Frequently Asked Questions

    CN is proposing to build and operate a new intermodal hub in Milton, Ontario. The Milton Logistics Hub (the Project) is proposed to meet the growing demand for infrastructure to handle the increasing flow of goods in and out of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
  • Subject to regulatory approvals, the Project would be built on a portion of CN-owned land, east of Tremaine Road and south of Britannia Road, in southern Milton.
  • The Project would be in close proximity to the Halton Region Waste Management Site.
  • An intermodal facility is a critical piece of infrastructure where we move shipping containers between trains and trucks in order to efficiently move goods in and out of a region. Intermodal is safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible.
  • Goods moved in containers include common household items and goods such as electronics, toys, cosmetics, health products, food products, maintenance equipment and car parts.
  • Intermodal is safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible.
  • The proposed Project would involve the construction of an administrative building, six new rail tracks, the realignment and extension of existing mainline tracks, and a truck entrance and queuing area with sufficient capacity to keep waiting trucks off public roads.
  • The proposed Project is needed to:
    • Meet the growing demand for household goods across the GTHA.
    • Help local businesses in Milton and southern Ontario get their goods to and from critical markets.
    • Alleviate congestion on 400-series highways by removing long-haul trucks.
    • Support Canada’s international supply chains and federal trade and climate goals.
  • Chances are most of your necessities – car parts, electronic devices, food, health products, furniture and many other household goods – have been handled by CN at one or more of our intermodal facilities.
  • The population of the GTHA is expected to increase from 6.6 million to 10 million by 2041, and as the GTHA grows, so does the need for household goods coming into and going out of the region.
  • That means more demand for logistics, warehousing, and intermodal infrastructure to move containers of goods.
  • We currently service the GTHA through our Brampton Intermodal Terminal (BIT). However, BIT is nearing capacity, and CN’s ability to expand or further increase the capacity of BIT to meet growing demand for container goods in the region is severely constrained.
  • The Milton Logistics Hub is expected to bring a number of benefits to Milton, Halton, Ontario and Canada by:
    • Improving Canada’s overall access to key domestic and trans-border markets, as well as markets in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coast trade gateways.
    • Helping local businesses to be more competitive in the global market, making Milton and the GTHA a more attractive place to invest and grow a business.
    • Providing infrastructure to service a growing population and a growing transportation and logistics industry in the west GTHA.
    • Creating approximately 1,000 direct and indirect jobs, including 130 direct jobs on-site.
    • Generating up to $230 million in municipal revenues to the Halton Region and the Town of Milton over the next 20 years through Intermodal Oriented Development, which would help to provide public services such as health care, education and infrastructure.
    • Helping to remove long-distance heavy trucks from regional highways. One intermodal train can transport the equivalent of 280 long-distance heavy trucks; resulting in a 9,510-tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions every year.
    • Other measures, including enhancing vegetation, and pursuing new and existing partnerships with Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph.
  • We conducted an extensive assessment of alternative means of carrying out the Project, which included assessing the technical and economic feasibility of alternative project sites. In our site selection study, we considered land opportunities in the GTHA based on demand for consumer goods. Following this assessment, options were selected according to their ability to meet market demands, CN operational requirements, safety and environmental protection.
  • Based on a comprehensive review, the site in south Milton was selected as the best option for providing service to the growing GTHA, as it met the following major requirements for the Project. The land is:
    • Of sufficient size, grade, and configuration to safely and efficiently accommodate container trains moving into and out of the facility.
    • Close to 400-series highways for truck-haul routes.
    • In proximity to a growing population area with a growing transportation and logistics industry.
    • Located in an area with minimal intrusions on environmental features such as woodlands and watercourse crossings.
    • Located in close proximity to other semi-industrial land uses including the Halton Region Waste Management Site and the Burlington Executive Airpark Airport.
  • The proposed Project is currently undergoing an environmental assessment (EA) by an independent joint review panel, under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.
  • An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) includes, among other things, a summary of the anticipated environmental effects and proposed mitigation measures for a project, and is submitted to regulatory authorities as part of the federal EA process.

For this Project, an EIS was submitted on December 7, 2015, following the issuance of the final EIS Guidelines by CEAA on July 20, 2015.

