Grain Dependent Branch Lines

Over the past year, the Agency has received numerous inquiries from individuals and organizations interested in learning how the list of Grain Dependent Branch Lines (GDBLs) set out in Schedule I of the Canada Transportation Act had been developed. The following description of the process used in determining whether a branch line was classified as a Grain Dependent Branch Line provides an overview of the historical steps taken in developing the list of GDBLs as of April 1, 2000 which are listed in Schedule I of the Act.

GDBLs for CN and CP - Schedule 1 of the Canada Transportation Act.

An overview of the process that was used to determine GDBLs

  1. Under the Western Grain Transportation Act (WGTA), and effective until July 31, 1995, Section 41 of the WGTA stated the following with regard to the designation and relevant criteria pertaining to GDBLs:
    • 41(1): The Commission shall, on or before March 31 of each year, designate and in the manner it determines publish a list of the railway branch lines or segments thereof in the Western Division that shall be deemed to be grain dependent branch lines for the next crop year.
    • 41(2): The Commission shall make the designation under subsection (1) where it is of the opinion that, based on the average of the three immediately preceding calendar or crop years,
      1. the tonnage of grain moved that originated or terminated on the line or segment thereof was equal to or greater than sixty per cent of the total tonnage of all traffic that originated or terminated on the line or segment thereof, and
      2. the freight  less volume-related variable costs in respect of traffic other than movement of grain received by the railway company that operates the line or segment did not exceed the cost associated with the line or segment thereof, or where it is of the opinion that the line or segment thereof is not used by the railway company for operations other than the movement of grain. 1980-81-82-83, c. 168,s.40.
  2. Under the National Transportation Act, 1987 (NTA, 1987) and the Canada Transportation Act (CTA), and effective until July 31, 2000:
    • The GDBL listing that was established under the WGTA for crop year 1994-95 was imported into the NTA, 1987, via Bill C-76 (an Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 1995), effective August 1, 1995. The listing was shown as Schedule 1 in Bill C-76.
    • The above GDBL listing was then imported into the CTA, effective August 1, 1996.
    • For the five years of rate-setting under the NTA, 1987 and the CTA, western grain rates were adjusted to take into account the abandonment of services on GDBLs . (The formula assigned a cost savings at the rate of $10,000 per mile.)
  3. Under the new Maximum Revenue Entitlement program - which took effect August 1, 2000, a revised GDBL listing took effect. The revised listing was imported into the CTA via Bill C-34 (an Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act), appearing as a (revised) Schedule 1.

The revised GDBL listing was prepared by the Agency under direction from Transport Canada, as follows:

  1. the Agency started with the list of 1994-95 GDBLs. See Exhibit 1 for CN and Exhibit 1 for CP.
  2. the Agency removed any GDBLs whose service had been ABANDONED between April 1, 1994, and April 1, 2000. See Exhibit 2 for CN and Exhibit 2 for CP.
  3. the Agency then removed any GDBLs whose service had been TRANSFERRED between April 1, 1994 and April 1, 2000. See Exhibit 3 for CN and Exhibit 3 for CP
  4. the Agency also corrected some minor anomalies contained in the above schedules.

The result was the revised GDBL listing that appears today as Schedule 1 of the CTA and which is shown in Exhibit 4 for CN and Exhibit 4 for CP.

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