Canadian National Railway

Canadian National Railway

Encyclopedia
The Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway
Class I railroad
A Class I railroad in the United States and Mexico, or a Class I rail carrier in Canada, is a large freight railroad company, as classified based on operating revenue.Smaller railroads are classified as Class II and Class III...

 headquartered in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

. CN's slogan is "North America's Railroad".

CN is the largest railway in Canada, in terms of both revenue and the physical size of its rail network, and is currently Canada's only transcontinental railway company, spanning Canada from the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 to the Pacific coast in British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

.

Following CN's purchase of Illinois Central
Illinois Central Railroad
The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

 (IC) and a number of smaller US railways it also has extensive trackage in the central United States along the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 valley from the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 to the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. Today CN owns approximately 20400 rtmi of track in 8 provinces (the only two not served by CN are Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

), as well as a 70 miles (113 km) stretch of track into the Northwest Territories
Northwest Territories
The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

 to Hay River
Hay River, Northwest Territories
Hay River , known as "the Hub of the North," is a town in the Northwest Territories, Canada, located on the south shore of Great Slave Lake, at the mouth of the Hay River. The town is separated into two sections, a new town and an old town with the Hay River Airport between them...

 on the southern shore of Great Slave Lake
Great Slave Lake
Great Slave Lake is the second-largest lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada , the deepest lake in North America at , and the ninth-largest lake in the world. It is long and wide. It covers an area of in the southern part of the territory. Its given volume ranges from to and up to ...

; it is the northernmost rail line anywhere within the North American Rail Network, as far north as Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the southcentral part of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the northernmost major city in the United States...

. (although the Alaska Railroad
Alaska Railroad
The Alaska Railroad is a Class II railroad which extends from Seward and Whittier, in the south of the state of Alaska, in the United States, to Fairbanks , and beyond to Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright in the interior of that state...

 goes further north than this, it is isolated from the rest of the rail network)
The railway was referred to as the Canadian National Railways (CNR) between 1918 and 1960 and as Canadian National/Canadien National (CN) from 1960 to present.

The Canadian National Railway is a public company with 22,000 employees and market capitalization of 32 billion CAD
Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

 in 2011. CN was government owned, having been a Canadian crown corporation. It was privatized in 1995.

History


The Canadian National Railways (CNR) was created between 1918 and 1923, comprising several railways that had become bankrupt and fallen into federal government
Politics of Canada
The politics of Canada function within a framework of parliamentary democracy and a federal system of parliamentary government with strong democratic traditions. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, in which the Monarch is head of state...

 hands, along with some railways already owned by the government. In 1995, the federal government privatized CN. Over the next decade, the company expanded significantly in the United States, purchasing Illinois Central Railroad
Illinois Central Railroad
The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

 and Wisconsin Central Transportation
Wisconsin Central Transportation
Wisconsin Central Ltd. is a railroad subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway. At one time, its parent Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation owned or operated railroads in the United States, Canada , the United Kingdom , New Zealand , and Australia .- Overview...

, among others. Now primarily a freight
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

 railway, CN also operated passenger
Passenger
A passenger is a term broadly used to describe any person who travels in a vehicle, but bears little or no responsibility for the tasks required for that vehicle to arrive at its destination....

 services until 1978, when they were assumed by Via Rail
VIA Rail
Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

. The only passenger services run by CN after 1978 were several mixed trains (freight and passenger) in Newfoundland, and a couple of commuter trains on CN's electrified routes in the Montreal area. The Newfoundland mixed trains lasted until 1988, while the Montreal commuter trains are now operated by Montreal's AMT
Agence métropolitaine de transport
The Agence métropolitaine de transport is the umbrella organization that plans, integrates, and coordinates public transportation services across Canada's Greater Montreal Region, including the Island of Montreal, Laval , and communities along both the North Shore of the Rivière des Mille-Îles...

.

Creation of the company, 1918–1923


In response to public concerns fearing loss of key transportation links, the Government of Canada
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

 assumed majority ownership of the near bankrupt Canadian Northern Railway
Canadian Northern Railway
The Canadian Northern Railway is a historic Canadian transcontinental railway. At its demise in 1923, when it was merged into the Canadian National Railway , the CNoR owned a main line between Quebec City and Vancouver via Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.-Manitoba beginnings:CNoR had its start in...

 (CNoR) on September 6, 1918, and appointed a "Board of Management" to oversee the company. At the same time, CNoR was also directed to assume management of Canadian Government Railways
Canadian Government Railways
Canadian Government Railways was the legal name used between 1915–1918 for all federal government-owned railways in Canada.The principal component companies were: the Intercolonial Railway of Canada , the National Transcontinental Railway , the Prince Edward Island Railway , and the Hudson...

 (CGR), a system comprising the Intercolonial Railway of Canada
Intercolonial Railway of Canada
The Intercolonial Railway of Canada , also referred to as the Intercolonial Railway , was a historic Canadian railway that operated from 1872 to 1918, when it became part of Canadian National Railways...

 (IRC), National Transcontinental Railway
National Transcontinental Railway
The National Transcontinental Railway was a historic Canadian railway between Winnipeg and Moncton. Much of the line is now operated by the Canadian National Railway.-The Grand Trunk partnership:...

 (NTR), and the Prince Edward Island Railway
Prince Edward Island Railway
The Prince Edward Island Railway was a historic Canadian railway.-Construction:Located wholly within the province of Prince Edward Island, construction of the PEIR started in 1871, financed by the United Kingdom...

 (PEIR), among others. On December 20, 1918, the federal government created the Canadian National Railways (CNR) - a title only with no corporate powers - through a Queen's Privy Council for Canada
Queen's Privy Council for Canada
The Queen's Privy Council for Canada ), sometimes called Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada or simply the Privy Council, is the full group of personal consultants to the monarch of Canada on state and constitutional affairs, though responsible government requires the sovereign or her viceroy,...

 Order in Council as a means to simplify the funding and operation of the various railway companies. The absorption of the Intercolonial Railway would see CNR adopt that system's slogan The People's Railway.

Another Canadian railway, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was a historical Canadian railway.A wholly owned subsidiary of the Grand Trunk Railway , the GTPR was constructed by GTR using loans provided by the Government of Canada. The company was formed in 1903 with a mandate to build west from Winnipeg, Manitoba to the...

 (GTPR), encountered financial difficulty on March 7, 1919, when its parent company Grand Trunk Railway
Grand Trunk Railway
The Grand Trunk Railway was a railway system which operated in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, as well as the American states of Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The railway was operated from headquarters in Montreal, Quebec; however, corporate...

 (GTR) defaulted on repayment of construction loans to the federal government. The federal government's Department of Railways and Canals
Department of Railways and Canals (Canada)
The Department of Railways and Canals is a former department of the Government of Canada. It had responsibility for the construction, operation, and maintenance of federal government-owned railways, as well as the operational responsibility for canals in Canada.The department was created in 1879...

 took over operation of the GTPR until July 12, 1920, when it too was placed under the CNR. The Canadian National Railway was organized on October 10, 1922.

Finally, the bankrupt GTR itself was placed under the care of a federal government "Board of Management" on May 21, 1920, while GTR management and shareholders opposed to nationalization
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 took legal action. After several years of arbitration, the GTR was absorbed into CNR on January 30, 1923. In subsequent years, several smaller independent railways would be added to the CNR as they went bankrupt, or it became politically expedient to do so, however the system was more or less finalized following the addition of the GTR.

Canadian National Railways was born out of both wartime and domestic urgency. Railways, until the rise of the personal automobile and creation of taxpayer-funded all-weather highways, were the only viable long-distance land transportation available in Canada for many years. As such, their operation consumed a great deal of public and political attention. Many countries regard railway networks as critical infrastructure (even to this day) and at the time of the creation of CNR during the continuing threat of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Canada was not the only country to engage in railway nationalization
Railway nationalization
Railway nationalization refers to the act of nationalizing rail transport assets, taking them into public ownership. Several countries have nationalized part or all of their railway system at different times....

.

In the early 20th century, many governments were taking a more interventionist role in the economy, foreshadowing the influence of economists like John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB FBA , was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments...

. This political trend, combined with broader geo-political events, made nationalization an appealing choice for Canada. The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919
Winnipeg General Strike of 1919
The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 was one of the most influential strikes in Canadian history, and became the platform for future labour reforms....

 and allied involvement in the Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

  seemed to validate the continuing process. The need for a viable rail system was paramount in a time of civil unrest and foreign military intervention.

CNR Radio



In 1923 CNR's second president, Sir Henry Thornton
Henry Thornton (railway manager)
Also in 1894, Thornton began his career in the railroad business, entering as a draftsman of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He was based in the Pittsburgh office. He was promoted to supervisory engineer in 1899 and District Superintendent in 1901. As he climbed rapidly through the PRR hierarchy, he...

 who succeeded David Blyth Hanna (1919–1922), created the CNR Radio Department to provide passengers with entertainment radio reception and give the railway a competitive advantage over its rival, CP. This led to the creation of a network of CNR radio stations across the country, North America's first radio network
Radio network
There are two types of radio networks currently in use around the world: the one-to-many broadcast type commonly used for public information and mass media entertainment; and the two-way type used more commonly for public safety and public services such as police, fire, taxicabs, and delivery...

. As anyone in the vicinity of a station could hear its broadcasts the network's audience extended far beyond train passengers to the public at large.

Claims of unfair competition from CP as well as pressure on the government to create a public broadcasting
Public broadcasting
Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.Public broadcasting may be...

 system similar to the British Broadcasting Corporation led the government of R.B. Bennett (who had been a corporate lawyer with Canadian Pacific as a client prior to entering politics) to pressure CNR into ending its on-train radio service in 1931 and then withdrawing from the radio business entirely in 1933. CNR's radio assets were sold for $50,000 to a new public broadcaster, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission
Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission
The Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission was Canada's first public broadcaster and the immediate precursor to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.-Origins:...

, which in turn became the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...

 in 1936.

Hotels



Canadian railways built and operated their own resort hotels
Canada's grand railway hotels
Canada’s railway hotels are a series of grand hotels across the country, each a local and national landmark, and most of which are icons of Canadian history and architecture. Each hotel was originally built by the Canadian railway companies, or the railways acted as a catalyst for the hotel’s...

, ostensibly to provide rail passengers traveling long distances a place to sleep overnight. These hotels became attractions in and of themselves - a place for a rail passenger to go for a holiday. As each railway company
Railway company
A railway company or railroad company is an entity that operates a railroad track and/or trains. Such a company can either be private or public...

 sought to be more attractive than its competitors, they made their hotels more attractive and luxurious.

Canadian National Hotels
Canadian National Hotels
Canadian National Hotels was a hotel chain under control by Canadian National Railways. In addition to their own hotels, it acquired some from rival railway companies like the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, Grand Trunk Railway and Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway...

 was the CNRs chain of hotels and was a combination of hotels inherited by the CNR when it acquired various railways and structures built by the CNR itself. The chain's principal rival was Canadian Pacific Hotels
Canadian Pacific hotels
Canadian Pacific Hotels was a division of Canadian Pacific Railway that operated a series of hotels across Canada. Most of these resort hotels were originally built and operated by the railway's Hotel Department, while a few were acquired from Canadian National Hotels...

.

Pros and cons of nationalization



Regardless of the political and economic importance of railway transportation in Canada, there were many critics of the Canadian government's policies in maintaining CNR as a Crown corporation from its inception in 1918 until its privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 in 1995. Some of the most scathing criticism came from the railway industry itself—namely the commercially successful Canadian Pacific Railway
Canadian Pacific Railway
The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

 (CPR), which argued that its taxes should not be used to fund a competitor. Some argue that the CPR could well afford to make this criticism, having been itself the child of government and recipient of wealth by virtue of land and resource grants, as well as its position as a monopoly
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 from its completion in 1885 until the CNoR started operations on the Prairies at the turn of the century.

As a result of history and geography, the CPR served larger population centres in the southern Prairies
Canadian Prairies
The Canadian Prairies is a region of Canada, specifically in western Canada, which may correspond to several different definitions, natural or political. Notably, the Prairie provinces or simply the Prairies comprise the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as they are largely covered...

, while the CNR's merged system served as a de-facto government colonization railway to serve remote and underdeveloped regions of Western Canada
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

, northern Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 and Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, and the Maritimes
Maritimes
The Maritime provinces, also called the Maritimes or the Canadian Maritimes, is a region of Eastern Canada consisting of three provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. On the Atlantic coast, the Maritimes are a subregion of Atlantic Canada, which also includes the...

.

Also, CN was disadvantaged by being constituted from a hodge-podge of bankrupt rail systems that were not intrinsically viable, as they seldom had the shortest route between any major cities or industrial centres; to this day, CN has many division points far from significant industries or traffic sources. The only notable exception is the former Grand Trunk mainline between Montreal and Chicago.

The company also became a convenient instrument of federal government policy from the operation of ferries in Atlantic Canada
Atlantic Canada
Atlantic Canada is the region of Canada comprising the four provinces located on the Atlantic coast, excluding Quebec: the three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia – and Newfoundland and Labrador...

, to assuming the operation of the narrow-gauge Newfoundland Railway
Newfoundland Railway
The Newfoundland Railway was a railway which operated on the island of Newfoundland from 1898 to 1988. With a total track length of , it was the longest narrow gauge railway system in North America.-Early construction:...

 following that province's entry into Confederation
Canadian Confederation
Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

, and the partnership with CPR in purchasing and operating the Northern Alberta Railways
Northern Alberta Railways
Northern Alberta Railways was a Canadian railway which served northern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia. Jointly owned by both Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway, NAR existed as a separate company from 1929 until 1981....

.

CNR as a social and economic tool


It is generally accepted that government policy dictated CNR commercial decisions, whether such decisions were in the nation's interest, or in the political interest of the party in power. As such, CNR lost money for many years, except during the Second World War when its extensive network reaching into the resource hinterland proved beneficial, and during the late 1980s and early 1990s following deregulation
Deregulation
Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.Deregulation is the removal or...

 of the Canadian railway industry. Where CNR failed to address costs was largely due to government interference, such as the requirement to purchase locomotives from all Canadian locomotive manufacturers, resulting in operational inefficiencies.

CNR was considered competitive with CPR in several areas, notably in Central Canada
Central Canada
Central Canada is a region consisting of Canada's two largest and most populous provinces: Ontario and Quebec. Due to their high populations, Ontario and Quebec have traditionally held a significant amount of political power in Canada, leading to some amount of resentment from other regions of the...

, prior to the age of the automobile and the dense highway network that grew in Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 and Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

. The former GTR's superior track network in the Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

–Chicago corridor has always been a more direct route with higher capacity than CPR's. CNR was also considered a railway industry leader throughout its time as a Crown corporation in terms of research and development into railway safety systems, logistics management, and in terms of its relationship with labour unions.

Deregulation and recapitalization


Another problem that hobbled CNR was in the sheer number of low-volume branch railway lines, which did not produce sufficient traffic to pay for their operation. Without deregulation
Deregulation
Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.Deregulation is the removal or...

 in the railway industry permitting abandonment or sale of a railway line, or even the ability to set prices to match those of trucks
Semi-trailer
A semi-trailer is a trailer without a front axle. A large proportion of its weight is supported by a road tractor, a detachable front axle assembly known as a dolly, or the tail of another trailer...

, both CNR and CPR paid dearly for owning these inefficient lines. One tactic that CNR perfected was to demarket a line by providing sufficiently poor service to its few customers, that those customers would turn to trucks for improved service and lower costs. Once customers ceased to exist on a small branch line, the federal government would permit the line's abandonment. Had deregulation been in place several decades earlier, it is conceivable that many Canadian branch line
Branch line
A branch line is a secondary railway line which branches off a more important through route, usually a main line. A very short branch line may be called a spur line...

s would have been viable in the hands of short line operators, saving millions of dollars for taxpayers funding highways, since the railway lines had already been publicly funded in their construction.


From the creation of CNR in 1918 until its recapitalization in 1978, whenever the company posted a deficit, the federal government would assume those costs in the government budget. The result of various governments using CNR as a vehicle for various social and economic policies was a subsidization running into billions of dollars over successive decades. Following its 1978 recapitalization and changes in management, CN (name changed to Canadian National Railway, using the shortened acronym CN in 1960) started to operate much more efficiently, by assuming its own debt, improving accounting practices to allow depreciation of assets and to access financial markets for further capital. Now operating as a for-profit Crown corporation, CN reported a profit in 11 of the 15 years from 1978 to 1992, paying $371 million in cash dividends (profit) to the federal government during this time.

Cutbacks and refocusing


CN's rise to profitability was assisted when the company started to remove itself from non-core freight rail transportation starting in 1977 when subsidiary Air Canada
Air Canada
Air Canada is the flag carrier and largest airline of Canada. The airline, founded in 1936, provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 178 destinations worldwide. It is the world's tenth largest passenger airline by number of destinations, and the airline is a...

 (created in 1937 as Trans-Canada Air Lines
Trans-Canada Air Lines
Trans-Canada Air Lines was a Canadian airline and operated as the country's flag carrier. Its corporate headquarters were in Montreal, Quebec...

) became a separate federal Crown corporation. That same year saw CN move its ferry operations into a separate Crown corporation named CN Marine
CN Marine
CN Marine was a Canadian ferry company headquartered in Moncton, New Brunswick.-History:CN Marine was created by parent Canadian National Railway in 1977 as a means to group the company's ferry operations in eastern Canada into a separate operating division...

, followed similarly by the grouping of passenger rail services (for marketing purposes) under the name Via-CN. The following year (1978), the federal government decided to create Via Rail
VIA Rail
Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

 as a separate Crown corporation to take over passenger services previously offered by both CN and CPR, including CN's flagship transcontinental train the Super Continental
Super Continental
The Super Continental was a transcontinental Canadian passenger train operated originally by the Canadian National Railway beginning in 1955 and subsequently by Via Rail from 1977 until its cancellation in 1981. Service was restored in 1985 but was again eliminated in 1990...

and its eastern counterpart the Ocean
Ocean (passenger train)
The Ocean is a Canadian passenger train operated by Via Rail between Montreal, Quebec and Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is currently the oldest continuously-operated named passenger train in North America. The Oceans schedule takes approximately 21 hours, running overnight in both directions...

. CN Marine was renamed Marine Atlantic
Marine Atlantic
Marine Atlantic Inc. is an independent Canadian Crown corporation offering ferry services between the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.Marine Atlantic's corporate headquarters are in St...

 in 1986 to remove any references to its former parent organization. CN also grouped its money-losing Newfoundland operations into a separate subsidiary called Terra Transport
Terra Transport
Terra Transport was the name for the Newfoundland Transportation Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway , created in 1979 as a means to organize the company's operations on the island of Newfoundland.-Background:...

 so that federal subsidies for this service would be more visible in company statements.

CN also divested itself during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s of several non-rail transportation activities such as trucking subsidiaries, a hotel chain (sold to CPR), real estate, and telecommunications companies. The biggest telecommunications property was a company co-owned by CN and CP (CNCP Telecommunications
CNCP Telecommunications
CNCP Telecommunications was an electrical telegraph operator and later as a telecom company...

) that originated from a joint venture involving the railways' respective telegraph services. On its sale in the 1980s, it was successively renamed Unitel (United Telecommunications), AT&T Canada
AT&T Canada
AT&T Canada was a Canadian long-distance telephone service provider, the Canadian subsidiary of American telecommunications company AT&T Communications between the early 1990s and 2003. It was then renamed Allstream, as a result of AT&T's declining participation in the company. AT&T sold its...

, and Allstream as it went through various owners and branding agreements. Another telecommunications property wholly owned and built by CN was the CN Tower
CN Tower
The CN Tower is a communications and observation tower in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Standing tall, it was completed in 1976, becoming the world's tallest free-standing structure and world's tallest tower at the time. It held both records for 34 years until the completion of the Burj...

 in Toronto, which still keeps its original name but was divested by the railway company in the mid 1990s. All proceeds from such sales were used to pay down CN's accumulated debt. At the time of their divestitures, all of these subsidiaries required considerable subsidies, which partly explained CN's financial problems prior to recapitalization.

CN also was given free rein by the federal government following deregulation of the railway industry in the 1970s, as well as in 1987, when railway companies began to make tough business decisions by removing themselves from operating money-losing branch lines. In CN's case, some of these branch lines were those it had been forced to absorb through federal government policies and outright patronage, while others were from the heady expansion era of rural branchlines in the 1920s and early 1930s and were considered obsolete following the development of local road networks.

During the period starting in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, thousands of kilometres of railway lines were abandoned, including the complete track networks in Newfoundland
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

 (CN subsidiary Terra Transport
Terra Transport
Terra Transport was the name for the Newfoundland Transportation Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway , created in 1979 as a means to organize the company's operations on the island of Newfoundland.-Background:...

, the former Newfoundland Railway
Newfoundland Railway
The Newfoundland Railway was a railway which operated on the island of Newfoundland from 1898 to 1988. With a total track length of , it was the longest narrow gauge railway system in North America.-Early construction:...

 ended railway freight operations and mixed freight-passenger trains in 1988. Mainline Passenger rail service in Newfoundland ended in 1969.) and Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

 (the former PEIR
Prince Edward Island Railway
The Prince Edward Island Railway was a historic Canadian railway.-Construction:Located wholly within the province of Prince Edward Island, construction of the PEIR started in 1871, financed by the United Kingdom...

), as well as numerous branch lines in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

, New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

, Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario
Southern Ontario is a region of the province of Ontario, Canada that lies south of the French River and Algonquin Park. Depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts, its surface area would cover between 14 to 15% of the province. It is the southernmost region of...

, throughout the Prairie
Prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

 provinces, in the British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

 interior, and on Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island is a large island in British Columbia, Canada. It is one of several North American locations named after George Vancouver, the British Royal Navy officer who explored the Pacific Northwest coast of North America between 1791 and 1794...

. Virtually every rural area served by CN in some form was affected, creating resentment for the company and the federal government. Many of these now-abandoned rights-of-way
Right-of-way (railroad)
A right-of-way is a strip of land that is granted, through an easement or other mechanism, for transportation purposes, such as for a trail, driveway, rail line or highway. A right-of-way is reserved for the purposes of maintenance or expansion of existing services with the right-of-way...

 were divested by CN and the federal government and have since been converted into recreational trails
Rail trail
A rail trail is the conversion of a disused railway easement into a multi-use path, typically for walking, cycling and sometimes horse riding. The characteristics of former tracks—flat, long, frequently running through historical areas—are appealing for various development. The term sometimes also...

 by local municipalities and provincial governments.

CN's U.S. subsidiaries prior to privatization


CN's railway network in the late 1980s consisted of the company's Canadian trackage, along with the following U.S. subsidiary lines: Grand Trunk Western Railroad
Grand Trunk Western Railroad
The Grand Trunk Western Railroad is an important subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway , constituting the majority of CN's Chicago Division ....

 (GTW) operating in Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, and Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

; Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
The Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad was a railroad that operated between its namesake cities of Detroit, Michigan and Ironton, Ohio via Toledo between 1905 and 1983.-Early history:...

 (DTI) operating in Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 and Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

; Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
The Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway is a subsidiary railroad of Canadian National Railway operating in northern Minnesota, United States. A CN system-wide rebranding beginning in 1995 has seen the DWP logo and name largely replaced by its parent company...

 (DWP) operating in Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

; Central Vermont Railway
Central Vermont Railway
The Central Vermont Railway was a railroad that operated in the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, as well as the Canadian province of Quebec....

 (CV) operating down the Connecticut River
Connecticut River
The Connecticut River is the largest and longest river in New England, and also an American Heritage River. It flows roughly south, starting from the Fourth Connecticut Lake in New Hampshire. After flowing through the remaining Connecticut Lakes and Lake Francis, it defines the border between the...

 valley from Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 to Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the United States between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, New York to the south. The mouth of the Connecticut River at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, empties into the sound. On its western end the sound is bounded by the Bronx...

; and a former GT line to Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine
Portland is the largest city in Maine and is the county seat of Cumberland County. The 2010 city population was 66,194, growing 3 percent since the census of 2000...

, known informally as the Grand Trunk Eastern, sold to a short-line operator in 1989.

The US subsidiaries kept their identities due to their ownership. Technically, foreign governments were not allowed to own railroads in the US. However, a railroad owned by another railroad was allowed to operate, even if that "other railroad" was owned by a foreign government.

Privatization


In 1992 a new management team led by ex-federal government bureaucrats, Paul Tellier
Paul Tellier
Paul Mathias Tellier, PC, CC is a Canadian businessman and former public servant. Born in Joliette, Quebec, Tellier was educated at Laval University and the University of Oxford.- Biography :Tellier entered Canada's civil service in the 1970s...

 and Michael Sabia
Michael Sabia
Michael John Sabia, is a Canadian businessman. He is the current CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. Sabia formerly served as CEO of Bell Canada from 2002 through 2008.-Personal life:...

, started preparing CN for privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 by emphasizing increased productivity. This was achieved largely through aggressive cuts to the company's bloated and inefficient management structure, widescale layoffs in its workforce and continued abandonment or sale of its branch lines. In 1993 and 1994 the company experimented with a rebranding that saw the names CN, Grand Trunk Western, and Duluth, Winnipeg, and Pacific replaced under a collective CN North America moniker. During this time, CPR and CN entered into negotiations regarding a possible merger of the two companies. This was later rejected by the federal government, whereby CPR offered to purchase outright all of CN's lines from Ontario to Nova Scotia, while an unidentified U.S. railroad (rumoured to have been Burlington Northern Railroad
Burlington Northern Railroad
The Burlington Northern Railroad was a United States-based railroad company formed from a merger of four major U.S. railroads. Burlington Northern operated between 1970 and 1996....

) would purchase CN's lines in western Canada. This too was rejected. In 1995, the entire company including its U.S. subsidiaries reverted to using CN exclusively.

The CN Commercialization Act was enacted into law on July 13, 1995, and by November 28, 1995, the federal government had completed an initial public offering
Initial public offering
An initial public offering or stock market launch, is the first sale of stock by a private company to the public. It can be used by either small or large companies to raise expansion capital and become publicly traded enterprises...

 (IPO) and transferred all of its shares to private investors. Two key prohibitions in this legislation include, 1) that no individual or corporate shareholder may own more than 15% of CN, and 2) that the company's headquarters must remain in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, thus maintaining CN as a Canadian corporation.

Retraction and expansion since privatization



Following the successful IPO, CN has recorded impressive gains in its stock price, largely through an aggressive network rationalization and purchase of newer more fuel-efficient locomotives. Numerous branch lines were shed during the late 1990s across Canada, resulting in dozens of independent short line railway companies being established to operate former CN track that had been considered marginal. This network rationalization resulted in a core east-west freight railway stretching from Halifax to Chicago and Toronto to Vancouver and Prince Rupert. The railway also operated trains from Winnipeg to Chicago using trackage rights for part of the route south of Duluth.

In addition to the retraction in Canada, the company also expanded in a strategic north-south direction in the central United States. In 1998, during an era of mergers in the U.S. railway industry, CN purchased the Illinois Central Railroad
Illinois Central Railroad
The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

 (IC), which connected the already existing lines from Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

, British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

 to Halifax, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 with a line running from Chicago, Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

. This single purchase of IC transformed CN's entire corporate focus from being an east-west uniting presence within Canada (sometimes to the detriment of logical business models) into a north-south NAFTA railway (in reference to the North American Free Trade Agreement
North American Free Trade Agreement
The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement...

). CN is now feeding Canadian raw material exports into the U.S. heartland and beyond to Mexico through a strategic alliance with Kansas City Southern Railway
Kansas City Southern Railway
The Kansas City Southern Railway , owned by Kansas City Southern Industries, is the smallest and second-oldest Class I railroad company still in operation. KCS was founded in 1887 and is currently operating in a region consisting of ten central U.S. states...

 (KCS).

In 1999, CN and BNSF, the second largest rail system in the U.S., announced their intent to merge, forming a new corporate entity North American Railways, headquartered in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 to conform to the CN Commercialization Act of 1995. The merger announcement by CN's Paul Tellier
Paul Tellier
Paul Mathias Tellier, PC, CC is a Canadian businessman and former public servant. Born in Joliette, Quebec, Tellier was educated at Laval University and the University of Oxford.- Biography :Tellier entered Canada's civil service in the 1970s...

 and BNSF's Robert Krebs
Robert Krebs
Robert D. Krebs has headed three major United States railroads in succession, leading the Southern Pacific when it was acquired by Santa Fe Industries, rising to lead the resulting Santa Fe Pacific Corporation, and finally being chosen to head the new Burlington Northern Santa Fe when Santa Fe...

 was greeted with skepticism by the U.S. government's Surface Transportation Board
Surface Transportation Board
The Surface Transportation Board of the United States is a bipartisan, decisionally-independent adjudicatory body organizationally housed within the U.S. Department of Transportation. The STB was established in 1996 to assume some of the regulatory functions that had been administered by the...

 (STB), and protested by other major North American rail companies, namely Canadian Pacific Railway
Canadian Pacific Railway
The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

 (CPR) and Union Pacific Railroad
Union Pacific Railroad
The Union Pacific Railroad , headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States. James R. Young is president, CEO and Chairman....

 (UP). Rail customers also denounced the proposed merger, following the confusion and poor service sustained in southeastern Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 in 1998 following UP's purchase of Southern Pacific Railroad
Southern Pacific Railroad
The Southern Pacific Transportation Company , earlier Southern Pacific Railroad and Southern Pacific Company, and usually simply called the Southern Pacific or Espee, was an American railroad....

 (SP). In response to the rail industry, shippers, and political pressure, the STB placed a 15-month moratorium on all rail industry mergers, effectively scuttling CN-BNSF plans. Both companies dropped their merger applications and have never refiled. The roadblock dates back to the Carnegie era "robber barons" when the concept of "anti-trust" was born. Therefore, when it comes to railroad mergers, the federal government is more rigid than usual.
After the STB moratorium expired, CN purchased Wisconsin Central (WC) in 2001, which allowed the company's rail network to encircle Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

 and Lake Superior
Lake Superior
Lake Superior is the largest of the five traditionally-demarcated Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is the largest freshwater lake in the...

, permitting more efficient connections from Chicago to western Canada
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

. The deal also included Canadian WC subsidiary Algoma Central Railway
Algoma Central Railway
The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

 (ACR), giving access to Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Marys River in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with a population of 74,948. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means "jump" or "rapids" in...

 and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The purchase of Wisconsin Central also made CN the owner of EWS, the principal freight train operator in the United Kingdom.

On May 13, 2003, the provincial government of British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

 announced that the provincial Crown corporation, BC Rail (BCR), would be sold with the winning bidder receiving BCR's surface operating assets (locomotives, cars, and service facilities). The provincial government is retaining ownership of the tracks and right-of-way. On November 25, 2003, it was announced that CN's bid of $1 billion CAD would be accepted over those of CPR
Canadian Pacific Railway
The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

 and several U.S. companies. The transaction was closed effective July 15, 2004. Many opponents – including CPR – accused the government and CN of rigging the bidding process, though this has been denied by the government. Documents relating to the case are under court seal, as they are connected to a parallel marijuana grow-op investigation connected with two senior government aides also involved in the sale of BC Rail.

Also contested was the economic stimulus package the government gave cities along the BC Rail route. Some saw it as a buy-off to get the municipalities to cooperate with the lease, though the government asserted that the package was intended to promote economic development along the corridor. Passenger service along the route had been ended by BC Rail a few years earlier due to ongoing losses resulting from deteriorating service. The canceled passenger service has recently been replaced by a blue-plate tourist service, the Rocky Mountaineer
Rocky Mountaineer
Rocky Mountaineer is a Canadian tour company offering Western Canadian vacation packages that operates trains on four rail routes through British Columbia and Alberta.-Background:...

, with fares well over double what the BCR coach fares had been.

CN also announced in October 2003 an agreement to purchase Great Lakes Transportation
Great Lakes Transportation
Great Lakes Transportation LLC is a group of transportation related companies primarily consisting of rail and water carriers catering to the needs of the steel making industry centered around the Great Lakes of North America...

 (GLT), a holding company owned by Blackstone Group for $380 million USD. GLT was the owner of Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
The Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway is a railroad operating in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin that hauls iron ore and later taconite to the Great Lakes ports of Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota...

, and the Pittsburgh & Conneaut Dock Company. The key instigator for the deal was the fact that since the Wisconsin Central purchase, CN was required to use Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
The Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway is a railroad operating in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin that hauls iron ore and later taconite to the Great Lakes ports of Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota...

 trackage rights for a short 17 km (11 mi) "gap" that existed near Duluth, Minnesota
Duluth, Minnesota
Duluth is a port city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and is the county seat of Saint Louis County. The fourth largest city in Minnesota, Duluth had a total population of 86,265 in the 2010 census. Duluth is also the second largest city that is located on Lake Superior after Thunder Bay, Ontario,...

 on the route between Chicago and Winnipeg. To purchase this short section, CN was told by GLT that it would have to purchase the entire company. Also included in GLT's portfolio were 8 Great Lakes vessels for transporting bulk commodities such as coal and iron ore as well as various port facilities. Following Surface Transportation Board approval for the transaction, CN completed the purchase of GLT on May 10, 2004.
On December 24, 2008, the STB approved CN's purchase for $300 million of the principal lines of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E) (reporting mark EJE) from US Steel Corp originally announced on September 27, 2007. The STB's decision was to become effective on Jan. 23, 2009, with a closure of the transaction shortly thereafter. The EJ&E lines create a bypass around the western side of heavily congested Chicago-area rail hub and its conversion to use for mainline freight traffic is expected to alleviate substantial bottlenecks for both regional and intercontinental rail traffic subject to lengthy delays entering and exiting Chicago freight yards. The purchase of the lightly used EJ&E corridor was positioned by CN as a boon not only for its own business but for the efficiency of the entire US rail system.

