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Canada’s railways to brief parliamentarians on rail safety efforts during annual Rail Day

The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) and its members will meet with MPs today to discuss rail safety and other issues, as part of the association’s annual Rail Day event in Ottawa. Rail Day provides an opportunity for railway representatives to meet face-to-face with parliamentarians of all political stripes to discuss current policy issues.

“Rail safety is our number one priority,” said RAC President and CEO Michael Bourque. “Our industry has taken significant steps to improve safety over the last two-and-a-half years, and we’re keen to work collaboratively with the government to further improve rail safety.”

Canada’s railways have reviewed and strengthened the safety of their operating practices in recent years, while expanding railway information-sharing with municipalities about the products being moved through their communities.

RAC’s members have also increased their training and outreach efforts – training more than 26,000 first responders, railway employees and industrial plant personnel on dangerous goods handling and emergency response in the last five years. In addition, last May, Canada’s railways launched the AskRail™ mobile app to provide first responders with real-time information about railcar contents in the event of an emergency. More than 2,000 Canadian first responders have already signed up for the app.

In addition to discussing rail safety, RAC will inform MPs about the critical role railways play in our economy, and the potential for Canada’s green rail infrastructure to support our country’s sustainable growth. Funding for shortline freight railways, for example, would allow these smaller operators to maintain and improve their infrastructure, meet new safety requirements, and expand their networks – a recommendation echoed in the recent Canada Transportation Act (CTA) Review Report. Shifting just 10 per cent of freight from trucks to shortline railways would also reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by close to 500,000 tonnes – the equivalent of taking 3.6 million trucks off the road.

In terms of passenger rail, VIA Rail’s plan for a dedicated high-frequency rail project in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor would relieve congestion on highways and cut travel times between these cities. By substantially reducing the number of car trips – by an estimated 5 million trips each year – VIA’s project would also help to curb GHGs and other emissions.



Alex Paterson
Railway Association of Canada

About the Railway Association of Canada

The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) represents more than 50 freight and passenger railway companies that move 75 million people and $280 billion worth of goods in Canada each year. As the voice of Canada’s railway industry, RAC advocates on behalf of its members and associate members to ensure that the rail sector remains globally competitive, sustainable, and most importantly, safe. Learn more at railcandev.wpengine.com. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.