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Reducing rail noise and vibration is one of our top priorities. It could be noise from the machines we use to carry out essential maintenance and repairs. It could also be the sound of, or the vibrations caused by, our trains running on our tracks.

We cannot eliminate this noise and vibration altogether. As a backbone of the North American economy and a company focused on getting customer shipments delivered on time, we must operate our railroad 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So there will always be some noise.

But we are constantly working on noise reduction solutions. Even more so now, since many municipalities today have expanded ever closer to railway tracks — while CN is carrying much more freight to meet global shipping needs.

To help reduce the impact of rail noise and vibration for these neighbourhoods, CN’s Community Planning and Development department does the following:

  • Provides relevant information for land-use decision makers.
  • Helps ensure that any development adjacent to a railway corridor or yard takes rail noise and vibration mitigation measures (such as building setbacks, safety beams, acoustic barriers, security fencing and vibration isolation)

We encourage you to contact us. Our team of experts is available to review your development project plans.


Joint efforts with the following organizations have led to much progress in this area:

  • Railway Association of Canada
  • Federation of Canadian Municipalities
  • Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators

FCM/RAC Proximity Initiative

CN works with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) to prevent and resolve issues that may arise when people live and work near railway operations. The FCM/RAC Proximity Initiative was established in 2003 and is co-chaired by Éric Harvey, Senior Counsel, Regulatory, Legal Affairs at CN, and Randy Goulden, City Councillor for Yorkton, SK. By developing proximity guidelines and improving stakeholder awareness, the Initiative aims to address railway-community issues, including land-use compatibility, drainage, safety, noise and vibration.

Approximately 150 municipalities across Canada have adopted the FCM/RAC Proximity Guidelines, in whole or in part, including Montreal, Calgary, London and Windsor. Several other Canadian municipalities are looking to implement them. The FCM/RAC Proximity Initiative also provided input to the following:

  • Ontario Ministry of Transport: Freight Supportive Guidelines
  • Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks: Draft Land Use Compatibility Guideline
  • Durham Region Official Plan: Major Transit Station Area Policies
  • City of Burlington Major Transit Station Area Precinct Plans
  • Peel Region Official Plan Review
  • City of Toronto: Development in Proximity to Rail
  • City of Vaughan: Comprehensive Zoning By-law Amendment
  • Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Government Relations on the development of their Statements of Provincial Interest Regulations
  • City of Saskatoon Zoning Bylaw
  • City of Ottawa Transportation Master Plan Update and Confederation Heights Master Plan

Preventing proximity issues is a shared responsibility.