CN today


Since the company operates in two countries, CN maintains some corporate distinction by having its U.S. lines incorporated under the Grand Trunk Corporation
Grand Trunk Corporation
The Grand Trunk Corporation is the subsidiary holding company for the Canadian National Railway's properties in the United States. It is named for the former Grand Trunk Railway, which CN absorbed in the early 1920s...

 for legal purposes, however the entire company in both Canada and the U.S. operates under CN, as can be seen in its locomotive and rail car repainting programs.

Since the Illinois Central purchase in 1998 CN has been increasingly focused on running a "scheduled freight railroad/railway", meeting on-time performance with rail industry-leading consistency. This has resulted in improved shipper relations, as well as reduced the need for maintaining pools of surplus locomotives and freight cars. CN has also undertaken a rationalization of its existing track network by removing double track sections in some areas and extending passing sidings in other areas.

CN is also a rail industry leader in the employment of radio-control (R/C) for switching locomotives in yards, resulting in reductions to the number of yard workers required. CN has frequently been touted in recent years within North American rail industry circles as being the most-improved railroad in terms of productivity and the lowering of its operating ratio
Operating ratio
The operating ratio is a financial term defined as a company's operating expenses as a percentage of revenue. This financial ratio is most commonly used for industries which require a large percentage of revenues to maintain operations, such as railroads. In railroading, an operating ratio of 80...

, acknowledging the fact that the company is becoming increasingly profitable. Due to the rising popularity of ethanol, shuttle trains, and mineral commodities, CN Rail Service is increasing in popularity.

Recent controversies


In December 1999 the Ultratrain, a petroleum products unit train linking the Levis (Quebec) Ultramar
Ultramar
Ultramar is a Canadian oil refining and marketing company formerly known as Golden Eagle or Aigle d'or. Its head office is in Montreal...

 oil refinery with a petroleum depot in Montreal, exploded when it derailed and collided with a freight train travelling in the opposite direction between Sainte-Madeleine and Saint-Hilaire-Est, south of Montreal, killing the crew of the freight train. The train derailed at a broken rail caused by a defective weld; the report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada called into question CN's quality assurance program for rail welds as well as the lack of detection equipment for defective wheels. In memory of the dead crewmen, two new stations on the line have been named after them (Davis and Thériault).

About 9:04 a.m. central standard time on February 9, 2003, northbound Canadian National freight train M33371 derailed 22 of its 108 cars in Tamaroa, Illinois. Four of the derailed cars released methanol, and the methanol from two of these four cars fueled a fire. Other derailed cars contained phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, and vinyl chloride. Two cars containing hydrochloric acid, one car containing formaldehyde, and one car containing vinyl chloride released product but were not involved in the fire. About 850 residents were evacuated from the area within a 3 miles (4.8 km) radius of the derailment, which included the entire village of Tamaroa. Improper placement of bond wire welds on the head of the rail just outside the joint bars, where untempered martensite associated with the welds led to fatigue and subsequent cracking that, because of increased stresses associated with known soft ballast conditions, rapidly progressed to rail failure.

On May 14, 2003, a trestle collapsed under the weight of a freight train near McBride, B.C., killing both crew members. Both men had been disciplined earlier for refusing to take another train on the same bridge, claiming it was unsafe. It was revealed that as far back as 1999, several bridge components had been reported as rotten, yet no repairs had been ordered by management. Eventually, the disciplinary records of both crewmen were amended posthumously.

Controversy arose again in Canadian political circles in 2003 following the company's decision to refer solely to its acronym "CN" and not "Canadian National", a move some interpret as being an attempt to distance the company from references to "Canada". Canada's Minister of Transport at the time called this policy move "obscene" after nationalists
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 noted it could be argued the company is no longer Canadian, being primarily owned by American stockholders. The controversy is somewhat tempered by the fact that a majority of large corporations are being increasingly referred to by acronyms. Despite this, the company is still legally called the Canadian National Railway.

In March 2004 a strike by the Canadian Auto Workers
Canadian Auto Workers
The Canadian Auto Workers is one of Canada's largest and highest profile social unions. While rooted in Ontario's large auto plants of Windsor, Brampton, Oakville, St...

 union showed deep-rooted divisions between organized labour and the company's current management.

The residents of Wabamun Lake
Wabamun Lake
Wabamun Lake is one of the most heavily used lakes in Alberta, Canada. It lies west of Edmonton, Alberta. It is long and narrow, covers and is 11 meters deep at its deepest, with somewhat clear water....

, in Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

, staged a blockade of CN tracks in August 2005, when they were unsatisfied with CN's response to a derailment catastrophe that spilled over 700,000 Litres of tarry fuel oil and about 80,000 L of carcinogenic pole treatment oil into the lake. Reporters found pre-spill evidence, and CN executives admitted, that CN failed to provide public safety information to prevent public exposure to carcinogenic, toxic chemicals. The tar-like oil and chemicals killed well over 500 large migratory birds, many animals, fish and other aquatic life. It will take many years for the lake to recover.

On August 5, 2005, a CN train had nine cars derail on a bridge over the Cheakamus River
Cheakamus River
The Cheakamus River is a tributary of the Squamish River, beginning on the west slopes of Outlier Peak in Garibaldi Provincial Park upstream from Cheakamus Lake on the southeastern outskirts of the resort area of Whistler. The river flows into Cheakamus Lake before exiting it and flowing...

, causing 41000 litres (10,831.1 US gal) of caustic soda to spill into the river, killing thousands of fish by caustic burns and asphixiation. The CBC reported evironmental experts say that it would take the river 50 years or more to recover from the toxic pollution. The Cheakamus River used to have a vibrant fishing tourism industry, which now faces an uncertain future. CN is facing accusations from local British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

ns over the rail line's supposed lack of response to this issue, touted as the worst chemical spill in British Columbia's history.

Transport Canada
Transport Canada
Transport Canada is the department within the government of Canada which is responsible for developing regulations, policies and services of transportation in Canada. It is part of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities portfolio...

 has restricted CN to trains not exceeding 80 car lengths because of the multiple derailments on the former BCR line north from Squamish
Squamish, British Columbia
Squamish is a community and a district municipality in the Canadian province of British Columbia, located at the north end of Howe Sound on the Sea to Sky Highway...

. CN had been allegedly running trains in excess of 150 cars on this winding and mountainous section of track.

A further derailment at Moran, twenty miles (32 km) north of Lillooet
Lillooet, British Columbia
Lillooet is a community on the Fraser River in western Canada, about up the British Columbia Railway line from Vancouver. Situated at an intersection of deep gorges in the lee of the Coast Mountains, it has a dry climate- of precipitation is recorded annually at the town's weather station,...

, on June 30, 2006, has raised more questions about CN's safety policies. Two more derailments, days apart, near Lytton
Lytton, British Columbia
Lytton in British Columbia, Canada, sits at the confluence of the Thompson River and Fraser River on the east side of the Fraser. The location has been inhabited by the Nlaka'pamux people for over 10,000 years, and is one of the earliest locations settled by non-natives in the Southern Interior of...

 in August 2006 have continued criticism. In the first case, 20 coal cars of a CPR train using a CN bridge derailed, dumping 12 cars of coal into the Thompson River
Thompson River
The Thompson River is the largest tributary of the Fraser River, flowing through the south-central portion of British Columbia, Canada. The Thompson River has two main branches called the South Thompson and the North Thompson...

. In the second case half a dozen grain cars spilled on a CN train.

Two CN trains collided on August 4, 2007, on the banks of the Fraser River near Prince George, BC
Prince George, British Columbia
Prince George, with a population of 71,030 , is the largest city in northern British Columbia, Canada, and is known as "BC's Northern Capital"...

. Several cars carrying gasoline, diesel and lumber burst into flames. Water bombers were used to help put out the fires. Some fuel had seeped into the Fraser River.

On December 4, 2007, a CN train derailed near Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

 in Strathcona County, Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

, at 3:30 a.m Mountain Standard Time
Mountain Time Zone
The Mountain Time Zone of North America keeps time by subtracting seven hours from Coordinated Universal Time, also known as Greenwich Mean Time, during the shortest days of autumn and winter , and by subtracting six hours during daylight saving time in the spring, summer, and early autumn...

. Of the 28 cars derailed, most of them were empty or carrying non-hazardous materials such as lumber or pipes.

A "culture of fear"


In response to such high-profile derailments, the federal minister of transportation created an advisory panel to review the Railway Safety Act in February 2007. The panel's report in March 2008 identified a culture of fear and discipline at CN in particular that undermines the safety management system (SMS) that was introduced in 2001 to give rail companies more responsibility over safety.

"CN's strict adherence to a rules-based approach, focused largely on disciplinary actions when mistakes are made, has instilled a ‘culture of fear and discipline’ and is counter to an effective safety management system. CN needs to acknowledge this openly and take concrete steps to improve," stated the panel.

The goal of the safety management system was to move away from a compliance approach and toward a proactive approach in which companies assess and mitigate risks on their own initiative. The concept as applied to railways was born during the 1994 review of the Railway Safety Act and amendments to act were introduced in 1999 that added requirements for railway companies to develop and implement safety management systems.

"The key for railway companies was to become more proactive, to refine their abilities to identify hazards, and to assess and mitigate risks. The need for companies to build a safety consciousness into their day-to-day operations was of paramount importance. This represented a shift from the traditional reactive approach of considering what had happened in a post-accident environment", stated the panel's report.

The effectiveness of SMS depends on the safety culture within the organization. That's defined as a culture where safety is entrenched in the thinking of managers and employees alike, where open communication allows comparison and improvement of ongoing practices. It also depends on employee involvement, who can be "a company's prime source of information for the identification of hazards and assessment of mitigation strategies."

However, the panel heard "...from many railway employees who felt neither involved nor informed about their company's safety management system. Rather, employees often described their organizational culture in such a way that the Panel could not reconcile it with an effective safety culture."

The panel cited the example of passenger rail company Via Rail
VIA Rail
Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

 to illustrate a safety culture needed for SMS. Via's implementation of SMS is successful because the company makes safety management important to all employees. While there are certain cardinal rules that lead to disciplinary action if broken, Via also has processes to build openness and trust between managers and employees. "For instance, employees are observed at regular cycles, and corrective coaching takes place immediately when errors are observed," the panel report noted.

In contrast, CN manages safety through an "antecedent, behaviour and consequences" process, which the panel said is based on a traditional rule and discipline model. It quoted United Transportation Union
United Transportation Union
The United Transportation Union is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. It is a broad-based, transportation labor union representing about 125,000 active and retired railroad, bus, mass transit, and airline workers in the United States....

 leader Sylvia Leblanc's description of CN's attitude towards safety as one that "seems to be ‘blame and punish’ instead of ‘educate and correct.’ Frequently, employees involved in accidents… are simply blamed for errors without followup or root cause investigation. They are then punished without any other corrective action taken on the part of the railway to prevent reoccurrences."

A management culture that relies on discipline, or threat of discipline, to enforce rules has "a tendency to instil fear, and to stifle employee participation and reporting," the panel report stated. "A significant mistrust of management develops. People stop communicating — and that can have a detrimental impact on safety."

Members of the Board


David G. A. McLean, O.B.C., LL.D.
Chairman of the Board
Canadian National Railway Company
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
The McLean Group
Vancouver, BC
Committees: 2, 3(C), 4, 6, 7, 8

Michael Ralph Armellino, CFA
Retired Partner
The Goldman Sachs Group, LP
Fort Lee, New Jersey
Committees: 2, 5, 6, 7(C), 8

A. Charles Baillie, O.C., LL.D.
Former Chairman and CEO
The Toronto-Dominion Bank
Toronto, ON
Committees: 2(C), 3, 6, 7, 8

Hugh J. Bolton, FCA
Chairman of the Board
EPCOR Utilities Inc.
Edmonton, AB
Committees: 1, 5, 6, 7, 8

Donald J. Carty, O.C., LL.D.
Retired Vice-Chairman and Chief Financial Officer
Dell, Inc.
Dallas, TX
Committees: 1, 2, 3, 7

Ambassador Gordon D. Giffin
Senior Partner
McKenna, Long & Aldridge
Atlanta, GA
Committees: 2, 4, 5, 7, 8
Edith E. Holiday
Corporate Director and Trustee,
Former General Counsel,
United States Treasury Department
and Secretary of the Cabinet
The White House
Washington, D.C.
Committees: 2, 3, 6, 7, 8

V. Maureen Kempston Darkes, O.C., D. Comm., LL.D.
Retired Group Vice-President
General Motors Corporation
and President
GM Latin America,
Africa and Middle East
Miramar, FL
Committees: 1, 5(C), 6, 7, 8

The Honourable Denis Losier, P.C., LL.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Assumption Life
Moncton, NB
Committees: 1(C), 4, 5, 6, 7

The Honourable Edward C. Lumley, P.C., LL.D.
Vice-Chairman
BMO Capital Markets
South Lancaster, ON
Committees: 2, 3, 6, 7, 8(C)

Claude Mongeau
President and Chief Executive Officer
Canadian National Railway Company
Montreal, QC
Committees: 4(C), 7

James E. O'Connor
Former Chairman and CEO
Republic Services, Inc.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Committees: 1, 2, 5, 7

Robert Pace
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Pace Group
Halifax, NS
Committees: 1, 3, 6(C), 7, 8
Committees:
1.Audit
2.Finance
3.Corporate Governance and Nominating
4.Donations and Sponsorships
5.Environment, Safety and Security
6.Human Resources and Compensation
7.Strategic Planning
8.Investment Committee of CN's Pension Trust Funds
(C) denotes chairman of the committee
..

Heads of CNR

  • Henry Thornton
    Henry Thornton (railway manager)
    Also in 1894, Thornton began his career in the railroad business, entering as a draftsman of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He was based in the Pittsburgh office. He was promoted to supervisory engineer in 1899 and District Superintendent in 1901. As he climbed rapidly through the PRR hierarchy, he...

     1922-1932 as President
  • David G. A. McLean 1994–present as Chair

Passenger trains


When CNR was first created, it inherited a large number of routes from its constituent railways, but eventually pieced its passenger network into one coherent network. For example, on December 3, 1920, CNR inaugurated the Continental Limited, which operated over four of its predecessors, as well as the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway. The 1920s saw growth in passenger travel, and CNR inaugurated several new routes and introduced new services, such as radio, on its trains.

The growth in passenger travel ended with the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, which lasted between 1929 and 1939, but picked up somewhat during World War II. By the end of World War II, many of CNR's passenger cars were old and worn down. Accidents at Dugald, Manitoba, in 1947 and Canoe River, British Columbia
Canoe River train crash
The Canoe River train crash occurred on November 21, 1950, near Valemount in eastern British Columbia, Canada, when a westbound troop train and the eastbound Canadian National Railway Continental Limited collided head-on...

, in 1950, wherein extra passenger trains composed of older, wooden equipment collided with transcontinental passenger trains composed of newer, all-steel equipment, demonstrated the dangers inherent in the older cars. In 1953, CNR ordered 359 lightweight passenger cars, allowing them to re-equip their major routes.

On April 24, 1955, the same day that the CPR introduced its transcontinental train The Canadian
The Canadian
The Canadian is a Canadian transcontinental passenger train originally operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1955 and 1978. It is currently operated as an Inter-city rail service by Via Rail Canada with service between Union Station in Toronto, Ontario and Pacific Central Station in...

, CNR introduced its own new transcontinental passenger train, the Super Continental
Super Continental
The Super Continental was a transcontinental Canadian passenger train operated originally by the Canadian National Railway beginning in 1955 and subsequently by Via Rail from 1977 until its cancellation in 1981. Service was restored in 1985 but was again eliminated in 1990...

, which used new streamlined rolling stock. However, the Super Continental was never considered as glamourous as the Canadian. For example, it did not include dome car
Dome car
A dome car is a type of railway passenger car that has a glass dome on the top of the car where passengers can ride and see in all directions around the train. It also can include features of a coach, lounge car, dining car or observation...

s. Dome cars would be added in the early 1960s with the purchase of six former Milwaukee Road "Super Domes". They were used on the Super Continental during the summer tourist season.

Rail passenger traffic in Canada declined significantly between World War II and 1960 due to automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

s and airplane
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

s. In the 1960s, CN's privately owned rival CPR reduced its passenger services significantly. However, the government-owned CN continued much of its passenger services and marketed new schemes, such as the "red, white and blue" fare structure, to bring passengers back to rail, and by branding express trains in the Ontario–Quebec corridor with the Rapido label.

In 1968, CN introduced a new high-speed train, the United Aircraft
United Aircraft and Transport Corporation
The United Aircraft and Transport Corporation was formed in 1929, when William Boeing of the Boeing firms teamed up with Frederick Rentschler of Pratt & Whitney to form a large, amalgamated firm, uniting business interests in all aspects of aviation—a combination of aircraft engine and airframe...

 Turbo
Turbo (train)
The UAC TurboTrain was an early high-speed, gas turbine train manufactured by United Aircraft Corporation that operated in Canada between 1968 and 1984 and in the United States between 1968 and 1976...

, which was powered by gas turbine
Gas turbine
A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between....

s instead of diesel engine
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

s. It made the trip between Toronto and Montreal in four hours, but was not entirely successful because it was somewhat uneconomical and not always reliable. The trainsets were retired in 1982 and later scrapped at Naporano Iron and Metal in New Jersey.

In 1976, CN created an entity called Via-CN as a separate operating unit for its passenger services. Via evolved into a coordinated marketing effort with CP Rail for rail passenger services, and later into a separate Crown corporation responsible for inter-city passenger services in Canada. Via Rail
VIA Rail
Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

 took over CN's passenger services on April 1, 1978. CN continued to fund its commuter rail services in Montreal until 1982, when the Montreal Urban Community Transit Commission
Société de transport de Montréal
The Société de transport de Montréal is a public transport agency that operates transit bus, and rapid transit services in Montreal, Quebec, Canada...

 (MUCTC) assumed financial responsibility for them; operation was contracted out to CN, which eventually spun off a separate subsidiary, Montrain
Montrain
Montrain is a Canadian National Railway subsidiary responsible for the operation of the Agence métropolitaine de transport's Montreal/Deux-Montagnes and Montreal/Mont-Saint-Hilaire commuter train lines using CN trackage....

, for this purpose. When the Montreal–Deux-Montagnes line was completely rebuilt in 1994–1995, the new rolling stock came under the ownership of the MUCTC
Société de transport de Montréal
The Société de transport de Montréal is a public transport agency that operates transit bus, and rapid transit services in Montreal, Quebec, Canada...

, until a separate government agency, the Agence métropolitaine de transport
Agence métropolitaine de transport
The Agence métropolitaine de transport is the umbrella organization that plans, integrates, and coordinates public transportation services across Canada's Greater Montreal Region, including the Island of Montreal, Laval , and communities along both the North Shore of the Rivière des Mille-Îles...

 (AMT), was set up to consolidate all suburban transit administration around Montreal. Since then, suburban service
Commuter rail in North America
Commuter rail services in the United States, Canada, and Mexico provide common carrier passenger transportation along railway tracks, with scheduled service on fixed routes on a non-reservation basis primarily for short-distance travel between a central business district and adjacent suburbs and...

 has resumed to Saint-Hilaire.

On CN's narrow gauge
Narrow gauge
A narrow gauge railway is a railway that has a track gauge narrower than the of standard gauge railways. Most existing narrow gauge railways have gauges of between and .- Overview :...

 lines in Newfoundland, CN also operated a main line passenger train that ran from St. John's to Port aux Basques called the Caribou. Nicknamed the Newfie Bullett, this train ran until June 1969. It was replaced by the CN Roadcruiser Buses. The CN Roadcruiser service was started in fall 1968 and was run in direct competition with the company's own passenger train. Travellers saw that the buses could travel between St. John's and Port aux Basques in 14 hours versus the train's 22 hours.

With the demise of the Caribou in June 1969, the only passenger train service run by CN on the island were the mixed (freight and passenger) trains that ran on the Bonavista, Carbonear and Argentia branch lines. The only passenger service surviving on the main line was between Bishop's Falls and Corner Brook. Terra Transport
Terra Transport
Terra Transport was the name for the Newfoundland Transportation Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway , created in 1979 as a means to organize the company's operations on the island of Newfoundland.-Background:...

 would continue to operate the mixed train
Mixed train
A mixed train is a train that hauls both passenger and freight cars or wagons. In the early days of railways they were quite common, but by the 20th century they were largely confined to branch lines with little traffic. As the trains provided passengers with very slow service, mixed trains have...

s on the branch lines until 1984. The main line run between Corner Brook and Bishop's Falls made its last run on September 30, 1988.

Terra Transport/CN would run the Roadcruiser bus service until March 29, 1996. The Bus service was sold off to DRL Coachlines
DRL Coachlines
DRL Coachlines is a motor coach bus company operating in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.Wholly owned by DRL Group of Triton, NL, the bus company provided charter services before taking over CN Roadcruiser services on the island of Newfoundland in 1996.-Inter-city service:*...

 of Triton, Newfoundland.

Since acquiring the Algoma Central Railway
Algoma Central Railway
The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

 in 2001, CN has operated passenger service between Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Marys River in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with a population of 74,948. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means "jump" or "rapids" in...

 and Hearst, Ontario
Hearst, Ontario
Hearst is a town in the Canadian province of Ontario. It is located in Northern Ontario, approximately west of Kapuskasing, approximately north of Toronto and east of Thunder Bay on Highway 11...

. As well, CN operates the Agawa Canyon
Agawa Canyon
The Agawa Canyon is a shallow canyon located deep in the sparsely populated Algoma District in the Canadian province of Ontario. It was created 1.2 billion years ago by faulting along the Canadian Shield and then enlarged by the erosive action of the Agawa River...

 Tour excursion, an excursion that runs from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Marys River in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with a population of 74,948. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means "jump" or "rapids" in...

, north to the Agawa Canyon
Agawa Canyon
The Agawa Canyon is a shallow canyon located deep in the sparsely populated Algoma District in the Canadian province of Ontario. It was created 1.2 billion years ago by faulting along the Canadian Shield and then enlarged by the erosive action of the Agawa River...

. The canyon tour train consists of up to 28 passenger cars and 2 dining car
Dining car
A dining car or restaurant carriage , also diner, is a railroad passenger car that serves meals in the manner of a full-service, sit-down restaurant....

s, the majority of which were built for CN by Canadian Car and Foundry in 1953–54. These cars were transferred to Via Rail
VIA Rail
Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

 in 1978 and bought by the Algoma Central Railway
Algoma Central Railway
The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

 in the 1990s. A "Snow Train" tour is also offered during the fall and winter season.

Since CN acquired BC Rail in 2004, it has operated a railbus
Railcar
A railcar, in British English and Australian English, is a self-propelled railway vehicle designed to transport passengers. The term "railcar" is usually used in reference to a train consisting of a single coach , with a driver's cab at one or both ends. Some railways, e.g., the Great Western...

 service between Seton Portage and Lillooet, British Columbia
Lillooet, British Columbia
Lillooet is a community on the Fraser River in western Canada, about up the British Columbia Railway line from Vancouver. Situated at an intersection of deep gorges in the lee of the Coast Mountains, it has a dry climate- of precipitation is recorded annually at the town's weather station,...

.

CN crews used to operate commuter trains on behalf of GO Transit
GO Transit
GO Transit is an inter-regional public transit system in Southern Ontario, Canada. It primarily serves the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area conurbation, with operations extending to several communities beyond the GTHA proper in the Greater Golden Horseshoe...

 in the City of Toronto and the surrounding vicinity. This changed in 2008 when a deal was reached with Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

 that switched all CN crews for Bombardier crews.

Steam


The CNR acquired its first 4-8-4
4-8-4
Under the Whyte notation classification of steam locomotives, 4-8-4 represents the wheel arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and four trailing wheels on two axles .Other equivalent classifications are:UIC classification: 2D2...

 Confederation locomotives
Confederation locomotive
The Confederation type was a large locomotive type with a 4-8-4 wheel arrangement used on Canadian railroads. Most were built by the Montreal Locomotive Works in Montreal, Quebec, and the Canadian Locomotive Works in Kingston, Ontario, for the Canadian National Railway . The "Confederation"...

 in 1927. Over the next 20 years, it ordered over 200 for passenger and heavy freight service. The CNR also used several 4-8-2
4-8-2
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 4-8-2 represents the wheel arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and two trailing wheels on one axle...

 Mountain locomotives, almost exclusively for passenger service. No. 6060, a streamlined 4-8-2, was the last CN steam locomotive, running in excursion service in the 1970s. CNR also used several 2-8-2
2-8-2
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-8-2 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and two trailing wheels on one axle...

 Mikado locomotives.

Electric



CN inherited from the Canadian Northern Railway
Canadian Northern Railway
The Canadian Northern Railway is a historic Canadian transcontinental railway. At its demise in 1923, when it was merged into the Canadian National Railway , the CNoR owned a main line between Quebec City and Vancouver via Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.-Manitoba beginnings:CNoR had its start in...

 several box-cabs electric used through the Mount Royal Tunnel
Mount Royal Tunnel
The Mount Royal Tunnel is a railway tunnel located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It connects the city's Gare Centrale/Central Station, located downtown, with the north side of the Island of Montreal and Laval, passing through Mount Royal. Since 1995, the only trains using the tunnel are commuter...

. Those were built between 1914 and 1918 by General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 in Schenectady, New-York. To operate the new Montreal Central Station, which opened in 1943 and was to be kept smoke-free, they were supplemented by nearly identical locomotives from the National Harbour Board; those engines were built in 1924 by Beyer-Garratt and English-Electric. In 1950, three General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 center-cab electric locomotives were added to the fleet. In 1952 Electric Multiple Unit
Electric multiple unit
An electric multiple unit or EMU is a multiple unit train consisting of self-propelled carriages, using electricity as the motive power. An EMU requires no separate locomotive, as electric traction motors are incorporated within one or a number of the carriages...

s (EMUs) were also added. The EMUs were built by the Canadian Car and Foundry
Canadian Car and Foundry
Canadian Car and Foundry also variously known as "Canadian Car & Foundry," or more familiarly as "Can Car," manufactured buses, railroad rolling stock and later aircraft for the Canadian market...

 Company in Montreal.

Electrification was restricted to Montreal, and went from Central Station to Saint-Lambert
Saint-Lambert, Quebec
Saint-Lambert is a Canadian city in the province of Quebec located opposite Montreal on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. Saint-Lambert was named for either the early French Canadian hunter Lambert Closse or for Roman Catholic Bishop Lambert of Maastricht...

 (south), Turcot (west), Montréal-Nord
Montréal-Nord
Montreal North is a borough of the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It consists entirely of the former city of Montréal-Nord on Island of Montreal in southwestern Quebec, Canada. It was amalgamated into the City of Montreal on January 1, 2002...

 (east) and Saint-Eustache-sur-le-lac, later renamed Deux-Montagnes
Deux-Montagnes, Quebec
Deux-Montagnes is a municipality in southwestern Quebec, Canada on the north shore of the Rivière des Mille Îles where it flows out of Lake of Two Mountains...

, (north). But as steam locomotives gave way to diesels, engine changeovers were no longer necessary, and catenary was eventually pulled from the west, east and from the south. However until the end of the original electrification, CN's electric locomotives pulled Via Rail's
VIA Rail
Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

 trains, including its diesel electric locomotives, to and from Central Station.

The last 2,400 V
Volt
The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

 DC
Direct current
Direct current is the unidirectional flow of electric charge. Direct current is produced by such sources as batteries, thermocouples, solar cells, and commutator-type electric machines of the dynamo type. Direct current may flow in a conductor such as a wire, but can also flow through...

 CN electric locomotive
Electric locomotive
An electric locomotive is a locomotive powered by electricity from overhead lines, a third rail or an on-board energy storage device...

 ran on June 6, 1995, the very same locomotive that pulled the inaugural train through the Mount Royal Tunnel
Mount Royal Tunnel
The Mount Royal Tunnel is a railway tunnel located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It connects the city's Gare Centrale/Central Station, located downtown, with the north side of the Island of Montreal and Laval, passing through Mount Royal. Since 1995, the only trains using the tunnel are commuter...

 back in 1918. Later in 1995 the AMT's
Agence métropolitaine de transport
The Agence métropolitaine de transport is the umbrella organization that plans, integrates, and coordinates public transportation services across Canada's Greater Montreal Region, including the Island of Montreal, Laval , and communities along both the North Shore of the Rivière des Mille-Îles...

 Electric Multiple Units began operating under 25 kV
Volt
The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

 AC
Alternating current
In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

 electrification.

Diesel


In 1929, the CNR made its first experiment with diesel electric locomotives
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

, acquiring two from Westinghouse, numbered 9000 and 9001. It was the first North American railway to use diesels in mainline service. These early units proved the feasibility of the diesel concept, but were not always reliable. No. 9000 served until 1939, and No. 9001 until 1947. The difficulties of the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 precluded much further progress towards diesel locomotives. The CNR began its conversion to diesel locomotives after World War II, and had fully dieselized by 1960. Most of the CNR's first-generation diesel locomotives were made by General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel
General Motors Diesel was a Canadian railway diesel locomotive manufacturer.-History:General Motors Diesel, Limited, was created in 1949 as the Canadian subsidiary of the Electro Motive Division of General Motors located in the United States...

 (GMD) and Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works
Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

.

For its narrow-gauge lines in Newfoundland CN acquired from GMD the 900 series, Models NF110 (road numbers 900-908) and NF210 (road numbers 909-946). For use on the branch lines, CN purchased the EMD G8
EMD G8
The EMD G8 was a General Motors-built diesel locomotive of which 382 were built between 1954 and 1965 for both export and domestic use. They were built by both Electro-Motive Division in the United States and by General Motors Diesel Division in Canada for use in ten countries, being equipped to...

 (road numbers 800-805).

For passenger service the CNR acquired GMD FP9
EMD FP9
The EMD FP9 was a , B-B dual-service passenger and freight-hauling diesel locomotive produced between February 1954 and December 1959 by General Motors Electro-Motive Division, and General Motors Diesel. Final assembly was at GM-EMD's La Grange, Illinois plant, except for Canadian orders, which...

 diesels, as well as CLC CPA16-5, ALCO MLW FPA-2
ALCO FA
The ALCO FA was a family of B-B diesel locomotives designed to haul freight trains. The locomotives were built by a partnership of ALCO and GE in Schenectady, New York, between January 1946 and May 1959. They were of a cab unit design, and both cab-equipped lead FA and cabless booster FB models...

 and FPA-4 diesels. These locomotives made up most of the CNR's passenger fleet, although CN also owned some 60 RailLiners (Budd Rail Diesel Car
Budd Rail Diesel Car
The Budd Rail Diesel Car, RDC or Buddliner is a self-propelled diesel multiple unit railcar. In the period 1949–62, 398 RDCs were built by the Budd Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States...

s), some dual-purpose diesel freight locomotives (freight locomotives equipped with passenger train apparatus, such as steam generators) as well as the locomotives for the Turbo
Turbo (train)
The UAC TurboTrain was an early high-speed, gas turbine train manufactured by United Aircraft Corporation that operated in Canada between 1968 and 1984 and in the United States between 1968 and 1976...

 trainsets. Via acquired most of CN's passenger fleet when it took over CN passenger service in 1978.

The CN fleet consists of 1548 locomotives, most of which are products of either General Motors' Electro-Motive Division (EMD), or General Electric/GE Transportation Systems. Some locomotives more than 30 years old remain in service.

Much of the current roster is made up of EMD SD70I
EMD SD70 series
The EMD SD70 is a series of diesel-electric locomotives produced by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors beginning in 1992. Over 4000 locomotives in this series have been produced, mostly of the SD70M and SD70MAC models. All locomotives of this series are hood units with C-C trucks...

 and EMD SD75I
EMD SD75I
EMD SD75I is a diesel-electric locomotive produced by General Motors Electro-Motive Division .This unit is the same as the EMD SD75M, with , HTCR-II radial trucks and a frame. The only difference between the two models is the cab. The "I" in the model designation stands for Isolated cab, this type...

 locomotives and GE C44-9W
GE Dash 9-44CW
The GE C44-9W is a 4,400 hp diesel locomotive built by GE Transportation Systems of Erie, Pennsylvania. Keeping in tradition with GE's locomotive series nicknames beginning with the "Dash 7" of the 1970s, the C44-9W was dubbed the Dash 9 upon its debut in 1993. The design has since proven popular...

 locomotives. Recently acquired are the new EMD SD70M-2 and GE ES44DC.

Beginning in the early summer months of 2010, CN purchased a small order of C40-8's and C40-8W's from UP and BNSF, respectively. The intent was to use them as a cheaper power alternative. CN has stayed firmly committed to conventional direct-current traction motors, instead of the new alternating-current motors being used by many railways in heavy-haul service.

Comfort cab
CN locomotives have long featured unique features, unlike the stock EMD and GE locomotives. CN introduced a wide-nosed four window Comfort Cab, the predecessor to the now standard North American Safety Cab, which is now standard on new North American freight locomotives.

Ditch lights
After a BC derailment, CN introduced ditch lights, lights mounted on or just below the anti-climbers on the front pilot of a locomotive. These are arranged in a "cross-eyed" configuration, to make trains more visible at grade-crossings, and to give better visibility around curves. Since then, ditch lights have become standard features on all North American locomotives.

Class and Marker lights
CN continued to use class lights on its locomotives for many years, up to as recently as the C40-8M and SD60F (which feature red, green and white class lights), and the first order C44-9WL locomotives which retained white class lights. More recently, CN has had red marker lights installed on their ES44DC and SD70M-2 locomotives, for use when the locomotives are in DPU service.

Windshields
CN's first few orders of ES44DC's, like their C44-9W's, feature "tear-drop" windshields, windshields with the outer lower corner dropped (like earlier SD70Is) as opposed to the standard rectangular GE windshield, to allow for better visibility.

