Railway Operating Statistics Survey

Detailed information for December 1995





Record number:


This survey collected data from the seven largest railway companies operating in Canada.

Data release - July 02, 1996 (released in Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 52-003-X)


This survey collects data from the seven largest railway companies operating in Canada. The data are used by Statistics Canada as input to the System of National Accounts, by Transport Canada and other federal and provincial departments, as well as by transportation companies, consulting firms, universities and foreign governments. The information is used for the analysis of transportation activity, for marketing and economic studies, as well as industry performance measures.

Statistical activity

This statistical activity is part of a set of surveys measuring various aspects of activities related to the movement of people and goods. These surveys are grouped as follows:

Transportation by air includes records related to the movement of aircraft, passengers and cargo by air for both Canadian and foreign air carriers operating in Canada as well as the financial and operating characteristics of Canadian air carriers. These data are produced by the Aviation Statistics Centre.

Transportation by rail includes records relating to rail transportation in Canada, and between the United States and Canada.

Transportation by road includes records relating to all road transport in Canada. In addition to surveying carriers and owners of registered motor vehicles, certain programs rely on aggregation of provincial and territorial administrative records.


  • Transportation
  • Transportation by rail

Data sources and methodology


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

The coverage of this survey is limited to the operating and financial statistics of seven railways operating in Canada. However these railways represent over 90% of the total revenues of the industry. Subsidiary lines of CN and CP operating in the United States and private railways are not covered by this survey. The seven reporting carriers are required to conform to the provisions of the Uniform Classification of Accounts (UCA) in reporting financial items. A new UCA was implemented January 1, 1982. As a result, 1981 detail items of the revenues and the expenses are not comparable. When comparing totals, precaution should be taken because of the change of the account definitions between 1981 and 1982. In several places in the publication tables, the terms "average kilometres of road operated" or "per kilometre of road operated" appear. Although VIA Rail has no track or right of way of its own and hence cannot report this item, a measure of the distance over which VIA trains operate is shown. For this reason, the total for the seven railways under these headings exceeds the actual length of first main track over which trains operated. The comparability of CN 1981 data with previous years is lessened due to the addition of CN-Peace River Division (formerly Northern Alberta Railways) data.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

All seven carriers file monthly reports on the Railway Transport Financial and Operating Statistics form. Respondents are required to file the data within 35 days after the end of each month. Follow-up of late reports is done by telephone. The railways collect their data from internal accounting records, train and conductor reports. Information is edited visually and compiled and tabulated manually. Checks are made to ensure that figures are consistent with those shown on previous reports and with current reports of other carriers.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Report a problem on this page

Is something not working? Is there information outdated? Can't find what you're looking for?

Please contact us and let us know how we can help you.

Privacy notice

Date modified: