Canadian Railways Carried More Passengers, Less Freight Last Year

OTTAWA, Dec. 1 /CNW/ - Canada's railways carried 72.3 million passengers in 2008, an increase of 6.5 per cent over 2007, and others hauled 237.3 billion revenue ton miles of freight, down 4.2 per cent, during the year. The information is in the new Railway Trends publication issued today by the industry association.

Cliff Mackay, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Railway Association of Canada, said: "Canada's railways are an economic engine for the economy. The country's strength as an export-oriented trading nation depends on a stable investment environment necessary for future Canadian growth."

The Trends data is available on the RAC website at www.railcan.ca. It is an annual composite of financial and operating data for the 54 member railways' performance over the past decade. The railways operate an average of 775 trains a day in Canada, and generate only three per cent of the transport sector's greenhouse gas emissions. As the most fuel-efficient form of surface transport, rail can move one tonne of freight 180 kilometres on just one litre of fuel.

There were 1,266 freight railway-related accidents in 2008, 229 less than in 2007, according to Transportation Safety Board results involving federally and provincially-regulated railways. The number of accidents, based on the industry's workload, declined to 2.8 accidents per billion gross ton miles.

The number of rail commuters in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec rose 5.8 per cent to 67.1 million last year. Intercity rail passengers in Canada rose to almost five million last year. The number of rail tourist travelers was 352,000 in 2008, down 26,000 or 6.9 per cent from a year earlier.

Containers in domestic and international service are the fastest growing rail freight commodity segment. Carload revenue from minerals, fuels and chemicals, agricultural products and metals are the next leading commodities. Average employment in the railway industry last year was 35,200 and the average annual wage was $74,790, not including company paid benefits such as Canada/Quebec Pension Plan, unemployment insurance and health taxes.

SOURCE Railway Association of Canada

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Roger Cameron, (613) 564-8097, rogerc@railcan.ca

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