A CP rail crew switches out a train at the Edgar Yards in Red Deer ion Tuesday afternoon.

Impact unclear of CPR cuts on Red Deer yard

Two weeks after Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. announced plans to slash nearly a quarter of its workforce by 2016, the likely impact on the company’s Red Deer operations remains unclear.

Two weeks after Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. announced plans to slash nearly a quarter of its workforce by 2016, the likely impact on the company’s Red Deer operations remains unclear.

CP, which has approximately 19,500 employees and contractors, said on Dec. 4 that it plans to eliminate about 4,500 of these by 2016. It anticipated that 1,700 of these positions would be eliminated by the end of this year.

Details concerning where the cuts would occur were not provided, and on Tuesday CP Rail spokesperson Ed Greenberg told the Advocate he could not comment on their effect at his company’s Red Deer yard.

“There is no formal targeted breakdown for each region in Canada and the United States,” said Greenberg. “The reductions will be achieved across the entire network in both countries and mostly through natural attrition and having fewer contractors.”

He said most of the cuts were expected to be achieved through natural attrition, with CP Rail losing around 2,000 people a year through retirement.

Greenberg wasn’t sure how many CP Rail employees work at Red Deer, but said the company has about 3,700 employees in Alberta.

E. Hunter Harrison, CP Rail president and CEO, said the company is seeking to become a “lower cost operation.” In addition to staff reductions, it plans to increase train length and velocity to move the same or increased volumes with fewer trains.

It also intends to relocate its corporate headquarters from downtown Calgary to the company’s Ogden Yard in Calgary by 2014, close facilities in Canada and the United States, and capitalize on surplus real estate holdings.

“The plan is to make sure we have the right people in the right areas to allow our railway to grow with our customers,” said Greenberg.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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