CN Rail is replacing thousands of deteriorating railway ties on its line between Petitcodiac and Saint John as a part of a significant upgrade.

Hundreds of rail cars bring oil to Saint John each week along CN Rail’s tracks. There have been concerns raised over the condition of the track they travel.

Rail ties

CN Rail is replacing thousands of deteriorating railway ties on its line between Petitcodiac and Saint John. (CBC)

The poor condition of the ties between Petitcodiac and Saint John is so extensive that CN Rail has decided to rip up all of them for more than 100 kilometres of track.

New railway ties have been placed in piles along the tracks and Louis Paquin, a company spokesperson, said the upgrade is expected to start within three weeks.

"To systematically replace all the ties on a portion of track, this is something very significant that we don't do that often," he said.

Paquin denies there are any safety concerns with the existing track carrying so many crude oil tankers through populated areas.

Nancy Grant

Rothesay Deputy Mayor Nancy Grant said safety is likely one of the factors that led the rail company to approve the upgrade. (CBC)

The CN spokesperson would not disclose how much the upgrade will cost.

But Rothesay Deputy Mayor Nancy Grant said she suspects safety is one of the reasons the rail company is moving ahead with the upgrade.

"We're all more concerned about the amount of dangerous goods going through and the number of trains and so on," Grant said.

"Citizens around the country have become engaged, so yeah, I'm sure it’s related to that."

Paquin said train traffic will continue during the renovation and it will be contacting local communities shortly to let them know exactly what it plans to do.

Anne Fawcett, a Rothesay resident, said she is happy to hear the damaged railway ties will soon be ripped up and replaced.

"I'm reassured they're starting to look after it again," she said.

In many cases the damage to the ties is easily apparent and some of the ties have been marked with orange paint.