Improving CPR Sightlines at Crossings Brings Several Environmental Benefits

Ottawa - Canadian Pacific Railway has won this year’s Railway Association of Canada Environment Award for the company’s outstanding effort to improve vegetation control around more than 1,000 of their highway-railway crossings. Another 1,300 crossings will be done this year. Cliff Mackay, president and CEO of the RAC said: “The railway’s primary goal in the competition is to improve safety by applying ecological principles which will lead to a more sustainable control of vegetation at their crossings. The program is designed to shift plant species to low growing vegetation which does not impede sightlines and requires much less ongoing maintenance. Overall, safety is improved. CP is encouraging the shift in vegetation growth to low-growing plants through targeted herbicide treatments and selective brush cutting near crossings. Where vegetation and foliage tends to be of moderate density and height, the railway is utilizing selective herbicides, so as not to interfere with grass and other desirable plants. They are also using chemical injection technology, which targets specific areas and minimizes the use of herbicides. In areas where there is a large mix of undesirable plants, cutting and treating stumps with herbicides and spot application of select herbicides is being utilized. In areas of environmental sensitivity, such as fisheries sensitive zones and residential areas, cutting and treating stumps minimizes the impact of herbicides. Cutting is also timed so as not to interfere with nesting birds. Moving to low-growing plant life will also reduce the amount of maintenance that will be required and minimize habitat disturbance. The annual Environment Award was created by the industry association - which represents almost 60 member railways—to encourage Canadian railways to adopt environmentally friendly practices and operational techniques, and to support Earth Day, which is being recognized April 22. The rail sector carries two-thirds of all surface-freight in Canada, and moves 63 million passengers each year yet generates only three per cent of surface freight emissions. Contact Information: Roger Cameron Director, Public Affairs Railway Association of Canada 613-564-8097 Gérald Gauthier Director, Industry Liason Railway Association of Canada 613-564-8106