Headlights
The first order of SD70M-2 locomotives had their headlights mounted on the cab, while the second order (8800 series) dropped the headlight to the nose, and also features added red marker lights mounted above the windshields on the cab.

Control stands
While many railroads have ordered new "desktop" controls, where the controls are arranged on a desk—CN returned earlier than most to the conventional control stand that most locomotive engineers prefer, which features a stand to the side of the engineer with controls that stick out horizontally. This arrangement makes reverse operation easier, and allows engineers to "put their feet up," without feeling stuck at a desk all day.

Car body
CN's General Motors SD50F, SD60F, and General Electric C40-8M feature a full-width car body that is tapered to allow for better rear visibility. This is referred to as a "Draper taper" after its creator. The first order of the GE C44-9 (2500–2522) was also initially an order for 18 locomotives with the full-width Draper Taper car body. They were changed to a standard long hood with a CN-style 4-window cab and the order was increased to 23 locomotives at the same price.

Freight cars



  • Rotary gondola
  • Open hopper
    Hopper car
    A hopper car is a type of railroad freight car used to transport loose bulk commodities such as coal, ore, grain, track ballast, and the like. The name originated from the coke manufacturing industry which is part of the steel industry ....

  • Auto carrier
  • Tri-level auto carrier
    Autorack
    An autorack, also known as an auto carrier, is a specialized piece of railroad rolling stock used to transport automobiles and light trucks, generally from factories to automotive distributors...

  • Auto part
    Auto part
    This is a list of auto parts, which are manufactured components of automobiles:-Body and exterior:Body components, including windows and trim:-Engine cooling system:* Air blower* Coolant hose* Cooling fan* Fan blade* Fan clutch* Radiator...

    s boxcar
  • Boxcar
    Boxcar
    A boxcar is a railroad car that is enclosed and generally used to carry general freight. The boxcar, while not the simplest freight car design, is probably the most versatile, since it can carry most loads...

  • Newsprint
    Newsprint
    Newsprint is a low-cost, non-archival paper most commonly used to print newspapers, and other publications and advertising material. It usually has an off-white cast and distinctive feel. It is designed for use in printing presses that employ a long web of paper rather than individual sheets of...

     boxcar
    Boxcar
    A boxcar is a railroad car that is enclosed and generally used to carry general freight. The boxcar, while not the simplest freight car design, is probably the most versatile, since it can carry most loads...

  • Wood pulp
    Wood pulp
    Pulp is a lignocellulosic fibrous material prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fibres from wood, fibre crops or waste paper. Wood pulp is the most common raw material in papermaking.-History:...

     boxcar
  • Woodchip
    Woodchip
    Woodchip may refer to:* the product of Woodchipping* Woodchips, a solid-biomass fuel* Ingrain wallpaper...

     gondola
    Gondola (rail)
    In railroad terminology, a gondola is an open-top type of rolling stock that is used for carrying loose bulk materials. Because of its low side walls, gondolas are used to carry either very dense material, such as steel plates or coils, or bulky items such as prefabricated pieces of rail...

  • Log car
  • Centerbeam car
  • Bulkhead flat car
  • Double door boxcar
  • Government
    Government of Canada
    The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

     hopper car
  • High-cube and jumbo
  • Covered hopper
    Covered hopper
    A Covered Hopper is a railroad freight car. They are designed for carrying dry bulk loads, varying from grain to products such as sand and clay. The cover protects the loads from the weather - dried cement would be very hard to unload if mixed with water in transit, while grain would be liable to...

  • Metals box car
  • Covered coil gondolas
  • Standard gondolas
    Gondola (rail)
    In railroad terminology, a gondola is an open-top type of rolling stock that is used for carrying loose bulk materials. Because of its low side walls, gondolas are used to carry either very dense material, such as steel plates or coils, or bulky items such as prefabricated pieces of rail...

  • Flatcar
    Flatcar
    A flatcar is a piece of railroad or railway rolling stock that consists of an open, flat deck on four or six wheels or a pair of trucks or bogies . The deck of the car can be wood or steel, and the sides of the deck can include pockets for stakes or tie-down points to secure loads...

  • Ore gondola
    Rotary car dumper
    A rotary car dumper or wagon tippler is a mechanism used for unloading certain railroad cars such as hopper cars, gondolas or lorries . It holds the rail car to a section of track and rotates the track and car together to dump out the contents. Used with gondola cars, it is making open hopper cars...


  • North American intermodal containers


    containers heater/reefer containers reefer/heater containers(modified 48) containers heater/reefer containers

    Container chassis

    • Max Atlas 40 feet (12.2 m) to 53 feet (16.2 m) extendable container chassis
    • Di-Mond 40 feet (12.2 m) to 53 feet (16.2 m) extendable container chassis

    Major facilities



    CN owns a large number of large yards and repair shops across their system, which are used for many operations ranging from intermodal
    Intermodal freight transport
    Intermodal freight transport involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation , without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes. The method reduces cargo handling, and so improves security, reduces damages and...

     terminals to classification yard
    Classification yard
    A classification yard or marshalling yard is a railroad yard found at some freight train stations, used to separate railroad cars on to one of several tracks. First the cars are taken to a track, sometimes called a lead or a drill...

    s. Below are some examples of these.

    Active hump yards


    Hump yards
    Classification yard
    A classification yard or marshalling yard is a railroad yard found at some freight train stations, used to separate railroad cars on to one of several tracks. First the cars are taken to a track, sometimes called a lead or a drill...

     work by using a small hill, over which cars are pushed before being released down a slope and switched automatically into cuts of cars, ready to join into outbound trains. CN's active humps include:
    • Toronto
      Toronto
      Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

      , Ontario
      Ontario
      Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

      : MacMillan Yard
      CN MacMillan Yard
      The MacMillan Yard is the largest rail classification yard in Canada. It is operated by Canadian National Railway and is located 20 kilometers north of downtown Toronto in Vaughan, Ontario. It is named after former CN president Norman John MacMillan....

    • Winnipeg
      Winnipeg
      Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

      , Manitoba
      Manitoba
      Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

      : Symington Yard
    • Memphis, Tennessee
      Memphis, Tennessee
      Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

      : Harrison Yard

    Other major yards

    • Calgary
      Calgary
      Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

      , Alberta
      Alberta
      Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

      : Sarcee Yard
    • Champaign, Illinois
      Champaign, Illinois
      Champaign is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, in the United States. The city is located south of Chicago, west of Indianapolis, Indiana, and 178 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. Though surrounded by farm communities, Champaign is notable for sharing the campus of the University of...

      : Champaign Yard
    • Chicago, Illinois: Glenn, Homewood, Kirk and Markham Yards
    • Dartmouth
      Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
      Dartmouth founded in 1750, is a community and planning area of the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia. Located on the eastern shore of Halifax Harbour, Dartmouth has been nicknamed the City of Lakes after the large number of lakes located in the city.On April 1, 1996, the provincial...

       Nova Scotia
      Nova Scotia
      Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

      : Dartmouth Yard
    • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Chappell Yard
    • Edmonton, Alberta: Walker Yard
    • Battle Creek, Michigan
      Battle Creek, Michigan
      Battle Creek is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, in northwest Calhoun County, at the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers. It is the principal city of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area , which encompasses all of Calhoun county...

      : Battle Creek Yard
    • Flat Rock, Michigan
      Flat Rock, Michigan
      - Racial makeup :As of the census of 2000, there were 8,488 people, 3,181 households, and 2,306 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,266.9 per square mile . There were 3,291 housing units at an average density of 491.2 per square mile...

      : Flat Rock Yard
    • Levis, Quebec
      Lévis, Quebec
      Lévis is a city in eastern Quebec, Canada. It is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, opposite Quebec City. A ferry links Old Quebec with Old Lévis, and two bridges, the Quebec Bridge and the Pierre Laporte Bridge, connect western Lévis with Quebec City. The Société de transport de...

      : Joffre Yard
    • Moncton, New Brunswick
      New Brunswick
      New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

      : Gordon Yard
    • Halifax
      City of Halifax
      Halifax is a city in Canada, which was the capital of the province of Nova Scotia and shire town of Halifax County. It was the largest city in Atlantic Canada until it was amalgamated into Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996...

       Nova Scotia
      Nova Scotia
      Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

      : Rockingham
      Rockingham, Nova Scotia
      Rockingham is a community located in Nova Scotia's Halifax Regional Municipality. It is part of a large suburban area along the western shore of Bedford Basin, north of Clayton Park and south of Bedford.-Geography:...

       Yard
    • Montreal
      Montreal
      Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

      , Quebec
      Quebec
      Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

      : Taschereau Yard
    • Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
      Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
      Fond du Lac is a city in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States. The name is French for bottom of the lake, for it is located at the bottom of Lake Winnebago. The population was 42,203 at the 2000 census...

      : Shops Yard
    • New Orleans, Louisiana
      New Orleans, Louisiana
      New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

      : Mays Yard
    • Vancouver
      Vancouver
      Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

      , British Columbia
      British Columbia
      British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

      : Thornton Yard
    • Windsor
      Windsor, Ontario
      Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada and is located in Southwestern Ontario at the western end of the heavily populated Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. It is within Essex County, Ontario, although administratively separated from the county government. Separated by the Detroit River, Windsor...

      , Ontario
      Ontario
      Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

      : Van de Water Yard

    Intermodal terminals

    • Auburn
      Auburn, Maine
      Auburn is a city in and the county seat of Androscoggin County, Maine, United States. The population was 23,055 at the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included in the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan New England city and town area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan...

      , Maine
      Maine
      Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

      : terminal serviced the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad
    • Calgary
      Calgary
      Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

      , Alberta
      Alberta
      Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

    • Chicago, Illinois
    • Detroit, Michigan
      Detroit, Michigan
      Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

    • Edmonton
      Edmonton
      Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

      , Alberta
      Alberta
      Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

    • Halifax, Nova Scotia
      City of Halifax
      Halifax is a city in Canada, which was the capital of the province of Nova Scotia and shire town of Halifax County. It was the largest city in Atlantic Canada until it was amalgamated into Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996...

    • Jackson, Mississippi
      Jackson, Mississippi
      Jackson is the capital and the most populous city of the US state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County ,. The population of the city declined from 184,256 at the 2000 census to 173,514 at the 2010 census...

      : terminal owned by the Kansas City Southern Railway
      Kansas City Southern Railway
      The Kansas City Southern Railway , owned by Kansas City Southern Industries, is the smallest and second-oldest Class I railroad company still in operation. KCS was founded in 1887 and is currently operating in a region consisting of ten central U.S. states...

    • Memphis, Tennessee
      Memphis, Tennessee
      Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

    • Moncton, New Brunswick
      New Brunswick
      New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

    • Montreal
      Montreal
      Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

      , Quebec
      Quebec
      Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    • New Orleans, Louisiana
      New Orleans, Louisiana
      New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

    • Prince George, British Columbia
      Prince George, British Columbia
      Prince George, with a population of 71,030 , is the largest city in northern British Columbia, Canada, and is known as "BC's Northern Capital"...

    • Prince Rupert, British Columbia
      Prince Rupert, British Columbia
      Prince Rupert is a port city in the province of British Columbia, Canada. It is the land, air, and water transportation hub of British Columbia's North Coast, and home to some 12,815 people .-History:...

    • Saskatoon
      Saskatoon
      Saskatoon is a city in central Saskatchewan, Canada, on the South Saskatchewan River. Residents of the city of Saskatoon are called Saskatonians. The city is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Corman Park No. 344....

      , Saskatchewan
      Saskatchewan
      Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

    • Toronto
      Toronto
      Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

      , Ontario
      Ontario
      Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

      : main terminal is located at Brampton
      Brampton
      Brampton is the third-largest city in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada.Brampton may also refer to:- Canada :* Brampton, a city in Ontario** Brampton GO Station, a station in the GO Transit network located in the city- United Kingdom :...

      , Ontario
      Ontario
      Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

      , as well as a smaller ramp and Roadrailer
      Roadrailer
      In railroad terminology a Roadrailer or RoadRailer is a highway trailer, or semi-trailer, that is specially equipped for use in railroad intermodal service.- Overview :...

       service at MacMillan Yard
    • Vancouver
      Vancouver
      Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

      , British Columbia
      British Columbia
      British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

    • Winnipeg
      Winnipeg
      Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

      , Manitoba
      Manitoba
      Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...


    See also

    • Narrow gauge railways in Canada
      Narrow gauge railways in Canada
      Although most railways of central and eastern Canada were initially built to a broad gauge, there were several, especially on Canada's Atlantic coast, which were built as individual narrow gauge lines....

    • Canadian Pacific Railway
      Canadian Pacific Railway
      The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

    • CN Tower
      CN Tower
      The CN Tower is a communications and observation tower in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Standing tall, it was completed in 1976, becoming the world's tallest free-standing structure and world's tallest tower at the time. It held both records for 34 years until the completion of the Burj...

    • Japanese National Railways
      Japanese National Railways
      , abbreviated or "JNR", was the national railway network of Japan from 1949 to 1987.-History:The term Kokuyū Tetsudō "state-owned railway" originally referred to a network of railway lines operated by nationalized companies under the control of the Railway Institute following the nationalization...

      : Japan's equivalent to the Canadian National Railway.
    • GO Transit
      GO Transit
      GO Transit is an inter-regional public transit system in Southern Ontario, Canada. It primarily serves the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area conurbation, with operations extending to several communities beyond the GTHA proper in the Greater Golden Horseshoe...

    • List of Canadian National Railways companies
    • Newfoundland T'Railway
      Newfoundland T'Railway
      The Newfoundland T'Railway Provincial Park is a rail trail in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.Protected as a linear park under the provincial park system, the T'Railway consists of the railbed of the historic Newfoundland Railway as transferred from its most recent owner,...

    • Ontario Northland Railway
      Ontario Northland Railway
      The Ontario Northland Railway is a Canadian railway operated by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, a provincial Crown agency of the government of Ontario....

    • Via Rail
      VIA Rail
      Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....


    Former component railways

    • Canadian Government Railways
      Canadian Government Railways
      Canadian Government Railways was the legal name used between 1915–1918 for all federal government-owned railways in Canada.The principal component companies were: the Intercolonial Railway of Canada , the National Transcontinental Railway , the Prince Edward Island Railway , and the Hudson...

      • Intercolonial Railway
      • Prince Edward Island Railway
        Prince Edward Island Railway
        The Prince Edward Island Railway was a historic Canadian railway.-Construction:Located wholly within the province of Prince Edward Island, construction of the PEIR started in 1871, financed by the United Kingdom...

      • National Transcontinental Railway
        National Transcontinental Railway
        The National Transcontinental Railway was a historic Canadian railway between Winnipeg and Moncton. Much of the line is now operated by the Canadian National Railway.-The Grand Trunk partnership:...

    • Canadian Northern Railway
      Canadian Northern Railway
      The Canadian Northern Railway is a historic Canadian transcontinental railway. At its demise in 1923, when it was merged into the Canadian National Railway , the CNoR owned a main line between Quebec City and Vancouver via Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.-Manitoba beginnings:CNoR had its start in...

      • Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
        Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
        The Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway is a subsidiary railroad of Canadian National Railway operating in northern Minnesota, United States. A CN system-wide rebranding beginning in 1995 has seen the DWP logo and name largely replaced by its parent company...

    • Grand Trunk Railway
      Grand Trunk Railway
      The Grand Trunk Railway was a railway system which operated in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, as well as the American states of Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The railway was operated from headquarters in Montreal, Quebec; however, corporate...

      • Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad
      • Central Vermont Railway
        Central Vermont Railway
        The Central Vermont Railway was a railroad that operated in the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, as well as the Canadian province of Quebec....

      • St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad
        St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad
        The St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad , known as St-Laurent et Atlantique Quebec in Canada, is a short line railroad operating between Portland, Maine on the Atlantic Ocean and Montreal, Quebec on the St. Lawrence River. It crosses the Canada-U.S...

      • Grand Trunk Western Railroad
        Grand Trunk Western Railroad
        The Grand Trunk Western Railroad is an important subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway , constituting the majority of CN's Chicago Division ....

        • Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
          Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
          The Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad was a railroad that operated between its namesake cities of Detroit, Michigan and Ironton, Ohio via Toledo between 1905 and 1983.-Early history:...

      • Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
        Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
        The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was a historical Canadian railway.A wholly owned subsidiary of the Grand Trunk Railway , the GTPR was constructed by GTR using loans provided by the Government of Canada. The company was formed in 1903 with a mandate to build west from Winnipeg, Manitoba to the...

    • London and Port Stanley Railway
      London and Port Stanley Railway
      The London and Port Stanley Railway is a historic Canadian railway located in southwestern Ontario.The L&PS linked the city of London with Port Stanley on the northern shore of Lake Erie, a distance of approximately ....

    • Newfoundland Railway
      Newfoundland Railway
      The Newfoundland Railway was a railway which operated on the island of Newfoundland from 1898 to 1988. With a total track length of , it was the longest narrow gauge railway system in North America.-Early construction:...

    • Illinois Central Railroad
      Illinois Central Railroad
      The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

    • Wisconsin Central Ltd.
      • Algoma Central Railway
        Algoma Central Railway
        The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

      • Green Bay and Western Railroad
        Green Bay and Western Railroad
        The Green Bay and Western Railroad served the transportation and freight haulage needs of northern Wisconsin for almost 100 years before it was absorbed into the Wisconsin Central in 1993...

    • Great Lakes Transportation
      Great Lakes Transportation
      Great Lakes Transportation LLC is a group of transportation related companies primarily consisting of rail and water carriers catering to the needs of the steel making industry centered around the Great Lakes of North America...

      • Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad
        Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad
        The Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad is a class II railroad that operates in northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio.The railroad's main route runs from the Lake Erie port of Conneaut, Ohio to the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, a distance of 139 miles...

      • Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
        Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
        The Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway is a railroad operating in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin that hauls iron ore and later taconite to the Great Lakes ports of Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota...

    • Northern Alberta Railways
      Northern Alberta Railways
      Northern Alberta Railways was a Canadian railway which served northern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia. Jointly owned by both Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway, NAR existed as a separate company from 1929 until 1981....

      • Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway
        Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway
        The Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway was an early pioneer railway in northwestern Alberta, designed to open up the Peace River district....

      • Alberta and Great Waterways Railway
      • Central Canada Railway
      • Pembina Valley Railway
    • Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway
      Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway
      The Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway is a Class II railroad that operates in the suburbs surrounding Chicago. The railroad is a link between Class I railroads in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana...


    Former subsidiaries

    • CN Marine
      CN Marine
      CN Marine was a Canadian ferry company headquartered in Moncton, New Brunswick.-History:CN Marine was created by parent Canadian National Railway in 1977 as a means to group the company's ferry operations in eastern Canada into a separate operating division...

       / Marine Atlantic
      Marine Atlantic
      Marine Atlantic Inc. is an independent Canadian Crown corporation offering ferry services between the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.Marine Atlantic's corporate headquarters are in St...

    • Terra Transport
      Terra Transport
      Terra Transport was the name for the Newfoundland Transportation Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway , created in 1979 as a means to organize the company's operations on the island of Newfoundland.-Background:...

    • Trans-Canada Air Lines
      Trans-Canada Air Lines
      Trans-Canada Air Lines was a Canadian airline and operated as the country's flag carrier. Its corporate headquarters were in Montreal, Quebec...

       / Air Canada
      Air Canada
      Air Canada is the flag carrier and largest airline of Canada. The airline, founded in 1936, provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 178 destinations worldwide. It is the world's tenth largest passenger airline by number of destinations, and the airline is a...

    • Via Rail
      VIA Rail
      Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

    • Canadian National Hotels
      Canadian National Hotels
      Canadian National Hotels was a hotel chain under control by Canadian National Railways. In addition to their own hotels, it acquired some from rival railway companies like the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, Grand Trunk Railway and Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway...


    External links




    The Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway
    Class I railroad
    A Class I railroad in the United States and Mexico, or a Class I rail carrier in Canada, is a large freight railroad company, as classified based on operating revenue.Smaller railroads are classified as Class II and Class III...

     headquartered in Montreal
    Montreal
    Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

    , Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    . CN's slogan is "North America's Railroad".

    CN is the largest railway in Canada, in terms of both revenue and the physical size of its rail network, and is currently Canada's only transcontinental railway company, spanning Canada from the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

     to the Pacific coast in British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

    .

    Following CN's purchase of Illinois Central
    Illinois Central Railroad
    The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

     (IC) and a number of smaller US railways it also has extensive trackage in the central United States along the Mississippi River
    Mississippi River
    The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

     valley from the Great Lakes
    Great Lakes
    The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

     to the Gulf of Mexico
    Gulf of Mexico
    The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

    . Today CN owns approximately 20400 rtmi of track in 8 provinces (the only two not served by CN are Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island
    Prince Edward Island
    Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

    ), as well as a 70 miles (113 km) stretch of track into the Northwest Territories
    Northwest Territories
    The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

     to Hay River
    Hay River, Northwest Territories
    Hay River , known as "the Hub of the North," is a town in the Northwest Territories, Canada, located on the south shore of Great Slave Lake, at the mouth of the Hay River. The town is separated into two sections, a new town and an old town with the Hay River Airport between them...

     on the southern shore of Great Slave Lake
    Great Slave Lake
    Great Slave Lake is the second-largest lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada , the deepest lake in North America at , and the ninth-largest lake in the world. It is long and wide. It covers an area of in the southern part of the territory. Its given volume ranges from to and up to ...

    ; it is the northernmost rail line anywhere within the North American Rail Network, as far north as Anchorage, Alaska
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the southcentral part of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the northernmost major city in the United States...

    . (although the Alaska Railroad
    Alaska Railroad
    The Alaska Railroad is a Class II railroad which extends from Seward and Whittier, in the south of the state of Alaska, in the United States, to Fairbanks , and beyond to Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright in the interior of that state...

     goes further north than this, it is isolated from the rest of the rail network)
    The railway was referred to as the Canadian National Railways (CNR) between 1918 and 1960 and as Canadian National/Canadien National (CN) from 1960 to present.

    The Canadian National Railway is a public company with 22,000 employees and market capitalization of 32 billion CAD
    Canadian dollar
    The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

     in 2011. CN was government owned, having been a Canadian crown corporation. It was privatized in 1995.

    History


    The Canadian National Railways (CNR) was created between 1918 and 1923, comprising several railways that had become bankrupt and fallen into federal government
    Politics of Canada
    The politics of Canada function within a framework of parliamentary democracy and a federal system of parliamentary government with strong democratic traditions. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, in which the Monarch is head of state...

     hands, along with some railways already owned by the government. In 1995, the federal government privatized CN. Over the next decade, the company expanded significantly in the United States, purchasing Illinois Central Railroad
    Illinois Central Railroad
    The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

     and Wisconsin Central Transportation
    Wisconsin Central Transportation
    Wisconsin Central Ltd. is a railroad subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway. At one time, its parent Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation owned or operated railroads in the United States, Canada , the United Kingdom , New Zealand , and Australia .- Overview...

    , among others. Now primarily a freight
    Cargo
    Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

     railway, CN also operated passenger
    Passenger
    A passenger is a term broadly used to describe any person who travels in a vehicle, but bears little or no responsibility for the tasks required for that vehicle to arrive at its destination....

     services until 1978, when they were assumed by Via Rail
    VIA Rail
    Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

    . The only passenger services run by CN after 1978 were several mixed trains (freight and passenger) in Newfoundland, and a couple of commuter trains on CN's electrified routes in the Montreal area. The Newfoundland mixed trains lasted until 1988, while the Montreal commuter trains are now operated by Montreal's AMT
    Agence métropolitaine de transport
    The Agence métropolitaine de transport is the umbrella organization that plans, integrates, and coordinates public transportation services across Canada's Greater Montreal Region, including the Island of Montreal, Laval , and communities along both the North Shore of the Rivière des Mille-Îles...

    .

    Creation of the company, 1918–1923


    In response to public concerns fearing loss of key transportation links, the Government of Canada
    Government of Canada
    The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

     assumed majority ownership of the near bankrupt Canadian Northern Railway
    Canadian Northern Railway
    The Canadian Northern Railway is a historic Canadian transcontinental railway. At its demise in 1923, when it was merged into the Canadian National Railway , the CNoR owned a main line between Quebec City and Vancouver via Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.-Manitoba beginnings:CNoR had its start in...

     (CNoR) on September 6, 1918, and appointed a "Board of Management" to oversee the company. At the same time, CNoR was also directed to assume management of Canadian Government Railways
    Canadian Government Railways
    Canadian Government Railways was the legal name used between 1915–1918 for all federal government-owned railways in Canada.The principal component companies were: the Intercolonial Railway of Canada , the National Transcontinental Railway , the Prince Edward Island Railway , and the Hudson...

     (CGR), a system comprising the Intercolonial Railway of Canada
    Intercolonial Railway of Canada
    The Intercolonial Railway of Canada , also referred to as the Intercolonial Railway , was a historic Canadian railway that operated from 1872 to 1918, when it became part of Canadian National Railways...

     (IRC), National Transcontinental Railway
    National Transcontinental Railway
    The National Transcontinental Railway was a historic Canadian railway between Winnipeg and Moncton. Much of the line is now operated by the Canadian National Railway.-The Grand Trunk partnership:...

     (NTR), and the Prince Edward Island Railway
    Prince Edward Island Railway
    The Prince Edward Island Railway was a historic Canadian railway.-Construction:Located wholly within the province of Prince Edward Island, construction of the PEIR started in 1871, financed by the United Kingdom...

     (PEIR), among others. On December 20, 1918, the federal government created the Canadian National Railways (CNR) - a title only with no corporate powers - through a Queen's Privy Council for Canada
    Queen's Privy Council for Canada
    The Queen's Privy Council for Canada ), sometimes called Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada or simply the Privy Council, is the full group of personal consultants to the monarch of Canada on state and constitutional affairs, though responsible government requires the sovereign or her viceroy,...

     Order in Council as a means to simplify the funding and operation of the various railway companies. The absorption of the Intercolonial Railway would see CNR adopt that system's slogan The People's Railway.

    Another Canadian railway, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
    Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
    The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was a historical Canadian railway.A wholly owned subsidiary of the Grand Trunk Railway , the GTPR was constructed by GTR using loans provided by the Government of Canada. The company was formed in 1903 with a mandate to build west from Winnipeg, Manitoba to the...

     (GTPR), encountered financial difficulty on March 7, 1919, when its parent company Grand Trunk Railway
    Grand Trunk Railway
    The Grand Trunk Railway was a railway system which operated in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, as well as the American states of Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The railway was operated from headquarters in Montreal, Quebec; however, corporate...

     (GTR) defaulted on repayment of construction loans to the federal government. The federal government's Department of Railways and Canals
    Department of Railways and Canals (Canada)
    The Department of Railways and Canals is a former department of the Government of Canada. It had responsibility for the construction, operation, and maintenance of federal government-owned railways, as well as the operational responsibility for canals in Canada.The department was created in 1879...

     took over operation of the GTPR until July 12, 1920, when it too was placed under the CNR. The Canadian National Railway was organized on October 10, 1922.

    Finally, the bankrupt GTR itself was placed under the care of a federal government "Board of Management" on May 21, 1920, while GTR management and shareholders opposed to nationalization
    Nationalization
    Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

     took legal action. After several years of arbitration, the GTR was absorbed into CNR on January 30, 1923. In subsequent years, several smaller independent railways would be added to the CNR as they went bankrupt, or it became politically expedient to do so, however the system was more or less finalized following the addition of the GTR.

    Canadian National Railways was born out of both wartime and domestic urgency. Railways, until the rise of the personal automobile and creation of taxpayer-funded all-weather highways, were the only viable long-distance land transportation available in Canada for many years. As such, their operation consumed a great deal of public and political attention. Many countries regard railway networks as critical infrastructure (even to this day) and at the time of the creation of CNR during the continuing threat of the First World War
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

    , Canada was not the only country to engage in railway nationalization
    Railway nationalization
    Railway nationalization refers to the act of nationalizing rail transport assets, taking them into public ownership. Several countries have nationalized part or all of their railway system at different times....

    .

    In the early 20th century, many governments were taking a more interventionist role in the economy, foreshadowing the influence of economists like John Maynard Keynes
    John Maynard Keynes
    John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB FBA , was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments...

    . This political trend, combined with broader geo-political events, made nationalization an appealing choice for Canada. The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919
    Winnipeg General Strike of 1919
    The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 was one of the most influential strikes in Canadian history, and became the platform for future labour reforms....

     and allied involvement in the Russian Revolution
    Russian Revolution of 1917
    The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

      seemed to validate the continuing process. The need for a viable rail system was paramount in a time of civil unrest and foreign military intervention.

    CNR Radio



    In 1923 CNR's second president, Sir Henry Thornton
    Henry Thornton (railway manager)
    Also in 1894, Thornton began his career in the railroad business, entering as a draftsman of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He was based in the Pittsburgh office. He was promoted to supervisory engineer in 1899 and District Superintendent in 1901. As he climbed rapidly through the PRR hierarchy, he...

     who succeeded David Blyth Hanna (1919–1922), created the CNR Radio Department to provide passengers with entertainment radio reception and give the railway a competitive advantage over its rival, CP. This led to the creation of a network of CNR radio stations across the country, North America's first radio network
    Radio network
    There are two types of radio networks currently in use around the world: the one-to-many broadcast type commonly used for public information and mass media entertainment; and the two-way type used more commonly for public safety and public services such as police, fire, taxicabs, and delivery...

    . As anyone in the vicinity of a station could hear its broadcasts the network's audience extended far beyond train passengers to the public at large.

    Claims of unfair competition from CP as well as pressure on the government to create a public broadcasting
    Public broadcasting
    Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.Public broadcasting may be...

     system similar to the British Broadcasting Corporation led the government of R.B. Bennett (who had been a corporate lawyer with Canadian Pacific as a client prior to entering politics) to pressure CNR into ending its on-train radio service in 1931 and then withdrawing from the radio business entirely in 1933. CNR's radio assets were sold for $50,000 to a new public broadcaster, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission
    Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission
    The Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission was Canada's first public broadcaster and the immediate precursor to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.-Origins:...

    , which in turn became the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
    Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
    The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...

     in 1936.

    Hotels



    Canadian railways built and operated their own resort hotels
    Canada's grand railway hotels
    Canada’s railway hotels are a series of grand hotels across the country, each a local and national landmark, and most of which are icons of Canadian history and architecture. Each hotel was originally built by the Canadian railway companies, or the railways acted as a catalyst for the hotel’s...

    , ostensibly to provide rail passengers traveling long distances a place to sleep overnight. These hotels became attractions in and of themselves - a place for a rail passenger to go for a holiday. As each railway company
    Railway company
    A railway company or railroad company is an entity that operates a railroad track and/or trains. Such a company can either be private or public...

     sought to be more attractive than its competitors, they made their hotels more attractive and luxurious.

    Canadian National Hotels
    Canadian National Hotels
    Canadian National Hotels was a hotel chain under control by Canadian National Railways. In addition to their own hotels, it acquired some from rival railway companies like the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, Grand Trunk Railway and Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway...

     was the CNRs chain of hotels and was a combination of hotels inherited by the CNR when it acquired various railways and structures built by the CNR itself. The chain's principal rival was Canadian Pacific Hotels
    Canadian Pacific hotels
    Canadian Pacific Hotels was a division of Canadian Pacific Railway that operated a series of hotels across Canada. Most of these resort hotels were originally built and operated by the railway's Hotel Department, while a few were acquired from Canadian National Hotels...

    .

    Pros and cons of nationalization



    Regardless of the political and economic importance of railway transportation in Canada, there were many critics of the Canadian government's policies in maintaining CNR as a Crown corporation from its inception in 1918 until its privatization
    Privatization
    Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

     in 1995. Some of the most scathing criticism came from the railway industry itself—namely the commercially successful Canadian Pacific Railway
    Canadian Pacific Railway
    The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

     (CPR), which argued that its taxes should not be used to fund a competitor. Some argue that the CPR could well afford to make this criticism, having been itself the child of government and recipient of wealth by virtue of land and resource grants, as well as its position as a monopoly
    Monopoly
    A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

     from its completion in 1885 until the CNoR started operations on the Prairies at the turn of the century.

    As a result of history and geography, the CPR served larger population centres in the southern Prairies
    Canadian Prairies
    The Canadian Prairies is a region of Canada, specifically in western Canada, which may correspond to several different definitions, natural or political. Notably, the Prairie provinces or simply the Prairies comprise the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as they are largely covered...

    , while the CNR's merged system served as a de-facto government colonization railway to serve remote and underdeveloped regions of Western Canada
    Western Canada
    Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

    , northern Ontario
    Ontario
    Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

     and Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    , and the Maritimes
    Maritimes
    The Maritime provinces, also called the Maritimes or the Canadian Maritimes, is a region of Eastern Canada consisting of three provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. On the Atlantic coast, the Maritimes are a subregion of Atlantic Canada, which also includes the...

    .

    Also, CN was disadvantaged by being constituted from a hodge-podge of bankrupt rail systems that were not intrinsically viable, as they seldom had the shortest route between any major cities or industrial centres; to this day, CN has many division points far from significant industries or traffic sources. The only notable exception is the former Grand Trunk mainline between Montreal and Chicago.

    The company also became a convenient instrument of federal government policy from the operation of ferries in Atlantic Canada
    Atlantic Canada
    Atlantic Canada is the region of Canada comprising the four provinces located on the Atlantic coast, excluding Quebec: the three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia – and Newfoundland and Labrador...

    , to assuming the operation of the narrow-gauge Newfoundland Railway
    Newfoundland Railway
    The Newfoundland Railway was a railway which operated on the island of Newfoundland from 1898 to 1988. With a total track length of , it was the longest narrow gauge railway system in North America.-Early construction:...

     following that province's entry into Confederation
    Canadian Confederation
    Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

    , and the partnership with CPR in purchasing and operating the Northern Alberta Railways
    Northern Alberta Railways
    Northern Alberta Railways was a Canadian railway which served northern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia. Jointly owned by both Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway, NAR existed as a separate company from 1929 until 1981....

