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The Roadrailer... Only a few decades back, it was a revolutionary way of getting trucks off the road, while being able to maintain a fast and efficient means of transportation. Today, it has become relatively redundant, and is slowly but surely fading away. Turns out double stack container trains can do the job just as well as the Roadrailer in most cases. Interestingly enough, double stack container trains are newer technology than the Roadrailer, and doublestacks have really proven themselves in the 21st century.

Starting, I believe in 1991 in Canada, the Roadrailer began in the hands of CP. By 1999, CP decided the Expressway would be a better fit, and launched that service, which still exists today. The Roadrailer was transferred to CN hands to be handled between Toronto and Detroit as it had been before. Meanwhile, a Montreal-Toronto Roadrailer service was also launched. Clearly intended to fight the truck industry by hanging on with threads, a strike in 2004 scared many of those customers away, effectively ending the service. The Toronto-Detroit section will officially cease to exist after November 15th, 2015, bringing the end to the Roadrailer in Canada. 

CN 145 is a weekday only train, and CN, I'd imagine would be trying to clear out any Roadrailer stock to return to the U.S, making another eastbound 144 run tomorrow a bit of a burden. With November 13th, 2015 being the final weekday of this week, CN Q14531 13, shown here, is presumably the very last Roadrailer to skirt Canadian rails. To put coincidence at hand, the latter two numbers of the lone unit is 45. CN 2645 is at the helm, with a decent string of Roadrailers. The Georgetown VIA station and the GO trains laying over in the Georgetown Yard have likely seen this very unique form of rail transportation for the last time.

It is likely Norfolk Southern's remaining Roadrailer trains will die out and be replaced by double stack intermodal trains. 144 and 145's replacement is unknown, but may include traditional double stacks or autoparts cars (that's what these Roadrailers carried). Hopefully it is some form of rail transportation, as Highway 401 is gridlocked enough as it is...
Copyright Notice: This image ©Daniel Odette all rights reserved.



Caption: The Roadrailer... A few decades back, it was a revolutionary way of getting trucks off the roads, while being able to maintain a fast and efficient service. Today, it has become relatively redundant, and is slowly fading away in many places. Turns out double stack containers often can do the job just as well, if not better than roadrailers. Double stack containers is in fact newer technology than the Roadrailer, and it has really proven itself in the 21st century. Starting in 1991, the Roadrailer began in the hands of CP. They operated the Roadrailer up until the early 2000s, and launched the Expressway service in 1999, which they still operate today. Meanwhile, CN launched the Montreal-Toronto section of the Roadrailer in 1999. Since the Roadrailer is a service that competes with trucks hanging by a thread, a strike in 2004 scared the customers away, promptly ending this service. Around this time, CN switched their focus to Toronto-Detroit, which is where CN 144 and 145 came into play. However, word has come that this service too will end shortly. As of November 15th, any new Roadrailer shipments into Canada were no longer expected to occur. The Roadrailer will continue for a few more weeks on a periodic basis, clearing out any remaining Roadrailer trailers. Once the last train runs, the Roadrailer service in Canada will officially be history. Unfortunately, these trains probably will replaced by trucks, adding more unnecessary congestion to the 401. CN Q14531 13 is seen here passing Georgetown Via station, interestingly with CN 2645, and a long string of Triple Crown trailers. This was the very last regularly scheduled westbound Roadrailer. Over the next few weeks, CN 144 and 145 may make sporadic trips before this very unique form of rail transportation is put in the Canadian railway history books.

Photographer:
Daniel Odette [153] (more) (contact)
Date: 11/13/2015 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 2645 (search)
Train Symbol: CN Q14531 13 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Mile 23.5 CN Halton Subdvision (search)
City/Town: Georgetown (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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13 Comments
  1. A great effort Daniel and a photo worthy of the front page of a scrapbook. It’s not like you can shoot 145 in daylight often…

    I’m lucky enough to have photo of 144 and 145 in Kitchener, Ontario during re-routes in 2003, happened a few times.

    NS 327/8 also ran by this station in Georgetown at the same time , also on re-routes…

    a story for nother day!

  2. 145 did not run tonight. Perhaps tomorrow?

  3. A 144 and 145 will run today/tonight boys – 145 ran last night also (Michigan by daylight today)

    The very last 145 will be the week of the 30th or so. Still one more chance.

  4. According to a source (who will remain anonymous) There should be a 144 and 145 once each this week (17th and 18th) and the final train will be the week of the 30th pending crew and equipment availibility. Subject to change.

    144 just went by Brantford Station at 6:47 PM so it’s still running for now..

  5. Actually as far as I remember CN took the Roadrailer contract from CP. CN’s first Roadrailers actually ran out of the old Malport yard and went down the Weston Sub to meet half way with the westbound counterpart.
    The Toronto to Chicago trains never ran until after the Montreal to Toronto trains stopped running.

  6. Very nice Daniel. Hope I can shoot the equipment returning to the US.

    RIP the Canadain roadrailer.

  7. CP handled the Triple Crown Roadrailer well past 1999. I know I have shots of it as late as mid 2002. Expressway and the the Roadrailer co-existed on CP for several years. I want to say it was in 2000/2001-ish? that CN and CP both ran Roadrailer’s out of Toronto, CP’s was the Triple Crown an CN’s (also called train 145) was a combination of CN and BNSF trailers.

  8. No one really knows Daniel – it’s kind of up in the air, there won’t be many more, one or two more.. maximum.. but the last move will be days (weeks?) afterwards once the equipment is all gathered at Comport for final sendoff.. and a crew is available to run it.

  9. I asked several people earlier about how the Roadrailer would go out. I received silence, until of course, after I presumed this would be the last 145. Oh well… I’m learning.

  10. There may be another few 145′s to get rid of the equiptment still in Toronto, but Roadrailer is gone from Toronto. Yes they will continue in the US :-)

  11. Aaaaaaaaand if you read the press release.. the Roadrailer will continue on NS in the Kansas City-Detroit market. :)

  12. And that’s not the last train either :) You kids have your wires crossed and believe what you hear waaaaaaaaay before it’s official :) Only time will tell the actual last train, buds!

  13. 145/144 will not have a replacement on CN.

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