Railways 101

Associate Member Profile | Canadian Heartland Training Railway Services

RAC members and associate members are committed to sustainability in every sense of the word. That includes a continuous improvement culture to build on Canada’s already enviable rail safety record. We recently asked Kevin Budd of Canadian Heartland Training Railway Services how his company’s focus on safe and productive railroading intersect with sustainability. Here’s that conversation:  

Canadian Heartland Training Railway Services’ (CHTRS) mission is safe and productive railroading. How do your training programs, audits, and other services contribute to sustainable rail in Canada?

Safety and sustainability go hand in hand; one doesn’t exist without the other. Our services include industrial railway training for employees to work safely on or around railcars, safe operation of rail car movers and locomotives, track inspection training, SMS audits and self-audit training, performance audits, and General Rail Operating Instruction (GROI) development.  These services provide Industrial and Shortline Railways across much of Canada with the support they need to keep their employees safe, to maintain and grow productivity, and to comply with federal and provincial regulations.  This is especially important in these times when the supply chain is facing so many challenges.

What can performance and track audits reveal that help rail operators improve their sustainability?

Performance audits supplement the training process by ensuring that the safe work procedures are put into practice, maintained, and supported by management. CHTRS staff also train supervisors to assess performance and do proficiency testing so that they can sustain safe rail operations.

Proper track maintenance is fundamental to good railroading and inspecting the track is a key component of safe rail operations.  Conducting regular track inspections is not only mandated by regulation but provides the basis for planning annual track maintenance programs.  CHTRS’s Class 1 experienced track inspectors can provide confidential advice by performing monthly, annual, or programmed track inspection audits.

These are just some of the reasons CHTRS is proud to have been a driving force behind the formulation of world-leading safety initiatives – including the Alberta Industrial Rail Regulations – over our long and established history.


How do well-functioning SMS programs uphold railroaders’ part of the social contract with communities across Canada in your view?

The Safety Management System (SMS) brings together all the key facets of managing a rail operation into one place and serves as a great source of information for anyone new to rail operations. CHTRS’ support of SMS helps our clients operate their industrial and shortline railways safely. This protects their people, the communities they operate in, the environment, and the goods that they transport.


You tell your 400-or-so clients that “doing the right thing the right way is effective, safe, and productive.” How critical is that mentality for Canadian rail to thrive into the future? And how does it contribute to a continuous improvement ethos that is at the heart of the Right Track program?

If there is one thing that we have learned from the terrible flooding in BC and in Newfoundland in recent weeks, it’s how important transportation is to our daily lives and to the Canadian economy.  As a rail industry, we need to work together to continuously find new and better ways to operate safely, reduce emissions and support each other and the economy.  That can-do attitude was on display when both CP and CN were able repair massive washouts and to restore service from the BC interior to Vancouver within a matter of days.


How does CHTRS’s RAC membership assist you in delivering on that compelling mission of yours?

CHTRS has partnered with the RAC to deliver Railway Operations Live for the last 15 years.  This is normally an interactive 2-and-a-half-day course that provides Canadian federal regulatory agency staff with insights into a ‘day in the life’ of a railway crew member. It includes safety standards, applying the Canadian Railway Operating Rules (CROR), track inspection and maintenance, train makeup and inspections, locomotive operation, and switching demonstrations. In 2021, Rail Ops Live was delivered virtually in the spring and again in the fall due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel and close contact.  By supporting the RAC, we help them to support Canadian rail and its safe, sustainable operations.