    .

    CNR as a social and economic tool


    It is generally accepted that government policy dictated CNR commercial decisions, whether such decisions were in the nation's interest, or in the political interest of the party in power. As such, CNR lost money for many years, except during the Second World War when its extensive network reaching into the resource hinterland proved beneficial, and during the late 1980s and early 1990s following deregulation
    Deregulation
    Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.Deregulation is the removal or...

     of the Canadian railway industry. Where CNR failed to address costs was largely due to government interference, such as the requirement to purchase locomotives from all Canadian locomotive manufacturers, resulting in operational inefficiencies.

    CNR was considered competitive with CPR in several areas, notably in Central Canada
    Central Canada
    Central Canada is a region consisting of Canada's two largest and most populous provinces: Ontario and Quebec. Due to their high populations, Ontario and Quebec have traditionally held a significant amount of political power in Canada, leading to some amount of resentment from other regions of the...

    , prior to the age of the automobile and the dense highway network that grew in Ontario
    Ontario
    Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

     and Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    . The former GTR's superior track network in the Montreal
    Montreal
    Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

    –Chicago corridor has always been a more direct route with higher capacity than CPR's. CNR was also considered a railway industry leader throughout its time as a Crown corporation in terms of research and development into railway safety systems, logistics management, and in terms of its relationship with labour unions.

    Deregulation and recapitalization


    Another problem that hobbled CNR was in the sheer number of low-volume branch railway lines, which did not produce sufficient traffic to pay for their operation. Without deregulation
    Deregulation
    Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.Deregulation is the removal or...

     in the railway industry permitting abandonment or sale of a railway line, or even the ability to set prices to match those of trucks
    Semi-trailer
    A semi-trailer is a trailer without a front axle. A large proportion of its weight is supported by a road tractor, a detachable front axle assembly known as a dolly, or the tail of another trailer...

    , both CNR and CPR paid dearly for owning these inefficient lines. One tactic that CNR perfected was to demarket a line by providing sufficiently poor service to its few customers, that those customers would turn to trucks for improved service and lower costs. Once customers ceased to exist on a small branch line, the federal government would permit the line's abandonment. Had deregulation been in place several decades earlier, it is conceivable that many Canadian branch line
    Branch line
    A branch line is a secondary railway line which branches off a more important through route, usually a main line. A very short branch line may be called a spur line...

    s would have been viable in the hands of short line operators, saving millions of dollars for taxpayers funding highways, since the railway lines had already been publicly funded in their construction.


    From the creation of CNR in 1918 until its recapitalization in 1978, whenever the company posted a deficit, the federal government would assume those costs in the government budget. The result of various governments using CNR as a vehicle for various social and economic policies was a subsidization running into billions of dollars over successive decades. Following its 1978 recapitalization and changes in management, CN (name changed to Canadian National Railway, using the shortened acronym CN in 1960) started to operate much more efficiently, by assuming its own debt, improving accounting practices to allow depreciation of assets and to access financial markets for further capital. Now operating as a for-profit Crown corporation, CN reported a profit in 11 of the 15 years from 1978 to 1992, paying $371 million in cash dividends (profit) to the federal government during this time.

    Cutbacks and refocusing


    CN's rise to profitability was assisted when the company started to remove itself from non-core freight rail transportation starting in 1977 when subsidiary Air Canada
    Air Canada
    Air Canada is the flag carrier and largest airline of Canada. The airline, founded in 1936, provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 178 destinations worldwide. It is the world's tenth largest passenger airline by number of destinations, and the airline is a...

     (created in 1937 as Trans-Canada Air Lines
    Trans-Canada Air Lines
    Trans-Canada Air Lines was a Canadian airline and operated as the country's flag carrier. Its corporate headquarters were in Montreal, Quebec...

    ) became a separate federal Crown corporation. That same year saw CN move its ferry operations into a separate Crown corporation named CN Marine
    CN Marine
    CN Marine was a Canadian ferry company headquartered in Moncton, New Brunswick.-History:CN Marine was created by parent Canadian National Railway in 1977 as a means to group the company's ferry operations in eastern Canada into a separate operating division...

    , followed similarly by the grouping of passenger rail services (for marketing purposes) under the name Via-CN. The following year (1978), the federal government decided to create Via Rail
    VIA Rail
    Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

     as a separate Crown corporation to take over passenger services previously offered by both CN and CPR, including CN's flagship transcontinental train the Super Continental
    Super Continental
    The Super Continental was a transcontinental Canadian passenger train operated originally by the Canadian National Railway beginning in 1955 and subsequently by Via Rail from 1977 until its cancellation in 1981. Service was restored in 1985 but was again eliminated in 1990...

    and its eastern counterpart the Ocean
    Ocean (passenger train)
    The Ocean is a Canadian passenger train operated by Via Rail between Montreal, Quebec and Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is currently the oldest continuously-operated named passenger train in North America. The Oceans schedule takes approximately 21 hours, running overnight in both directions...

    . CN Marine was renamed Marine Atlantic
    Marine Atlantic
    Marine Atlantic Inc. is an independent Canadian Crown corporation offering ferry services between the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.Marine Atlantic's corporate headquarters are in St...

     in 1986 to remove any references to its former parent organization. CN also grouped its money-losing Newfoundland operations into a separate subsidiary called Terra Transport
    Terra Transport
    Terra Transport was the name for the Newfoundland Transportation Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway , created in 1979 as a means to organize the company's operations on the island of Newfoundland.-Background:...

     so that federal subsidies for this service would be more visible in company statements.

    CN also divested itself during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s of several non-rail transportation activities such as trucking subsidiaries, a hotel chain (sold to CPR), real estate, and telecommunications companies. The biggest telecommunications property was a company co-owned by CN and CP (CNCP Telecommunications
    CNCP Telecommunications
    CNCP Telecommunications was an electrical telegraph operator and later as a telecom company...

    ) that originated from a joint venture involving the railways' respective telegraph services. On its sale in the 1980s, it was successively renamed Unitel (United Telecommunications), AT&T Canada
    AT&T Canada
    AT&T Canada was a Canadian long-distance telephone service provider, the Canadian subsidiary of American telecommunications company AT&T Communications between the early 1990s and 2003. It was then renamed Allstream, as a result of AT&T's declining participation in the company. AT&T sold its...

    , and Allstream as it went through various owners and branding agreements. Another telecommunications property wholly owned and built by CN was the CN Tower
    CN Tower
    The CN Tower is a communications and observation tower in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Standing tall, it was completed in 1976, becoming the world's tallest free-standing structure and world's tallest tower at the time. It held both records for 34 years until the completion of the Burj...

     in Toronto, which still keeps its original name but was divested by the railway company in the mid 1990s. All proceeds from such sales were used to pay down CN's accumulated debt. At the time of their divestitures, all of these subsidiaries required considerable subsidies, which partly explained CN's financial problems prior to recapitalization.

    CN also was given free rein by the federal government following deregulation of the railway industry in the 1970s, as well as in 1987, when railway companies began to make tough business decisions by removing themselves from operating money-losing branch lines. In CN's case, some of these branch lines were those it had been forced to absorb through federal government policies and outright patronage, while others were from the heady expansion era of rural branchlines in the 1920s and early 1930s and were considered obsolete following the development of local road networks.

    During the period starting in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, thousands of kilometres of railway lines were abandoned, including the complete track networks in Newfoundland
    Newfoundland and Labrador
    Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

     (CN subsidiary Terra Transport
    Terra Transport
    Terra Transport was the name for the Newfoundland Transportation Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway , created in 1979 as a means to organize the company's operations on the island of Newfoundland.-Background:...

    , the former Newfoundland Railway
    Newfoundland Railway
    The Newfoundland Railway was a railway which operated on the island of Newfoundland from 1898 to 1988. With a total track length of , it was the longest narrow gauge railway system in North America.-Early construction:...

     ended railway freight operations and mixed freight-passenger trains in 1988. Mainline Passenger rail service in Newfoundland ended in 1969.) and Prince Edward Island
    Prince Edward Island
    Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

     (the former PEIR
    Prince Edward Island Railway
    The Prince Edward Island Railway was a historic Canadian railway.-Construction:Located wholly within the province of Prince Edward Island, construction of the PEIR started in 1871, financed by the United Kingdom...

    ), as well as numerous branch lines in Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

    , New Brunswick
    New Brunswick
    New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

    , Southern Ontario
    Southern Ontario
    Southern Ontario is a region of the province of Ontario, Canada that lies south of the French River and Algonquin Park. Depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts, its surface area would cover between 14 to 15% of the province. It is the southernmost region of...

    , throughout the Prairie
    Prairie
    Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

     provinces, in the British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

     interior, and on Vancouver Island
    Vancouver Island
    Vancouver Island is a large island in British Columbia, Canada. It is one of several North American locations named after George Vancouver, the British Royal Navy officer who explored the Pacific Northwest coast of North America between 1791 and 1794...

    . Virtually every rural area served by CN in some form was affected, creating resentment for the company and the federal government. Many of these now-abandoned rights-of-way
    Right-of-way (railroad)
    A right-of-way is a strip of land that is granted, through an easement or other mechanism, for transportation purposes, such as for a trail, driveway, rail line or highway. A right-of-way is reserved for the purposes of maintenance or expansion of existing services with the right-of-way...

     were divested by CN and the federal government and have since been converted into recreational trails
    Rail trail
    A rail trail is the conversion of a disused railway easement into a multi-use path, typically for walking, cycling and sometimes horse riding. The characteristics of former tracks—flat, long, frequently running through historical areas—are appealing for various development. The term sometimes also...

     by local municipalities and provincial governments.

    CN's U.S. subsidiaries prior to privatization


    CN's railway network in the late 1980s consisted of the company's Canadian trackage, along with the following U.S. subsidiary lines: Grand Trunk Western Railroad
    Grand Trunk Western Railroad
    The Grand Trunk Western Railroad is an important subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway , constituting the majority of CN's Chicago Division ....

     (GTW) operating in Michigan
    Michigan
    Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

    , Indiana
    Indiana
    Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

    , and Illinois
    Illinois
    Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

    ; Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
    Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
    The Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad was a railroad that operated between its namesake cities of Detroit, Michigan and Ironton, Ohio via Toledo between 1905 and 1983.-Early history:...

     (DTI) operating in Michigan
    Michigan
    Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

     and Ohio
    Ohio
    Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

    ; Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
    Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
    The Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway is a subsidiary railroad of Canadian National Railway operating in northern Minnesota, United States. A CN system-wide rebranding beginning in 1995 has seen the DWP logo and name largely replaced by its parent company...

     (DWP) operating in Minnesota
    Minnesota
    Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

    ; Central Vermont Railway
    Central Vermont Railway
    The Central Vermont Railway was a railroad that operated in the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, as well as the Canadian province of Quebec....

     (CV) operating down the Connecticut River
    Connecticut River
    The Connecticut River is the largest and longest river in New England, and also an American Heritage River. It flows roughly south, starting from the Fourth Connecticut Lake in New Hampshire. After flowing through the remaining Connecticut Lakes and Lake Francis, it defines the border between the...

     valley from Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

     to Long Island Sound
    Long Island Sound
    Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the United States between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, New York to the south. The mouth of the Connecticut River at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, empties into the sound. On its western end the sound is bounded by the Bronx...

    ; and a former GT line to Portland, Maine
    Portland, Maine
    Portland is the largest city in Maine and is the county seat of Cumberland County. The 2010 city population was 66,194, growing 3 percent since the census of 2000...

    , known informally as the Grand Trunk Eastern, sold to a short-line operator in 1989.

    The US subsidiaries kept their identities due to their ownership. Technically, foreign governments were not allowed to own railroads in the US. However, a railroad owned by another railroad was allowed to operate, even if that "other railroad" was owned by a foreign government.

    Privatization


    In 1992 a new management team led by ex-federal government bureaucrats, Paul Tellier
    Paul Tellier
    Paul Mathias Tellier, PC, CC is a Canadian businessman and former public servant. Born in Joliette, Quebec, Tellier was educated at Laval University and the University of Oxford.- Biography :Tellier entered Canada's civil service in the 1970s...

     and Michael Sabia
    Michael Sabia
    Michael John Sabia, is a Canadian businessman. He is the current CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. Sabia formerly served as CEO of Bell Canada from 2002 through 2008.-Personal life:...

    , started preparing CN for privatization
    Privatization
    Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

     by emphasizing increased productivity. This was achieved largely through aggressive cuts to the company's bloated and inefficient management structure, widescale layoffs in its workforce and continued abandonment or sale of its branch lines. In 1993 and 1994 the company experimented with a rebranding that saw the names CN, Grand Trunk Western, and Duluth, Winnipeg, and Pacific replaced under a collective CN North America moniker. During this time, CPR and CN entered into negotiations regarding a possible merger of the two companies. This was later rejected by the federal government, whereby CPR offered to purchase outright all of CN's lines from Ontario to Nova Scotia, while an unidentified U.S. railroad (rumoured to have been Burlington Northern Railroad
    Burlington Northern Railroad
    The Burlington Northern Railroad was a United States-based railroad company formed from a merger of four major U.S. railroads. Burlington Northern operated between 1970 and 1996....

    ) would purchase CN's lines in western Canada. This too was rejected. In 1995, the entire company including its U.S. subsidiaries reverted to using CN exclusively.

    The CN Commercialization Act was enacted into law on July 13, 1995, and by November 28, 1995, the federal government had completed an initial public offering
    Initial public offering
    An initial public offering or stock market launch, is the first sale of stock by a private company to the public. It can be used by either small or large companies to raise expansion capital and become publicly traded enterprises...

     (IPO) and transferred all of its shares to private investors. Two key prohibitions in this legislation include, 1) that no individual or corporate shareholder may own more than 15% of CN, and 2) that the company's headquarters must remain in Montreal
    Montreal
    Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

    , thus maintaining CN as a Canadian corporation.

    Retraction and expansion since privatization



    Following the successful IPO, CN has recorded impressive gains in its stock price, largely through an aggressive network rationalization and purchase of newer more fuel-efficient locomotives. Numerous branch lines were shed during the late 1990s across Canada, resulting in dozens of independent short line railway companies being established to operate former CN track that had been considered marginal. This network rationalization resulted in a core east-west freight railway stretching from Halifax to Chicago and Toronto to Vancouver and Prince Rupert. The railway also operated trains from Winnipeg to Chicago using trackage rights for part of the route south of Duluth.

    In addition to the retraction in Canada, the company also expanded in a strategic north-south direction in the central United States. In 1998, during an era of mergers in the U.S. railway industry, CN purchased the Illinois Central Railroad
    Illinois Central Railroad
    The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

     (IC), which connected the already existing lines from Vancouver
    Vancouver
    Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

    , British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

     to Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

     with a line running from Chicago, Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

    . This single purchase of IC transformed CN's entire corporate focus from being an east-west uniting presence within Canada (sometimes to the detriment of logical business models) into a north-south NAFTA railway (in reference to the North American Free Trade Agreement
    North American Free Trade Agreement
    The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement...

    ). CN is now feeding Canadian raw material exports into the U.S. heartland and beyond to Mexico through a strategic alliance with Kansas City Southern Railway
    Kansas City Southern Railway
    The Kansas City Southern Railway , owned by Kansas City Southern Industries, is the smallest and second-oldest Class I railroad company still in operation. KCS was founded in 1887 and is currently operating in a region consisting of ten central U.S. states...

     (KCS).

    In 1999, CN and BNSF, the second largest rail system in the U.S., announced their intent to merge, forming a new corporate entity North American Railways, headquartered in Montreal
    Montreal
    Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

     to conform to the CN Commercialization Act of 1995. The merger announcement by CN's Paul Tellier
    Paul Tellier
    Paul Mathias Tellier, PC, CC is a Canadian businessman and former public servant. Born in Joliette, Quebec, Tellier was educated at Laval University and the University of Oxford.- Biography :Tellier entered Canada's civil service in the 1970s...

     and BNSF's Robert Krebs
    Robert Krebs
    Robert D. Krebs has headed three major United States railroads in succession, leading the Southern Pacific when it was acquired by Santa Fe Industries, rising to lead the resulting Santa Fe Pacific Corporation, and finally being chosen to head the new Burlington Northern Santa Fe when Santa Fe...

     was greeted with skepticism by the U.S. government's Surface Transportation Board
    Surface Transportation Board
    The Surface Transportation Board of the United States is a bipartisan, decisionally-independent adjudicatory body organizationally housed within the U.S. Department of Transportation. The STB was established in 1996 to assume some of the regulatory functions that had been administered by the...

     (STB), and protested by other major North American rail companies, namely Canadian Pacific Railway
    Canadian Pacific Railway
    The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

     (CPR) and Union Pacific Railroad
    Union Pacific Railroad
    The Union Pacific Railroad , headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States. James R. Young is president, CEO and Chairman....

     (UP). Rail customers also denounced the proposed merger, following the confusion and poor service sustained in southeastern Texas
    Texas
    Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

     in 1998 following UP's purchase of Southern Pacific Railroad
    Southern Pacific Railroad
    The Southern Pacific Transportation Company , earlier Southern Pacific Railroad and Southern Pacific Company, and usually simply called the Southern Pacific or Espee, was an American railroad....

     (SP). In response to the rail industry, shippers, and political pressure, the STB placed a 15-month moratorium on all rail industry mergers, effectively scuttling CN-BNSF plans. Both companies dropped their merger applications and have never refiled. The roadblock dates back to the Carnegie era "robber barons" when the concept of "anti-trust" was born. Therefore, when it comes to railroad mergers, the federal government is more rigid than usual.
    After the STB moratorium expired, CN purchased Wisconsin Central (WC) in 2001, which allowed the company's rail network to encircle Lake Michigan
    Lake Michigan
    Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

     and Lake Superior
    Lake Superior
    Lake Superior is the largest of the five traditionally-demarcated Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is the largest freshwater lake in the...

    , permitting more efficient connections from Chicago to western Canada
    Western Canada
    Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

    . The deal also included Canadian WC subsidiary Algoma Central Railway
    Algoma Central Railway
    The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

     (ACR), giving access to Sault Ste. Marie
    Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
    Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Marys River in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with a population of 74,948. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means "jump" or "rapids" in...

     and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The purchase of Wisconsin Central also made CN the owner of EWS, the principal freight train operator in the United Kingdom.

    On May 13, 2003, the provincial government of British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

     announced that the provincial Crown corporation, BC Rail (BCR), would be sold with the winning bidder receiving BCR's surface operating assets (locomotives, cars, and service facilities). The provincial government is retaining ownership of the tracks and right-of-way. On November 25, 2003, it was announced that CN's bid of $1 billion CAD would be accepted over those of CPR
    Canadian Pacific Railway
    The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

     and several U.S. companies. The transaction was closed effective July 15, 2004. Many opponents – including CPR – accused the government and CN of rigging the bidding process, though this has been denied by the government. Documents relating to the case are under court seal, as they are connected to a parallel marijuana grow-op investigation connected with two senior government aides also involved in the sale of BC Rail.

    Also contested was the economic stimulus package the government gave cities along the BC Rail route. Some saw it as a buy-off to get the municipalities to cooperate with the lease, though the government asserted that the package was intended to promote economic development along the corridor. Passenger service along the route had been ended by BC Rail a few years earlier due to ongoing losses resulting from deteriorating service. The canceled passenger service has recently been replaced by a blue-plate tourist service, the Rocky Mountaineer
    Rocky Mountaineer
    Rocky Mountaineer is a Canadian tour company offering Western Canadian vacation packages that operates trains on four rail routes through British Columbia and Alberta.-Background:...

    , with fares well over double what the BCR coach fares had been.

    CN also announced in October 2003 an agreement to purchase Great Lakes Transportation
    Great Lakes Transportation
    Great Lakes Transportation LLC is a group of transportation related companies primarily consisting of rail and water carriers catering to the needs of the steel making industry centered around the Great Lakes of North America...

     (GLT), a holding company owned by Blackstone Group for $380 million USD. GLT was the owner of Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
    Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
    The Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway is a railroad operating in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin that hauls iron ore and later taconite to the Great Lakes ports of Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota...

    , and the Pittsburgh & Conneaut Dock Company. The key instigator for the deal was the fact that since the Wisconsin Central purchase, CN was required to use Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
    Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
    The Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway is a railroad operating in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin that hauls iron ore and later taconite to the Great Lakes ports of Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota...

     trackage rights for a short 17 km (11 mi) "gap" that existed near Duluth, Minnesota
    Duluth, Minnesota
    Duluth is a port city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and is the county seat of Saint Louis County. The fourth largest city in Minnesota, Duluth had a total population of 86,265 in the 2010 census. Duluth is also the second largest city that is located on Lake Superior after Thunder Bay, Ontario,...

     on the route between Chicago and Winnipeg. To purchase this short section, CN was told by GLT that it would have to purchase the entire company. Also included in GLT's portfolio were 8 Great Lakes vessels for transporting bulk commodities such as coal and iron ore as well as various port facilities. Following Surface Transportation Board approval for the transaction, CN completed the purchase of GLT on May 10, 2004.
    On December 24, 2008, the STB approved CN's purchase for $300 million of the principal lines of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E) (reporting mark EJE) from US Steel Corp originally announced on September 27, 2007. The STB's decision was to become effective on Jan. 23, 2009, with a closure of the transaction shortly thereafter. The EJ&E lines create a bypass around the western side of heavily congested Chicago-area rail hub and its conversion to use for mainline freight traffic is expected to alleviate substantial bottlenecks for both regional and intercontinental rail traffic subject to lengthy delays entering and exiting Chicago freight yards. The purchase of the lightly used EJ&E corridor was positioned by CN as a boon not only for its own business but for the efficiency of the entire US rail system.

    CN today


    Since the company operates in two countries, CN maintains some corporate distinction by having its U.S. lines incorporated under the Grand Trunk Corporation
    Grand Trunk Corporation
    The Grand Trunk Corporation is the subsidiary holding company for the Canadian National Railway's properties in the United States. It is named for the former Grand Trunk Railway, which CN absorbed in the early 1920s...

     for legal purposes, however the entire company in both Canada and the U.S. operates under CN, as can be seen in its locomotive and rail car repainting programs.

    Since the Illinois Central purchase in 1998 CN has been increasingly focused on running a "scheduled freight railroad/railway", meeting on-time performance with rail industry-leading consistency. This has resulted in improved shipper relations, as well as reduced the need for maintaining pools of surplus locomotives and freight cars. CN has also undertaken a rationalization of its existing track network by removing double track sections in some areas and extending passing sidings in other areas.

    CN is also a rail industry leader in the employment of radio-control (R/C) for switching locomotives in yards, resulting in reductions to the number of yard workers required. CN has frequently been touted in recent years within North American rail industry circles as being the most-improved railroad in terms of productivity and the lowering of its operating ratio
    Operating ratio
    The operating ratio is a financial term defined as a company's operating expenses as a percentage of revenue. This financial ratio is most commonly used for industries which require a large percentage of revenues to maintain operations, such as railroads. In railroading, an operating ratio of 80...

    , acknowledging the fact that the company is becoming increasingly profitable. Due to the rising popularity of ethanol, shuttle trains, and mineral commodities, CN Rail Service is increasing in popularity.

    Recent controversies


    In December 1999 the Ultratrain, a petroleum products unit train linking the Levis (Quebec) Ultramar
    Ultramar
    Ultramar is a Canadian oil refining and marketing company formerly known as Golden Eagle or Aigle d'or. Its head office is in Montreal...

     oil refinery with a petroleum depot in Montreal, exploded when it derailed and collided with a freight train travelling in the opposite direction between Sainte-Madeleine and Saint-Hilaire-Est, south of Montreal, killing the crew of the freight train. The train derailed at a broken rail caused by a defective weld; the report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada called into question CN's quality assurance program for rail welds as well as the lack of detection equipment for defective wheels. In memory of the dead crewmen, two new stations on the line have been named after them (Davis and Thériault).

    About 9:04 a.m. central standard time on February 9, 2003, northbound Canadian National freight train M33371 derailed 22 of its 108 cars in Tamaroa, Illinois. Four of the derailed cars released methanol, and the methanol from two of these four cars fueled a fire. Other derailed cars contained phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, and vinyl chloride. Two cars containing hydrochloric acid, one car containing formaldehyde, and one car containing vinyl chloride released product but were not involved in the fire. About 850 residents were evacuated from the area within a 3 miles (4.8 km) radius of the derailment, which included the entire village of Tamaroa. Improper placement of bond wire welds on the head of the rail just outside the joint bars, where untempered martensite associated with the welds led to fatigue and subsequent cracking that, because of increased stresses associated with known soft ballast conditions, rapidly progressed to rail failure.

    On May 14, 2003, a trestle collapsed under the weight of a freight train near McBride, B.C., killing both crew members. Both men had been disciplined earlier for refusing to take another train on the same bridge, claiming it was unsafe. It was revealed that as far back as 1999, several bridge components had been reported as rotten, yet no repairs had been ordered by management. Eventually, the disciplinary records of both crewmen were amended posthumously.

    Controversy arose again in Canadian political circles in 2003 following the company's decision to refer solely to its acronym "CN" and not "Canadian National", a move some interpret as being an attempt to distance the company from references to "Canada". Canada's Minister of Transport at the time called this policy move "obscene" after nationalists
    Nationalism
    Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

     noted it could be argued the company is no longer Canadian, being primarily owned by American stockholders. The controversy is somewhat tempered by the fact that a majority of large corporations are being increasingly referred to by acronyms. Despite this, the company is still legally called the Canadian National Railway.

    In March 2004 a strike by the Canadian Auto Workers
    Canadian Auto Workers
    The Canadian Auto Workers is one of Canada's largest and highest profile social unions. While rooted in Ontario's large auto plants of Windsor, Brampton, Oakville, St...

     union showed deep-rooted divisions between organized labour and the company's current management.

    The residents of Wabamun Lake
    Wabamun Lake
    Wabamun Lake is one of the most heavily used lakes in Alberta, Canada. It lies west of Edmonton, Alberta. It is long and narrow, covers and is 11 meters deep at its deepest, with somewhat clear water....

    , in Alberta
    Alberta
    Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

    , staged a blockade of CN tracks in August 2005, when they were unsatisfied with CN's response to a derailment catastrophe that spilled over 700,000 Litres of tarry fuel oil and about 80,000 L of carcinogenic pole treatment oil into the lake. Reporters found pre-spill evidence, and CN executives admitted, that CN failed to provide public safety information to prevent public exposure to carcinogenic, toxic chemicals. The tar-like oil and chemicals killed well over 500 large migratory birds, many animals, fish and other aquatic life. It will take many years for the lake to recover.

    On August 5, 2005, a CN train had nine cars derail on a bridge over the Cheakamus River
    Cheakamus River
    The Cheakamus River is a tributary of the Squamish River, beginning on the west slopes of Outlier Peak in Garibaldi Provincial Park upstream from Cheakamus Lake on the southeastern outskirts of the resort area of Whistler. The river flows into Cheakamus Lake before exiting it and flowing...

    , causing 41000 litres (10,831.1 US gal) of caustic soda to spill into the river, killing thousands of fish by caustic burns and asphixiation. The CBC reported evironmental experts say that it would take the river 50 years or more to recover from the toxic pollution. The Cheakamus River used to have a vibrant fishing tourism industry, which now faces an uncertain future. CN is facing accusations from local British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

    ns over the rail line's supposed lack of response to this issue, touted as the worst chemical spill in British Columbia's history.

    Transport Canada
    Transport Canada
    Transport Canada is the department within the government of Canada which is responsible for developing regulations, policies and services of transportation in Canada. It is part of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities portfolio...

     has restricted CN to trains not exceeding 80 car lengths because of the multiple derailments on the former BCR line north from Squamish
    Squamish, British Columbia
    Squamish is a community and a district municipality in the Canadian province of British Columbia, located at the north end of Howe Sound on the Sea to Sky Highway...

    . CN had been allegedly running trains in excess of 150 cars on this winding and mountainous section of track.

    A further derailment at Moran, twenty miles (32 km) north of Lillooet
    Lillooet, British Columbia
    Lillooet is a community on the Fraser River in western Canada, about up the British Columbia Railway line from Vancouver. Situated at an intersection of deep gorges in the lee of the Coast Mountains, it has a dry climate- of precipitation is recorded annually at the town's weather station,...

    , on June 30, 2006, has raised more questions about CN's safety policies. Two more derailments, days apart, near Lytton
    Lytton, British Columbia
    Lytton in British Columbia, Canada, sits at the confluence of the Thompson River and Fraser River on the east side of the Fraser. The location has been inhabited by the Nlaka'pamux people for over 10,000 years, and is one of the earliest locations settled by non-natives in the Southern Interior of...

     in August 2006 have continued criticism. In the first case, 20 coal cars of a CPR train using a CN bridge derailed, dumping 12 cars of coal into the Thompson River
    Thompson River
    The Thompson River is the largest tributary of the Fraser River, flowing through the south-central portion of British Columbia, Canada. The Thompson River has two main branches called the South Thompson and the North Thompson...

    . In the second case half a dozen grain cars spilled on a CN train.

    Two CN trains collided on August 4, 2007, on the banks of the Fraser River near Prince George, BC
    Prince George, British Columbia
    Prince George, with a population of 71,030 , is the largest city in northern British Columbia, Canada, and is known as "BC's Northern Capital"...

    . Several cars carrying gasoline, diesel and lumber burst into flames. Water bombers were used to help put out the fires. Some fuel had seeped into the Fraser River.

    On December 4, 2007, a CN train derailed near Edmonton
    Edmonton
    Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

     in Strathcona County, Alberta
    Alberta
    Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

    , at 3:30 a.m Mountain Standard Time
    Mountain Time Zone
    The Mountain Time Zone of North America keeps time by subtracting seven hours from Coordinated Universal Time, also known as Greenwich Mean Time, during the shortest days of autumn and winter , and by subtracting six hours during daylight saving time in the spring, summer, and early autumn...

    . Of the 28 cars derailed, most of them were empty or carrying non-hazardous materials such as lumber or pipes.

    A "culture of fear"


    In response to such high-profile derailments, the federal minister of transportation created an advisory panel to review the Railway Safety Act in February 2007. The panel's report in March 2008 identified a culture of fear and discipline at CN in particular that undermines the safety management system (SMS) that was introduced in 2001 to give rail companies more responsibility over safety.

    "CN's strict adherence to a rules-based approach, focused largely on disciplinary actions when mistakes are made, has instilled a ‘culture of fear and discipline’ and is counter to an effective safety management system. CN needs to acknowledge this openly and take concrete steps to improve," stated the panel.

    The goal of the safety management system was to move away from a compliance approach and toward a proactive approach in which companies assess and mitigate risks on their own initiative. The concept as applied to railways was born during the 1994 review of the Railway Safety Act and amendments to act were introduced in 1999 that added requirements for railway companies to develop and implement safety management systems.

    "The key for railway companies was to become more proactive, to refine their abilities to identify hazards, and to assess and mitigate risks. The need for companies to build a safety consciousness into their day-to-day operations was of paramount importance. This represented a shift from the traditional reactive approach of considering what had happened in a post-accident environment", stated the panel's report.

    The effectiveness of SMS depends on the safety culture within the organization. That's defined as a culture where safety is entrenched in the thinking of managers and employees alike, where open communication allows comparison and improvement of ongoing practices. It also depends on employee involvement, who can be "a company's prime source of information for the identification of hazards and assessment of mitigation strategies."

    However, the panel heard "...from many railway employees who felt neither involved nor informed about their company's safety management system. Rather, employees often described their organizational culture in such a way that the Panel could not reconcile it with an effective safety culture."

    The panel cited the example of passenger rail company Via Rail
    VIA Rail
    Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

     to illustrate a safety culture needed for SMS. Via's implementation of SMS is successful because the company makes safety management important to all employees. While there are certain cardinal rules that lead to disciplinary action if broken, Via also has processes to build openness and trust between managers and employees. "For instance, employees are observed at regular cycles, and corrective coaching takes place immediately when errors are observed," the panel report noted.

    In contrast, CN manages safety through an "antecedent, behaviour and consequences" process, which the panel said is based on a traditional rule and discipline model. It quoted United Transportation Union
    United Transportation Union
    The United Transportation Union is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. It is a broad-based, transportation labor union representing about 125,000 active and retired railroad, bus, mass transit, and airline workers in the United States....

     leader Sylvia Leblanc's description of CN's attitude towards safety as one that "seems to be ‘blame and punish’ instead of ‘educate and correct.’ Frequently, employees involved in accidents… are simply blamed for errors without followup or root cause investigation. They are then punished without any other corrective action taken on the part of the railway to prevent reoccurrences."

    A management culture that relies on discipline, or threat of discipline, to enforce rules has "a tendency to instil fear, and to stifle employee participation and reporting," the panel report stated. "A significant mistrust of management develops. People stop communicating — and that can have a detrimental impact on safety."

