Paterson Alta. terminal to be Prairies’ fastest-loading

Paterson GlobalFoods plans for a new southern Alberta grain handling facility will include a new track system giving it the “fastest loading of any Prairie terminal.”

Winnipeg-based Paterson on Friday announced its new terminal at Gleichen, about 80 km east of Calgary, will feature the first grain loop track in Canada.

The system is designed to allow locomotives to remain connected to a train, providing for “continuous and timely loading or unloading of rail cars.”

The Gleichen loop track will be built for 130 rail cars that will load in almost half the time of a comparable traditional Prairie terminal rail car spot, the company said.

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The 28,000-tonne capacity facility, to be dubbed the Long Plain Terminal, is expected to be complete by July 2011 and ready for the harvest that fall. The facility will also incorporate chemical, fertilizer and seed retailing.

Paterson said the Wheatland County region where the new terminal will be built is “known and recognized for its excellent production of cereals and oilseeds.”

The Long Plain Terminal will be Paterson GlobalFoods’ ninth inland export terminal on the Prairies. Privately-held Paterson didn’t disclose the project’s total cost.

The family-owned agrifood conglomerate has been in expansion mode in recent years, completing a 30,000-tonne capacity terminal at Assiniboia, Sask. last summer and expanding its facilities at Indian Head, Sask. and Killarney, Man.

The Assiniboia project, about 100 km south of Moose Jaw, was billed at the time as the first 130-rail car spot in Western Canada, able to load a complete unit train in eight hours.

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