If you've got a question about Canadian Pacific, we're ready with an answer. Choose from the list of questions below or download a brochure that explains our railway or helps you understand our commitment to working with your community.
Why should I care about having the railway as a neighbour?
If you're considering moving near a rail line or yard, we recommend you ask a few important questions before buying. By finding out more about what Canadian Pacific transports, how often trains run and how we use our property, potential homebuyers can avoid surprises. Although we do our best to be a reasonable neighbour, you need to know what to expect from CP's round-the-clock railway operation.
When can I expect a train?
Canadian Pacific is a crucial link in a continental transportation network. Its timely, competitive rail service moves Canadian goods to market and delivers the products we use in our homes every day. CP must operate around the clock in order to meet these customer requirements and remain competitive.
This means trains can run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On some branch lines you may see only one or two trains a week, while busy mainline corridors can have more than 30 trains a day.
Extra trains or 'unit trains' (full trainloads of one commodity) often handle temporary increases in volumes and can run any time of day. If the demand for a commodity goes up you can expect additional trains to handle the volume, the opposite if demand decreases.
How many times a day does a train pass by a particular location?
Trains operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our Community Connect Line (1-800-766-7912 or email using this form) can help answer this question regarding CP train traffic - all that you need to supply is your address. If you are thinking of buying a home next to a rail line this is a great place to start, and may help to make your decision a little easier. It is important to remember that this number can change at any time – traffic can either increase or decrease, the number given is merely a snapshot in time.
What is CP' s approach to vegetation management and use of pesticides?
Canadian Pacific is committed to using only those herbicides and pesticides that are safe. These products have been thoroughly inspected to ensure they meet rigorous health and environmental safety standards. All herbicide use is accounted for, and our vegetation management program is continually evaluated. Read more about our Integrated Vegetation Management Program here.
Who is responsible for maintaining the right-of-way (RoW) and how wide are they?
Canadian Pacific is responsible for maintaining our right-of-way. If there are concerns regarding a particular right-of-way we forward complaints/concerns to track maintenance supervisors or the CP Police Service as the situation warrants.
In most areas, the right-of-way extends approximately 50 feet from the center of the track on both sides.
Why do trains whistle at crossings?
In Canada, trains are required under the Railway Safety Act of 1988 to whistle at all public crossings. The train must begin sounding its whistle a quarter mile from the crossing and repeat it until the train is on the crossing. Train crews will also sound the whistle if their view is restricted or they perceive a danger, such as someone walking on the track.
In the United States, under the Train Horn Rule, locomotive engineers must sound train horns for a minimum of 15 seconds, and a maximum of 20 seconds, in advance of all public grade crossings (some exceptions apply). Wherever feasible, train horns must be sounded in a standardized pattern of 2 long, 1 short and 1 long. The horn must continue to sound until the lead locomotive or train car occupies the grade crossing. For the first time, a maximum volume level for the train horn has been established at 110 decibels. The minimum sound level remains 96 decibels.
These rules apply 24 hours a day and are intended to alert motorists and pedestrians of the approaching train. Whistles must be sounded even if the crossing has lights, bells and crossing arms. The only exception to the whistling regulations are crossings where federally approved whistle prohibitions have been put in place.
How can whistles be stopped?
There are several steps involved in applying for a whistle ban at a designated crossing. First, the municipality must pass a resolution supporting a whistle ban at a specified crossing. Then both Canadian Pacific and Transport Canada undertake a series of crossing inspections before approving the proposal. If the proposal is approved, CP enters a liability agreement with the municipality and a whistle ban is implemented.
For more information on applying for a whistle ban, contact Rick Poznikoff, Community Relations: email@example.com
How do you set your train schedules?
Freight trains do not run on a set schedule like passenger trains do. They can run at any time, depending on what customers need and changes in business cycles. A train schedule may be based on the requirements of a port 2,000 miles away. Or it may be based on the needs of a customer who relies on just-in-time delivery of goods to a factory. Other schedules may be flexible because the crew has to stop many times to pick up and drop off freight cars.
What kinds of noises can I expect from a train?
Unlike a highway or busy road, the track is generally a very quiet place. When a train passes, you will hear the locomotives followed by the movement of freight cars and wheels making contact with the rails as the train passes. If it stops or starts, you may hear the sound of brakes being applied or air under pressure passing through brake pipes on each car. You may also hear cars bumping together when slowing, or the slack being taken up when a train accelerates.