    Members of the Board


    David G. A. McLean, O.B.C., LL.D.
    Chairman of the Board
    Canadian National Railway Company
    Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
    The McLean Group
    Vancouver, BC
    Committees: 2, 3(C), 4, 6, 7, 8

    Michael Ralph Armellino, CFA
    Retired Partner
    The Goldman Sachs Group, LP
    Fort Lee, New Jersey
    Committees: 2, 5, 6, 7(C), 8

    A. Charles Baillie, O.C., LL.D.
    Former Chairman and CEO
    The Toronto-Dominion Bank
    Toronto, ON
    Committees: 2(C), 3, 6, 7, 8

    Hugh J. Bolton, FCA
    Chairman of the Board
    EPCOR Utilities Inc.
    Edmonton, AB
    Committees: 1, 5, 6, 7, 8

    Donald J. Carty, O.C., LL.D.
    Retired Vice-Chairman and Chief Financial Officer
    Dell, Inc.
    Dallas, TX
    Committees: 1, 2, 3, 7

    Ambassador Gordon D. Giffin
    Senior Partner
    McKenna, Long & Aldridge
    Atlanta, GA
    Committees: 2, 4, 5, 7, 8
    Edith E. Holiday
    Corporate Director and Trustee,
    Former General Counsel,
    United States Treasury Department
    and Secretary of the Cabinet
    The White House
    Washington, D.C.
    Committees: 2, 3, 6, 7, 8

    V. Maureen Kempston Darkes, O.C., D. Comm., LL.D.
    Retired Group Vice-President
    General Motors Corporation
    and President
    GM Latin America,
    Africa and Middle East
    Miramar, FL
    Committees: 1, 5(C), 6, 7, 8

    The Honourable Denis Losier, P.C., LL.D.
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Assumption Life
    Moncton, NB
    Committees: 1(C), 4, 5, 6, 7

    The Honourable Edward C. Lumley, P.C., LL.D.
    Vice-Chairman
    BMO Capital Markets
    South Lancaster, ON
    Committees: 2, 3, 6, 7, 8(C)

    Claude Mongeau
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Canadian National Railway Company
    Montreal, QC
    Committees: 4(C), 7

    James E. O'Connor
    Former Chairman and CEO
    Republic Services, Inc.
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Committees: 1, 2, 5, 7

    Robert Pace
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    The Pace Group
    Halifax, NS
    Committees: 1, 3, 6(C), 7, 8
    Committees:
    1.Audit
    2.Finance
    3.Corporate Governance and Nominating
    4.Donations and Sponsorships
    5.Environment, Safety and Security
    6.Human Resources and Compensation
    7.Strategic Planning
    8.Investment Committee of CN's Pension Trust Funds
    (C) denotes chairman of the committee
    ..

    Heads of CNR

    • Henry Thornton
      Henry Thornton (railway manager)
      Also in 1894, Thornton began his career in the railroad business, entering as a draftsman of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He was based in the Pittsburgh office. He was promoted to supervisory engineer in 1899 and District Superintendent in 1901. As he climbed rapidly through the PRR hierarchy, he...

       1922-1932 as President
    • David G. A. McLean 1994–present as Chair

    Passenger trains


    When CNR was first created, it inherited a large number of routes from its constituent railways, but eventually pieced its passenger network into one coherent network. For example, on December 3, 1920, CNR inaugurated the Continental Limited, which operated over four of its predecessors, as well as the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway. The 1920s saw growth in passenger travel, and CNR inaugurated several new routes and introduced new services, such as radio, on its trains.

    The growth in passenger travel ended with the Great Depression
    Great Depression
    The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

    , which lasted between 1929 and 1939, but picked up somewhat during World War II. By the end of World War II, many of CNR's passenger cars were old and worn down. Accidents at Dugald, Manitoba, in 1947 and Canoe River, British Columbia
    Canoe River train crash
    The Canoe River train crash occurred on November 21, 1950, near Valemount in eastern British Columbia, Canada, when a westbound troop train and the eastbound Canadian National Railway Continental Limited collided head-on...

    , in 1950, wherein extra passenger trains composed of older, wooden equipment collided with transcontinental passenger trains composed of newer, all-steel equipment, demonstrated the dangers inherent in the older cars. In 1953, CNR ordered 359 lightweight passenger cars, allowing them to re-equip their major routes.

    On April 24, 1955, the same day that the CPR introduced its transcontinental train The Canadian
    The Canadian
    The Canadian is a Canadian transcontinental passenger train originally operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1955 and 1978. It is currently operated as an Inter-city rail service by Via Rail Canada with service between Union Station in Toronto, Ontario and Pacific Central Station in...

    , CNR introduced its own new transcontinental passenger train, the Super Continental
    Super Continental
    The Super Continental was a transcontinental Canadian passenger train operated originally by the Canadian National Railway beginning in 1955 and subsequently by Via Rail from 1977 until its cancellation in 1981. Service was restored in 1985 but was again eliminated in 1990...

    , which used new streamlined rolling stock. However, the Super Continental was never considered as glamourous as the Canadian. For example, it did not include dome car
    Dome car
    A dome car is a type of railway passenger car that has a glass dome on the top of the car where passengers can ride and see in all directions around the train. It also can include features of a coach, lounge car, dining car or observation...

    s. Dome cars would be added in the early 1960s with the purchase of six former Milwaukee Road "Super Domes". They were used on the Super Continental during the summer tourist season.

    Rail passenger traffic in Canada declined significantly between World War II and 1960 due to automobile
    Automobile
    An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

    s and airplane
    Fixed-wing aircraft
    A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

    s. In the 1960s, CN's privately owned rival CPR reduced its passenger services significantly. However, the government-owned CN continued much of its passenger services and marketed new schemes, such as the "red, white and blue" fare structure, to bring passengers back to rail, and by branding express trains in the Ontario–Quebec corridor with the Rapido label.

    In 1968, CN introduced a new high-speed train, the United Aircraft
    United Aircraft and Transport Corporation
    The United Aircraft and Transport Corporation was formed in 1929, when William Boeing of the Boeing firms teamed up with Frederick Rentschler of Pratt & Whitney to form a large, amalgamated firm, uniting business interests in all aspects of aviation—a combination of aircraft engine and airframe...

     Turbo
    Turbo (train)
    The UAC TurboTrain was an early high-speed, gas turbine train manufactured by United Aircraft Corporation that operated in Canada between 1968 and 1984 and in the United States between 1968 and 1976...

    , which was powered by gas turbine
    Gas turbine
    A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between....

    s instead of diesel engine
    Diesel engine
    A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

    s. It made the trip between Toronto and Montreal in four hours, but was not entirely successful because it was somewhat uneconomical and not always reliable. The trainsets were retired in 1982 and later scrapped at Naporano Iron and Metal in New Jersey.

    In 1976, CN created an entity called Via-CN as a separate operating unit for its passenger services. Via evolved into a coordinated marketing effort with CP Rail for rail passenger services, and later into a separate Crown corporation responsible for inter-city passenger services in Canada. Via Rail
    VIA Rail
    Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

     took over CN's passenger services on April 1, 1978. CN continued to fund its commuter rail services in Montreal until 1982, when the Montreal Urban Community Transit Commission
    Société de transport de Montréal
    The Société de transport de Montréal is a public transport agency that operates transit bus, and rapid transit services in Montreal, Quebec, Canada...

     (MUCTC) assumed financial responsibility for them; operation was contracted out to CN, which eventually spun off a separate subsidiary, Montrain
    Montrain
    Montrain is a Canadian National Railway subsidiary responsible for the operation of the Agence métropolitaine de transport's Montreal/Deux-Montagnes and Montreal/Mont-Saint-Hilaire commuter train lines using CN trackage....

    , for this purpose. When the Montreal–Deux-Montagnes line was completely rebuilt in 1994–1995, the new rolling stock came under the ownership of the MUCTC
    Société de transport de Montréal
    The Société de transport de Montréal is a public transport agency that operates transit bus, and rapid transit services in Montreal, Quebec, Canada...

    , until a separate government agency, the Agence métropolitaine de transport
    Agence métropolitaine de transport
    The Agence métropolitaine de transport is the umbrella organization that plans, integrates, and coordinates public transportation services across Canada's Greater Montreal Region, including the Island of Montreal, Laval , and communities along both the North Shore of the Rivière des Mille-Îles...

     (AMT), was set up to consolidate all suburban transit administration around Montreal. Since then, suburban service
    Commuter rail in North America
    Commuter rail services in the United States, Canada, and Mexico provide common carrier passenger transportation along railway tracks, with scheduled service on fixed routes on a non-reservation basis primarily for short-distance travel between a central business district and adjacent suburbs and...

     has resumed to Saint-Hilaire.

    On CN's narrow gauge
    Narrow gauge
    A narrow gauge railway is a railway that has a track gauge narrower than the of standard gauge railways. Most existing narrow gauge railways have gauges of between and .- Overview :...

     lines in Newfoundland, CN also operated a main line passenger train that ran from St. John's to Port aux Basques called the Caribou. Nicknamed the Newfie Bullett, this train ran until June 1969. It was replaced by the CN Roadcruiser Buses. The CN Roadcruiser service was started in fall 1968 and was run in direct competition with the company's own passenger train. Travellers saw that the buses could travel between St. John's and Port aux Basques in 14 hours versus the train's 22 hours.

    With the demise of the Caribou in June 1969, the only passenger train service run by CN on the island were the mixed (freight and passenger) trains that ran on the Bonavista, Carbonear and Argentia branch lines. The only passenger service surviving on the main line was between Bishop's Falls and Corner Brook. Terra Transport
    Terra Transport
    Terra Transport was the name for the Newfoundland Transportation Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway , created in 1979 as a means to organize the company's operations on the island of Newfoundland.-Background:...

     would continue to operate the mixed train
    Mixed train
    A mixed train is a train that hauls both passenger and freight cars or wagons. In the early days of railways they were quite common, but by the 20th century they were largely confined to branch lines with little traffic. As the trains provided passengers with very slow service, mixed trains have...

    s on the branch lines until 1984. The main line run between Corner Brook and Bishop's Falls made its last run on September 30, 1988.

    Terra Transport/CN would run the Roadcruiser bus service until March 29, 1996. The Bus service was sold off to DRL Coachlines
    DRL Coachlines
    DRL Coachlines is a motor coach bus company operating in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.Wholly owned by DRL Group of Triton, NL, the bus company provided charter services before taking over CN Roadcruiser services on the island of Newfoundland in 1996.-Inter-city service:*...

     of Triton, Newfoundland.

    Since acquiring the Algoma Central Railway
    Algoma Central Railway
    The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

     in 2001, CN has operated passenger service between Sault Ste. Marie
    Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
    Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Marys River in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with a population of 74,948. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means "jump" or "rapids" in...

     and Hearst, Ontario
    Hearst, Ontario
    Hearst is a town in the Canadian province of Ontario. It is located in Northern Ontario, approximately west of Kapuskasing, approximately north of Toronto and east of Thunder Bay on Highway 11...

    . As well, CN operates the Agawa Canyon
    Agawa Canyon
    The Agawa Canyon is a shallow canyon located deep in the sparsely populated Algoma District in the Canadian province of Ontario. It was created 1.2 billion years ago by faulting along the Canadian Shield and then enlarged by the erosive action of the Agawa River...

     Tour excursion, an excursion that runs from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
    Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
    Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Marys River in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with a population of 74,948. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means "jump" or "rapids" in...

    , north to the Agawa Canyon
    Agawa Canyon
    The Agawa Canyon is a shallow canyon located deep in the sparsely populated Algoma District in the Canadian province of Ontario. It was created 1.2 billion years ago by faulting along the Canadian Shield and then enlarged by the erosive action of the Agawa River...

    . The canyon tour train consists of up to 28 passenger cars and 2 dining car
    Dining car
    A dining car or restaurant carriage , also diner, is a railroad passenger car that serves meals in the manner of a full-service, sit-down restaurant....

    s, the majority of which were built for CN by Canadian Car and Foundry in 1953–54. These cars were transferred to Via Rail
    VIA Rail
    Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

     in 1978 and bought by the Algoma Central Railway
    Algoma Central Railway
    The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

     in the 1990s. A "Snow Train" tour is also offered during the fall and winter season.

    Since CN acquired BC Rail in 2004, it has operated a railbus
    Railcar
    A railcar, in British English and Australian English, is a self-propelled railway vehicle designed to transport passengers. The term "railcar" is usually used in reference to a train consisting of a single coach , with a driver's cab at one or both ends. Some railways, e.g., the Great Western...

     service between Seton Portage and Lillooet, British Columbia
    Lillooet, British Columbia
    Lillooet is a community on the Fraser River in western Canada, about up the British Columbia Railway line from Vancouver. Situated at an intersection of deep gorges in the lee of the Coast Mountains, it has a dry climate- of precipitation is recorded annually at the town's weather station,...

    .

    CN crews used to operate commuter trains on behalf of GO Transit
    GO Transit
    GO Transit is an inter-regional public transit system in Southern Ontario, Canada. It primarily serves the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area conurbation, with operations extending to several communities beyond the GTHA proper in the Greater Golden Horseshoe...

     in the City of Toronto and the surrounding vicinity. This changed in 2008 when a deal was reached with Bombardier Transportation
    Bombardier Transportation
    Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

     that switched all CN crews for Bombardier crews.

    Steam


    The CNR acquired its first 4-8-4
    4-8-4
    Under the Whyte notation classification of steam locomotives, 4-8-4 represents the wheel arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and four trailing wheels on two axles .Other equivalent classifications are:UIC classification: 2D2...

     Confederation locomotives
    Confederation locomotive
    The Confederation type was a large locomotive type with a 4-8-4 wheel arrangement used on Canadian railroads. Most were built by the Montreal Locomotive Works in Montreal, Quebec, and the Canadian Locomotive Works in Kingston, Ontario, for the Canadian National Railway . The "Confederation"...

     in 1927. Over the next 20 years, it ordered over 200 for passenger and heavy freight service. The CNR also used several 4-8-2
    4-8-2
    Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 4-8-2 represents the wheel arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and two trailing wheels on one axle...

     Mountain locomotives, almost exclusively for passenger service. No. 6060, a streamlined 4-8-2, was the last CN steam locomotive, running in excursion service in the 1970s. CNR also used several 2-8-2
    2-8-2
    Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-8-2 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and two trailing wheels on one axle...

     Mikado locomotives.

    Electric



    CN inherited from the Canadian Northern Railway
    Canadian Northern Railway
    The Canadian Northern Railway is a historic Canadian transcontinental railway. At its demise in 1923, when it was merged into the Canadian National Railway , the CNoR owned a main line between Quebec City and Vancouver via Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.-Manitoba beginnings:CNoR had its start in...

     several box-cabs electric used through the Mount Royal Tunnel
    Mount Royal Tunnel
    The Mount Royal Tunnel is a railway tunnel located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It connects the city's Gare Centrale/Central Station, located downtown, with the north side of the Island of Montreal and Laval, passing through Mount Royal. Since 1995, the only trains using the tunnel are commuter...

    . Those were built between 1914 and 1918 by General Electric
    General Electric
    General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

     in Schenectady, New-York. To operate the new Montreal Central Station, which opened in 1943 and was to be kept smoke-free, they were supplemented by nearly identical locomotives from the National Harbour Board; those engines were built in 1924 by Beyer-Garratt and English-Electric. In 1950, three General Electric
    General Electric
    General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

     center-cab electric locomotives were added to the fleet. In 1952 Electric Multiple Unit
    Electric multiple unit
    An electric multiple unit or EMU is a multiple unit train consisting of self-propelled carriages, using electricity as the motive power. An EMU requires no separate locomotive, as electric traction motors are incorporated within one or a number of the carriages...

    s (EMUs) were also added. The EMUs were built by the Canadian Car and Foundry
    Canadian Car and Foundry
    Canadian Car and Foundry also variously known as "Canadian Car & Foundry," or more familiarly as "Can Car," manufactured buses, railroad rolling stock and later aircraft for the Canadian market...

     Company in Montreal.

    Electrification was restricted to Montreal, and went from Central Station to Saint-Lambert
    Saint-Lambert, Quebec
    Saint-Lambert is a Canadian city in the province of Quebec located opposite Montreal on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. Saint-Lambert was named for either the early French Canadian hunter Lambert Closse or for Roman Catholic Bishop Lambert of Maastricht...

     (south), Turcot (west), Montréal-Nord
    Montréal-Nord
    Montreal North is a borough of the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It consists entirely of the former city of Montréal-Nord on Island of Montreal in southwestern Quebec, Canada. It was amalgamated into the City of Montreal on January 1, 2002...

     (east) and Saint-Eustache-sur-le-lac, later renamed Deux-Montagnes
    Deux-Montagnes, Quebec
    Deux-Montagnes is a municipality in southwestern Quebec, Canada on the north shore of the Rivière des Mille Îles where it flows out of Lake of Two Mountains...

    , (north). But as steam locomotives gave way to diesels, engine changeovers were no longer necessary, and catenary was eventually pulled from the west, east and from the south. However until the end of the original electrification, CN's electric locomotives pulled Via Rail's
    VIA Rail
    Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

     trains, including its diesel electric locomotives, to and from Central Station.

    The last 2,400 V
    Volt
    The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

     DC
    Direct current
    Direct current is the unidirectional flow of electric charge. Direct current is produced by such sources as batteries, thermocouples, solar cells, and commutator-type electric machines of the dynamo type. Direct current may flow in a conductor such as a wire, but can also flow through...

     CN electric locomotive
    Electric locomotive
    An electric locomotive is a locomotive powered by electricity from overhead lines, a third rail or an on-board energy storage device...

     ran on June 6, 1995, the very same locomotive that pulled the inaugural train through the Mount Royal Tunnel
    Mount Royal Tunnel
    The Mount Royal Tunnel is a railway tunnel located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It connects the city's Gare Centrale/Central Station, located downtown, with the north side of the Island of Montreal and Laval, passing through Mount Royal. Since 1995, the only trains using the tunnel are commuter...

     back in 1918. Later in 1995 the AMT's
    Agence métropolitaine de transport
    The Agence métropolitaine de transport is the umbrella organization that plans, integrates, and coordinates public transportation services across Canada's Greater Montreal Region, including the Island of Montreal, Laval , and communities along both the North Shore of the Rivière des Mille-Îles...

     Electric Multiple Units began operating under 25 kV
    Volt
    The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

     AC
    Alternating current
    In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

     electrification.

    Diesel


    In 1929, the CNR made its first experiment with diesel electric locomotives
    Diesel locomotive
    A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

    , acquiring two from Westinghouse, numbered 9000 and 9001. It was the first North American railway to use diesels in mainline service. These early units proved the feasibility of the diesel concept, but were not always reliable. No. 9000 served until 1939, and No. 9001 until 1947. The difficulties of the Great Depression
    Great Depression
    The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

     precluded much further progress towards diesel locomotives. The CNR began its conversion to diesel locomotives after World War II, and had fully dieselized by 1960. Most of the CNR's first-generation diesel locomotives were made by General Motors Diesel
    General Motors Diesel
    General Motors Diesel was a Canadian railway diesel locomotive manufacturer.-History:General Motors Diesel, Limited, was created in 1949 as the Canadian subsidiary of the Electro Motive Division of General Motors located in the United States...

     (GMD) and Montreal Locomotive Works
    Montreal Locomotive Works
    Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

    .

    For its narrow-gauge lines in Newfoundland CN acquired from GMD the 900 series, Models NF110 (road numbers 900-908) and NF210 (road numbers 909-946). For use on the branch lines, CN purchased the EMD G8
    EMD G8
    The EMD G8 was a General Motors-built diesel locomotive of which 382 were built between 1954 and 1965 for both export and domestic use. They were built by both Electro-Motive Division in the United States and by General Motors Diesel Division in Canada for use in ten countries, being equipped to...

     (road numbers 800-805).

    For passenger service the CNR acquired GMD FP9
    EMD FP9
    The EMD FP9 was a , B-B dual-service passenger and freight-hauling diesel locomotive produced between February 1954 and December 1959 by General Motors Electro-Motive Division, and General Motors Diesel. Final assembly was at GM-EMD's La Grange, Illinois plant, except for Canadian orders, which...

     diesels, as well as CLC CPA16-5, ALCO MLW FPA-2
    ALCO FA
    The ALCO FA was a family of B-B diesel locomotives designed to haul freight trains. The locomotives were built by a partnership of ALCO and GE in Schenectady, New York, between January 1946 and May 1959. They were of a cab unit design, and both cab-equipped lead FA and cabless booster FB models...

     and FPA-4 diesels. These locomotives made up most of the CNR's passenger fleet, although CN also owned some 60 RailLiners (Budd Rail Diesel Car
    Budd Rail Diesel Car
    The Budd Rail Diesel Car, RDC or Buddliner is a self-propelled diesel multiple unit railcar. In the period 1949–62, 398 RDCs were built by the Budd Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States...

    s), some dual-purpose diesel freight locomotives (freight locomotives equipped with passenger train apparatus, such as steam generators) as well as the locomotives for the Turbo
    Turbo (train)
    The UAC TurboTrain was an early high-speed, gas turbine train manufactured by United Aircraft Corporation that operated in Canada between 1968 and 1984 and in the United States between 1968 and 1976...

     trainsets. Via acquired most of CN's passenger fleet when it took over CN passenger service in 1978.

    The CN fleet consists of 1548 locomotives, most of which are products of either General Motors' Electro-Motive Division (EMD), or General Electric/GE Transportation Systems. Some locomotives more than 30 years old remain in service.

    Much of the current roster is made up of EMD SD70I
    EMD SD70 series
    The EMD SD70 is a series of diesel-electric locomotives produced by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors beginning in 1992. Over 4000 locomotives in this series have been produced, mostly of the SD70M and SD70MAC models. All locomotives of this series are hood units with C-C trucks...

     and EMD SD75I
    EMD SD75I
    EMD SD75I is a diesel-electric locomotive produced by General Motors Electro-Motive Division .This unit is the same as the EMD SD75M, with , HTCR-II radial trucks and a frame. The only difference between the two models is the cab. The "I" in the model designation stands for Isolated cab, this type...

     locomotives and GE C44-9W
    GE Dash 9-44CW
    The GE C44-9W is a 4,400 hp diesel locomotive built by GE Transportation Systems of Erie, Pennsylvania. Keeping in tradition with GE's locomotive series nicknames beginning with the "Dash 7" of the 1970s, the C44-9W was dubbed the Dash 9 upon its debut in 1993. The design has since proven popular...

     locomotives. Recently acquired are the new EMD SD70M-2 and GE ES44DC.

    Beginning in the early summer months of 2010, CN purchased a small order of C40-8's and C40-8W's from UP and BNSF, respectively. The intent was to use them as a cheaper power alternative. CN has stayed firmly committed to conventional direct-current traction motors, instead of the new alternating-current motors being used by many railways in heavy-haul service.

    Comfort cab
    CN locomotives have long featured unique features, unlike the stock EMD and GE locomotives. CN introduced a wide-nosed four window Comfort Cab, the predecessor to the now standard North American Safety Cab, which is now standard on new North American freight locomotives.

    Ditch lights
    After a BC derailment, CN introduced ditch lights, lights mounted on or just below the anti-climbers on the front pilot of a locomotive. These are arranged in a "cross-eyed" configuration, to make trains more visible at grade-crossings, and to give better visibility around curves. Since then, ditch lights have become standard features on all North American locomotives.

    Class and Marker lights
    CN continued to use class lights on its locomotives for many years, up to as recently as the C40-8M and SD60F (which feature red, green and white class lights), and the first order C44-9WL locomotives which retained white class lights. More recently, CN has had red marker lights installed on their ES44DC and SD70M-2 locomotives, for use when the locomotives are in DPU service.

    Windshields
    CN's first few orders of ES44DC's, like their C44-9W's, feature "tear-drop" windshields, windshields with the outer lower corner dropped (like earlier SD70Is) as opposed to the standard rectangular GE windshield, to allow for better visibility.

    Headlights
    The first order of SD70M-2 locomotives had their headlights mounted on the cab, while the second order (8800 series) dropped the headlight to the nose, and also features added red marker lights mounted above the windshields on the cab.

    Control stands
    While many railroads have ordered new "desktop" controls, where the controls are arranged on a desk—CN returned earlier than most to the conventional control stand that most locomotive engineers prefer, which features a stand to the side of the engineer with controls that stick out horizontally. This arrangement makes reverse operation easier, and allows engineers to "put their feet up," without feeling stuck at a desk all day.

    Car body
    CN's General Motors SD50F, SD60F, and General Electric C40-8M feature a full-width car body that is tapered to allow for better rear visibility. This is referred to as a "Draper taper" after its creator. The first order of the GE C44-9 (2500–2522) was also initially an order for 18 locomotives with the full-width Draper Taper car body. They were changed to a standard long hood with a CN-style 4-window cab and the order was increased to 23 locomotives at the same price.

    Freight cars



    • Rotary gondola
    • Open hopper
      Hopper car
      A hopper car is a type of railroad freight car used to transport loose bulk commodities such as coal, ore, grain, track ballast, and the like. The name originated from the coke manufacturing industry which is part of the steel industry ....

    • Auto carrier
    • Tri-level auto carrier
      Autorack
      An autorack, also known as an auto carrier, is a specialized piece of railroad rolling stock used to transport automobiles and light trucks, generally from factories to automotive distributors...

    • Auto part
      Auto part
      This is a list of auto parts, which are manufactured components of automobiles:-Body and exterior:Body components, including windows and trim:-Engine cooling system:* Air blower* Coolant hose* Cooling fan* Fan blade* Fan clutch* Radiator...

      s boxcar
    • Boxcar
      Boxcar
      A boxcar is a railroad car that is enclosed and generally used to carry general freight. The boxcar, while not the simplest freight car design, is probably the most versatile, since it can carry most loads...

    • Newsprint
      Newsprint
      Newsprint is a low-cost, non-archival paper most commonly used to print newspapers, and other publications and advertising material. It usually has an off-white cast and distinctive feel. It is designed for use in printing presses that employ a long web of paper rather than individual sheets of...

       boxcar
      Boxcar
      A boxcar is a railroad car that is enclosed and generally used to carry general freight. The boxcar, while not the simplest freight car design, is probably the most versatile, since it can carry most loads...

    • Wood pulp
      Wood pulp
      Pulp is a lignocellulosic fibrous material prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fibres from wood, fibre crops or waste paper. Wood pulp is the most common raw material in papermaking.-History:...

       boxcar
    • Woodchip
      Woodchip
      Woodchip may refer to:* the product of Woodchipping* Woodchips, a solid-biomass fuel* Ingrain wallpaper...

       gondola
      Gondola (rail)
      In railroad terminology, a gondola is an open-top type of rolling stock that is used for carrying loose bulk materials. Because of its low side walls, gondolas are used to carry either very dense material, such as steel plates or coils, or bulky items such as prefabricated pieces of rail...

    • Log car
    • Centerbeam car
  • Bulkhead flat car
  • Double door boxcar
  • Government
    Government of Canada
    The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

     hopper car
  • High-cube and jumbo
  • Covered hopper
    Covered hopper
    A Covered Hopper is a railroad freight car. They are designed for carrying dry bulk loads, varying from grain to products such as sand and clay. The cover protects the loads from the weather - dried cement would be very hard to unload if mixed with water in transit, while grain would be liable to...

  • Metals box car
  • Covered coil gondolas
  • Standard gondolas
    Gondola (rail)
    In railroad terminology, a gondola is an open-top type of rolling stock that is used for carrying loose bulk materials. Because of its low side walls, gondolas are used to carry either very dense material, such as steel plates or coils, or bulky items such as prefabricated pieces of rail...

  • Flatcar
    Flatcar
    A flatcar is a piece of railroad or railway rolling stock that consists of an open, flat deck on four or six wheels or a pair of trucks or bogies . The deck of the car can be wood or steel, and the sides of the deck can include pockets for stakes or tie-down points to secure loads...

  • Ore gondola
    Rotary car dumper
    A rotary car dumper or wagon tippler is a mechanism used for unloading certain railroad cars such as hopper cars, gondolas or lorries . It holds the rail car to a section of track and rotates the track and car together to dump out the contents. Used with gondola cars, it is making open hopper cars...


  • North American intermodal containers


    containers heater/reefer containers reefer/heater containers(modified 48) containers heater/reefer containers

    Container chassis

    • Max Atlas 40 feet (12.2 m) to 53 feet (16.2 m) extendable container chassis
    • Di-Mond 40 feet (12.2 m) to 53 feet (16.2 m) extendable container chassis

    Major facilities



    CN owns a large number of large yards and repair shops across their system, which are used for many operations ranging from intermodal
    Intermodal freight transport
    Intermodal freight transport involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation , without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes. The method reduces cargo handling, and so improves security, reduces damages and...

     terminals to classification yard
    Classification yard
    A classification yard or marshalling yard is a railroad yard found at some freight train stations, used to separate railroad cars on to one of several tracks. First the cars are taken to a track, sometimes called a lead or a drill...

    s. Below are some examples of these.

    Active hump yards


    Hump yards
    Classification yard
    A classification yard or marshalling yard is a railroad yard found at some freight train stations, used to separate railroad cars on to one of several tracks. First the cars are taken to a track, sometimes called a lead or a drill...

     work by using a small hill, over which cars are pushed before being released down a slope and switched automatically into cuts of cars, ready to join into outbound trains. CN's active humps include:
    • Toronto
      Toronto
      Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

      , Ontario
      Ontario
      Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

      : MacMillan Yard
      CN MacMillan Yard
      The MacMillan Yard is the largest rail classification yard in Canada. It is operated by Canadian National Railway and is located 20 kilometers north of downtown Toronto in Vaughan, Ontario. It is named after former CN president Norman John MacMillan....

    • Winnipeg
      Winnipeg
      Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

      , Manitoba
      Manitoba
      Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

      : Symington Yard
    • Memphis, Tennessee
      Memphis, Tennessee
      Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

      : Harrison Yard

    Other major yards

    • Calgary
      Calgary
      Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

      , Alberta
      Alberta
      Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

      : Sarcee Yard
    • Champaign, Illinois
      Champaign, Illinois
      Champaign is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, in the United States. The city is located south of Chicago, west of Indianapolis, Indiana, and 178 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. Though surrounded by farm communities, Champaign is notable for sharing the campus of the University of...

      : Champaign Yard
    • Chicago, Illinois: Glenn, Homewood, Kirk and Markham Yards
    • Dartmouth
      Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
      Dartmouth founded in 1750, is a community and planning area of the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia. Located on the eastern shore of Halifax Harbour, Dartmouth has been nicknamed the City of Lakes after the large number of lakes located in the city.On April 1, 1996, the provincial...

       Nova Scotia
      Nova Scotia
      Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

      : Dartmouth Yard
    • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Chappell Yard
    • Edmonton, Alberta: Walker Yard
    • Battle Creek, Michigan
      Battle Creek, Michigan
      Battle Creek is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, in northwest Calhoun County, at the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers. It is the principal city of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area , which encompasses all of Calhoun county...

      : Battle Creek Yard
    • Flat Rock, Michigan
      Flat Rock, Michigan
      - Racial makeup :As of the census of 2000, there were 8,488 people, 3,181 households, and 2,306 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,266.9 per square mile . There were 3,291 housing units at an average density of 491.2 per square mile...

      : Flat Rock Yard
    • Levis, Quebec
      Lévis, Quebec
      Lévis is a city in eastern Quebec, Canada. It is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, opposite Quebec City. A ferry links Old Quebec with Old Lévis, and two bridges, the Quebec Bridge and the Pierre Laporte Bridge, connect western Lévis with Quebec City. The Société de transport de...

      : Joffre Yard
    • Moncton, New Brunswick
      New Brunswick
      New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

      : Gordon Yard
    • Halifax
      City of Halifax
      Halifax is a city in Canada, which was the capital of the province of Nova Scotia and shire town of Halifax County. It was the largest city in Atlantic Canada until it was amalgamated into Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996...

       Nova Scotia
      Nova Scotia
      Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

      : Rockingham
      Rockingham, Nova Scotia
      Rockingham is a community located in Nova Scotia's Halifax Regional Municipality. It is part of a large suburban area along the western shore of Bedford Basin, north of Clayton Park and south of Bedford.-Geography:...

       Yard
    • Montreal
      Montreal
      Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

      , Quebec
      Quebec
      Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

      : Taschereau Yard
    • Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
      Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
      Fond du Lac is a city in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States. The name is French for bottom of the lake, for it is located at the bottom of Lake Winnebago. The population was 42,203 at the 2000 census...

      : Shops Yard
    • New Orleans, Louisiana
      New Orleans, Louisiana
      New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

      : Mays Yard
    • Vancouver
      Vancouver
      Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

      , British Columbia
      British Columbia
      British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

      : Thornton Yard
    • Windsor
      Windsor, Ontario
      Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada and is located in Southwestern Ontario at the western end of the heavily populated Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. It is within Essex County, Ontario, although administratively separated from the county government. Separated by the Detroit River, Windsor...

      , Ontario
      Ontario
      Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

      : Van de Water Yard

    Intermodal terminals

    • Auburn
      Auburn, Maine
      Auburn is a city in and the county seat of Androscoggin County, Maine, United States. The population was 23,055 at the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included in the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan New England city and town area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan...

      , Maine
      Maine
      Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

      : terminal serviced the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad
    • Calgary
      Calgary
      Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

      , Alberta
      Alberta
      Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

    • Chicago, Illinois
    • Detroit, Michigan
      Detroit, Michigan
      Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

    • Edmonton
      Edmonton
      Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

      , Alberta
      Alberta
      Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

    • Halifax, Nova Scotia
      City of Halifax
      Halifax is a city in Canada, which was the capital of the province of Nova Scotia and shire town of Halifax County. It was the largest city in Atlantic Canada until it was amalgamated into Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996...

    • Jackson, Mississippi
      Jackson, Mississippi
      Jackson is the capital and the most populous city of the US state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County ,. The population of the city declined from 184,256 at the 2000 census to 173,514 at the 2010 census...

      : terminal owned by the Kansas City Southern Railway
      Kansas City Southern Railway
      The Kansas City Southern Railway , owned by Kansas City Southern Industries, is the smallest and second-oldest Class I railroad company still in operation. KCS was founded in 1887 and is currently operating in a region consisting of ten central U.S. states...

    • Memphis, Tennessee
      Memphis, Tennessee
      Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

    • Moncton, New Brunswick
      New Brunswick
      New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

    • Montreal
      Montreal
      Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

      , Quebec
      Quebec
      Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    • New Orleans, Louisiana
      New Orleans, Louisiana
      New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

    • Prince George, British Columbia
      Prince George, British Columbia
      Prince George, with a population of 71,030 , is the largest city in northern British Columbia, Canada, and is known as "BC's Northern Capital"...

