From the early 1870s, when Canadian railway planner and engineer Sir Sandford Fleming divided the Earth into 24 time zones (allowing for the synchronization of clocks and train schedules) and Elijah McCoy invented an automatic lubricator for locomotive steam engines, innovation and technology have been at the forefront of the railway business.
Innovation helps to increase the safety, efficiency and reliability of Canada’s railway system. This, in turn, lowers costs for customers, increases productivity, and enhances the ability of Canadian businesses to compete internationally.
Innovation can be both process related and technological. For example, railways can increase their efficiency in moving raw materials for the natural resource sector by using longer trains. By applying different train configurations, they can also decrease wear and tear on rolling stock and rail infrastructure – reducing the need to take track offline for repairs, while creating more capacity and enhancing safety. New digital devices – such as wayside detection systems and audio-video recorders – also give railways the ability to gather performance and safety information automatically, and take proactive, preventative action when needed.
Finally, but most importantly, Canada’s railways employ a highly skilled, well-trained and dedicated workforce. Through their commitment to education and skill development, Canadian railway employees ensure that the industry is up-to-date on the latest technological innovations and best practices.