Transport Minister marks National Railway Day

OTTAWA, Nov. 7, 2011 /CNW/ - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today marked National Railway Day by highlighting the significance of railway transportation, the role it has played in helping to build Canada and its continuing importance to the nation's economy.

Last year, the federal government officially declared November 7 as National Railway Day. The date commemorates the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885 when the last spike was driven into the ground at Craigellachie, British Columbia.

"The rail industry contributes enormously to our economy by moving people and goods across vast distances. Canada's rail network is part of a legacy going back to that historic last spike and one that helps unite Canadians," said Minister Lebel. "The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of maintaining a rail system that is safe, efficient and stands as an example to the world."

Over the years, milestones such as the Railway Safety Act have enabled Canada to develop and maintain a robust safety regime on an ever-expanding rail network and infrastructure. Canada today has one of the safest rail transportation systems in the world that moves approximately 70 per cent of freight on a tonne-per-kilometre basis and around 70 million passengers a year.

Transport Canada commits funding and works closely with rail companies, associations, provincial governments and communities to improve grade crossings and carry out other safety enhancements. Through the Grade Crossing Improvement Program, from which almost $14 million in new funding was announced today, the department funds upgrades that help to reduce the risk of collisions, fatalities and injuries at rail crossings that pose the highest safety risk to the public. Transport Canada also supports initiatives such as Operation Lifesaver, aimed at raising public safety awareness about rail-highway crossings and operations around railway tracks.

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This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons living with visual disabilities.


SOURCE Transport Canada

For further information:

Pierre Floréa 
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel,
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa
    Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa



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