Rail transport is an integral part of Canada's transportation system, with more than 46,000 km of tracks. There are approximately 10 billion dollars generated by the Canadian rail transport industry per year. Ninety-five percent of that revenue is generated by rail freight operations, while commuter and intercity passenger rail services in major urban centers, corridors, and regions generate approximately five percent. The North American rail industry is highly integrated. Companies operating on integrated rail networks build tracks to a standard gauge, and tracks are maintained to similar standards. Locomotives owned and operated by the track owner usually pull loaded rail cars, but North American integration allows railways to interchange or hand off cars and locomotives that meet industry standards to other railways to complete a journey.
Passenger railways include intercity rail operators, urban rail transit railways, and heritage railways. VIA Rail Canada is Canada's dominant intercity rail passenger service operator, with annual passenger revenues of $260 to $280 million. It is also a Class I railway. About $260 million in annual operating subsidies as well as substantial capital funding complement this. Remote communities benefit from subsidized intercity passenger rail services provided by carriers such as Tshiuetin Rail Transportation Inc. between Sept-Iles and Schefferville, while cross-border passenger rail service connections are made possible in Vancouver through Amtrak's Cascades service, in Niagara Falls through Amtrak's Empire service, and in Montreal through Amtrak's Adirondack service. Many tourism rail services are offered throughout the country, including Rocky Mountaineer, Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions, Great Canadian Rail tour Company Ltd., South Simcoe Railway, and Steam Train HCW. Trans Link in Metro Vancouver, GO Transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, and Metropolitan Transportation Agency (EXO) in the Greater Montreal area provides commuter rail service. This article presents some key developers, operators, and owners of intercity and urban transit companies.
The agency is responsible for the Presto card, the electronic fare system used on public transport systems in the GTHA, and on the OC Transpo in Ottawa. In 2009, Metrolinx assumed responsibility for GO Transit, the regional commuter rail and coach network. Metrolinx owns and operates the Union Pearson Express, the airport rail link connecting Toronto Pearson International Airport to Union Station. Metrolinx is also responsible for the construction of transit expansion projects worth nearly $30 billion in Toronto – including Line 5 Eglinton, the Ontario Line, and the Line 1 Yonge subway extension into Richmond Hill, York Region, and the Line 2 Bloor–Danforth extension into Scarborough – following a 2020 agreement with the City of Toronto.
Type: Crown agency
Jurisdiction: Government of Ontario
Child agencies: GO Transit/ Union Pearson Express/ Presto
2- GO Transit
GO Transit is a regional public transit system serving the Greater Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario, Canada. With its hub at Union Station in Toronto, GO Transit's green and white commuter rail trains and coach-style buses serve a population of more than seven million across an area of over 11,000 square kilometers (4,200 sq. mi) stretching from London in the west to Peterborough in the east, and from Barrie in the north to Niagara Falls in the south. In 2021, the system had a ridership of 13,579,400. GO Transit operates diesel-powered double-decker trains and coach buses, on routes that connect with all local and some long-distance inter-city transit services in its service area.
