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Canadian regulators propose more detailed requirements for reporting railroad performance metrics

By Bill Stephens | May 9, 2022

Railroads would have to report local service data as well as locomotive and crew availability

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Canadian Pacific and Canadian National trains pass
Canadian Pacific and Canadian National trains pass
Canadian National and Canadian Pacific will be required to report additional performance data to Ottawa under a new proposal from Transport Canada. (Stephen C. Host)

OTTAWA, Ontario – Class I railroads operating in Canada would be required to report additional performance and staffing metrics under a proposal Canadian regulators unveiled on Friday.

Transport Canada’s move was announced on the same day that the Surface Transportation Board said it will temporarily require the big railroads to provide more detailed operational and staffing metrics amid widespread service problems in the U.S.

The U.S. regulations were issued after a two-day hearing last month on rail service issues faced by the four American Class I railroads, BNSF Railway, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific, all of which are experiencing shortages of train crews.

Transport Canada said its proposed amendments to Transportation Information Regulations would “enhance the transparency and competitiveness of the freight rail system.”

“Having access to more detailed service and performance information for Canada’s rail sector would contribute to even more productive exchanges among supply chain members, as they work to move Canadian goods in support of Canada’s future economic success,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement.

The proposal would require Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, BNSF, CSX, NS, and UP to provide first- and last-mile service metrics; en route trip performance for loaded and empty cars; the number of cars online; locomotive fleet status, including active and stored units; and the number of operating employees available to move trains. The railroads also will be required to provide Transport Canada with confidential waybill information.

The new metrics will be added to those Transport Canada has required since 2018, when it largely adopted the STB’s weekly rail performance metrics requirements. They include network metrics such as average train speed, average terminal dwell, weekly average of number of trains holding per day, and the average number of cars not moving in 48 hours or more, as well as weekly grain loadings and order fulfillment for empty grain hoppers.

A 60-day public consultation period follows the publication of the proposed amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations in Canada Gazette, Part I. The feedback collected will be considered in the development of the final regulations.

3 thoughts on “Canadian regulators propose more detailed requirements for reporting railroad performance metrics

  1. What gives them the right to request data from carriers that don’t even service Canada?

    1. Well, CSX does operate into Canada (on its Syracuse to Beauharnois, QC line), and BNSF does operate into Vancouver, BC.
      NS and UP, not so much.

      1. That’s what I was referring to, I didn’t name the specific carriers because I presume most readers of this site know which ones I’m talking about. Neither NS nor UP would be able to provide “first or last mile” metrics as they have no “first or last mile” service in Canada, and I don’t believe they’d be able to provide that information for/from connecting carriers. Don’t bother mentioning the former Spokane International for UP, as that’s a de facto CP route in Canada.

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