With 73,000 kilometres of track, Canada’s rail network is the world’s third longest, after those of the U.S. and Russia. Canada’s two major railways, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, move millions of passengers and millions of tonnes of goods annually.
The railways transport large quantities of bulk commodities over long distances at relatively low cost, so that our coal, potash, and lumber reach world markets efficiently and profitably. Movement by rail container is growing in importance. Most finished goods are now transported by this method. Until 2001, passenger traffic on Canadian railways declined because of airline deregulation and competition from other types of transport. In 1983, the number of rail passengers topped 7 million. In 1998, this figure fell to 3.9 million. Most of the passenger traffic was along the Windsor-Québec corridor. Since 2001, however, passenger traffic has increased by 1.4 percent.
The animation begins with a blank map of Canada. Black dots appear, showing major cities. Then blue lines appear to indicate rail cargo lines, followed by red lines showing roads. Yellow squares indicate the busiest airports, and black symbols show container ports.