Buy Stock in the Autonomous Railway Revolution

The invention of the railroad fueled our economic growth today, and Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR)(NYSE:CNI) is gearing up for the next century.

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Investing in the stock market is a long-term commitment, and Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR)(NYSE:CNI) is proof.

If you had invested in Canadian National Railway in 1996 at $4.29 per share, your investment would have returned over 2,500% plus dividends. The stock trades for $113 per share today and issues a dividend of $0.538 per share for a yield of 1.9%.

Canadian National Railway has been a regular dividend payer since December 1996 when it issued a dividend of $0.0167 per share.

The lesson is clear: A long-term investment mindset is the key to success in the stock market. The mantra, “Invest and Forget,” works! The key to building your wealth and retirement savings is by picking out a few excellent dividend stocks with great reputations and then becoming a loyal shareholder.

Canadian National Railway will likely be one of Canada’s most persistent institutions. Even innovation can’t touch the Canadian National Railway as long as it adapts to changes in technology.

Now that we’re on the verge of the next technology revolution, aspiring Canadian retirees should consider another 25-year investment in this perennial railroad.

Autonomous cars to autonomous railroads

Years of hazardous railway accidents in the United States and Canada have created more imperatives for a focus on railway safety. In the next decade, it will certainly be interesting to see how Canadian National uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to enhance the efficiency and safety of Canada’s supply chain.

An August 2019 test in Colorado, United States proved that autonomous trains are indeed a possibility. Computers controlled the cargo train as it rolled down the tracks, while humans only watched.

An Australian mining company, Rio Tinto, has been using an autonomous rail system to ship iron ore since 2018. Even Russia, Germany, and China are racing to build their own autonomous railway systems.

In June, Canadian National projected a $400 million estimated savings from automation, expecting to use machine learning to inspect railway cars instead of humans.

By the end of the year, eight of the rail line’s cars will use sensors and lasers to check tracks. The railroad is also building 17 algorithms and machine learning to identify track defects.

Foolish takeaway

The invention of the railroad fueled the economic growth that brought us to this technological age. Without the railroad, our economies would less interconnected and more separate.

The railroad drastically cut transportation costs, thereby allowing more significant movement of people and goods across continents.

The excellent news for shareholders in Canadian National Railway is that the nation’s railway system is just as relevant today as it ever was. The railway is critical to transporting agricultural products.

In the past year, the Canadian National Railway released exciting news about renewed partnerships and record-breaking agrarian shipments.

Since 1919, the Canadian National Railway has provided Canada with the infrastructure it needs to facilitate trade with the United States. Pivotal to Canada’s national security, the railway serves many vital industries in Canada, including oil, and automotive manufacturing. Some of the railway’s most prominent customers include GM, Imperial Oil, and Suncor.

GM and Canadian National recently announced a renewed partnership. Canadian National will continue transporting GM’s automotive parts and finished vehicles across Canada and the United States.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Debra Ray has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Canadian National Railway is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.

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