You will likely hear additional noises if you live near a rail yard, siding or terminal. In these areas, trains may stand for extended periods with their engines idling, as train crews wait for a train to pass or permission to pull out of the yard. Intermodal terminals are served by trucks, trains and mobile equipment for moving and stacking containers; all of which operate around the clock.
Why are some rail operations located in residential areas?
Most rail yards and many railway lines were built many years ago in undeveloped areas, far from homes and businesses. As towns and cities grew, many new neighbourhoods were built near pre-existing rail operations. Canadian Pacific does its best to be a reasonable neighbour, but people living near the railway must expect to see and hear a certain amount of activity from its operations.
What is in a typical train?
Canadian Pacific handles a wide variety of materials related to agriculture, manufacturing and heavy industry. Trains up to 14,000 feet long can carry grain, coal, automobiles, steel, lumber, paper, fertilizers, fuels, chemicals and all types of manufactured goods. The trains may be made up of mixed commodities or carry the same commodity in every car or container. Virtually everything you have in your house likely moved on a train at some point.
Does CP transport hazardous materials?
Many everyday products contain hazardous materials, and these must be transported some way to and from manufacturers. Rail is one of the safest modes of transport and Canadian Pacific moves these products in line with strict federal rules and industry guidelines.
Safety initiatives include rail car safety features, loading and unloading procedures and employee training. CP works with municipalities and first responders to prepare emergency response plans for railway incidents. We are also a member of Responsible Care, an international chemical industry initiative which promotes the safe handling and transport of dangerous goods.
How fast do trains travel?
There are different allowable train speeds for every section of track, including maximum speeds through cities, towns and crossings.
The speed at which trains can safely operate is determined by many factors, including the condition of the roadbed and track structure. In Canada, Canadian Pacific works to Transport Canada standards when setting maximum track speeds. Transport Canada Surface, under the authority of the Railway Safety Act, is responsible for ensuring railways operate within these standards.
The U.S. Federal Railroad Association’s Track Safety Standards establish track structure and track geometry requirements for nine separate classes of track (Sec. 213.9 and Sec. 213.307) with maximum speeds designated for each class. Railroads indicate the class to which each track belongs. Once the designation is made, the railroads are held responsible for maintaining each track to specified tolerances for its designated class.
CP's operating, mechanical and engineering managers also ensure the above standards are met and trains operate at speeds that do not compromise the safety of the public, the environment and our employees.
Is it okay to walk along the railway track?
No. It is both illegal and extremely dangerous to walk, drive, cycle or snowmobile on or alongside the railway line. Trains move quickly and quietly. They cannot swerve or stop suddenly to avoid an accident. At 10,000 tonnes or more, it can take a freight train more than a mile to stop in an emergency.
The CP Police Service carries out extensive community outreach programs to educate children and adults about railway safety. Anyone found on CP property may be charged with trespassing under the Railway Safety Act.
Where can I get used rail ties?
Rail ties are not for sale, nor do we give them away.
Canadian Pacific has implemented a proactive program for managing scrap railway ties from cradle to grave to ensure regulatory compliance. Under this program, railway ties are not sold or given away for landscape purposes or other non-railway uses. All rail ties that can no longer be used in a railway track are shipped to co-generation facilities permitted to accept creosote treated wood, for use as a supplemental fuel to generate energy and produce electric power.
This "waste to energy" program is a "win-win" as it not only minimizes the use of landfills but is also an economically viable solution for both CP and co-generation facilities.
Do you have any merchandise available?
Canadian Pacific has its own unique retail store, CP Shops, where you can find many different types of items. It also offers a service for creating custom merchandise. Click here for further information to see everything that CP Shops has available.
Do you have any passenger service?
Canadian Pacific does not operate any regular scheduled passenger service. We do operate the Royal Canadian Pacific, a luxury passenger train that operates in Western Canada.
Do you do anything differently because you operate in both the U.S. and Canada?
Borders do not make a difference when operating a safe railway. We use the same technology, methods and training on both sides of the border. There are however different laws and regulating agencies in both countries to which Canadian Pacific needs to be responsive. When there is a notable difference, we have discussed it in the frequently asked questions above.
Are the Soo Line, D&H Railway and DM&E part of CP?
Yes they are. The D&H, Soo Line and DM&E are wholly owned subsidiaries of Canadian Pacific. For historical information regarding these parts of our rail network please click here.
Who can I contact if I have questions?
Canadian Pacific's toll-free Community Connect Line is dedicated to handling questions and concerns from members of the public. Call 1-800-766-7912 or email using this form for information about CP's operations.