Shortline Railways using Federally-Regulated Track

A shortline railway that sometimes operates on federally-regulated track is defined as a local railway company by Transport Canada. The federally-regulated railway is known as the “host” railway.

If you never operate on a federally-regulated track, you are not a local railway company, and do not need to apply for a railway operating certificate. Your railway is solely under provincial jurisdiction.

When a local railway company is operating on federally-regulated track, Transport Canada will enforce the Canadian Rail Operating Rules and all other rules governing operations, equipment, locomotives and cars.

Transport Canada does not enforce:

  • rules governing track, crossings and signals, as these belong to the host
  • crew-related rules, as these remain under provincial authority
  • written agreements between the local railway company and the host

As the operator of a local railway company you must:

  • apply to Transport Canada for a railway operating certificate
  • file with Transport Canada a list of the regulations, rules, standards and guidelines that apply to your operation
  • develop and maintain an acceptable safety management system
  • comply with the provincial safety, regulatory and operating requirements

For more information, contact the Railway Safety Officer by email or by calling 204-945-3890.