Rail Takes Giant Steps With Small Footprint

    TORONTO, March 29 /CNW/ - Cliff Mackay, the President and CEO of the
Railway Association of Canada, told an industry audience in Toronto today that
the public's current focus on climate change can help rail build a bridge
between people's hearts and minds.
    The railways transport two-thirds of the surface freight in Canada and
move 63 million passengers, but generate only three per cent of transport
emissions, he said. "This is an industry that has re-invented itself. It is an
industry with a great future that is still ahead of it!"
    The environment is moving up the public policy agenda and now vies as one
of the most important policy issue in the minds of Canadians, said Mr. Mackay.
British Columbia, for example, recently announced a very ambitious program to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 33 per cent below current levels
by 2020. And Ontario's Premier McGuinty told the press that he believes rail
is going to be seen in a new light, more attractive, more efficient and more
environmentally benign.
    The federal government has made the environment one of its top five
priorities for the second year of its mandate. Among the major themes of the
strategy is building sustainable infrastructure in communities, and improving
the efficiency of freight transportation.
    The community of Mont-Saint-Hilaire, south of Montreal, is building a new
subdivision where every residence will be within a ten-minute walk of the
train station. Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Lawrence
Cannon wants more communities to follow this example and promote the use of
passenger rail.
    Rail can move a tonne of freight 168 kilometres on a litre of fuel. It
takes 13 times more energy to transport a tonne of freight one kilometre by
truck than by train, said Mr. Mackay.
    We are already a greener transportation technology, but we keep on
getting better, he said. Whether through new energy-efficient technologies, or
new ways of operating our yards and networks to save fuel and cut emissions,
the rail industry is determined to be part of Canada's solution to a more
environmentally sustainable economy.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Roger Cameron, (613) 564-8097,

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Railway Association of Canada

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