Bethune Saskatchewan - The new $4 billion K&S Potash Canada Bethune Mine (at Bethune, Saskatchewan, northeast of Moose Jaw) opened on 2 May 2017 and went into production in June 2017.
To service the mine, Canadian Pacific Railway's (CP) contractors built a $128 million, 19 mile track, known as the Belle Plaine Spur, extending from milepost 1.05 of the Kalium Spur on the Indian Head subdivision to the mine site.
The spur line is owned by CPR.
K&S has constructed 12 miles of loop and storage tracks (owned by K&S) on the site.
Two sets of rail cars have been built by National Steel Car (NSC) of Hamilton, Ontario, to transport the potash.
The International (grey) Fleet
To haul potash from the Bethune Mine to Port Moody, British Columbia, for the international export market, NSC delivered the first 177 of 531 cars to the mine on 13 Mar 2017.
The cars will form 3 unit trains of 177 cars.
The cars are gray in colour, are 45 feet long, and carry 105 tonnes of product.
I photographed one of these cars at CPR's Alyth Yard on 20 Aug 2017.
The train had 25 cars in the middle of a grain train so it seems that the full 177 car consists are not yet in operation.
The Domestic (blue) Fleet
NSC is also building an initial 200 cars for the K&S Potash domestic fleet, to be used to transport product to the North American market.
These cars are to be delivered starting in August 2017 with more cars expecting delivery at a later date.
The cars are 2 feet longer than the international cars and are blue in colour.
The attached photo of a blue car is from the K&S web site.
Once the mine is operating at full capacity at the end of 2017, 2 million tonnes of potash are expected to be produced annually, the equivalent of about 19,000 cars or about 108 unit trains of 177 cars, a significant new contract for CP.
The cars are owned by K&S Potash Canada and have reporting mark KSPX.
Cor van Steenis.