CN Marks Quarter-Century Since Privatization

JJ Ruest, CN CEO, is seen here with the different locomotives welcomed in CN’s ranks over the years to propel its service farther than any other North American railway, similar to how the IPO propelled CN to new heights. Locomotives from left to right: BC Rail, Grand Trunk Western, CN, Illinois Central Railroad, the Wisconsin Central Railroad, and the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway. (Globe Newswire)

CN is celebrating a quarter-century since the government of Canada privatized the railroad.

On Nov. 17, 1995, the Canadian government listed CN on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). At the time, the railroad was the largest and the oldest Crown Corporation in Canada.

The $2.25 billion (Canadian) sale represented the biggest IPO in Canadian history.

“The privatization of CN was anticipated with widespread skepticism, but executed with startling success and today it is the source of enormous pride for our employees and all those involved over the years,” JJ Ruest, president and CEO of CN, said in a news release. “It allowed CN to unleash the powerful creative and competitive forces of our railroaders.

“I want to thank everyone who contributed to this success as well as our employees for their dedication to safely moving the economy for our customers and for the communities where we operate,” Ruest added. “Twenty-five years after the IPO and with safety as our core value, our future is all about performance and customer service, generating long-term value for our shareholders. It’s been an amazing 25 years and the journey continues.”

The railroad has grown dramatically over the past 25 years, acquiring the Illinois Central Railroad, the Wisconsin Central Railroad, the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway and BC Rail.

Each of those railways, as well as the Grand Trunk Western, are represented by one of the locomotives specially painted by CN for the 25th anniversary of its IPO.