    • Prince Rupert, British Columbia
      Prince Rupert, British Columbia
      Prince Rupert is a port city in the province of British Columbia, Canada. It is the land, air, and water transportation hub of British Columbia's North Coast, and home to some 12,815 people .-History:...

    • Saskatoon
      Saskatoon
      Saskatoon is a city in central Saskatchewan, Canada, on the South Saskatchewan River. Residents of the city of Saskatoon are called Saskatonians. The city is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Corman Park No. 344....

      , Saskatchewan
      Saskatchewan
      Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

    • Toronto
      Toronto
      Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

      , Ontario
      Ontario
      Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

      : main terminal is located at Brampton
      Brampton
      Brampton is the third-largest city in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada.Brampton may also refer to:- Canada :* Brampton, a city in Ontario** Brampton GO Station, a station in the GO Transit network located in the city- United Kingdom :...

      , Ontario
      Ontario
      Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

      , as well as a smaller ramp and Roadrailer
      Roadrailer
      In railroad terminology a Roadrailer or RoadRailer is a highway trailer, or semi-trailer, that is specially equipped for use in railroad intermodal service.- Overview :...

       service at MacMillan Yard
    • Vancouver
      Vancouver
      Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

      , British Columbia
      British Columbia
      British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

    • Winnipeg
      Winnipeg
      Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

      , Manitoba
      Manitoba
      Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...


    See also

    • Narrow gauge railways in Canada
      Narrow gauge railways in Canada
      Although most railways of central and eastern Canada were initially built to a broad gauge, there were several, especially on Canada's Atlantic coast, which were built as individual narrow gauge lines....

    • Canadian Pacific Railway
      Canadian Pacific Railway
      The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

    • CN Tower
      CN Tower
      The CN Tower is a communications and observation tower in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Standing tall, it was completed in 1976, becoming the world's tallest free-standing structure and world's tallest tower at the time. It held both records for 34 years until the completion of the Burj...

    • Japanese National Railways
      Japanese National Railways
      , abbreviated or "JNR", was the national railway network of Japan from 1949 to 1987.-History:The term Kokuyū Tetsudō "state-owned railway" originally referred to a network of railway lines operated by nationalized companies under the control of the Railway Institute following the nationalization...

      : Japan's equivalent to the Canadian National Railway.
    • GO Transit
      GO Transit
      GO Transit is an inter-regional public transit system in Southern Ontario, Canada. It primarily serves the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area conurbation, with operations extending to several communities beyond the GTHA proper in the Greater Golden Horseshoe...

    • List of Canadian National Railways companies
    • Newfoundland T'Railway
      Newfoundland T'Railway
      The Newfoundland T'Railway Provincial Park is a rail trail in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.Protected as a linear park under the provincial park system, the T'Railway consists of the railbed of the historic Newfoundland Railway as transferred from its most recent owner,...

    • Ontario Northland Railway
      Ontario Northland Railway
      The Ontario Northland Railway is a Canadian railway operated by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, a provincial Crown agency of the government of Ontario....

    • Via Rail
      VIA Rail
      Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....


    Former component railways

    • Canadian Government Railways
      Canadian Government Railways
      Canadian Government Railways was the legal name used between 1915–1918 for all federal government-owned railways in Canada.The principal component companies were: the Intercolonial Railway of Canada , the National Transcontinental Railway , the Prince Edward Island Railway , and the Hudson...

      • Intercolonial Railway
      • Prince Edward Island Railway
        Prince Edward Island Railway
        The Prince Edward Island Railway was a historic Canadian railway.-Construction:Located wholly within the province of Prince Edward Island, construction of the PEIR started in 1871, financed by the United Kingdom...

      • National Transcontinental Railway
        National Transcontinental Railway
        The National Transcontinental Railway was a historic Canadian railway between Winnipeg and Moncton. Much of the line is now operated by the Canadian National Railway.-The Grand Trunk partnership:...

    • Canadian Northern Railway
      Canadian Northern Railway
      The Canadian Northern Railway is a historic Canadian transcontinental railway. At its demise in 1923, when it was merged into the Canadian National Railway , the CNoR owned a main line between Quebec City and Vancouver via Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.-Manitoba beginnings:CNoR had its start in...

      • Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
        Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
        The Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway is a subsidiary railroad of Canadian National Railway operating in northern Minnesota, United States. A CN system-wide rebranding beginning in 1995 has seen the DWP logo and name largely replaced by its parent company...

    • Grand Trunk Railway
      Grand Trunk Railway
      The Grand Trunk Railway was a railway system which operated in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, as well as the American states of Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The railway was operated from headquarters in Montreal, Quebec; however, corporate...

      • Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad
      • Central Vermont Railway
        Central Vermont Railway
        The Central Vermont Railway was a railroad that operated in the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, as well as the Canadian province of Quebec....

      • St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad
        St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad
        The St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad , known as St-Laurent et Atlantique Quebec in Canada, is a short line railroad operating between Portland, Maine on the Atlantic Ocean and Montreal, Quebec on the St. Lawrence River. It crosses the Canada-U.S...

      • Grand Trunk Western Railroad
        Grand Trunk Western Railroad
        The Grand Trunk Western Railroad is an important subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway , constituting the majority of CN's Chicago Division ....

        • Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
          Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
          The Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad was a railroad that operated between its namesake cities of Detroit, Michigan and Ironton, Ohio via Toledo between 1905 and 1983.-Early history:...

      • Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
        Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
        The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was a historical Canadian railway.A wholly owned subsidiary of the Grand Trunk Railway , the GTPR was constructed by GTR using loans provided by the Government of Canada. The company was formed in 1903 with a mandate to build west from Winnipeg, Manitoba to the...

    • London and Port Stanley Railway
      London and Port Stanley Railway
      The London and Port Stanley Railway is a historic Canadian railway located in southwestern Ontario.The L&PS linked the city of London with Port Stanley on the northern shore of Lake Erie, a distance of approximately ....

    • Newfoundland Railway
      Newfoundland Railway
      The Newfoundland Railway was a railway which operated on the island of Newfoundland from 1898 to 1988. With a total track length of , it was the longest narrow gauge railway system in North America.-Early construction:...

    • Illinois Central Railroad
      Illinois Central Railroad
      The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

    • Wisconsin Central Ltd.
      • Algoma Central Railway
        Algoma Central Railway
        The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

      • Green Bay and Western Railroad
        Green Bay and Western Railroad
        The Green Bay and Western Railroad served the transportation and freight haulage needs of northern Wisconsin for almost 100 years before it was absorbed into the Wisconsin Central in 1993...

    • Great Lakes Transportation
      Great Lakes Transportation
      Great Lakes Transportation LLC is a group of transportation related companies primarily consisting of rail and water carriers catering to the needs of the steel making industry centered around the Great Lakes of North America...

      • Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad
        Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad
        The Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad is a class II railroad that operates in northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio.The railroad's main route runs from the Lake Erie port of Conneaut, Ohio to the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, a distance of 139 miles...

      • Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
        Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
        The Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway is a railroad operating in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin that hauls iron ore and later taconite to the Great Lakes ports of Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota...

    • Northern Alberta Railways
      Northern Alberta Railways
      Northern Alberta Railways was a Canadian railway which served northern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia. Jointly owned by both Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway, NAR existed as a separate company from 1929 until 1981....

      • Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway
        Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway
        The Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway was an early pioneer railway in northwestern Alberta, designed to open up the Peace River district....

      • Alberta and Great Waterways Railway
      • Central Canada Railway
      • Pembina Valley Railway
    • Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway
      Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway
      The Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway is a Class II railroad that operates in the suburbs surrounding Chicago. The railroad is a link between Class I railroads in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana...


    Former subsidiaries

    • CN Marine
      CN Marine
      CN Marine was a Canadian ferry company headquartered in Moncton, New Brunswick.-History:CN Marine was created by parent Canadian National Railway in 1977 as a means to group the company's ferry operations in eastern Canada into a separate operating division...

       / Marine Atlantic
      Marine Atlantic
      Marine Atlantic Inc. is an independent Canadian Crown corporation offering ferry services between the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.Marine Atlantic's corporate headquarters are in St...

    • Terra Transport
      Terra Transport
      Terra Transport was the name for the Newfoundland Transportation Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway , created in 1979 as a means to organize the company's operations on the island of Newfoundland.-Background:...

    • Trans-Canada Air Lines
      Trans-Canada Air Lines
      Trans-Canada Air Lines was a Canadian airline and operated as the country's flag carrier. Its corporate headquarters were in Montreal, Quebec...

       / Air Canada
      Air Canada
      Air Canada is the flag carrier and largest airline of Canada. The airline, founded in 1936, provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 178 destinations worldwide. It is the world's tenth largest passenger airline by number of destinations, and the airline is a...

    • Via Rail
      VIA Rail
      Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

    • Canadian National Hotels
      Canadian National Hotels
      Canadian National Hotels was a hotel chain under control by Canadian National Railways. In addition to their own hotels, it acquired some from rival railway companies like the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, Grand Trunk Railway and Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway...


    External links







    The Canadian National Railway Company is a Canadian Class I railway
    Class I railroad
    A Class I railroad in the United States and Mexico, or a Class I rail carrier in Canada, is a large freight railroad company, as classified based on operating revenue.Smaller railroads are classified as Class II and Class III...

     headquartered in Montreal
    Montreal
    Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

    , Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    . CN's slogan is "North America's Railroad".

    CN is the largest railway in Canada, in terms of both revenue and the physical size of its rail network, and is currently Canada's only transcontinental railway company, spanning Canada from the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

     to the Pacific coast in British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

    .

    Following CN's purchase of Illinois Central
    Illinois Central Railroad
    The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

     (IC) and a number of smaller US railways it also has extensive trackage in the central United States along the Mississippi River
    Mississippi River
    The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

     valley from the Great Lakes
    Great Lakes
    The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

     to the Gulf of Mexico
    Gulf of Mexico
    The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

    . Today CN owns approximately 20400 rtmi of track in 8 provinces (the only two not served by CN are Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island
    Prince Edward Island
    Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

    ), as well as a 70 miles (113 km) stretch of track into the Northwest Territories
    Northwest Territories
    The Northwest Territories is a federal territory of Canada.Located in northern Canada, the territory borders Canada's two other territories, Yukon to the west and Nunavut to the east, and three provinces: British Columbia to the southwest, and Alberta and Saskatchewan to the south...

     to Hay River
    Hay River, Northwest Territories
    Hay River , known as "the Hub of the North," is a town in the Northwest Territories, Canada, located on the south shore of Great Slave Lake, at the mouth of the Hay River. The town is separated into two sections, a new town and an old town with the Hay River Airport between them...

     on the southern shore of Great Slave Lake
    Great Slave Lake
    Great Slave Lake is the second-largest lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada , the deepest lake in North America at , and the ninth-largest lake in the world. It is long and wide. It covers an area of in the southern part of the territory. Its given volume ranges from to and up to ...

    ; it is the northernmost rail line anywhere within the North American Rail Network, as far north as Anchorage, Alaska
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the southcentral part of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the northernmost major city in the United States...

    . (although the Alaska Railroad
    Alaska Railroad
    The Alaska Railroad is a Class II railroad which extends from Seward and Whittier, in the south of the state of Alaska, in the United States, to Fairbanks , and beyond to Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright in the interior of that state...

     goes further north than this, it is isolated from the rest of the rail network)
    The railway was referred to as the Canadian National Railways (CNR) between 1918 and 1960 and as Canadian National/Canadien National (CN) from 1960 to present.

    The Canadian National Railway is a public company with 22,000 employees and market capitalization of 32 billion CAD
    Canadian dollar
    The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

     in 2011. CN was government owned, having been a Canadian crown corporation. It was privatized in 1995.

    History


    The Canadian National Railways (CNR) was created between 1918 and 1923, comprising several railways that had become bankrupt and fallen into federal government
    Politics of Canada
    The politics of Canada function within a framework of parliamentary democracy and a federal system of parliamentary government with strong democratic traditions. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, in which the Monarch is head of state...

     hands, along with some railways already owned by the government. In 1995, the federal government privatized CN. Over the next decade, the company expanded significantly in the United States, purchasing Illinois Central Railroad
    Illinois Central Railroad
    The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

     and Wisconsin Central Transportation
    Wisconsin Central Transportation
    Wisconsin Central Ltd. is a railroad subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway. At one time, its parent Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation owned or operated railroads in the United States, Canada , the United Kingdom , New Zealand , and Australia .- Overview...

    , among others. Now primarily a freight
    Cargo
    Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

     railway, CN also operated passenger
    Passenger
    A passenger is a term broadly used to describe any person who travels in a vehicle, but bears little or no responsibility for the tasks required for that vehicle to arrive at its destination....

     services until 1978, when they were assumed by Via Rail
    VIA Rail
    Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

    . The only passenger services run by CN after 1978 were several mixed trains (freight and passenger) in Newfoundland, and a couple of commuter trains on CN's electrified routes in the Montreal area. The Newfoundland mixed trains lasted until 1988, while the Montreal commuter trains are now operated by Montreal's AMT
    Agence métropolitaine de transport
    The Agence métropolitaine de transport is the umbrella organization that plans, integrates, and coordinates public transportation services across Canada's Greater Montreal Region, including the Island of Montreal, Laval , and communities along both the North Shore of the Rivière des Mille-Îles...

    .

    Creation of the company, 1918–1923


    In response to public concerns fearing loss of key transportation links, the Government of Canada
    Government of Canada
    The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

     assumed majority ownership of the near bankrupt Canadian Northern Railway
    Canadian Northern Railway
    The Canadian Northern Railway is a historic Canadian transcontinental railway. At its demise in 1923, when it was merged into the Canadian National Railway , the CNoR owned a main line between Quebec City and Vancouver via Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.-Manitoba beginnings:CNoR had its start in...

     (CNoR) on September 6, 1918, and appointed a "Board of Management" to oversee the company. At the same time, CNoR was also directed to assume management of Canadian Government Railways
    Canadian Government Railways
    Canadian Government Railways was the legal name used between 1915–1918 for all federal government-owned railways in Canada.The principal component companies were: the Intercolonial Railway of Canada , the National Transcontinental Railway , the Prince Edward Island Railway , and the Hudson...

     (CGR), a system comprising the Intercolonial Railway of Canada
    Intercolonial Railway of Canada
    The Intercolonial Railway of Canada , also referred to as the Intercolonial Railway , was a historic Canadian railway that operated from 1872 to 1918, when it became part of Canadian National Railways...

     (IRC), National Transcontinental Railway
    National Transcontinental Railway
    The National Transcontinental Railway was a historic Canadian railway between Winnipeg and Moncton. Much of the line is now operated by the Canadian National Railway.-The Grand Trunk partnership:...

     (NTR), and the Prince Edward Island Railway
    Prince Edward Island Railway
    The Prince Edward Island Railway was a historic Canadian railway.-Construction:Located wholly within the province of Prince Edward Island, construction of the PEIR started in 1871, financed by the United Kingdom...

     (PEIR), among others. On December 20, 1918, the federal government created the Canadian National Railways (CNR) - a title only with no corporate powers - through a Queen's Privy Council for Canada
    Queen's Privy Council for Canada
    The Queen's Privy Council for Canada ), sometimes called Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada or simply the Privy Council, is the full group of personal consultants to the monarch of Canada on state and constitutional affairs, though responsible government requires the sovereign or her viceroy,...

     Order in Council as a means to simplify the funding and operation of the various railway companies. The absorption of the Intercolonial Railway would see CNR adopt that system's slogan The People's Railway.

    Another Canadian railway, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
    Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
    The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was a historical Canadian railway.A wholly owned subsidiary of the Grand Trunk Railway , the GTPR was constructed by GTR using loans provided by the Government of Canada. The company was formed in 1903 with a mandate to build west from Winnipeg, Manitoba to the...

     (GTPR), encountered financial difficulty on March 7, 1919, when its parent company Grand Trunk Railway
    Grand Trunk Railway
    The Grand Trunk Railway was a railway system which operated in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, as well as the American states of Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The railway was operated from headquarters in Montreal, Quebec; however, corporate...

     (GTR) defaulted on repayment of construction loans to the federal government. The federal government's Department of Railways and Canals
    Department of Railways and Canals (Canada)
    The Department of Railways and Canals is a former department of the Government of Canada. It had responsibility for the construction, operation, and maintenance of federal government-owned railways, as well as the operational responsibility for canals in Canada.The department was created in 1879...

     took over operation of the GTPR until July 12, 1920, when it too was placed under the CNR. The Canadian National Railway was organized on October 10, 1922.

    Finally, the bankrupt GTR itself was placed under the care of a federal government "Board of Management" on May 21, 1920, while GTR management and shareholders opposed to nationalization
    Nationalization
    Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

     took legal action. After several years of arbitration, the GTR was absorbed into CNR on January 30, 1923. In subsequent years, several smaller independent railways would be added to the CNR as they went bankrupt, or it became politically expedient to do so, however the system was more or less finalized following the addition of the GTR.

    Canadian National Railways was born out of both wartime and domestic urgency. Railways, until the rise of the personal automobile and creation of taxpayer-funded all-weather highways, were the only viable long-distance land transportation available in Canada for many years. As such, their operation consumed a great deal of public and political attention. Many countries regard railway networks as critical infrastructure (even to this day) and at the time of the creation of CNR during the continuing threat of the First World War
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

    , Canada was not the only country to engage in railway nationalization
    Railway nationalization
    Railway nationalization refers to the act of nationalizing rail transport assets, taking them into public ownership. Several countries have nationalized part or all of their railway system at different times....

    .

    In the early 20th century, many governments were taking a more interventionist role in the economy, foreshadowing the influence of economists like John Maynard Keynes
    John Maynard Keynes
    John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB FBA , was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments...

    . This political trend, combined with broader geo-political events, made nationalization an appealing choice for Canada. The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919
    Winnipeg General Strike of 1919
    The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 was one of the most influential strikes in Canadian history, and became the platform for future labour reforms....

     and allied involvement in the Russian Revolution
    Russian Revolution of 1917
    The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

      seemed to validate the continuing process. The need for a viable rail system was paramount in a time of civil unrest and foreign military intervention.

    CNR Radio



    In 1923 CNR's second president, Sir Henry Thornton
    Henry Thornton (railway manager)
    Also in 1894, Thornton began his career in the railroad business, entering as a draftsman of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He was based in the Pittsburgh office. He was promoted to supervisory engineer in 1899 and District Superintendent in 1901. As he climbed rapidly through the PRR hierarchy, he...

     who succeeded David Blyth Hanna (1919–1922), created the CNR Radio Department to provide passengers with entertainment radio reception and give the railway a competitive advantage over its rival, CP. This led to the creation of a network of CNR radio stations across the country, North America's first radio network
    Radio network
    There are two types of radio networks currently in use around the world: the one-to-many broadcast type commonly used for public information and mass media entertainment; and the two-way type used more commonly for public safety and public services such as police, fire, taxicabs, and delivery...

    . As anyone in the vicinity of a station could hear its broadcasts the network's audience extended far beyond train passengers to the public at large.

    Claims of unfair competition from CP as well as pressure on the government to create a public broadcasting
    Public broadcasting
    Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.Public broadcasting may be...

     system similar to the British Broadcasting Corporation led the government of R.B. Bennett (who had been a corporate lawyer with Canadian Pacific as a client prior to entering politics) to pressure CNR into ending its on-train radio service in 1931 and then withdrawing from the radio business entirely in 1933. CNR's radio assets were sold for $50,000 to a new public broadcaster, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission
    Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission
    The Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission was Canada's first public broadcaster and the immediate precursor to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.-Origins:...

    , which in turn became the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
    Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
    The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly known as CBC and officially as CBC/Radio-Canada, is a Canadian crown corporation that serves as the national public radio and television broadcaster...

     in 1936.

    Hotels



    Canadian railways built and operated their own resort hotels
    Canada's grand railway hotels
    Canada’s railway hotels are a series of grand hotels across the country, each a local and national landmark, and most of which are icons of Canadian history and architecture. Each hotel was originally built by the Canadian railway companies, or the railways acted as a catalyst for the hotel’s...

    , ostensibly to provide rail passengers traveling long distances a place to sleep overnight. These hotels became attractions in and of themselves - a place for a rail passenger to go for a holiday. As each railway company
    Railway company
    A railway company or railroad company is an entity that operates a railroad track and/or trains. Such a company can either be private or public...

     sought to be more attractive than its competitors, they made their hotels more attractive and luxurious.

    Canadian National Hotels
    Canadian National Hotels
    Canadian National Hotels was a hotel chain under control by Canadian National Railways. In addition to their own hotels, it acquired some from rival railway companies like the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, Grand Trunk Railway and Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway...

     was the CNRs chain of hotels and was a combination of hotels inherited by the CNR when it acquired various railways and structures built by the CNR itself. The chain's principal rival was Canadian Pacific Hotels
    Canadian Pacific hotels
    Canadian Pacific Hotels was a division of Canadian Pacific Railway that operated a series of hotels across Canada. Most of these resort hotels were originally built and operated by the railway's Hotel Department, while a few were acquired from Canadian National Hotels...

    .

    Pros and cons of nationalization



    Regardless of the political and economic importance of railway transportation in Canada, there were many critics of the Canadian government's policies in maintaining CNR as a Crown corporation from its inception in 1918 until its privatization
    Privatization
    Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

     in 1995. Some of the most scathing criticism came from the railway industry itself—namely the commercially successful Canadian Pacific Railway
    Canadian Pacific Railway
    The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

     (CPR), which argued that its taxes should not be used to fund a competitor. Some argue that the CPR could well afford to make this criticism, having been itself the child of government and recipient of wealth by virtue of land and resource grants, as well as its position as a monopoly
    Monopoly
    A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

     from its completion in 1885 until the CNoR started operations on the Prairies at the turn of the century.

    As a result of history and geography, the CPR served larger population centres in the southern Prairies
    Canadian Prairies
    The Canadian Prairies is a region of Canada, specifically in western Canada, which may correspond to several different definitions, natural or political. Notably, the Prairie provinces or simply the Prairies comprise the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, as they are largely covered...

    , while the CNR's merged system served as a de-facto government colonization railway to serve remote and underdeveloped regions of Western Canada
    Western Canada
    Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

    , northern Ontario
    Ontario
    Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

     and Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    , and the Maritimes
    Maritimes
    The Maritime provinces, also called the Maritimes or the Canadian Maritimes, is a region of Eastern Canada consisting of three provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. On the Atlantic coast, the Maritimes are a subregion of Atlantic Canada, which also includes the...

    .

    Also, CN was disadvantaged by being constituted from a hodge-podge of bankrupt rail systems that were not intrinsically viable, as they seldom had the shortest route between any major cities or industrial centres; to this day, CN has many division points far from significant industries or traffic sources. The only notable exception is the former Grand Trunk mainline between Montreal and Chicago.

    The company also became a convenient instrument of federal government policy from the operation of ferries in Atlantic Canada
    Atlantic Canada
    Atlantic Canada is the region of Canada comprising the four provinces located on the Atlantic coast, excluding Quebec: the three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia – and Newfoundland and Labrador...

    , to assuming the operation of the narrow-gauge Newfoundland Railway
    Newfoundland Railway
    The Newfoundland Railway was a railway which operated on the island of Newfoundland from 1898 to 1988. With a total track length of , it was the longest narrow gauge railway system in North America.-Early construction:...

     following that province's entry into Confederation
    Canadian Confederation
    Canadian Confederation was the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies were formed into four Canadian provinces...

    , and the partnership with CPR in purchasing and operating the Northern Alberta Railways
    Northern Alberta Railways
    Northern Alberta Railways was a Canadian railway which served northern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia. Jointly owned by both Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway, NAR existed as a separate company from 1929 until 1981....

    .

    CNR as a social and economic tool


    It is generally accepted that government policy dictated CNR commercial decisions, whether such decisions were in the nation's interest, or in the political interest of the party in power. As such, CNR lost money for many years, except during the Second World War when its extensive network reaching into the resource hinterland proved beneficial, and during the late 1980s and early 1990s following deregulation
    Deregulation
    Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.Deregulation is the removal or...

     of the Canadian railway industry. Where CNR failed to address costs was largely due to government interference, such as the requirement to purchase locomotives from all Canadian locomotive manufacturers, resulting in operational inefficiencies.

    CNR was considered competitive with CPR in several areas, notably in Central Canada
    Central Canada
    Central Canada is a region consisting of Canada's two largest and most populous provinces: Ontario and Quebec. Due to their high populations, Ontario and Quebec have traditionally held a significant amount of political power in Canada, leading to some amount of resentment from other regions of the...

    , prior to the age of the automobile and the dense highway network that grew in Ontario
    Ontario
    Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

     and Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    . The former GTR's superior track network in the Montreal
    Montreal
    Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

    –Chicago corridor has always been a more direct route with higher capacity than CPR's. CNR was also considered a railway industry leader throughout its time as a Crown corporation in terms of research and development into railway safety systems, logistics management, and in terms of its relationship with labour unions.

    Deregulation and recapitalization


    Another problem that hobbled CNR was in the sheer number of low-volume branch railway lines, which did not produce sufficient traffic to pay for their operation. Without deregulation
    Deregulation
    Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.Deregulation is the removal or simplification of government rules and regulations that constrain the operation of market forces.Deregulation is the removal or...

     in the railway industry permitting abandonment or sale of a railway line, or even the ability to set prices to match those of trucks
    Semi-trailer
    A semi-trailer is a trailer without a front axle. A large proportion of its weight is supported by a road tractor, a detachable front axle assembly known as a dolly, or the tail of another trailer...

    , both CNR and CPR paid dearly for owning these inefficient lines. One tactic that CNR perfected was to demarket a line by providing sufficiently poor service to its few customers, that those customers would turn to trucks for improved service and lower costs. Once customers ceased to exist on a small branch line, the federal government would permit the line's abandonment. Had deregulation been in place several decades earlier, it is conceivable that many Canadian branch line
    Branch line
    A branch line is a secondary railway line which branches off a more important through route, usually a main line. A very short branch line may be called a spur line...

    s would have been viable in the hands of short line operators, saving millions of dollars for taxpayers funding highways, since the railway lines had already been publicly funded in their construction.


    From the creation of CNR in 1918 until its recapitalization in 1978, whenever the company posted a deficit, the federal government would assume those costs in the government budget. The result of various governments using CNR as a vehicle for various social and economic policies was a subsidization running into billions of dollars over successive decades. Following its 1978 recapitalization and changes in management, CN (name changed to Canadian National Railway, using the shortened acronym CN in 1960) started to operate much more efficiently, by assuming its own debt, improving accounting practices to allow depreciation of assets and to access financial markets for further capital. Now operating as a for-profit Crown corporation, CN reported a profit in 11 of the 15 years from 1978 to 1992, paying $371 million in cash dividends (profit) to the federal government during this time.

    Cutbacks and refocusing


    CN's rise to profitability was assisted when the company started to remove itself from non-core freight rail transportation starting in 1977 when subsidiary Air Canada
    Air Canada
    Air Canada is the flag carrier and largest airline of Canada. The airline, founded in 1936, provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 178 destinations worldwide. It is the world's tenth largest passenger airline by number of destinations, and the airline is a...

     (created in 1937 as Trans-Canada Air Lines
    Trans-Canada Air Lines
    Trans-Canada Air Lines was a Canadian airline and operated as the country's flag carrier. Its corporate headquarters were in Montreal, Quebec...

    ) became a separate federal Crown corporation. That same year saw CN move its ferry operations into a separate Crown corporation named CN Marine
    CN Marine
    CN Marine was a Canadian ferry company headquartered in Moncton, New Brunswick.-History:CN Marine was created by parent Canadian National Railway in 1977 as a means to group the company's ferry operations in eastern Canada into a separate operating division...

    , followed similarly by the grouping of passenger rail services (for marketing purposes) under the name Via-CN. The following year (1978), the federal government decided to create Via Rail
    VIA Rail
    Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

     as a separate Crown corporation to take over passenger services previously offered by both CN and CPR, including CN's flagship transcontinental train the Super Continental
    Super Continental
    The Super Continental was a transcontinental Canadian passenger train operated originally by the Canadian National Railway beginning in 1955 and subsequently by Via Rail from 1977 until its cancellation in 1981. Service was restored in 1985 but was again eliminated in 1990...

    and its eastern counterpart the Ocean
    Ocean (passenger train)
    The Ocean is a Canadian passenger train operated by Via Rail between Montreal, Quebec and Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is currently the oldest continuously-operated named passenger train in North America. The Oceans schedule takes approximately 21 hours, running overnight in both directions...

    . CN Marine was renamed Marine Atlantic
    Marine Atlantic
    Marine Atlantic Inc. is an independent Canadian Crown corporation offering ferry services between the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.Marine Atlantic's corporate headquarters are in St...

     in 1986 to remove any references to its former parent organization. CN also grouped its money-losing Newfoundland operations into a separate subsidiary called Terra Transport
    Terra Transport
    Terra Transport was the name for the Newfoundland Transportation Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway , created in 1979 as a means to organize the company's operations on the island of Newfoundland.-Background:...

     so that federal subsidies for this service would be more visible in company statements.

    CN also divested itself during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s of several non-rail transportation activities such as trucking subsidiaries, a hotel chain (sold to CPR), real estate, and telecommunications companies. The biggest telecommunications property was a company co-owned by CN and CP (CNCP Telecommunications
    CNCP Telecommunications
    CNCP Telecommunications was an electrical telegraph operator and later as a telecom company...

    ) that originated from a joint venture involving the railways' respective telegraph services. On its sale in the 1980s, it was successively renamed Unitel (United Telecommunications), AT&T Canada
    AT&T Canada
    AT&T Canada was a Canadian long-distance telephone service provider, the Canadian subsidiary of American telecommunications company AT&T Communications between the early 1990s and 2003. It was then renamed Allstream, as a result of AT&T's declining participation in the company. AT&T sold its...

    , and Allstream as it went through various owners and branding agreements. Another telecommunications property wholly owned and built by CN was the CN Tower
    CN Tower
    The CN Tower is a communications and observation tower in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Standing tall, it was completed in 1976, becoming the world's tallest free-standing structure and world's tallest tower at the time. It held both records for 34 years until the completion of the Burj...

     in Toronto, which still keeps its original name but was divested by the railway company in the mid 1990s. All proceeds from such sales were used to pay down CN's accumulated debt. At the time of their divestitures, all of these subsidiaries required considerable subsidies, which partly explained CN's financial problems prior to recapitalization.

    CN also was given free rein by the federal government following deregulation of the railway industry in the 1970s, as well as in 1987, when railway companies began to make tough business decisions by removing themselves from operating money-losing branch lines. In CN's case, some of these branch lines were those it had been forced to absorb through federal government policies and outright patronage, while others were from the heady expansion era of rural branchlines in the 1920s and early 1930s and were considered obsolete following the development of local road networks.

    During the period starting in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, thousands of kilometres of railway lines were abandoned, including the complete track networks in Newfoundland
    Newfoundland and Labrador
    Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

     (CN subsidiary Terra Transport
    Terra Transport
    Terra Transport was the name for the Newfoundland Transportation Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway , created in 1979 as a means to organize the company's operations on the island of Newfoundland.-Background:...

    , the former Newfoundland Railway
    Newfoundland Railway
    The Newfoundland Railway was a railway which operated on the island of Newfoundland from 1898 to 1988. With a total track length of , it was the longest narrow gauge railway system in North America.-Early construction:...

     ended railway freight operations and mixed freight-passenger trains in 1988. Mainline Passenger rail service in Newfoundland ended in 1969.) and Prince Edward Island
    Prince Edward Island
    Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

     (the former PEIR
    Prince Edward Island Railway
    The Prince Edward Island Railway was a historic Canadian railway.-Construction:Located wholly within the province of Prince Edward Island, construction of the PEIR started in 1871, financed by the United Kingdom...

    ), as well as numerous branch lines in Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

    , New Brunswick
    New Brunswick
    New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

    , Southern Ontario
    Southern Ontario
    Southern Ontario is a region of the province of Ontario, Canada that lies south of the French River and Algonquin Park. Depending on the inclusion of the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts, its surface area would cover between 14 to 15% of the province. It is the southernmost region of...

    , throughout the Prairie
    Prairie
    Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

     provinces, in the British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

     interior, and on Vancouver Island
    Vancouver Island
    Vancouver Island is a large island in British Columbia, Canada. It is one of several North American locations named after George Vancouver, the British Royal Navy officer who explored the Pacific Northwest coast of North America between 1791 and 1794...

    . Virtually every rural area served by CN in some form was affected, creating resentment for the company and the federal government. Many of these now-abandoned rights-of-way
    Right-of-way (railroad)
    A right-of-way is a strip of land that is granted, through an easement or other mechanism, for transportation purposes, such as for a trail, driveway, rail line or highway. A right-of-way is reserved for the purposes of maintenance or expansion of existing services with the right-of-way...

     were divested by CN and the federal government and have since been converted into recreational trails
    Rail trail
    A rail trail is the conversion of a disused railway easement into a multi-use path, typically for walking, cycling and sometimes horse riding. The characteristics of former tracks—flat, long, frequently running through historical areas—are appealing for various development. The term sometimes also...

     by local municipalities and provincial governments.

    CN's U.S. subsidiaries prior to privatization


    CN's railway network in the late 1980s consisted of the company's Canadian trackage, along with the following U.S. subsidiary lines: Grand Trunk Western Railroad
    Grand Trunk Western Railroad
    The Grand Trunk Western Railroad is an important subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway , constituting the majority of CN's Chicago Division ....