Owner: Government of Ontario (through Metrolinx)
Transit type: Commuter rail / Intercity bus service
Number of lines: seven
Number of stations: 68 rail and 15 bus + numerous stops
Number of vehicles: 81 locomotives and 694 passenger coaches, and 514 buses
3- Infrastructure Ontario
Infrastructure Ontario (IO) is a Crown agency of the Province of Ontario that supports the Ontario government’s initiatives to modernize and maximize the value of public infrastructure and real estate. IO upholds the government’s commitment to renew public services and does so in cooperation with the private sector. Some of IO’s projects are listed in the following:
- Eglinton Crosstown West Extension – Stage: in planning
- Scarborough Subway Extension – Stage: in planning
- Eglinton Crosstown West Extension – Advanced Tunnel Project
- GO Rail Expansion - GO Regional Express Rail On-Corridor
- GO Rail Expansion – Lakeshore East, Central Corridor Expansion Project
- GO Rail Expansion - Lakeshore West Corridor Infrastructure Improvements Project
- GO Rail Expansion – Milton Corridor GO Station and Station Operations West Facility
- Ontario Line - Rolling Stock, Systems, Operations, and Maintenance
- Scarborough Subway Extension – Advanced Tunnel Project
- Yonge North Subway Extension
4- Trans Link
Trans Link, formally the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority, is the statutory authority responsible for the regional transportation network of Metro Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, including public transport, major roads, and bridges. Trans Link active rail projects include:
- Broadway Subway Project
- Burnaby Mountain Gondola
- Capstan Station
- Expo and Millennium Upgrade Program
- Millennium Line UBC Extension
- Sky Train Fleet Expansion
- Surrey Langley Sky Train
5- Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is the public transport agency that operates bus, subway, streetcar, and paratransit services in Toronto, Peel Region, and York Region in Canada. It is the oldest and largest of the urban transit service providers in the Greater Toronto Area, with numerous connections to systems serving its surrounding municipalities. The TTC is the most heavily used urban mass transit system in Canada and the third largest in North America, after the New York City Transit Authority and Mexico City Metro.
6- OC Transpo
OC Transpo, officially the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transit Commission, is the public transit agency for the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It operates an integrated hub-and-spoke system including light metro, bus rapid transit, conventional bus routes, and Para Transpo door-to-door accessible bus service that carries approximately 97.1 million annual riders (340,000 daily trips). OC Transpo's O-Train is a multimodal light metro system consisting of two lines:
1- The east-west Confederation Line (Line 1), a 12.5 km metro system operating medium capacity electric trains along an underground route that cuts through the downtown.
2- The north-south diesel-powered Trillium Line (Line 2), originally an 8-kilometer system from 2001 to 2020, will be expanded to 19 km up on the scheduled reopening in September 2022. The Airport Link (Line 4), a 4-kilometer system sharing the track with the Trillium Line but operating as a distinct segment, is also scheduled to open in September 2022.
7- Grand River Transit
Grand River Transit (GRT) is the public transport operator for the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It operates daily bus services in the region, primarily in the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge, alongside the Ion rapid transit light rail system, which began service on June 21, 2019.
8- Calgary Transit
Calgary Transit is a public transit service, which is owned and operated by the city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In 2019, an estimated 106.5 million passengers boarded approximately 1,155 Calgary Transit vehicles. Light rail vehicles of Calgary Transit are operated in three different lines. One of the major active projects of Calgary Transit is the Green Line extension, which is described more, in the next chapter. In addition, Calgary Transit has a long-term plan to extend its Blue line and Red line.
9- Metropolitan Regional Transportation Authority (ARTM)
The Metropolitan Regional Transportation Authority is an umbrella organization that manages and integrates road transport and public transport in Greater Montreal in Quebec, Canada. Future projects of ARTM include:
- The ARTM has focused on several transit projects for the next ten years. The agency will submit a new ten-year Transit Expansion plan to the Quebec Government in the fall of 2018.
- Metro extensions: Extending the Orange, Yellow and Blue lines. A project office is currently studying extensions of the Orange line to the suburb of Laval, passing through the Montréal borough of Saint-Laurent, and the Yellow line farther into Longueuil.
- Electrification of its commuter rail lines. In the past, only the Deux-Montagnes line ran on electricity.
- A bus rapid transit (BRT) system on Pie-IX Boulevard. The BRT will include two dedicated bus lanes in the middle of Pie-IX Boulevard from Laval to Montréal and include 21 stations and 3 park-and-ride lots.
- Increasing frequency on other commuter rail lines by way of investments.
Exo, officially known as Metropolitan Transportation Network, is a public transport system in Greater Montreal. Exo's parent agency, the Metropolitan Regional Transportation Authority (ARTM), is charged with transportation planning for the Greater Montreal area. Exo operates a commuter train service as well as a bus service outside of the three main population centers of Greater Montreal. In these areas, service is provided by the Société de Transport de Montréal on the Island of Montreal, the Société de Transport de Laval in Laval, and the Réseau de transport de Longueuil for the urban agglomeration of Longueuil.