  • Broadly speaking, the conclusion of the EIS is that, with proposed mitigation measures, the Project is not likely to result in significant adverse effects, including cumulative effects.
  • Full details of the EIS, including potential effects and associated mitigation measures, are described in more detail in the full EIS, which can be found on the public registry at ceaa.gc.ca, Reference Number: 80100.
  • We are committed to listening to the community and want to hear from you regarding the proposed Project.
  • We are currently planning for additional community consultation in September and October 2017, and further information about that will be available on our website in early September.
  • Our Information Centre is open weekdays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A 1-800 line has been established along with a website (cnmilton.ca), email (cn@milton.ca) and twitter account (@CNandMilton).
  • The joint review panel will also be providing additional opportunities for participation in the EA process; we encourage you to participate in that process and you can also sign up for email updates from the review panel on their website at ceaa.gc.ca.
  • Main construction activities would include:
    • Site clearing and grading
    • Track construction and signals installation
    • Terminal infrastructure and paving
    • New grade separations
    • Installation of utilities
    • Construction of the administration building and maintenance garage
    • Watercourse realignment and naturalization
    • Restoration of fish habitat, wetlands, and riparian vegetation
  • The Milton Logistics Hub would operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is designed to be served by four intermodal trains per day and is expected to handle approximately 450,000 containers annually at full operation.
  • Key activities associated with Project operation include:
    • Train arrival at the terminal and separation onto different tracks
    • Unloading and loading of containers with reach stackers
    • Temporary container storage on the pad or direct loading to trucks
    • Container drop-off and pickup by trucks arriving at and departing the terminal
    • Pickup of railcars by trains ready to depart the terminal
    • Minor maintenance of CN equipment and terminal vehicles
    • Locomotive fueling in designated areas and minor railcar repair
    • Maintenance of terminal infrastructure
  • Our goal is that future road users (motor vehicle operators, cyclists and pedestrians) continue to move efficiently and safely near the facility.
  • Studies have been conducted to estimate the potential change in truck traffic volumes associated with the Project. Safety assessments related to road traffic have been conducted in relation to the roads and new intersections that will provide vehicular access to the facility.
  • Proposed measures to manage adverse effects on traffic include:
    • Notifying the public, working with municipalities, and coordinating with local authorities regarding the location and scheduling of construction activities, including temporary lane closures or detours.
    • Working with the Town of Milton and Halton Region to build an underpass at Lower Base Line, to maintain traffic flow and facilitate an east-west passage for emergency vehicles.
    • Working with the Halton Region to install a signalized intersection on Britannia Road with separate eastbound right-turn and westbound left-turn lanes.
    • Building a 1.7-kilometre two-lane private roadway south from the proposed truck entrance on Britannia Road, with sufficient queuing capacity on CN property to keep waiting trucks off local roads.
    • Working with Halton Region to create an employee entrance off Tremaine Road, including a southbound left-turn lane and the appropriate signage.
    • In consultation with Halton Region and the Town of Milton, managing changes to roadway operating conditions resulting from truck traffic could include: adjustment to traffic signal control timing and phasing, provision of advisory/regulatory signage, adjustments to the length of left-turn lanes, addition of right- or left-turn lanes, and provisions for pedestrian and cyclist safety.
  • The Project is anticipated to generate up to 800 truck trips in and out of the facility on weekdays.
  • On the majority of Halton and Milton roads, the increase in truck traffic from the Project is not expected to be noticeable.
  • The Project would result in higher truck volumes near the proposed truck entrance on Britannia Road. Truck traffic is anticipated to be less noticeable further from the truck entrance, as it would be dispersed along the number of available arterial routes in Halton.
  • The Project access road intersections on Tremaine Road (for employees) and on Britannia Road (for trucks) are designed to mitigate traffic impacts and to promote the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.
  • The proposed grade separation on Lower Base Line will eliminate conflict between road traffic and train operation, enhancing efficiency and safety in that location.
  • Throughout Project planning, we have included measures to mitigate the potential effects of the Project on the environment and surrounding communities.
  • Mitigation measures to reduce the effects of noise and light include:
    • Constructing raised earthen berms or barriers, planted with native Ontario vegetation and trees to blend into the natural environment and reduce the effects of noise and light
    • Scheduling of construction during daytime hours when feasible
    • Notifying nearby residents regarding significant activities during construction
    • Use of construction and terminal equipment fitted with muffler systems for their internal combustion exhausts
    • Using downward directed lighting in active work areas to minimize light spill from the Project area
    • Turning off lighting in areas not being used for active construction or operational activities, and using only enough lights for safety and security where specifically required during operation
  • Fact sheets regarding key studies and proposed mitigation measures are available on our website.
  • CN has been operating safely in Milton for over 100 years, and our core value is to provide the safest environment possible for employees and the public. We take our responsibility seriously to ensure our operation considers and protects local communities.
  • One of the ways we do this is through the work of the CN Police Service (CNPS), whose mandate would include ensuring traffic at and within 500 metres of the facility operates safely.
  • Our officers would monitor the facility and surrounding lands to ensure public safety for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle traffic.
  • The CNPS coordinates with local police forces, other first responders, and local service providers with crossing and trespassing enforcement, and in the event of any incident, emergency, or reported threat.
  • Plans will be in place to ensure the safety of CN’s workers and the environment through emergency response plans, spill response, employee training, traffic controls and terminal design.
  • Some of the measures to mitigate potential effects to species at risk – such as Snapping Turtle, and birds like Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark and Barn Swallow – include:
    • Retaining natural vegetation around the boundaries of the Project, where possible.
    • Shielding outdoor lights to minimize light spillage beyond the required areas.
    • Creating, securing, and managing off-site grassland habitat to support species such as Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark.
    • Implementing turtle habitat enhancements in Indian Creek and on-site ponds.
    • Providing employees with sensitivity education for on-site wildlife encounters.