Third annual National Rail Day marks 127th anniversary of completion of Canadian Pacific Railway

OTTAWA, Nov. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Exactly 127 years ago, the final spike was hammered into the Canadian Pacific Railway in Craigellachie, British Columbia, concluding construction on the railway system that Canada was built upon.

In recognition of this milestone, citizens are encouraged to embrace rail's instrumental role in Canada's legacy by celebrating National Rail Day.

In its third year, National Rail Day was established by the federal government and the Railway Association of Canada to emphasize the importance of nation-building and remember those who persevered through harsh conditions to build Canada's first coast-to-coast railway system.

"National Rail Day is a fantastic opportunity to honour one of the most important achievements in this country's history," said Michael Bourque, president and CEO of the Railway Association of Canada. "The rail business is the story of Canada. Canada was built on a railway, not a rebellion. Moving forward, Canada's rail sector will be as vital to driving its future as it was to shaping its past."

Today, rail moves more than 70 million people and nearly three quarters of all surface goods each year. Each year, the industry pays $2.5 billion in wages to the 35,000 people occupying rail jobs in Canada.

More recently, Canadian railways have become more than economic facilitators, establishing themselves as the safest and most environmentally-friendly means of freight and passenger transportation.

Canadian railways run an average of 1,100 passenger and goods trains every day, often over some of the world's most rugged terrain and in some of Canada's worst weather conditions. Canada's railways have the best safety record in North America and provide by far the safest means of ground transportation.

SOURCE: RAILWAY ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

For further information:

Paul Goyette
Railway Association of Canada
613-564-8097
paul@railcan.ca

Alex Paterson
Railway Association of Canada
613-564-8111
alexp@railcan.ca