The Canadian Railway Hall of Fame Announces 2011 Inductees

OTTAWA, Dec. 11, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Railway Hall of Fame (CRHF), a virtual exhibit that pays tribute to the heroes, leaders and communities of the Canadian railway industry, today announced its 2011 inductees. Across all three categories, each honouree's profound efforts have made a resonating impact and have fostered the growth of Canada's thriving railway sector for years to come.


The Leaders category recognizes those individuals who have had a significant influence in the construction, development and promotion of the Canadian railway industry.

This year's inductee is Paul Côté, former president of VIA Rail Canada, the nation's only Class 1 passenger rail service. He was appointed head of the Crown Corporation in March 2005, following his period as the company's Chief Operating Officer.

Côté got his start in the rail industry with Canadian National (CN) in 1972. Six years later, he embarked on his career with VIA, where he steadily mastered his knowledge of passenger trains. During his 32 years with the Crown Corporation, he managed a range of different departments, including Marketing, Human Resources and Government Affairs, to name a few.

Throughout his 38-year career, Côté was devoted to the passenger rail sector. At VIA, he became known for his management philosophy which put a clear emphasis on customer service and employee equality. He was the driving force behind VIA's renaissance in the 1990's which was founded on improved customer satisfaction.

"Mr. Côté's customer-focused management style motivated and empowered every VIA employee," said Gérald Gauthier, Chairman and President of CRHOF. "When we think of Paul Côté, we think of honesty, integrity and respect."

A year before retiring from VIA in March 2010, he secured $900 million from the federal government to invest in rail infrastructure and equipment. The improvement and modernization of passenger trains is a testament to the customer service and rider experience that Mr. Côté prioritized throughout his career.


The Heroes category celebrates explorers, pathfinders and individuals involved in the day-to-day delivery of service, operations and maintenance of Canadian railways.

The 2011 inductee into the Heroes category is Cliff Mackay, former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Railway Association of Canada, the organization that promotes the safety, viability and development of the railway industry within Canada.

While at the helm of the RAC, Mackay worked collaboratively with various government and regulatory agencies to improve safety in the industry. One of Mackay's most impactful efforts was his review of the Railway Safety Act Review Panel work, which resulted in a valuable report on how to improve rail safety in Canada. The association collaborated with Transport Canada to implement more than 30 safety recommendations contained in this report, including those dealing with Safety Management Systems, safety data collection and research and innovation.

A staunch advocate of freight and passenger rail, Mackay spent the twilight of his career ensuring that Canadian regulatory agencies, as well as elected and non-elected officials, gained a better understanding of the strategic economic role railways play in Canada.

Mackay's decades of experience and contributions improved the rail sector and Canada's transportation industry as a whole.

Before being appointed head of the RAC in May 2006, Mackay was President and CEO of the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) for nine years.

Prior to taking on lead roles representing the transportation industry, Mackay spent twenty years serving in the federal government. The pinnacle of his federal government stint came when he was appointed Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Industry and Regional Operations, at Industry Canada. In 1992, he was named Senior Vice President responsible for the Space Division at Spar Aerospace. Subsequently, Mackay was appointed the head of ATAC in 1997, a position that he held while serving on the Board of NAV CANADA.

"Cliff Mackay dedicated his career to transportation in Canada," said Gauthier. "His experience and passion for the development of the sector within Canada was unmatched and his legacy will undoubtedly live on."


This category honours communities across Canada that have current or historical significance to the railway system, or the related individuals associated with the railway industry who have been instrumental in building communities.

Few Canadian communities have a richer rail history than this year's inductee and one of the country's oldest railway centres: Brockville.

When the Grand Trunk Railway decided to route its Montreal-Toronto main line along the St. Lawrence river, it made Brockville its first division point west of Montreal. Couple this milestone with the northward Brockville & Ottawa Railway which was already underway, and Brockville became one of eastern Canada's busiest rail hubs midway through the 19th century.

The community is also home to Canada's first railway tunnel, a 1,700-foot passageway completed in 1860.

Railway Association of Canada

Supported by The Railway Association of Canada (RAC), representing some 50 member, freight, tourist, commuter and intercity Canadian railways, the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame plays a major role in promoting the safety, viability and growth of the railway industry within Canada.


For further information:

Alex Paterson
Railway Association of Canada


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