     (GTW) operating in Michigan
    Michigan
    Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

    , Indiana
    Indiana
    Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

    , and Illinois
    Illinois
    Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

    ; Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
    Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
    The Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad was a railroad that operated between its namesake cities of Detroit, Michigan and Ironton, Ohio via Toledo between 1905 and 1983.-Early history:...

     (DTI) operating in Michigan
    Michigan
    Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

     and Ohio
    Ohio
    Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

    ; Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
    Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
    The Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway is a subsidiary railroad of Canadian National Railway operating in northern Minnesota, United States. A CN system-wide rebranding beginning in 1995 has seen the DWP logo and name largely replaced by its parent company...

     (DWP) operating in Minnesota
    Minnesota
    Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

    ; Central Vermont Railway
    Central Vermont Railway
    The Central Vermont Railway was a railroad that operated in the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, as well as the Canadian province of Quebec....

     (CV) operating down the Connecticut River
    Connecticut River
    The Connecticut River is the largest and longest river in New England, and also an American Heritage River. It flows roughly south, starting from the Fourth Connecticut Lake in New Hampshire. After flowing through the remaining Connecticut Lakes and Lake Francis, it defines the border between the...

     valley from Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

     to Long Island Sound
    Long Island Sound
    Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the United States between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, New York to the south. The mouth of the Connecticut River at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, empties into the sound. On its western end the sound is bounded by the Bronx...

    ; and a former GT line to Portland, Maine
    Portland, Maine
    Portland is the largest city in Maine and is the county seat of Cumberland County. The 2010 city population was 66,194, growing 3 percent since the census of 2000...

    , known informally as the Grand Trunk Eastern, sold to a short-line operator in 1989.

    The US subsidiaries kept their identities due to their ownership. Technically, foreign governments were not allowed to own railroads in the US. However, a railroad owned by another railroad was allowed to operate, even if that "other railroad" was owned by a foreign government.

    Privatization


    In 1992 a new management team led by ex-federal government bureaucrats, Paul Tellier
    Paul Tellier
    Paul Mathias Tellier, PC, CC is a Canadian businessman and former public servant. Born in Joliette, Quebec, Tellier was educated at Laval University and the University of Oxford.- Biography :Tellier entered Canada's civil service in the 1970s...

     and Michael Sabia
    Michael Sabia
    Michael John Sabia, is a Canadian businessman. He is the current CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. Sabia formerly served as CEO of Bell Canada from 2002 through 2008.-Personal life:...

    , started preparing CN for privatization
    Privatization
    Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

     by emphasizing increased productivity. This was achieved largely through aggressive cuts to the company's bloated and inefficient management structure, widescale layoffs in its workforce and continued abandonment or sale of its branch lines. In 1993 and 1994 the company experimented with a rebranding that saw the names CN, Grand Trunk Western, and Duluth, Winnipeg, and Pacific replaced under a collective CN North America moniker. During this time, CPR and CN entered into negotiations regarding a possible merger of the two companies. This was later rejected by the federal government, whereby CPR offered to purchase outright all of CN's lines from Ontario to Nova Scotia, while an unidentified U.S. railroad (rumoured to have been Burlington Northern Railroad
    Burlington Northern Railroad
    The Burlington Northern Railroad was a United States-based railroad company formed from a merger of four major U.S. railroads. Burlington Northern operated between 1970 and 1996....

    ) would purchase CN's lines in western Canada. This too was rejected. In 1995, the entire company including its U.S. subsidiaries reverted to using CN exclusively.

    The CN Commercialization Act was enacted into law on July 13, 1995, and by November 28, 1995, the federal government had completed an initial public offering
    Initial public offering
    An initial public offering or stock market launch, is the first sale of stock by a private company to the public. It can be used by either small or large companies to raise expansion capital and become publicly traded enterprises...

     (IPO) and transferred all of its shares to private investors. Two key prohibitions in this legislation include, 1) that no individual or corporate shareholder may own more than 15% of CN, and 2) that the company's headquarters must remain in Montreal
    Montreal
    Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

    , thus maintaining CN as a Canadian corporation.

    Retraction and expansion since privatization



    Following the successful IPO, CN has recorded impressive gains in its stock price, largely through an aggressive network rationalization and purchase of newer more fuel-efficient locomotives. Numerous branch lines were shed during the late 1990s across Canada, resulting in dozens of independent short line railway companies being established to operate former CN track that had been considered marginal. This network rationalization resulted in a core east-west freight railway stretching from Halifax to Chicago and Toronto to Vancouver and Prince Rupert. The railway also operated trains from Winnipeg to Chicago using trackage rights for part of the route south of Duluth.

    In addition to the retraction in Canada, the company also expanded in a strategic north-south direction in the central United States. In 1998, during an era of mergers in the U.S. railway industry, CN purchased the Illinois Central Railroad
    Illinois Central Railroad
    The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

     (IC), which connected the already existing lines from Vancouver
    Vancouver
    Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

    , British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

     to Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia
    Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

     with a line running from Chicago, Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

    . This single purchase of IC transformed CN's entire corporate focus from being an east-west uniting presence within Canada (sometimes to the detriment of logical business models) into a north-south NAFTA railway (in reference to the North American Free Trade Agreement
    North American Free Trade Agreement
    The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement...

    ). CN is now feeding Canadian raw material exports into the U.S. heartland and beyond to Mexico through a strategic alliance with Kansas City Southern Railway
    Kansas City Southern Railway
    The Kansas City Southern Railway , owned by Kansas City Southern Industries, is the smallest and second-oldest Class I railroad company still in operation. KCS was founded in 1887 and is currently operating in a region consisting of ten central U.S. states...

     (KCS).

    In 1999, CN and BNSF, the second largest rail system in the U.S., announced their intent to merge, forming a new corporate entity North American Railways, headquartered in Montreal
    Montreal
    Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

     to conform to the CN Commercialization Act of 1995. The merger announcement by CN's Paul Tellier
    Paul Tellier
    Paul Mathias Tellier, PC, CC is a Canadian businessman and former public servant. Born in Joliette, Quebec, Tellier was educated at Laval University and the University of Oxford.- Biography :Tellier entered Canada's civil service in the 1970s...

     and BNSF's Robert Krebs
    Robert Krebs
    Robert D. Krebs has headed three major United States railroads in succession, leading the Southern Pacific when it was acquired by Santa Fe Industries, rising to lead the resulting Santa Fe Pacific Corporation, and finally being chosen to head the new Burlington Northern Santa Fe when Santa Fe...

     was greeted with skepticism by the U.S. government's Surface Transportation Board
    Surface Transportation Board
    The Surface Transportation Board of the United States is a bipartisan, decisionally-independent adjudicatory body organizationally housed within the U.S. Department of Transportation. The STB was established in 1996 to assume some of the regulatory functions that had been administered by the...

     (STB), and protested by other major North American rail companies, namely Canadian Pacific Railway
    Canadian Pacific Railway
    The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

     (CPR) and Union Pacific Railroad
    Union Pacific Railroad
    The Union Pacific Railroad , headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States. James R. Young is president, CEO and Chairman....

     (UP). Rail customers also denounced the proposed merger, following the confusion and poor service sustained in southeastern Texas
    Texas
    Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

     in 1998 following UP's purchase of Southern Pacific Railroad
    Southern Pacific Railroad
    The Southern Pacific Transportation Company , earlier Southern Pacific Railroad and Southern Pacific Company, and usually simply called the Southern Pacific or Espee, was an American railroad....

     (SP). In response to the rail industry, shippers, and political pressure, the STB placed a 15-month moratorium on all rail industry mergers, effectively scuttling CN-BNSF plans. Both companies dropped their merger applications and have never refiled. The roadblock dates back to the Carnegie era "robber barons" when the concept of "anti-trust" was born. Therefore, when it comes to railroad mergers, the federal government is more rigid than usual.
    After the STB moratorium expired, CN purchased Wisconsin Central (WC) in 2001, which allowed the company's rail network to encircle Lake Michigan
    Lake Michigan
    Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

     and Lake Superior
    Lake Superior
    Lake Superior is the largest of the five traditionally-demarcated Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is the largest freshwater lake in the...

    , permitting more efficient connections from Chicago to western Canada
    Western Canada
    Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

    . The deal also included Canadian WC subsidiary Algoma Central Railway
    Algoma Central Railway
    The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

     (ACR), giving access to Sault Ste. Marie
    Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
    Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Marys River in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with a population of 74,948. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means "jump" or "rapids" in...

     and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The purchase of Wisconsin Central also made CN the owner of EWS, the principal freight train operator in the United Kingdom.

    On May 13, 2003, the provincial government of British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

     announced that the provincial Crown corporation, BC Rail (BCR), would be sold with the winning bidder receiving BCR's surface operating assets (locomotives, cars, and service facilities). The provincial government is retaining ownership of the tracks and right-of-way. On November 25, 2003, it was announced that CN's bid of $1 billion CAD would be accepted over those of CPR
    Canadian Pacific Railway
    The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

     and several U.S. companies. The transaction was closed effective July 15, 2004. Many opponents – including CPR – accused the government and CN of rigging the bidding process, though this has been denied by the government. Documents relating to the case are under court seal, as they are connected to a parallel marijuana grow-op investigation connected with two senior government aides also involved in the sale of BC Rail.

    Also contested was the economic stimulus package the government gave cities along the BC Rail route. Some saw it as a buy-off to get the municipalities to cooperate with the lease, though the government asserted that the package was intended to promote economic development along the corridor. Passenger service along the route had been ended by BC Rail a few years earlier due to ongoing losses resulting from deteriorating service. The canceled passenger service has recently been replaced by a blue-plate tourist service, the Rocky Mountaineer
    Rocky Mountaineer
    Rocky Mountaineer is a Canadian tour company offering Western Canadian vacation packages that operates trains on four rail routes through British Columbia and Alberta.-Background:...

    , with fares well over double what the BCR coach fares had been.

    CN also announced in October 2003 an agreement to purchase Great Lakes Transportation
    Great Lakes Transportation
    Great Lakes Transportation LLC is a group of transportation related companies primarily consisting of rail and water carriers catering to the needs of the steel making industry centered around the Great Lakes of North America...

     (GLT), a holding company owned by Blackstone Group for $380 million USD. GLT was the owner of Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
    Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
    The Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway is a railroad operating in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin that hauls iron ore and later taconite to the Great Lakes ports of Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota...

    , and the Pittsburgh & Conneaut Dock Company. The key instigator for the deal was the fact that since the Wisconsin Central purchase, CN was required to use Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
    Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
    The Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway is a railroad operating in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin that hauls iron ore and later taconite to the Great Lakes ports of Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota...

     trackage rights for a short 17 km (11 mi) "gap" that existed near Duluth, Minnesota
    Duluth, Minnesota
    Duluth is a port city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and is the county seat of Saint Louis County. The fourth largest city in Minnesota, Duluth had a total population of 86,265 in the 2010 census. Duluth is also the second largest city that is located on Lake Superior after Thunder Bay, Ontario,...

     on the route between Chicago and Winnipeg. To purchase this short section, CN was told by GLT that it would have to purchase the entire company. Also included in GLT's portfolio were 8 Great Lakes vessels for transporting bulk commodities such as coal and iron ore as well as various port facilities. Following Surface Transportation Board approval for the transaction, CN completed the purchase of GLT on May 10, 2004.
    On December 24, 2008, the STB approved CN's purchase for $300 million of the principal lines of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E) (reporting mark EJE) from US Steel Corp originally announced on September 27, 2007. The STB's decision was to become effective on Jan. 23, 2009, with a closure of the transaction shortly thereafter. The EJ&E lines create a bypass around the western side of heavily congested Chicago-area rail hub and its conversion to use for mainline freight traffic is expected to alleviate substantial bottlenecks for both regional and intercontinental rail traffic subject to lengthy delays entering and exiting Chicago freight yards. The purchase of the lightly used EJ&E corridor was positioned by CN as a boon not only for its own business but for the efficiency of the entire US rail system.

    CN today


    Since the company operates in two countries, CN maintains some corporate distinction by having its U.S. lines incorporated under the Grand Trunk Corporation
    Grand Trunk Corporation
    The Grand Trunk Corporation is the subsidiary holding company for the Canadian National Railway's properties in the United States. It is named for the former Grand Trunk Railway, which CN absorbed in the early 1920s...

     for legal purposes, however the entire company in both Canada and the U.S. operates under CN, as can be seen in its locomotive and rail car repainting programs.

    Since the Illinois Central purchase in 1998 CN has been increasingly focused on running a "scheduled freight railroad/railway", meeting on-time performance with rail industry-leading consistency. This has resulted in improved shipper relations, as well as reduced the need for maintaining pools of surplus locomotives and freight cars. CN has also undertaken a rationalization of its existing track network by removing double track sections in some areas and extending passing sidings in other areas.

    CN is also a rail industry leader in the employment of radio-control (R/C) for switching locomotives in yards, resulting in reductions to the number of yard workers required. CN has frequently been touted in recent years within North American rail industry circles as being the most-improved railroad in terms of productivity and the lowering of its operating ratio
    Operating ratio
    The operating ratio is a financial term defined as a company's operating expenses as a percentage of revenue. This financial ratio is most commonly used for industries which require a large percentage of revenues to maintain operations, such as railroads. In railroading, an operating ratio of 80...

    , acknowledging the fact that the company is becoming increasingly profitable. Due to the rising popularity of ethanol, shuttle trains, and mineral commodities, CN Rail Service is increasing in popularity.

    Recent controversies


    In December 1999 the Ultratrain, a petroleum products unit train linking the Levis (Quebec) Ultramar
    Ultramar
    Ultramar is a Canadian oil refining and marketing company formerly known as Golden Eagle or Aigle d'or. Its head office is in Montreal...

     oil refinery with a petroleum depot in Montreal, exploded when it derailed and collided with a freight train travelling in the opposite direction between Sainte-Madeleine and Saint-Hilaire-Est, south of Montreal, killing the crew of the freight train. The train derailed at a broken rail caused by a defective weld; the report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada called into question CN's quality assurance program for rail welds as well as the lack of detection equipment for defective wheels. In memory of the dead crewmen, two new stations on the line have been named after them (Davis and Thériault).

    About 9:04 a.m. central standard time on February 9, 2003, northbound Canadian National freight train M33371 derailed 22 of its 108 cars in Tamaroa, Illinois. Four of the derailed cars released methanol, and the methanol from two of these four cars fueled a fire. Other derailed cars contained phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, and vinyl chloride. Two cars containing hydrochloric acid, one car containing formaldehyde, and one car containing vinyl chloride released product but were not involved in the fire. About 850 residents were evacuated from the area within a 3 miles (4.8 km) radius of the derailment, which included the entire village of Tamaroa. Improper placement of bond wire welds on the head of the rail just outside the joint bars, where untempered martensite associated with the welds led to fatigue and subsequent cracking that, because of increased stresses associated with known soft ballast conditions, rapidly progressed to rail failure.

    On May 14, 2003, a trestle collapsed under the weight of a freight train near McBride, B.C., killing both crew members. Both men had been disciplined earlier for refusing to take another train on the same bridge, claiming it was unsafe. It was revealed that as far back as 1999, several bridge components had been reported as rotten, yet no repairs had been ordered by management. Eventually, the disciplinary records of both crewmen were amended posthumously.

    Controversy arose again in Canadian political circles in 2003 following the company's decision to refer solely to its acronym "CN" and not "Canadian National", a move some interpret as being an attempt to distance the company from references to "Canada". Canada's Minister of Transport at the time called this policy move "obscene" after nationalists
    Nationalism
    Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

     noted it could be argued the company is no longer Canadian, being primarily owned by American stockholders. The controversy is somewhat tempered by the fact that a majority of large corporations are being increasingly referred to by acronyms. Despite this, the company is still legally called the Canadian National Railway.

    In March 2004 a strike by the Canadian Auto Workers
    Canadian Auto Workers
    The Canadian Auto Workers is one of Canada's largest and highest profile social unions. While rooted in Ontario's large auto plants of Windsor, Brampton, Oakville, St...

     union showed deep-rooted divisions between organized labour and the company's current management.

    The residents of Wabamun Lake
    Wabamun Lake
    Wabamun Lake is one of the most heavily used lakes in Alberta, Canada. It lies west of Edmonton, Alberta. It is long and narrow, covers and is 11 meters deep at its deepest, with somewhat clear water....

    , in Alberta
    Alberta
    Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

    , staged a blockade of CN tracks in August 2005, when they were unsatisfied with CN's response to a derailment catastrophe that spilled over 700,000 Litres of tarry fuel oil and about 80,000 L of carcinogenic pole treatment oil into the lake. Reporters found pre-spill evidence, and CN executives admitted, that CN failed to provide public safety information to prevent public exposure to carcinogenic, toxic chemicals. The tar-like oil and chemicals killed well over 500 large migratory birds, many animals, fish and other aquatic life. It will take many years for the lake to recover.

    On August 5, 2005, a CN train had nine cars derail on a bridge over the Cheakamus River
    Cheakamus River
    The Cheakamus River is a tributary of the Squamish River, beginning on the west slopes of Outlier Peak in Garibaldi Provincial Park upstream from Cheakamus Lake on the southeastern outskirts of the resort area of Whistler. The river flows into Cheakamus Lake before exiting it and flowing...

    , causing 41000 litres (10,831.1 US gal) of caustic soda to spill into the river, killing thousands of fish by caustic burns and asphixiation. The CBC reported evironmental experts say that it would take the river 50 years or more to recover from the toxic pollution. The Cheakamus River used to have a vibrant fishing tourism industry, which now faces an uncertain future. CN is facing accusations from local British Columbia
    British Columbia
    British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

    ns over the rail line's supposed lack of response to this issue, touted as the worst chemical spill in British Columbia's history.

    Transport Canada
    Transport Canada
    Transport Canada is the department within the government of Canada which is responsible for developing regulations, policies and services of transportation in Canada. It is part of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities portfolio...

     has restricted CN to trains not exceeding 80 car lengths because of the multiple derailments on the former BCR line north from Squamish
    Squamish, British Columbia
    Squamish is a community and a district municipality in the Canadian province of British Columbia, located at the north end of Howe Sound on the Sea to Sky Highway...

    . CN had been allegedly running trains in excess of 150 cars on this winding and mountainous section of track.

    A further derailment at Moran, twenty miles (32 km) north of Lillooet
    Lillooet, British Columbia
    Lillooet is a community on the Fraser River in western Canada, about up the British Columbia Railway line from Vancouver. Situated at an intersection of deep gorges in the lee of the Coast Mountains, it has a dry climate- of precipitation is recorded annually at the town's weather station,...

    , on June 30, 2006, has raised more questions about CN's safety policies. Two more derailments, days apart, near Lytton
    Lytton, British Columbia
    Lytton in British Columbia, Canada, sits at the confluence of the Thompson River and Fraser River on the east side of the Fraser. The location has been inhabited by the Nlaka'pamux people for over 10,000 years, and is one of the earliest locations settled by non-natives in the Southern Interior of...

     in August 2006 have continued criticism. In the first case, 20 coal cars of a CPR train using a CN bridge derailed, dumping 12 cars of coal into the Thompson River
    Thompson River
    The Thompson River is the largest tributary of the Fraser River, flowing through the south-central portion of British Columbia, Canada. The Thompson River has two main branches called the South Thompson and the North Thompson...

    . In the second case half a dozen grain cars spilled on a CN train.

    Two CN trains collided on August 4, 2007, on the banks of the Fraser River near Prince George, BC
    Prince George, British Columbia
    Prince George, with a population of 71,030 , is the largest city in northern British Columbia, Canada, and is known as "BC's Northern Capital"...

    . Several cars carrying gasoline, diesel and lumber burst into flames. Water bombers were used to help put out the fires. Some fuel had seeped into the Fraser River.

    On December 4, 2007, a CN train derailed near Edmonton
    Edmonton
    Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

     in Strathcona County, Alberta
    Alberta
    Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

    , at 3:30 a.m Mountain Standard Time
    Mountain Time Zone
    The Mountain Time Zone of North America keeps time by subtracting seven hours from Coordinated Universal Time, also known as Greenwich Mean Time, during the shortest days of autumn and winter , and by subtracting six hours during daylight saving time in the spring, summer, and early autumn...

    . Of the 28 cars derailed, most of them were empty or carrying non-hazardous materials such as lumber or pipes.

    A "culture of fear"


    In response to such high-profile derailments, the federal minister of transportation created an advisory panel to review the Railway Safety Act in February 2007. The panel's report in March 2008 identified a culture of fear and discipline at CN in particular that undermines the safety management system (SMS) that was introduced in 2001 to give rail companies more responsibility over safety.

    "CN's strict adherence to a rules-based approach, focused largely on disciplinary actions when mistakes are made, has instilled a ‘culture of fear and discipline’ and is counter to an effective safety management system. CN needs to acknowledge this openly and take concrete steps to improve," stated the panel.

    The goal of the safety management system was to move away from a compliance approach and toward a proactive approach in which companies assess and mitigate risks on their own initiative. The concept as applied to railways was born during the 1994 review of the Railway Safety Act and amendments to act were introduced in 1999 that added requirements for railway companies to develop and implement safety management systems.

    "The key for railway companies was to become more proactive, to refine their abilities to identify hazards, and to assess and mitigate risks. The need for companies to build a safety consciousness into their day-to-day operations was of paramount importance. This represented a shift from the traditional reactive approach of considering what had happened in a post-accident environment", stated the panel's report.

    The effectiveness of SMS depends on the safety culture within the organization. That's defined as a culture where safety is entrenched in the thinking of managers and employees alike, where open communication allows comparison and improvement of ongoing practices. It also depends on employee involvement, who can be "a company's prime source of information for the identification of hazards and assessment of mitigation strategies."

    However, the panel heard "...from many railway employees who felt neither involved nor informed about their company's safety management system. Rather, employees often described their organizational culture in such a way that the Panel could not reconcile it with an effective safety culture."

    The panel cited the example of passenger rail company Via Rail
    VIA Rail
    Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

     to illustrate a safety culture needed for SMS. Via's implementation of SMS is successful because the company makes safety management important to all employees. While there are certain cardinal rules that lead to disciplinary action if broken, Via also has processes to build openness and trust between managers and employees. "For instance, employees are observed at regular cycles, and corrective coaching takes place immediately when errors are observed," the panel report noted.

    In contrast, CN manages safety through an "antecedent, behaviour and consequences" process, which the panel said is based on a traditional rule and discipline model. It quoted United Transportation Union
    United Transportation Union
    The United Transportation Union is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. It is a broad-based, transportation labor union representing about 125,000 active and retired railroad, bus, mass transit, and airline workers in the United States....

     leader Sylvia Leblanc's description of CN's attitude towards safety as one that "seems to be ‘blame and punish’ instead of ‘educate and correct.’ Frequently, employees involved in accidents… are simply blamed for errors without followup or root cause investigation. They are then punished without any other corrective action taken on the part of the railway to prevent reoccurrences."

    A management culture that relies on discipline, or threat of discipline, to enforce rules has "a tendency to instil fear, and to stifle employee participation and reporting," the panel report stated. "A significant mistrust of management develops. People stop communicating — and that can have a detrimental impact on safety."

    Members of the Board


    David G. A. McLean, O.B.C., LL.D.
    Chairman of the Board
    Canadian National Railway Company
    Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
    The McLean Group
    Vancouver, BC
    Committees: 2, 3(C), 4, 6, 7, 8

    Michael Ralph Armellino, CFA
    Retired Partner
    The Goldman Sachs Group, LP
    Fort Lee, New Jersey
    Committees: 2, 5, 6, 7(C), 8

    A. Charles Baillie, O.C., LL.D.
    Former Chairman and CEO
    The Toronto-Dominion Bank
    Toronto, ON
    Committees: 2(C), 3, 6, 7, 8

    Hugh J. Bolton, FCA
    Chairman of the Board
    EPCOR Utilities Inc.
    Edmonton, AB
    Committees: 1, 5, 6, 7, 8

    Donald J. Carty, O.C., LL.D.
    Retired Vice-Chairman and Chief Financial Officer
    Dell, Inc.
    Dallas, TX
    Committees: 1, 2, 3, 7

    Ambassador Gordon D. Giffin
    Senior Partner
    McKenna, Long & Aldridge
    Atlanta, GA
    Committees: 2, 4, 5, 7, 8
    Edith E. Holiday
    Corporate Director and Trustee,
    Former General Counsel,
    United States Treasury Department
    and Secretary of the Cabinet
    The White House
    Washington, D.C.
    Committees: 2, 3, 6, 7, 8

    V. Maureen Kempston Darkes, O.C., D. Comm., LL.D.
    Retired Group Vice-President
    General Motors Corporation
    and President
    GM Latin America,
    Africa and Middle East
    Miramar, FL
    Committees: 1, 5(C), 6, 7, 8

    The Honourable Denis Losier, P.C., LL.D.
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Assumption Life
    Moncton, NB
    Committees: 1(C), 4, 5, 6, 7

    The Honourable Edward C. Lumley, P.C., LL.D.
    Vice-Chairman
    BMO Capital Markets
    South Lancaster, ON
    Committees: 2, 3, 6, 7, 8(C)

    Claude Mongeau
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Canadian National Railway Company
    Montreal, QC
    Committees: 4(C), 7

    James E. O'Connor
    Former Chairman and CEO
    Republic Services, Inc.
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Committees: 1, 2, 5, 7

    Robert Pace
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    The Pace Group
    Halifax, NS
    Committees: 1, 3, 6(C), 7, 8
    Committees:
    1.Audit
    2.Finance
    3.Corporate Governance and Nominating
    4.Donations and Sponsorships
    5.Environment, Safety and Security
    6.Human Resources and Compensation
    7.Strategic Planning
    8.Investment Committee of CN's Pension Trust Funds
    (C) denotes chairman of the committee
    ..

    Heads of CNR

    • Henry Thornton
      Henry Thornton (railway manager)
      Also in 1894, Thornton began his career in the railroad business, entering as a draftsman of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He was based in the Pittsburgh office. He was promoted to supervisory engineer in 1899 and District Superintendent in 1901. As he climbed rapidly through the PRR hierarchy, he...

       1922-1932 as President
    • David G. A. McLean 1994–present as Chair

    Passenger trains


    When CNR was first created, it inherited a large number of routes from its constituent railways, but eventually pieced its passenger network into one coherent network. For example, on December 3, 1920, CNR inaugurated the Continental Limited, which operated over four of its predecessors, as well as the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway. The 1920s saw growth in passenger travel, and CNR inaugurated several new routes and introduced new services, such as radio, on its trains.

    The growth in passenger travel ended with the Great Depression
    Great Depression
    The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

    , which lasted between 1929 and 1939, but picked up somewhat during World War II. By the end of World War II, many of CNR's passenger cars were old and worn down. Accidents at Dugald, Manitoba, in 1947 and Canoe River, British Columbia
    Canoe River train crash
    The Canoe River train crash occurred on November 21, 1950, near Valemount in eastern British Columbia, Canada, when a westbound troop train and the eastbound Canadian National Railway Continental Limited collided head-on...

    , in 1950, wherein extra passenger trains composed of older, wooden equipment collided with transcontinental passenger trains composed of newer, all-steel equipment, demonstrated the dangers inherent in the older cars. In 1953, CNR ordered 359 lightweight passenger cars, allowing them to re-equip their major routes.

    On April 24, 1955, the same day that the CPR introduced its transcontinental train The Canadian
    The Canadian
    The Canadian is a Canadian transcontinental passenger train originally operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1955 and 1978. It is currently operated as an Inter-city rail service by Via Rail Canada with service between Union Station in Toronto, Ontario and Pacific Central Station in...

    , CNR introduced its own new transcontinental passenger train, the Super Continental
    Super Continental
    The Super Continental was a transcontinental Canadian passenger train operated originally by the Canadian National Railway beginning in 1955 and subsequently by Via Rail from 1977 until its cancellation in 1981. Service was restored in 1985 but was again eliminated in 1990...

    , which used new streamlined rolling stock. However, the Super Continental was never considered as glamourous as the Canadian. For example, it did not include dome car
    Dome car
    A dome car is a type of railway passenger car that has a glass dome on the top of the car where passengers can ride and see in all directions around the train. It also can include features of a coach, lounge car, dining car or observation...

    s. Dome cars would be added in the early 1960s with the purchase of six former Milwaukee Road "Super Domes". They were used on the Super Continental during the summer tourist season.

    Rail passenger traffic in Canada declined significantly between World War II and 1960 due to automobile
    Automobile
    An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

    s and airplane
    Fixed-wing aircraft
    A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

    s. In the 1960s, CN's privately owned rival CPR reduced its passenger services significantly. However, the government-owned CN continued much of its passenger services and marketed new schemes, such as the "red, white and blue" fare structure, to bring passengers back to rail, and by branding express trains in the Ontario–Quebec corridor with the Rapido label.

    In 1968, CN introduced a new high-speed train, the United Aircraft
    United Aircraft and Transport Corporation
    The United Aircraft and Transport Corporation was formed in 1929, when William Boeing of the Boeing firms teamed up with Frederick Rentschler of Pratt & Whitney to form a large, amalgamated firm, uniting business interests in all aspects of aviation—a combination of aircraft engine and airframe...

     Turbo
    Turbo (train)
    The UAC TurboTrain was an early high-speed, gas turbine train manufactured by United Aircraft Corporation that operated in Canada between 1968 and 1984 and in the United States between 1968 and 1976...

    , which was powered by gas turbine
    Gas turbine
    A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between....

    s instead of diesel engine
    Diesel engine
    A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

    s. It made the trip between Toronto and Montreal in four hours, but was not entirely successful because it was somewhat uneconomical and not always reliable. The trainsets were retired in 1982 and later scrapped at Naporano Iron and Metal in New Jersey.

    In 1976, CN created an entity called Via-CN as a separate operating unit for its passenger services. Via evolved into a coordinated marketing effort with CP Rail for rail passenger services, and later into a separate Crown corporation responsible for inter-city passenger services in Canada. Via Rail
    VIA Rail
    Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

     took over CN's passenger services on April 1, 1978. CN continued to fund its commuter rail services in Montreal until 1982, when the Montreal Urban Community Transit Commission
    Société de transport de Montréal
    The Société de transport de Montréal is a public transport agency that operates transit bus, and rapid transit services in Montreal, Quebec, Canada...

     (MUCTC) assumed financial responsibility for them; operation was contracted out to CN, which eventually spun off a separate subsidiary, Montrain
    Montrain
    Montrain is a Canadian National Railway subsidiary responsible for the operation of the Agence métropolitaine de transport's Montreal/Deux-Montagnes and Montreal/Mont-Saint-Hilaire commuter train lines using CN trackage....

    , for this purpose. When the Montreal–Deux-Montagnes line was completely rebuilt in 1994–1995, the new rolling stock came under the ownership of the MUCTC
    Société de transport de Montréal
    The Société de transport de Montréal is a public transport agency that operates transit bus, and rapid transit services in Montreal, Quebec, Canada...

    , until a separate government agency, the Agence métropolitaine de transport
    Agence métropolitaine de transport
    The Agence métropolitaine de transport is the umbrella organization that plans, integrates, and coordinates public transportation services across Canada's Greater Montreal Region, including the Island of Montreal, Laval , and communities along both the North Shore of the Rivière des Mille-Îles...

     (AMT), was set up to consolidate all suburban transit administration around Montreal. Since then, suburban service
    Commuter rail in North America
    Commuter rail services in the United States, Canada, and Mexico provide common carrier passenger transportation along railway tracks, with scheduled service on fixed routes on a non-reservation basis primarily for short-distance travel between a central business district and adjacent suburbs and...

     has resumed to Saint-Hilaire.

    On CN's narrow gauge
    Narrow gauge
    A narrow gauge railway is a railway that has a track gauge narrower than the of standard gauge railways. Most existing narrow gauge railways have gauges of between and .- Overview :...

     lines in Newfoundland, CN also operated a main line passenger train that ran from St. John's to Port aux Basques called the Caribou. Nicknamed the Newfie Bullett, this train ran until June 1969. It was replaced by the CN Roadcruiser Buses. The CN Roadcruiser service was started in fall 1968 and was run in direct competition with the company's own passenger train. Travellers saw that the buses could travel between St. John's and Port aux Basques in 14 hours versus the train's 22 hours.

    With the demise of the Caribou in June 1969, the only passenger train service run by CN on the island were the mixed (freight and passenger) trains that ran on the Bonavista, Carbonear and Argentia branch lines. The only passenger service surviving on the main line was between Bishop's Falls and Corner Brook. Terra Transport
    Terra Transport
    Terra Transport was the name for the Newfoundland Transportation Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway , created in 1979 as a means to organize the company's operations on the island of Newfoundland.-Background:...

     would continue to operate the mixed train
    Mixed train
    A mixed train is a train that hauls both passenger and freight cars or wagons. In the early days of railways they were quite common, but by the 20th century they were largely confined to branch lines with little traffic. As the trains provided passengers with very slow service, mixed trains have...

    s on the branch lines until 1984. The main line run between Corner Brook and Bishop's Falls made its last run on September 30, 1988.

    Terra Transport/CN would run the Roadcruiser bus service until March 29, 1996. The Bus service was sold off to DRL Coachlines
    DRL Coachlines
    DRL Coachlines is a motor coach bus company operating in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.Wholly owned by DRL Group of Triton, NL, the bus company provided charter services before taking over CN Roadcruiser services on the island of Newfoundland in 1996.-Inter-city service:*...

     of Triton, Newfoundland.

    Since acquiring the Algoma Central Railway
    Algoma Central Railway
    The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

     in 2001, CN has operated passenger service between Sault Ste. Marie
    Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
    Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Marys River in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with a population of 74,948. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means "jump" or "rapids" in...

     and Hearst, Ontario
    Hearst, Ontario
    Hearst is a town in the Canadian province of Ontario. It is located in Northern Ontario, approximately west of Kapuskasing, approximately north of Toronto and east of Thunder Bay on Highway 11...

