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Canada's CN Rail hiring thousands as shipments surge

WINNIPEG, Manitoba/MONTREAL, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway Co plans to extend its biggest hiring blitz in three years into 2018, as it scrambles to catch up with surging shipments and fill vacancies, a vice-president with Canada's biggest freight railroad said on Friday.

The hiring spree, including some 3,500 workers through this year and plans for at least 2,000 more in 2018, reflects a resurgent economy and stiffer competition from Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. The 5,500 new hires represent nearly one-quarter of CN's total workforce, and include roughly 1,700 new positions over the two-year period. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by James Dalgleish)