Three of the largest rail providers in North America have announced a new partnership for service across Canada, The United States, and Mexico. The new partnership made up of Canadian National (CN), Union Pacific Railroad (UP), and Grupo Mexico Transportes (GMXT) will become the second to ever serve the three countries and will use Chicago as its main interchange point.
The announcement made on Monday comes after the US government approved the merger of Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern in a $31 billion deal, creating the first operation across the continent connecting in Kansas City with east coast routes running through Chicago. However the combined duo would still be smaller than Canadian National (CN) whose $30 billion bid for Kansas City Southern was blocked in 2021.
The three key players on the new competing route which will will utilize Chicago as the main stop and connection point in the US are:
Canadian National: Runs 18,600 miles of track across the US and Canada and transports over 300 million tons of cargo yearly, in operation since 1919.
Union Pacific: The nation’s largest rail operator by revenue with 32,100 miles of track across 23 western states, in operation since 1862.
Grupo México Transportes: Mexico’s largest rail operator with over 6,000 miles of track going through 24 of its states and 90 percent of the nation’s GDP, in operation since 1942.
Dubbed the Falcon Premium Intermodal Service, the new route will utilize Chicago as the main stop and connection point in the US. Service will commence with GMXT to the south in Silao just north of Mexico City, making its second stop in Monterrey before crossing into the US via Texas. From there it will use UP tracks directly to Chicago which will be its third and main stop, utilizing the Elgin-Joliet & Eastern bypass to transfer cargo to other routes and Canada.
Via UP and CN, cargo can transfer to routes across the western and southern ends of the nation, before the Falcon Premium splits into two paths on CN heading west to Vancouver and east to Halifax. The west route will have stops like Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary, and Prince George while the eastern route will have the only other US stop in Detroit continuing to Toronto, Montreal, and Moncton.
Chicago has been the nation’s largest rail hub as the only major city where all seven Class I railroads operate, but it has also led to major choke points for which improvement investments are being implemented to allow for more than 50,000 additional trains by 2051. With over 900 million tons moved between the three nations in 2019 worth over $180 billion, the two routes will increase demand for rail transport and bring significant economic impact to the Chicagoland area.