Railways 101

Investing in Canada’s Critical Rail Infrastructure

Rail is one of Canada’s most capital-intensive industries. Our railways invest, on average, between 20 and 25 per cent of their own revenues back into their networks each year — close to $30 billion in Canada alone since 1999 — to ensure that Canada has a world-class rail system that is safe, efficient, and affordable.

Consistent railway investments will ensure that network capacity is available when it’s needed, and that Canada has an efficient, sustainable and safe rail system that Canadians can depend on.

Railways Pull Their Own Weight so They Can Handle Your Freight

The rail industry makes significant yearly investments in building, maintaining and upgrading its network. From modernizing signal control systems to replacing aging railcars and bridges, investing in safety innovations and expanding the capacity of intermodal yards, Canada’s railways pay for improvements with little to no public funding – unlike the trucking industry, which relies exclusively on publicly-funded infrastructure (i.e. roads).

In 2018, Canada’s railways invested close to $2.38 billion in new capital programs to support growth and service enhancements. Track and roadway reflected the majority (44%) of capital expenditures in 2018. Followed by new buildings, machinery and equipment at 19%; 15% went into rolling stock; 7% intermodal equip; 6% signals + communications equipment. The remaining investments went into various other types of equipment. These investments also served to enhance the safety of Canada’s rail infrastructure, which is one reason why our railways are some of the safest in North America.

Canada’s Railways Investing in our Nation’s Future

Railway investments are increasingly important as freight rail shipments increase, commodity volumes shift, and passenger rail grows in popularity. In 2018, the number of carloads that originated in Canada increased by 15.8 per cent to a new record-high of 6.1 million. More than 88 million commuters also rode the rails—a 4.5 per cent increase over the previous year. Consistent railway investments will ensure that network capacity is available when it’s needed, and that Canada has an efficient, sustainable and safe rail system that Canadians can depend on.