The Canadian Railway sector began in the 1880s so as to link the highly populated Eastern Canada region and the less populated Western provinces of Canada. Within just four years (1881-1885), thousands of miles of the railway lines had been constructed. Today, the railways play a major role in the transportation of people, agricultural products, and manufactured goods in across the country.
Facts about Canadian railways
The Canadian rail industry is among the safest, most competitive, and highly sustainable railway sectors in the world. It moves a record 75 million people and over 70% of all intercity surface raw materials and manufactured products every year, reducing much of the road congestion and harmful emissions. Read on for more of these facts.
Powering the Canadian economy
The Canadian railway network is the fifth largest in the world. It’s also the fourth largest with regard to goods handled in the world. It moves approximately half of all Canada’s exports (in terms of volume)
Tens of thousands of private investors, including railway employees, directly own private railway companies in Canada. Indirectly, millions of ordinary citizens own the railway companies through savings and pension plans.
In 2014 alone, the railways:
-Paid roughly $1.1 billion of fuel, sales, property and other types of taxes
-Paid over $3 billion wages and benefits
-Invested approximately $1.8 billion in capital programs aimed at supporting service growth and improvements.
The Canadian railways conserve a lot of fuel and limit harmful emissions by relieving road congestion. This is because they are affordable. They move a tonne of freight at three cents per kilometer. And in addition to moving millions of people and masses of goods annually, the railways produce less than 4% of Canada’s transportation related GHC (greenhouse emissions).
In Canada, more than 32, 000 people are employed in the railway sector with an average annual wage of $92 500 per employee.
Innovative, Safe and Secure
In Canada, rail transport is the safest means of ground transportation. More than $20 billion has been invested in secure railway infrastructure since 1999, including innovative safety technologies such as:
-Light-emitting diode (LED) technology and retro-reflective materials which make railway crossing warning signs and lights more bright and visible from far
-Strobe-lights effects to indicate that a train is using the crossing area
-Internet applications, electronic data interchange (EDI) and wireless communications for customers to check prices, request plant switches, place orders, track cars, check bills, among other real-time functions.
-More advanced security gamma –ray technologies particularly in the borders to allow customs official to inspect train contents.
-Automatic stop-starts and low idle systems to increase fuel efficiency
-Rail lubrication technologies which deposit thin beads of lubricants on the rail as the trains pass. This reduces friction, wear, noise and energy consumption
More than 26 000 Canadian railways employees have been trained on rail transport safety measures by the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) in the last five or more years. This has ensured that 99.999% of dangerous goods are safely transported to their different destinations. So far, only 0.08 accidents per millions of passengers were recorded since 2014.
RAC in association with Transport Canada co-founded an initiative called Operation Lifesaver to create public awareness and educate people on railway crossing and trespassing. And through TRANSCAER (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response) RAC works with emergency responders, municipalities, and residents along rail lines to ensure they are aware of the products moved via their areas and are prepared to respond to potential risks involving dangerous goods.