Railways 101

Delivering Canada’s Amazing Products to the World

Canada’s freight railways move more than 900,000 tonnes of goods every day, 365 days a year—delivering essential products to customers across Canada and around the globe. Transporting everything from the cars we drive, to the food we eat and the fuel we use to heat our homes, Canada’s freight rail system is crucial to our lives and our economy.

Whether our railways are moving bulk, industrial or consumer goods, they are committed to transporting products efficiently, safely, cost-effectively and sustainably. In fact, a locomotive can pull one tonne of freight more than 200 kilometres on a single litre of fuel. Now that’s hard to beat.

Railways connect Canada’s industrial, consumer and resource sectors to ports on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, helping more than $150 billion worth of Canadian exports to reach world markets each year.

The Goods We Move

With more than 2,300 locomotives pulling nearly five million carloads, Canada’s railways transport more than 338 million tonnes of goods a year. In 2016, our railways moved close to 862,000 carloads of minerals, more than 565,000 carloads of fuels and chemicals, close to 511,000 carloads of agricultural products and some 254,000 carloads of forest products.

Intermodal traffic—the transportation of shipping containers and truck trailers by rail— continues to increase as businesses look to railways to move a variety of goods that Canadians rely on every day, such as grain, auto parts, frozen foods, electronics, and much more.

Connecting Canada to a World of Possibilities

Canadian railways operate almost 45,000 kilometres of track across our country. These rail lines connect Canada’s industrial, consumer and resource sectors to ports on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and open up a world of possibilities.

Through a network of strategically located intermodal terminals (rail, ship and truck) in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Chicago, more than $150 billion worth of Canadian exports are able to reach world markets each year. Railways are the backbone of our country’s integrated supply chain, and help to ensure that Canada stays competitive in today’s global economy.