    . As well, CN operates the Agawa Canyon
    Agawa Canyon
    The Agawa Canyon is a shallow canyon located deep in the sparsely populated Algoma District in the Canadian province of Ontario. It was created 1.2 billion years ago by faulting along the Canadian Shield and then enlarged by the erosive action of the Agawa River...

     Tour excursion, an excursion that runs from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
    Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
    Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Marys River in Algoma District, Ontario, Canada. It is the third largest city in Northern Ontario, after Sudbury and Thunder Bay, with a population of 74,948. The community was founded as a French religious mission: Sault either means "jump" or "rapids" in...

    , north to the Agawa Canyon
    Agawa Canyon
    The Agawa Canyon is a shallow canyon located deep in the sparsely populated Algoma District in the Canadian province of Ontario. It was created 1.2 billion years ago by faulting along the Canadian Shield and then enlarged by the erosive action of the Agawa River...

    . The canyon tour train consists of up to 28 passenger cars and 2 dining car
    Dining car
    A dining car or restaurant carriage , also diner, is a railroad passenger car that serves meals in the manner of a full-service, sit-down restaurant....

    s, the majority of which were built for CN by Canadian Car and Foundry in 1953–54. These cars were transferred to Via Rail
    VIA Rail
    Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

     in 1978 and bought by the Algoma Central Railway
    Algoma Central Railway
    The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

     in the 1990s. A "Snow Train" tour is also offered during the fall and winter season.

    Since CN acquired BC Rail in 2004, it has operated a railbus
    Railcar
    A railcar, in British English and Australian English, is a self-propelled railway vehicle designed to transport passengers. The term "railcar" is usually used in reference to a train consisting of a single coach , with a driver's cab at one or both ends. Some railways, e.g., the Great Western...

     service between Seton Portage and Lillooet, British Columbia
    Lillooet, British Columbia
    Lillooet is a community on the Fraser River in western Canada, about up the British Columbia Railway line from Vancouver. Situated at an intersection of deep gorges in the lee of the Coast Mountains, it has a dry climate- of precipitation is recorded annually at the town's weather station,...

    .

    CN crews used to operate commuter trains on behalf of GO Transit
    GO Transit
    GO Transit is an inter-regional public transit system in Southern Ontario, Canada. It primarily serves the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area conurbation, with operations extending to several communities beyond the GTHA proper in the Greater Golden Horseshoe...

     in the City of Toronto and the surrounding vicinity. This changed in 2008 when a deal was reached with Bombardier Transportation
    Bombardier Transportation
    Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

     that switched all CN crews for Bombardier crews.

    Steam


    The CNR acquired its first 4-8-4
    4-8-4
    Under the Whyte notation classification of steam locomotives, 4-8-4 represents the wheel arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and four trailing wheels on two axles .Other equivalent classifications are:UIC classification: 2D2...

     Confederation locomotives
    Confederation locomotive
    The Confederation type was a large locomotive type with a 4-8-4 wheel arrangement used on Canadian railroads. Most were built by the Montreal Locomotive Works in Montreal, Quebec, and the Canadian Locomotive Works in Kingston, Ontario, for the Canadian National Railway . The "Confederation"...

     in 1927. Over the next 20 years, it ordered over 200 for passenger and heavy freight service. The CNR also used several 4-8-2
    4-8-2
    Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 4-8-2 represents the wheel arrangement of four leading wheels on two axles , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and two trailing wheels on one axle...

     Mountain locomotives, almost exclusively for passenger service. No. 6060, a streamlined 4-8-2, was the last CN steam locomotive, running in excursion service in the 1970s. CNR also used several 2-8-2
    2-8-2
    Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-8-2 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle , eight powered and coupled driving wheels on four axles, and two trailing wheels on one axle...

     Mikado locomotives.

    Electric



    CN inherited from the Canadian Northern Railway
    Canadian Northern Railway
    The Canadian Northern Railway is a historic Canadian transcontinental railway. At its demise in 1923, when it was merged into the Canadian National Railway , the CNoR owned a main line between Quebec City and Vancouver via Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.-Manitoba beginnings:CNoR had its start in...

     several box-cabs electric used through the Mount Royal Tunnel
    Mount Royal Tunnel
    The Mount Royal Tunnel is a railway tunnel located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It connects the city's Gare Centrale/Central Station, located downtown, with the north side of the Island of Montreal and Laval, passing through Mount Royal. Since 1995, the only trains using the tunnel are commuter...

    . Those were built between 1914 and 1918 by General Electric
    General Electric
    General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

     in Schenectady, New-York. To operate the new Montreal Central Station, which opened in 1943 and was to be kept smoke-free, they were supplemented by nearly identical locomotives from the National Harbour Board; those engines were built in 1924 by Beyer-Garratt and English-Electric. In 1950, three General Electric
    General Electric
    General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

     center-cab electric locomotives were added to the fleet. In 1952 Electric Multiple Unit
    Electric multiple unit
    An electric multiple unit or EMU is a multiple unit train consisting of self-propelled carriages, using electricity as the motive power. An EMU requires no separate locomotive, as electric traction motors are incorporated within one or a number of the carriages...

    s (EMUs) were also added. The EMUs were built by the Canadian Car and Foundry
    Canadian Car and Foundry
    Canadian Car and Foundry also variously known as "Canadian Car & Foundry," or more familiarly as "Can Car," manufactured buses, railroad rolling stock and later aircraft for the Canadian market...

     Company in Montreal.

    Electrification was restricted to Montreal, and went from Central Station to Saint-Lambert
    Saint-Lambert, Quebec
    Saint-Lambert is a Canadian city in the province of Quebec located opposite Montreal on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. Saint-Lambert was named for either the early French Canadian hunter Lambert Closse or for Roman Catholic Bishop Lambert of Maastricht...

     (south), Turcot (west), Montréal-Nord
    Montréal-Nord
    Montreal North is a borough of the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It consists entirely of the former city of Montréal-Nord on Island of Montreal in southwestern Quebec, Canada. It was amalgamated into the City of Montreal on January 1, 2002...

     (east) and Saint-Eustache-sur-le-lac, later renamed Deux-Montagnes
    Deux-Montagnes, Quebec
    Deux-Montagnes is a municipality in southwestern Quebec, Canada on the north shore of the Rivière des Mille Îles where it flows out of Lake of Two Mountains...

    , (north). But as steam locomotives gave way to diesels, engine changeovers were no longer necessary, and catenary was eventually pulled from the west, east and from the south. However until the end of the original electrification, CN's electric locomotives pulled Via Rail's
    VIA Rail
    Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

     trains, including its diesel electric locomotives, to and from Central Station.

    The last 2,400 V
    Volt
    The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

     DC
    Direct current
    Direct current is the unidirectional flow of electric charge. Direct current is produced by such sources as batteries, thermocouples, solar cells, and commutator-type electric machines of the dynamo type. Direct current may flow in a conductor such as a wire, but can also flow through...

     CN electric locomotive
    Electric locomotive
    An electric locomotive is a locomotive powered by electricity from overhead lines, a third rail or an on-board energy storage device...

     ran on June 6, 1995, the very same locomotive that pulled the inaugural train through the Mount Royal Tunnel
    Mount Royal Tunnel
    The Mount Royal Tunnel is a railway tunnel located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It connects the city's Gare Centrale/Central Station, located downtown, with the north side of the Island of Montreal and Laval, passing through Mount Royal. Since 1995, the only trains using the tunnel are commuter...

     back in 1918. Later in 1995 the AMT's
    Agence métropolitaine de transport
    The Agence métropolitaine de transport is the umbrella organization that plans, integrates, and coordinates public transportation services across Canada's Greater Montreal Region, including the Island of Montreal, Laval , and communities along both the North Shore of the Rivière des Mille-Îles...

     Electric Multiple Units began operating under 25 kV
    Volt
    The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

     AC
    Alternating current
    In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

     electrification.

    Diesel


    In 1929, the CNR made its first experiment with diesel electric locomotives
    Diesel locomotive
    A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

    , acquiring two from Westinghouse, numbered 9000 and 9001. It was the first North American railway to use diesels in mainline service. These early units proved the feasibility of the diesel concept, but were not always reliable. No. 9000 served until 1939, and No. 9001 until 1947. The difficulties of the Great Depression
    Great Depression
    The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

     precluded much further progress towards diesel locomotives. The CNR began its conversion to diesel locomotives after World War II, and had fully dieselized by 1960. Most of the CNR's first-generation diesel locomotives were made by General Motors Diesel
    General Motors Diesel
    General Motors Diesel was a Canadian railway diesel locomotive manufacturer.-History:General Motors Diesel, Limited, was created in 1949 as the Canadian subsidiary of the Electro Motive Division of General Motors located in the United States...

     (GMD) and Montreal Locomotive Works
    Montreal Locomotive Works
    Montreal Locomotive Works was a Canadian railway locomotive manufacturer which existed under several names from 1883–1985, producing both steam and diesel locomotives. For a number of years it was a subsidiary of the American Locomotive Company...

    .

    For its narrow-gauge lines in Newfoundland CN acquired from GMD the 900 series, Models NF110 (road numbers 900-908) and NF210 (road numbers 909-946). For use on the branch lines, CN purchased the EMD G8
    EMD G8
    The EMD G8 was a General Motors-built diesel locomotive of which 382 were built between 1954 and 1965 for both export and domestic use. They were built by both Electro-Motive Division in the United States and by General Motors Diesel Division in Canada for use in ten countries, being equipped to...

     (road numbers 800-805).

    For passenger service the CNR acquired GMD FP9
    EMD FP9
    The EMD FP9 was a , B-B dual-service passenger and freight-hauling diesel locomotive produced between February 1954 and December 1959 by General Motors Electro-Motive Division, and General Motors Diesel. Final assembly was at GM-EMD's La Grange, Illinois plant, except for Canadian orders, which...

     diesels, as well as CLC CPA16-5, ALCO MLW FPA-2
    ALCO FA
    The ALCO FA was a family of B-B diesel locomotives designed to haul freight trains. The locomotives were built by a partnership of ALCO and GE in Schenectady, New York, between January 1946 and May 1959. They were of a cab unit design, and both cab-equipped lead FA and cabless booster FB models...

     and FPA-4 diesels. These locomotives made up most of the CNR's passenger fleet, although CN also owned some 60 RailLiners (Budd Rail Diesel Car
    Budd Rail Diesel Car
    The Budd Rail Diesel Car, RDC or Buddliner is a self-propelled diesel multiple unit railcar. In the period 1949–62, 398 RDCs were built by the Budd Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States...

    s), some dual-purpose diesel freight locomotives (freight locomotives equipped with passenger train apparatus, such as steam generators) as well as the locomotives for the Turbo
    Turbo (train)
    The UAC TurboTrain was an early high-speed, gas turbine train manufactured by United Aircraft Corporation that operated in Canada between 1968 and 1984 and in the United States between 1968 and 1976...

     trainsets. Via acquired most of CN's passenger fleet when it took over CN passenger service in 1978.

    The CN fleet consists of 1548 locomotives, most of which are products of either General Motors' Electro-Motive Division (EMD), or General Electric/GE Transportation Systems. Some locomotives more than 30 years old remain in service.

    Much of the current roster is made up of EMD SD70I
    EMD SD70 series
    The EMD SD70 is a series of diesel-electric locomotives produced by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors beginning in 1992. Over 4000 locomotives in this series have been produced, mostly of the SD70M and SD70MAC models. All locomotives of this series are hood units with C-C trucks...

     and EMD SD75I
    EMD SD75I
    EMD SD75I is a diesel-electric locomotive produced by General Motors Electro-Motive Division .This unit is the same as the EMD SD75M, with , HTCR-II radial trucks and a frame. The only difference between the two models is the cab. The "I" in the model designation stands for Isolated cab, this type...

     locomotives and GE C44-9W
    GE Dash 9-44CW
    The GE C44-9W is a 4,400 hp diesel locomotive built by GE Transportation Systems of Erie, Pennsylvania. Keeping in tradition with GE's locomotive series nicknames beginning with the "Dash 7" of the 1970s, the C44-9W was dubbed the Dash 9 upon its debut in 1993. The design has since proven popular...

     locomotives. Recently acquired are the new EMD SD70M-2 and GE ES44DC.

    Beginning in the early summer months of 2010, CN purchased a small order of C40-8's and C40-8W's from UP and BNSF, respectively. The intent was to use them as a cheaper power alternative. CN has stayed firmly committed to conventional direct-current traction motors, instead of the new alternating-current motors being used by many railways in heavy-haul service.

    Comfort cab
    CN locomotives have long featured unique features, unlike the stock EMD and GE locomotives. CN introduced a wide-nosed four window Comfort Cab, the predecessor to the now standard North American Safety Cab, which is now standard on new North American freight locomotives.

    Ditch lights
    After a BC derailment, CN introduced ditch lights, lights mounted on or just below the anti-climbers on the front pilot of a locomotive. These are arranged in a "cross-eyed" configuration, to make trains more visible at grade-crossings, and to give better visibility around curves. Since then, ditch lights have become standard features on all North American locomotives.

    Class and Marker lights
    CN continued to use class lights on its locomotives for many years, up to as recently as the C40-8M and SD60F (which feature red, green and white class lights), and the first order C44-9WL locomotives which retained white class lights. More recently, CN has had red marker lights installed on their ES44DC and SD70M-2 locomotives, for use when the locomotives are in DPU service.

    Windshields
    CN's first few orders of ES44DC's, like their C44-9W's, feature "tear-drop" windshields, windshields with the outer lower corner dropped (like earlier SD70Is) as opposed to the standard rectangular GE windshield, to allow for better visibility.

    Headlights
    The first order of SD70M-2 locomotives had their headlights mounted on the cab, while the second order (8800 series) dropped the headlight to the nose, and also features added red marker lights mounted above the windshields on the cab.

    Control stands
    While many railroads have ordered new "desktop" controls, where the controls are arranged on a desk—CN returned earlier than most to the conventional control stand that most locomotive engineers prefer, which features a stand to the side of the engineer with controls that stick out horizontally. This arrangement makes reverse operation easier, and allows engineers to "put their feet up," without feeling stuck at a desk all day.

    Car body
    CN's General Motors SD50F, SD60F, and General Electric C40-8M feature a full-width car body that is tapered to allow for better rear visibility. This is referred to as a "Draper taper" after its creator. The first order of the GE C44-9 (2500–2522) was also initially an order for 18 locomotives with the full-width Draper Taper car body. They were changed to a standard long hood with a CN-style 4-window cab and the order was increased to 23 locomotives at the same price.

    Freight cars



    • Rotary gondola
    • Open hopper
      Hopper car
      A hopper car is a type of railroad freight car used to transport loose bulk commodities such as coal, ore, grain, track ballast, and the like. The name originated from the coke manufacturing industry which is part of the steel industry ....

    • Auto carrier
    • Tri-level auto carrier
      Autorack
      An autorack, also known as an auto carrier, is a specialized piece of railroad rolling stock used to transport automobiles and light trucks, generally from factories to automotive distributors...

    • Auto part
      Auto part
      This is a list of auto parts, which are manufactured components of automobiles:-Body and exterior:Body components, including windows and trim:-Engine cooling system:* Air blower* Coolant hose* Cooling fan* Fan blade* Fan clutch* Radiator...

      s boxcar
    • Boxcar
      Boxcar
      A boxcar is a railroad car that is enclosed and generally used to carry general freight. The boxcar, while not the simplest freight car design, is probably the most versatile, since it can carry most loads...

    • Newsprint
      Newsprint
      Newsprint is a low-cost, non-archival paper most commonly used to print newspapers, and other publications and advertising material. It usually has an off-white cast and distinctive feel. It is designed for use in printing presses that employ a long web of paper rather than individual sheets of...

       boxcar
      Boxcar
      A boxcar is a railroad car that is enclosed and generally used to carry general freight. The boxcar, while not the simplest freight car design, is probably the most versatile, since it can carry most loads...

    • Wood pulp
      Wood pulp
      Pulp is a lignocellulosic fibrous material prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fibres from wood, fibre crops or waste paper. Wood pulp is the most common raw material in papermaking.-History:...

       boxcar
    • Woodchip
      Woodchip
      Woodchip may refer to:* the product of Woodchipping* Woodchips, a solid-biomass fuel* Ingrain wallpaper...

       gondola
      Gondola (rail)
      In railroad terminology, a gondola is an open-top type of rolling stock that is used for carrying loose bulk materials. Because of its low side walls, gondolas are used to carry either very dense material, such as steel plates or coils, or bulky items such as prefabricated pieces of rail...

    • Log car
    • Centerbeam car
  • Bulkhead flat car
  • Double door boxcar
  • Government
    Government of Canada
    The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

     hopper car
  • High-cube and jumbo
  • Covered hopper
    Covered hopper
    A Covered Hopper is a railroad freight car. They are designed for carrying dry bulk loads, varying from grain to products such as sand and clay. The cover protects the loads from the weather - dried cement would be very hard to unload if mixed with water in transit, while grain would be liable to...

  • Metals box car
  • Covered coil gondolas
  • Standard gondolas
    Gondola (rail)
    In railroad terminology, a gondola is an open-top type of rolling stock that is used for carrying loose bulk materials. Because of its low side walls, gondolas are used to carry either very dense material, such as steel plates or coils, or bulky items such as prefabricated pieces of rail...

  • Flatcar
    Flatcar
    A flatcar is a piece of railroad or railway rolling stock that consists of an open, flat deck on four or six wheels or a pair of trucks or bogies . The deck of the car can be wood or steel, and the sides of the deck can include pockets for stakes or tie-down points to secure loads...

  • Ore gondola
    Rotary car dumper
    A rotary car dumper or wagon tippler is a mechanism used for unloading certain railroad cars such as hopper cars, gondolas or lorries . It holds the rail car to a section of track and rotates the track and car together to dump out the contents. Used with gondola cars, it is making open hopper cars...


  • North American intermodal containers


    containers heater/reefer containers reefer/heater containers(modified 48) containers heater/reefer containers

    Container chassis

    • Max Atlas 40 feet (12.2 m) to 53 feet (16.2 m) extendable container chassis
    • Di-Mond 40 feet (12.2 m) to 53 feet (16.2 m) extendable container chassis

    Major facilities



    CN owns a large number of large yards and repair shops across their system, which are used for many operations ranging from intermodal
    Intermodal freight transport
    Intermodal freight transport involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation , without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes. The method reduces cargo handling, and so improves security, reduces damages and...

     terminals to classification yard
    Classification yard
    A classification yard or marshalling yard is a railroad yard found at some freight train stations, used to separate railroad cars on to one of several tracks. First the cars are taken to a track, sometimes called a lead or a drill...

    s. Below are some examples of these.

    Active hump yards


    Hump yards
    Classification yard
    A classification yard or marshalling yard is a railroad yard found at some freight train stations, used to separate railroad cars on to one of several tracks. First the cars are taken to a track, sometimes called a lead or a drill...

     work by using a small hill, over which cars are pushed before being released down a slope and switched automatically into cuts of cars, ready to join into outbound trains. CN's active humps include:
    • Toronto
      Toronto
      Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

      , Ontario
      Ontario
      Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

      : MacMillan Yard
      CN MacMillan Yard
      The MacMillan Yard is the largest rail classification yard in Canada. It is operated by Canadian National Railway and is located 20 kilometers north of downtown Toronto in Vaughan, Ontario. It is named after former CN president Norman John MacMillan....

    • Winnipeg
      Winnipeg
      Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

      , Manitoba
      Manitoba
      Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

      : Symington Yard
    • Memphis, Tennessee
      Memphis, Tennessee
      Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

      : Harrison Yard

    Other major yards

    • Calgary
      Calgary
      Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

      , Alberta
      Alberta
      Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

      : Sarcee Yard
    • Champaign, Illinois
      Champaign, Illinois
      Champaign is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, in the United States. The city is located south of Chicago, west of Indianapolis, Indiana, and 178 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. Though surrounded by farm communities, Champaign is notable for sharing the campus of the University of...

      : Champaign Yard
    • Chicago, Illinois: Glenn, Homewood, Kirk and Markham Yards
    • Dartmouth
      Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
      Dartmouth founded in 1750, is a community and planning area of the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia. Located on the eastern shore of Halifax Harbour, Dartmouth has been nicknamed the City of Lakes after the large number of lakes located in the city.On April 1, 1996, the provincial...

       Nova Scotia
      Nova Scotia
      Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

      : Dartmouth Yard
    • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Chappell Yard
    • Edmonton, Alberta: Walker Yard
    • Battle Creek, Michigan
      Battle Creek, Michigan
      Battle Creek is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, in northwest Calhoun County, at the confluence of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek Rivers. It is the principal city of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area , which encompasses all of Calhoun county...

      : Battle Creek Yard
    • Flat Rock, Michigan
      Flat Rock, Michigan
      - Racial makeup :As of the census of 2000, there were 8,488 people, 3,181 households, and 2,306 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,266.9 per square mile . There were 3,291 housing units at an average density of 491.2 per square mile...

      : Flat Rock Yard
    • Levis, Quebec
      Lévis, Quebec
      Lévis is a city in eastern Quebec, Canada. It is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, opposite Quebec City. A ferry links Old Quebec with Old Lévis, and two bridges, the Quebec Bridge and the Pierre Laporte Bridge, connect western Lévis with Quebec City. The Société de transport de...

      : Joffre Yard
    • Moncton, New Brunswick
      New Brunswick
      New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

      : Gordon Yard
    • Halifax
      City of Halifax
      Halifax is a city in Canada, which was the capital of the province of Nova Scotia and shire town of Halifax County. It was the largest city in Atlantic Canada until it was amalgamated into Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996...

       Nova Scotia
      Nova Scotia
      Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

      : Rockingham
      Rockingham, Nova Scotia
      Rockingham is a community located in Nova Scotia's Halifax Regional Municipality. It is part of a large suburban area along the western shore of Bedford Basin, north of Clayton Park and south of Bedford.-Geography:...

       Yard
    • Montreal
      Montreal
      Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

      , Quebec
      Quebec
      Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

      : Taschereau Yard
    • Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
      Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
      Fond du Lac is a city in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States. The name is French for bottom of the lake, for it is located at the bottom of Lake Winnebago. The population was 42,203 at the 2000 census...

      : Shops Yard
    • New Orleans, Louisiana
      New Orleans, Louisiana
      New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

      : Mays Yard
    • Vancouver
      Vancouver
      Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

      , British Columbia
      British Columbia
      British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

      : Thornton Yard
    • Windsor
      Windsor, Ontario
      Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada and is located in Southwestern Ontario at the western end of the heavily populated Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. It is within Essex County, Ontario, although administratively separated from the county government. Separated by the Detroit River, Windsor...

      , Ontario
      Ontario
      Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

      : Van de Water Yard

    Intermodal terminals

    • Auburn
      Auburn, Maine
      Auburn is a city in and the county seat of Androscoggin County, Maine, United States. The population was 23,055 at the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included in the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan New England city and town area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan...

      , Maine
      Maine
      Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

      : terminal serviced the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad
    • Calgary
      Calgary
      Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

      , Alberta
      Alberta
      Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

    • Chicago, Illinois
    • Detroit, Michigan
      Detroit, Michigan
      Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

    • Edmonton
      Edmonton
      Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

      , Alberta
      Alberta
      Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

    • Halifax, Nova Scotia
      City of Halifax
      Halifax is a city in Canada, which was the capital of the province of Nova Scotia and shire town of Halifax County. It was the largest city in Atlantic Canada until it was amalgamated into Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996...

    • Jackson, Mississippi
      Jackson, Mississippi
      Jackson is the capital and the most populous city of the US state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County ,. The population of the city declined from 184,256 at the 2000 census to 173,514 at the 2010 census...

      : terminal owned by the Kansas City Southern Railway
      Kansas City Southern Railway
      The Kansas City Southern Railway , owned by Kansas City Southern Industries, is the smallest and second-oldest Class I railroad company still in operation. KCS was founded in 1887 and is currently operating in a region consisting of ten central U.S. states...

    • Memphis, Tennessee
      Memphis, Tennessee
      Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

    • Moncton, New Brunswick
      New Brunswick
      New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

    • Montreal
      Montreal
      Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

      , Quebec
      Quebec
      Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    • New Orleans, Louisiana
      New Orleans, Louisiana
      New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

    • Prince George, British Columbia
      Prince George, British Columbia
      Prince George, with a population of 71,030 , is the largest city in northern British Columbia, Canada, and is known as "BC's Northern Capital"...

    • Prince Rupert, British Columbia
      Prince Rupert, British Columbia
      Prince Rupert is a port city in the province of British Columbia, Canada. It is the land, air, and water transportation hub of British Columbia's North Coast, and home to some 12,815 people .-History:...

    • Saskatoon
      Saskatoon
      Saskatoon is a city in central Saskatchewan, Canada, on the South Saskatchewan River. Residents of the city of Saskatoon are called Saskatonians. The city is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Corman Park No. 344....

      , Saskatchewan
      Saskatchewan
      Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

    • Toronto
      Toronto
      Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

      , Ontario
      Ontario
      Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

      : main terminal is located at Brampton
      Brampton
      Brampton is the third-largest city in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada.Brampton may also refer to:- Canada :* Brampton, a city in Ontario** Brampton GO Station, a station in the GO Transit network located in the city- United Kingdom :...

      , Ontario
      Ontario
      Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

      , as well as a smaller ramp and Roadrailer
      Roadrailer
      In railroad terminology a Roadrailer or RoadRailer is a highway trailer, or semi-trailer, that is specially equipped for use in railroad intermodal service.- Overview :...

       service at MacMillan Yard
    • Vancouver
      Vancouver
      Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

      , British Columbia
      British Columbia
      British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

    • Winnipeg
      Winnipeg
      Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

      , Manitoba
      Manitoba
      Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...


    See also

    • Narrow gauge railways in Canada
      Narrow gauge railways in Canada
      Although most railways of central and eastern Canada were initially built to a broad gauge, there were several, especially on Canada's Atlantic coast, which were built as individual narrow gauge lines....

    • Canadian Pacific Railway
      Canadian Pacific Railway
      The Canadian Pacific Railway , formerly also known as CP Rail between 1968 and 1996, is a historic Canadian Class I railway founded in 1881 and now operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001...

    • CN Tower
      CN Tower
      The CN Tower is a communications and observation tower in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Standing tall, it was completed in 1976, becoming the world's tallest free-standing structure and world's tallest tower at the time. It held both records for 34 years until the completion of the Burj...

    • Japanese National Railways
      Japanese National Railways
      , abbreviated or "JNR", was the national railway network of Japan from 1949 to 1987.-History:The term Kokuyū Tetsudō "state-owned railway" originally referred to a network of railway lines operated by nationalized companies under the control of the Railway Institute following the nationalization...

      : Japan's equivalent to the Canadian National Railway.
    • GO Transit
      GO Transit
      GO Transit is an inter-regional public transit system in Southern Ontario, Canada. It primarily serves the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area conurbation, with operations extending to several communities beyond the GTHA proper in the Greater Golden Horseshoe...

    • List of Canadian National Railways companies
    • Newfoundland T'Railway
      Newfoundland T'Railway
      The Newfoundland T'Railway Provincial Park is a rail trail in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.Protected as a linear park under the provincial park system, the T'Railway consists of the railbed of the historic Newfoundland Railway as transferred from its most recent owner,...

    • Ontario Northland Railway
      Ontario Northland Railway
      The Ontario Northland Railway is a Canadian railway operated by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, a provincial Crown agency of the government of Ontario....

    • Via Rail
      VIA Rail
      Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....


    Former component railways

    • Canadian Government Railways
      Canadian Government Railways
      Canadian Government Railways was the legal name used between 1915–1918 for all federal government-owned railways in Canada.The principal component companies were: the Intercolonial Railway of Canada , the National Transcontinental Railway , the Prince Edward Island Railway , and the Hudson...

      • Intercolonial Railway
      • Prince Edward Island Railway
        Prince Edward Island Railway
        The Prince Edward Island Railway was a historic Canadian railway.-Construction:Located wholly within the province of Prince Edward Island, construction of the PEIR started in 1871, financed by the United Kingdom...

      • National Transcontinental Railway
        National Transcontinental Railway
        The National Transcontinental Railway was a historic Canadian railway between Winnipeg and Moncton. Much of the line is now operated by the Canadian National Railway.-The Grand Trunk partnership:...

    • Canadian Northern Railway
      Canadian Northern Railway
      The Canadian Northern Railway is a historic Canadian transcontinental railway. At its demise in 1923, when it was merged into the Canadian National Railway , the CNoR owned a main line between Quebec City and Vancouver via Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton.-Manitoba beginnings:CNoR had its start in...

      • Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
        Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway
        The Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway is a subsidiary railroad of Canadian National Railway operating in northern Minnesota, United States. A CN system-wide rebranding beginning in 1995 has seen the DWP logo and name largely replaced by its parent company...

    • Grand Trunk Railway
      Grand Trunk Railway
      The Grand Trunk Railway was a railway system which operated in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, as well as the American states of Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The railway was operated from headquarters in Montreal, Quebec; however, corporate...

      • Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad
      • Central Vermont Railway
        Central Vermont Railway
        The Central Vermont Railway was a railroad that operated in the New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, as well as the Canadian province of Quebec....

      • St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad
        St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad
        The St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad , known as St-Laurent et Atlantique Quebec in Canada, is a short line railroad operating between Portland, Maine on the Atlantic Ocean and Montreal, Quebec on the St. Lawrence River. It crosses the Canada-U.S...

      • Grand Trunk Western Railroad
        Grand Trunk Western Railroad
        The Grand Trunk Western Railroad is an important subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway , constituting the majority of CN's Chicago Division ....

        • Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
          Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad
          The Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad was a railroad that operated between its namesake cities of Detroit, Michigan and Ironton, Ohio via Toledo between 1905 and 1983.-Early history:...

      • Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
        Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
        The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was a historical Canadian railway.A wholly owned subsidiary of the Grand Trunk Railway , the GTPR was constructed by GTR using loans provided by the Government of Canada. The company was formed in 1903 with a mandate to build west from Winnipeg, Manitoba to the...

    • London and Port Stanley Railway
      London and Port Stanley Railway
      The London and Port Stanley Railway is a historic Canadian railway located in southwestern Ontario.The L&PS linked the city of London with Port Stanley on the northern shore of Lake Erie, a distance of approximately ....

    • Newfoundland Railway
      Newfoundland Railway
      The Newfoundland Railway was a railway which operated on the island of Newfoundland from 1898 to 1988. With a total track length of , it was the longest narrow gauge railway system in North America.-Early construction:...

    • Illinois Central Railroad
      Illinois Central Railroad
      The Illinois Central Railroad , sometimes called the Main Line of Mid-America, is a railroad in the central United States, with its primary routes connecting Chicago, Illinois with New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. A line also connected Chicago with Sioux City, Iowa...

    • Wisconsin Central Ltd.
      • Algoma Central Railway
        Algoma Central Railway
        The Algoma Central Railway is a railway in Northern Ontario that operates between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, with a branch line to Michipicoten. The area served by the railway is sparsely populated, with few roads...

      • Green Bay and Western Railroad
        Green Bay and Western Railroad
        The Green Bay and Western Railroad served the transportation and freight haulage needs of northern Wisconsin for almost 100 years before it was absorbed into the Wisconsin Central in 1993...

    • Great Lakes Transportation
      Great Lakes Transportation
      Great Lakes Transportation LLC is a group of transportation related companies primarily consisting of rail and water carriers catering to the needs of the steel making industry centered around the Great Lakes of North America...

      • Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad
        Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad
        The Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad is a class II railroad that operates in northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio.The railroad's main route runs from the Lake Erie port of Conneaut, Ohio to the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, a distance of 139 miles...

      • Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
        Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway
        The Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway is a railroad operating in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin that hauls iron ore and later taconite to the Great Lakes ports of Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota...

    • Northern Alberta Railways
      Northern Alberta Railways
      Northern Alberta Railways was a Canadian railway which served northern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia. Jointly owned by both Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway, NAR existed as a separate company from 1929 until 1981....

      • Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway
        Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway
        The Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway was an early pioneer railway in northwestern Alberta, designed to open up the Peace River district....

      • Alberta and Great Waterways Railway
      • Central Canada Railway
      • Pembina Valley Railway
    • Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway
      Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway
      The Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway is a Class II railroad that operates in the suburbs surrounding Chicago. The railroad is a link between Class I railroads in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana...


    Former subsidiaries

    • CN Marine
      CN Marine
      CN Marine was a Canadian ferry company headquartered in Moncton, New Brunswick.-History:CN Marine was created by parent Canadian National Railway in 1977 as a means to group the company's ferry operations in eastern Canada into a separate operating division...

       / Marine Atlantic
      Marine Atlantic
      Marine Atlantic Inc. is an independent Canadian Crown corporation offering ferry services between the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.Marine Atlantic's corporate headquarters are in St...

    • Terra Transport
      Terra Transport
      Terra Transport was the name for the Newfoundland Transportation Division, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway , created in 1979 as a means to organize the company's operations on the island of Newfoundland.-Background:...

    • Trans-Canada Air Lines
      Trans-Canada Air Lines
      Trans-Canada Air Lines was a Canadian airline and operated as the country's flag carrier. Its corporate headquarters were in Montreal, Quebec...

       / Air Canada
      Air Canada
      Air Canada is the flag carrier and largest airline of Canada. The airline, founded in 1936, provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 178 destinations worldwide. It is the world's tenth largest passenger airline by number of destinations, and the airline is a...

    • Via Rail
      VIA Rail
      Via Rail Canada is an independent crown corporation offering intercity passenger rail services in Canada. It is headquartered near Montreal Central Station at 3 Place Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec....

    • Canadian National Hotels
      Canadian National Hotels
      Canadian National Hotels was a hotel chain under control by Canadian National Railways. In addition to their own hotels, it acquired some from rival railway companies like the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, Grand Trunk Railway and Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway...


    External links