Canada’s railways power our economy ― transporting more than 84 million passengers and more than $310 billion worth of goods across our country each year. Not only do railways move people and goods safely and efficiently, but trains relieve road congestion and are highly fuel-efficient, helping to limit harmful emissions to our environment.
By choosing a career in the rail industry, you’ll join the close to 32,000 Canadians working in railway operations, maintenance, technology, customer service and leadership positions. Railway employees earn an average of more than $95,000 a year ― among the highest annual earnings in Canadian industry.
You’ll also have the opportunity to work at one of Canada’s largest employers (CN or CP), or at a smaller rail business. Scroll through the images below to see the many types of Canadian railways in operation today. If you’d like to learn more about the industry, visit the Railways 101 section of railcan.ca. You may also want to take our short quiz, to see if you have what it takes for a career in rail.
Class 1 Freight Railways
Class 1 freight railways (CN and CP) are the biggest railways in Canada. They transport most of the $280 billion worth of goods moved across our country each year.
Shortline Freight Railways
Shortline freight railways operate over relatively short distances. They move traffic to and from the Class 1 rail network, providing vital service to remote areas of the country, and helping our manufacturing and resource products get to world markets.
Intercity Passenger Railways
Just as their name suggests, intercity passenger railways move people between Canadian cities. VIA Rail is Canada’s largest intercity passenger service provider, serving more than 400 communities from coast to coast.
Commuter railways move people between suburban areas and major Canadian cities. They operate in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, and move more than 70 million passengers each year.
Tourist railways provide passengers with an unbeatable view of our beautiful country. Some offer multi-day journeys through the Canadian Rockies, while others provide sightseeing day trips or eco-tours.