2011 Rail Environment And Safety Performance Awards Presented In Calgary


CALGARY, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - Canada's goods and passenger railways celebrated two of the sectors' hallmarks - environmental sustainability and safety - last night in Calgary. The awards, recognizing outstanding initiatives to enhance the rail sector's environmental and safety performance, were presented by Cliff Mackay, President and CEO of the Railway Association of Canada and Dean Del Mastro, Member of Parliament for Peterborough Riding.

"Rail has been an essential part of Canada's heritage and continues to be of growing importance to the nation's economic and transportation needs," stated Del Mastro. "Continuous innovation that strengthens the supply chain is reinforcing rail's position as the environmentally efficient, safe and secure mode of ground transportation that moves the Canadian economy."

Exceptionally this year, RAC Environment Awards were presented to Canada's two Class I railways. CN was recognized for the work of its HPTA Fuel Efficiency Team, which developed a web-based real time application to instruct engineers - while operating trains - on the specific locomotive power output required on their active train in order to conserve fuel and still maintain scheduled performance. This system-wide initiative is a major contributor to CN's green house gas reductions over the last two years.

CP's Environment Award acknowledges its Genset Locomotive Testing Program, initiated in March 2009, conducted through 2009 and 2010 in Southern Ontario. CP acquired two Tier 2 Genset locomotives in 2009 for yard switching operations in southern Ontario.  The motive power for these units is three independent 700 horsepower industrial diesel engines (as opposed to one 2,100 horsepower diesel engine) which are activated incrementally to supply the traction horsepower required, resulting in significant fuel savings, ultra-low emissions and longer engine life. The testing program confirmed fuel savings (and therefore greenhouse gas emission reductions) of approximately 35% over period compared to a traditional EMD GP9 yard switcher; - 10 decibel reduction to general noise levels; - Approximately 9 metric tonnes of NOx reduction annually. This is another example of CP's commitment to lead technology advancements that have industry-wide applications and positive environmental impact.

"In part because of lower volumes, fuel consumed in railway operations in Canada decreased by 14.3 percent in 2009," said Mackay. "However, through ongoing initiatives such as these undertaken voluntarily by the sector, rail's environmental GHG emissions continue to shrink below 1990 despite a substantial  increase in railway traffic."

The RAC Safety Award was presented to VIA Rail Canada for its Grade Crossing Closure Strategy and Program, which was developed to introduce the Transport Canada Grade Crossing Closure program to owners of crossings on the three of its subdivisions (Alexandria, Smiths Falls, and Chatham). The method consisted of a one-on-one personal approach, which enabled parties to exchange on the use of crossings, VIA's operations, regulations and safety practices.  This effort promoted a friendly atmosphere, where logic and common understanding prevailed and led to a very high rate of success in closing crossings.

Canada has over 37,000 rail crossings and over 1,100 active trains each day that transport over 70-million passengers and 75 per cent of Canada's surface freight annually. Since 2007 the Government of Canada has pledged over $900 million of investment towards strengthening Canada's national passenger rail service and in 2010 invested an additional $11 million to upgrade 155 high-priority, rail-grade crossings across the country.

"The number of crossing collisions (where a train and motor vehicle collide) in Canada has fallen dramatically from over 800 annually 30 years ago to approximately 200 in 2010," Mackay concluded. "Working with our partners in government, initiatives such as VIA's demonstrates the industry's unrelenting efforts to reduce the potential for fatality and injury incidents."

About RAC
The Railway Association of Canada represents some 50 goods, tourist, commuter and intercity Rail businesses in Canada, their more than 35,000 employees and over 45 associate suppliers and partners. RAC acts to inform officials, develop programs, policies and resources and respectfully communicate with the public and media to strengthen the role and capacity of Rail to deliver leading services that are economically viable, socially cohesive, future focused and environmentally sustainable. Find out more at: www.railcan.ca