

Key Dates:

Grand Trunk (GT) railway is incorporated.
Canadian Northern begins building its railway system.
GT completes its transcontinental railway, from Moncton, New Brunswick, to Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
Canadian Northern finishes its transcontinental line from Vancouver to Montreal.
Canadian Northern is taken over by the Canadian government.
The Canadian government incorporates Canadian National Railway Company Limited (CN) as a Crown corporation, which includes Canadian Northern and a number of other railroads.
CN completes takeover of GT, creating one of the world's largest railway networks with more than 22,000 miles of track.
Canadian and U.S. rail holdings are consolidated to create CN North America; Paul Tellier is named CEO and begins major cost-cutting effort.
Canadian National Railway is privatized through a CAD 2.26 billion initial public offering (IPO).
CN and Illinois Central Corporation (IC) enter into a marketing alliance with the Kansas City Southern Railway Company.
CN acquires IC for CAD 2.4 billion; company agrees to a $6 billion merger with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (BNSF).
The U.S. Surface Transportation Board issues moratorium on rail mergers, scuttling the BNSF deal.
Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation is acquired.
CN completes two acquisitions: the rail and marine holdings of Great Lakes Transportation LLC and BC Rail Ltd.

Company History:

Further Reading:

  • Bertin, Oliver, "CN Chops 3,000 More Jobs," Globe and Mail, October 21, 1998, p. A1.
  • ------, "CN to Cut Rail Lines Across Canada," Globe and Mail, July 3, 1996, p. A1.
  • ------, "CN Unites Continental Rail System," Globe and Mail, July 2, 1999, p. B1.
  • Bertin, Oliver, and Susan Bourette, "CN Corrals Illinois Central," Globe and Mail, February 11, 1998, p. B1.
  • Bonney, Joseph, "CN + Grand Trunk = CN North America," American Shipper, February 1992.
  • Branswell, Brenda, "The Axe Falls Again," Maclean's, November 2, 1998, pp. 62+.
  • Bruce, Harry, The Pig That Flew: The Battle to Privatize Canadian National, Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 1997, 168 p.
  • Chipello, Christopher J., "Bombardier Names New CEO, Canadian National's Teller," Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2002, p. B4.
  • ------, "Hopes High for 'New' Canadian National," Wall Street Journal, December 7, 1995, p. B9.
  • Chipello, Christopher J., and Daniel Machalaba, "Canadian National Railway Buys Wisconsin Central for $800 Million," Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2001, p. A10.
  • "CN Wins Bid for BC Rail," Railway Age, January 2004, pp. 14, 17.
  • Dorin, Patrick C., The Canadian National Railways' Story, Seattle: Superior Publishing, 1975, 206 p.
  • Freeman, Alan, "CN Shares May Fetch $1.5 billion," Globe and Mail, May 6, 1995, p. A1.
  • Gallagher, John, "Network Builder: Exports into U.S., Steel Industry Supply 'Partnership' Drive CN's Latest Acquisitions," Traffic World, October 27, 2003, pp. 31-32.
  • Jang, Brent, "CN Buys U.S. Line to Boost Western Exports," Globe and Mail, October 21, 2003, p. B1.
  • ------, "CN Joins Double-Stack Parade," American Shipper, February 1989.
  • ------, "CN Plans Share Buyback As Profit Rises in Quarter," Globe and Mail, October 28, 2004, p. B8.
  • ------, "CN Wins BC Rail in $1-Billion Cash Deal," Globe and Mail, November 26, 2003, p. B1.
  • Johnson, Bruce, "How CN Competes with U.S. Stack Trains," American Shipper, June 1988.
  • ------, "Trans-Canada Double Track Nears Completion," American Shipper, September 1988.
  • Kaihla, Paul, "Back on the Rails," Maclean's, January 13, 1997, pp. 36+.
  • Koch, George, "Full Throttle: Canada's Railroads--and Their Profits--Come Steaming Back," Barron's, September 13, 1999, p. 24.
  • Lipin, Steven, and Christopher J. Chipello, "Canadian National Railway to Acquire Illinois Central in $2.4 Billion Accord," Wall Street Journal, February 11, 1998, p. A4.
  • Machalaba, Daniel, "Burlington Northern, Canadian National Scuttle Plan to Combine Railroad Lines," Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2000, p. A4.
  • Machalaba, Daniel, and Steven Lipin, "Burlington Northern Agrees to Merger: Canadian National Rail Deal for $6 Billion Will Form Leader in North America," Wall Street Journal, December 20, 1999, p. A3.
  • MacKay, Donald, The Asian Dream: The Pacific Rim and Canada's National Railway, Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 1986, 223 p.
  • ------, The People's Railway: A History of Canadian National, Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 1992, 328 p.
  • McArthur, Keith, "Tellier Still Has a Few Spikes to Drive at CN," Globe and Mail, November 16, 2000, p. B1.
  • McKenna, Barrie, "Ottawa Big Winner in CN Sale," Globe and Mail, May 31, 1995, p. B1.
  • Murray, Tom, Canadian National Railway, St. Paul, Minn.: MBI Publishing, 2004, 160 p.
  • Rowan, Geoffrey, "CN Productivity Right Off the Tracks," Globe and Mail, 9 October 1991, B1.
  • Stevens, G.R., History of the Canadian National Railways, New York: Macmillan, 1973, 538 p.
  • Waldie, Paul, "CN Slashes 5% of Work Force," Globe and Mail, November 27, 2002, p. B1.
  • Watson, Thomas, "On Track," Canadian Business, May 12, 2003, pp. 24+.
  • Weaver, Kent R., The Politics of Industrial Change: Railway Policy in North America, Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1985, 291 p.
  • Welty, Gus, "CN + IC: A Three-Coast Strategy," Railway Age, March 1998, p. 33.
  • ------, "CN Turnaround: A Work in Progress," Railway Age, August 1996, p. 39.
  • Wilson-Smith, Anthony, "Rolling South: CN's Merger Plans Would Make It Part of North America's Largest Railroad," Maclean's, February 7, 2000, p. 30.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 71. St. James Press, 2005.