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Canadian Pacific Railway needed an expedient, pneumatic alternative to their facility’s aging sand system—Cyclonaire had the solution.

North America was built on the backs of railroads. The railway tracks dotting the landscape across the United States, Canada and Mexico allowed for the westward expansion that has come to define the nations of the continent as we know them.

Today, as a manufacturer of systems that keep them operating safely and efficiently, Cyclonaire plays an important role in the evolving modern history of the railroads of North America. Our recent work with the Canadian Pacific Railway helped to improve their sand distribution system, ensuring successful functionality across their thousands of miles of track.

Company Overview

On July 1, 1867, Canada took its first step toward nationhood—the British North American Act of 1867 was signed, confederating the colonies of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia into a single self-governing colony, the Dominion of Canada.

Also tracing its roots to that day nearly 150 years ago is the Canadian Pacific Railway. As part of the agreement to confederate, the eastern provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia demanded a railway link to the rest of the continent, by way of Quebec and Ontario.

Thirteen years after the confederation, a group of Scottish-Canadian businessmen formed a syndicate whose primary purpose was to build Canada’s first transcontinental railroad. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company was incorporated and officially began construction the next year in 1881.

After a year of dismal results and a change of leadership, construction on the railway exploded—131 miles of track were completed in 1881, compared to 528 miles in 1882. Businessman and Canadian Pacific Railway co-founder Donald A. Smith drove the last spike of the railway on November 7, 1885 in the small town of Craigellachie, B.C., roughly 320 miles northeast of its western terminus in Vancouver.

Operating about 14,000 miles of tracks, Canadian Pacific is currently the second largest railway in North America.

A railroad doesn’t have nearly the same success or the longevity as Canadian Pacific without taking great care to only contract with the highest quality service providers. That is why Cyclonaire was proud to be chosen as a part of the Canadian Pacific Railway quality experience by assisting in the planning, design and subsequent installation/implementation of their sand distribution systems.

The Problem

With firsthand knowledge of our quality work, Canadian Pacific Railway turned to Cyclonaire when it was time to upgrade their aging sand system at their facility in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Canadian Pacific’s current system contained an antiquated gravity-fed system, where sand was fed from elevated pod silos to waiting locomotives via arms and hoses. The system required serviceman to climb onto a locomotive to place the sand hoses in the locomotive’s sandboxes.

The company hoped to replace their old sanding system with a pneumatic alternative that would thereby expedite the process, while also decreasing the likeliness of workplace injuries, as employees would no longer be required to climb atop locomotives.

Cyclonaire’s Solution

CPR Image 1Cyclonaire dispatched a team of engineers and system designers to Canadian Pacific’s Saint Paul facility. There, Cyclonaire worked closely alongside Canadian Pacific representatives to ascertain the company’s needs and assess their existing sand distribution system. Canadian Pacific’s Saint Paul location contained a single service platform with two tracks that could facilitate six locomotives at a time.

When designing a new system to replace an older one, Cyclonaire engineers seek to keep as much of the original system intact and operational as possible. This reduces installation time, as well as client cost. In the case of the Saint Paul facility, our engineers determined that the elevated silos were in good working order and could remain in place. The rest of the system, however, needed to be completely redesigned.

Cyclonaire decided that QuickSanders would be the best choice of equipment for the facility. QuickSanders are compact models, saving platform space at the expense of storage capacity; however, their refill ability is excellent and they work well with the existing gravity assisted elevated pod silos with large capacities. This way, the service platform remains free from clutter but the sanding process is not stalled by frequent refills.

Our engineers designed a sand distribution system that incorporated three QuickSanders. One QuickSander was fitted with four sanding ones, while the other two units were fitted with two sanding wands each. The new system is expected to refill one locomotive sandbox at a flow rate of 1 ft.3/100 lbs/minute, per each active sand wand.

The Result

Canadian Pacific Railway first sought out Cyclonaire after learning of our outstanding reputation from other railroads we’ve worked with.  After providing a successful solution to their facility in Saint Paul, Cyclonaire has worked with Canadian Pacific to design and install new sand distribution systems at many of their other facilities.

Our high-quality systems are specially engineered, designed and manufactured to improve sand handling for safe and efficient operations. We offer the latest in sanding technology systems, ideal for all types of rail applications. For more information, please contact Cyclonaire today.