Rail transportation


The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has a mandate to keep the national transportation system running efficiently and smoothly. This includes the rail system that plays a vital part in Canadian lives and the economy. We support the rail system by:

    • Issuing the licence (certificate of fitness) needed to construct or operate a federal freight or passenger railway;
    • Monitoring federal railway companies (railways) to make sure they have the liability insurance required by law;
    • Making and enforcing regulations for railways. Our regulations tell freight railways what services they must provide to customers (shippers). They create rules for other important railway activities, like interswitching (the transfer of freight between two railways);
    • Setting interswitching rates, certain other rates, and maximum railway revenue for moving Western grain;
    • Approving railway line construction;
    • Resolving disputes between railways, between railways and shippers, and between railways and people who live or work near the railway;
    • Publishing guides for railways, shippers, and others. Our guides explain everyone's rights and responsibilities. They also explain the services we offer for resolving rail disputes.

    Services and information

    Railway crossings

    How to resolve disputes about crossings. Getting and maintaining a private crossing (including "farm crossings") and who pays for the crossing. Getting and maintaining a road or utility crossing (including a grade separation) and how costs are divided. Creating and filing a road or utility crossing agreement. Railway crossings of other railways.


    What interswitching is and how we regulate it. 30-kilometre interswitching and long-haul interswitching (LHI). Resolving disputes about interswitching.

    Noise and vibration

    How to resolve complaints about railway noise and vibration. Limits on the noise and vibration railways may create. Measuring and reporting on railway noise. Why locomotives idle and how to manage the impact of idling locomotives.

    Rail certificates of fitness (licences)

    The application form for getting or changing a rail licence (certificate of fitness). The liability insurance that freight railways must have to get and keep their licence.

    Western grain: the Maximum Revenue Entitlement (MRE)

    How we set the MRE for Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC). The current MRE for each railway. What happens when a railway goes over the MRE.


    Guides on rail issues for shippers, railways and others.