November 1, 2004

Canada's railways continue improvements to cut GHG emissions, RAC head reports

VANCOUVER, BC-Canada's railways are "an ever-increasing factor in addressing the nation's concerns and initiatives to maintain Canada's competitiveness in international trade and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions," Bruce Burrows, acting president and CEO of the Railway Association of Canada, told a Western Transportation Advisory Council (WESTAC) conference on commercial transportation's contribution to a sustainable environment. In keeping with the conference them of "Walking the Talk," Burrows noted that "our freight railways, for example, now move 510 revenue ton-miles of freight for each gallon of fuel they consume." He added that about one-quarter of Canada's GHG production is from transportation, and although transport emissions were up 21% during the 1990s to 177 megatonnes, rail freight emissions actually declined to 4%. Rail, he continued, "has been able to make substantive gains through changes in its operations, restructuring the network, optimizing assets, introduction of advanced technology, purchase of more powerful, fuel efficient locomotives, and new, higher capacity freight cars." Burrows also told the conference that short line railways, which feed traffic to and from the long-haul, high-volume main line carriers, are another key component in Canada's transportation system today and originate almost 30% of freight carloads in Canada - as much as 1.5 million carloads per year. "Without a short line sector, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions from domestic trucking would be 100% higher, and up another 4.4 megatonnes," he said.
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