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Vegetation management

​​​​​Maintenance work of all variety occurs throughout the year across CP's network. Each spring, CP begins to receive calls about vegetation along our track (trees, shrubs, grass, etc.). Here is some information that may help answer questions specific to this part of our operation.      

On an annual basis, CP undertakes a comprehensive vegetation management program across our network. Like always, safety is our top priority. There are many different aspects to this program which support safe railway operations including:

  • ​herbicide treatment of the ballast to facilitate required track inspections, decrease the likelihood of fire and promote a safe walking area for our employees while inspecting trains
  • removal of vegetation around public and private crossings to allow motorists and pedestrians to see approaching trains
  • cutting of large trees by certified arborists to ensure train crews can see railway signals and to reduce the likelihood of trees and limbs falling on neighbouring property during storms

In 2016, there were 69 trespasser versus train incidents in Canada; 46 resulted in fatalities. We have found that leaving grass long in the outer portions of our Right-of-Way discourages trespass activities (biking, jogging, dog walking, etc.) thereby increasing safety. Any mowing that has occurred in locations across the property has been performed  because of an operational need to access the area. Depending on changes made to our train operations in a location, different areas of CP property may receive different vegetation management strategies.  

Operating Safely is one of the five Foundations at CP and our vegetation management program is designed to support this foundation.

BC Vegetation Management Program​

​CP operates on approximately 1,500 km of track throughout southern British Columbia.  The mainline follows the Trans-Canada Highway from the Alberta-British Columbia border at Field through to Vancouver.  Branch lines travel through the BC southern-eastern interior, including through the Crowsnest Pass and alongside the Columbia River Valley.  

This Integrated Vegetation Management Plan describes CP’s planning processes and the principles of integrated pest management, and how, together, these approaches ensure effective vegetation management while considering and incorporating environmental and human health values.  

CP is committed to ensuring worker and public safety, and environmental protection considerations in balance with the safe and efficient operation of its railway.

Read the BC Integrated Vegetation Management Plan here​

Ontario vegetation control program​

Every spring in Ontario, CP begins our vegetation control program to keep our rail line clear of unwanted brush or​​ weeds. 

Confined to our right-of-way, this program includes vegetation control on the ballast portion (graveled section) of our right-of-way. Safe rail operations require our ballast to be free of weeds and brush, which can hinder rail maintenance and can be a hazard to the public and our employees. If left uncontrolled, vegetation contributes to trackside fires, impairs visibility of train signals, impairs sight lines at railway crossings, impairs proper inspection of track infrastructure and creates a generally unsafe workplace.

We use herbicides to control grass and weeds on the ballast and any remaining brush is also sprayed to eliminate it from the ballast. ​Learn more >