What is interswitching?

Interswitching is the transfer of traffic between two railway companies (railways). One railway takes a shipper’s freight part of the way between origin and destination. It then transfers the freight to a competing railway with which the shipper has made arrangements for the rest of the haul. The transfer takes place at an interchange – where the lines of the two railways meet.

How we regulate interswitching

The CTA regulates some interswitching to make sure shippers have fair and reasonable access to service from more than one railway, which can increase competition in the system. In particular, we set rates each year for “30-kilometre interswitching”. This is interswitching for shippers whose siding or facility at origin or destination is:

  • within 30 kilometres (in a straight line) of an interchange; or
  • “reasonably close” to an interchange, as decided by the CTA.

We also regulate long-haul interswitching (LHI), which is not limited to 30 kilometres, although other conditions apply. For details, see our LHI page. Information there includes our complete guide to LHI.

Disputes about interswitching

Shippers and others who have a dispute with a railway over interswitching can come to us for help. This could include disputes about whether the right rate was charged, or whether a siding/facility is within 30 kilometres of, or reasonably close to, an interchange. We offer several services for resolving disputes.

Dispute resolution services

You could use a quick and relatively informal process to resolve your dispute:

Or you could use a more formal process:

See the overview and FAQs to compare the dispute resolution options. If you’re not sure which option to choose, contact us to see how we can help.

For more information about Interswitching, see the Canada Transportation Act (sections 127 and 128) and the Railway Interswitching Regulations.

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