Canadian National Railway vs. Canadian Pacific Railway

Canadian Railways (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) both operate thousands of miles of track across the country, making them major players in the industry.

CN transports raw materials from rural areas to urban centers, while CP is focused on moving finished goods to customers.

How many major railway companies are in Canada?

There are currently two major railway companies operating in Canada – Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP).

Both of these companies were founded in the 19th century and have been instrumental in connecting Canada’s vast landscapes and cities, allowing goods and people to move freely throughout the country.

In addition to CN and CP, there are also a handful of other regional railways that operate within Canada, such as the Goderich-Exeter Railway, the Quebec North Shore & Labrador Railway, and the Algoma Central Railway.

However, these smaller railways are generally not considered to be among the major railway companies in Canada.

Despite the presence of other railroads in the country, CN and CP remain the two main companies that drive the Canadian rail system.

Both companies have extensive networks that span thousands of kilometers and connect many of Canada’s largest cities, making them integral to the national economy.

A Brief History of the Canadian National Railway

The Canadian National Railway (CN) was created in 1919 when the federal government took control of several bankrupt railways. I

t became the largest railway system in Canada, with nearly 20,000 miles of track and operations extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts.

The CN also had connections to the United States and Mexico.

CN was known for its freight transportation, but it was also heavily involved in passenger services and operated hotels, restaurants, and even amusement parks.

In the late 20th century, CN began to expand into telecommunications and other industries, such as oil and gas exploration.

Today, the CN is still a major player in the Canadian railway industry, with a large network of tracks and operations in both Canada and the United States.

Its services include freight transportation, intermodal services, and logistics solutions.

The CN is also committed to investing in infrastructure, technology, and innovation to remain competitive in the global marketplace.

A Brief History of the Canadian Pacific Railway

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) is one of the oldest and most iconic railway systems in Canada, with a history that dates back to 1881.

In that year, the CP was formed by an act of parliament, granting a charter for the construction of a transcontinental railway line connecting the east and west coasts of Canada.

The line was completed in 1885 and served as a vital transportation link for Canada’s new nationhood.

For much of its early life, CP focused primarily on freight transportation, but it later expanded its services to include passenger services as well.

In its heyday, CP operated a network of more than 20,000 kilometers of track and carried out a wide variety of transportation operations, including mail and express service, mining and logging, livestock transportation, and more.

In 1996, the government of Canada sold off the majority of CP’s assets and operations to other railway companies. Since then, CP has been focusing on short-line and regional rail operations and services.

Today, CP operates over 12,000 kilometers of track and is still a major player in the Canadian transportation sector.

The Pros and Cons of the CN

The Canadian National Railway (CN) is the largest railway company in Canada and one of the largest in North America.

It operates over 32,000 route miles of track and serves more than 1,000 communities across Canada and the US. CN has a long and successful history as a major railway, operating since 1922.

• CN is the largest railway in Canada and the only transcontinental rail network in the country. This means they have the most extensive coverage and can get you to virtually any destination you need.

• CN has an extensive and reliable freight network, making it easy to transport goods across Canada and the US.

• As a result of its large size, CN has considerable financial stability, allowing it to fund improvements and maintain a high level of service.

• CN has consistently ranked as one of the safest railways in North America, ensuring that your journey is comfortable and secure.

• Although CN is a large railway, its network can still be patchy in some areas, particularly in rural or remote parts of Canada.

• The size of CN also means that service in certain areas can be slow or unreliable.

• CN is an expensive railway, and shipping costs can be high compared to other railway companies.

• Due to its size, CN can take longer to respond to customer complaints and problems.

The Pros and Cons of the CP

Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) is a publicly traded transportation and logistics company that operates in Canada and the United States.

As the second-largest railway in Canada, CP provides rail freight services to customers across Canada and the United States. CP is a great option for customers who need reliable rail service for their products.


1. CP offers a wide range of services to its customers, including intermodal, bulk, automotive, and refrigerated cargo shipping.

2. CP is one of the few rail companies in North America that offers a direct connection from east to west, making it an attractive option for businesses that need to move goods quickly and reliably.

3. CP has an extensive network of railway lines across Canada, connecting major cities and rural areas.

4. CP has some of the lowest fuel costs in the industry and a very efficient delivery system, which helps keep costs down.

5. CP offers competitive pricing compared to other rail companies.


1. The reliability of CP’s services may not be as strong as some of the larger railways in the US and Europe.

2. CP may experience delays due to weather or operational issues, which could affect the timeliness of deliveries.

3. CP may not be able to offer as many destinations as larger rail companies in the US and Europe.

4. CP may not have the same level of customer service as some of its competitors.

5. CP does not have a uniform pricing structure for its services, so customers may have to negotiate a rate for each shipment.

Does CN and CP share tracks?

The Canadian National Railway (CN) and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) are two of the major railway companies in Canada, with a combined share of around 80% of the country’s rail freight market.

yes, they do share tracks. While CN and CP may compete for certain markets, they also cooperate when it comes to the use of infrastructure.

This allows the two companies to make more efficient use of the limited rail network available in Canada.

What is the difference between CP and CN routes?

CN is the largest railway network in Canada with more than 32,000 kilometers of track, while CP has around 24,000 kilometers of track.

CN is largely focused on running freight trains between major urban centers like Toronto and Montreal, while CP has a more diversified portfolio that also includes passenger services, commuter services, and intermodal transport.

CN primarily serves large cities and smaller rural towns, while CP services many rural and remote communities as well.

In terms of rail infrastructure, CN has a larger share of double-track rails, which allows for faster travel speeds and improved safety.

On the other hand, CP has fewer double-track rails and relies more heavily on single-track lines for freight operations.

Finally, CN and CP have some different core business models.

CN is largely focused on transporting raw materials from rural areas to urban centers, while CP is more focused on moving finished goods to customers.

Does CN or CP train across America?

Both the Canadian National Railway (CN) and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) operate train routes that span Canada, however, neither operates trains across the entire United States.

CN is the only railway company in Canada with a cross-border presence, operating trains that cross into the US via the Great Lakes Region and beyond. CP does not have any routes that cross into the US.

CN’s cross-border service includes trains running from Toronto to Chicago, Montreal to Buffalo, and Detroit to Sault Ste. Marie, and Thunder Bay to Duluth. These routes are available for both freight and passenger services.

In addition to CN’s cross-border routes, CN operates a seasonal tourist route called The Great Wilderness Adventure. This route runs from Toronto to Vancouver, with several stops along the way, including Winnipeg and Edmonton.

CP does not have any trains that cross the US border, but it does have several domestic routes that travel between major cities in Canada. These include Toronto to Vancouver, Montreal to Halifax, and Winnipeg to Edmonton.

Who owns CP and CN railway?

Canadian National Railway (CN) is a publicly traded company that is majority owned by the Canadian government. The remaining shares are held by various institutional and individual investors.

It is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, and is Canada’s largest railway.

Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) is also a publicly traded company, but it is majority owned by CP Investments LP, a private entity controlled by a consortium of international investors.

It is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, and operates mainly in Canada, with some operations extending into the United States.

Is CP or CN a class 1 railroad?

In North America, CN and CP are both Class I railroads.

The US Federal Railroad Administration has designated seven railroads as “Class I” or “major railroads” based on their annual operating revenue.

These seven railroads—BNSF, CSX, CN, CP, Kansas City Southern (KCS), Norfolk Southern (NS), and Union Pacific (UP)—comprise the majority of rail traffic in the United States.