Home / News Releases / Recognizing Canadian Rail’s Environmental Leadership

Recognizing Canadian Rail’s Environmental Leadership

Two of Canada’s largest rail operators are being recognized for leading the way on sustainability and environmental stewardship.

The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) today announced the winners of its Environment Awards for 2019:

  • CN won in the Class 1 Freight category for its innovative and first-of-a-kind pilot project to repurpose retired concrete rail ties into marine reef habitats at its Prince Rupert water lot. CN transformed retired ties into 20 engineered reefs providing food and cover for marine life, increasing fish productivity and biodiversity within a working harbor and – in the process – diverting old concrete rail ties from landfills.

“This pilot was a locally-led and employee-driven initiative, and we are so tremendously pleased that after just a few months the reefs have already been colonized by rockfish, crabs and other marine species. We hope to replicate and expand this success across our network to enhance and preserve aquatic ecosystems” said Mitch Beekman, Vice President, Safety and Environment.

  • Metrolinx won in the Passenger – intercity, tourist, commuter category for GO Transit’s Throttle Control Program. Metrolinx used fuel consumption data to optimize its operations and find efficiencies that were not otherwise readily identifiable. The net effects were reduced fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“To this point, it’s estimated that there has already been a fuel savings of 19%. Combined with another ‘anti-idling’ initiative, Metrolinx expects to save at-least $2 million a year because of this program,” said Greg Percy, Metrolinx Chief Operating Officer. “We are always looking at ways to become more efficient and lower our operating costs while improving how we move our customers who count on us every day.”

“Rail has long been one of Canada’s greenest transportation modes and RAC members have made significant changes in recent years to further reduce their environmental footprint,” said Marc Brazeau, President and CEO, Railway Association of Canada. “As a result, we had an array of projects of various descriptions to choose from for this year’s awards; these two simply stood out in their respective categories.”

Brazeau added: “We saw over this year’s federal election campaign that environment and climate change ranked amongst Canadians’ top public policy considerations. Canada’s railways share the public’s interest in taking meaningful environmental action and RAC members reflect that commitment in their day-to-day operations.”

RAC’s Environment Awards are presented every two years with winners selected from member submissions.