Railroads and Roadways


Railroads and Roadways


Updated March 2018


Figure 9.5

Figure 9.5 [Tableau] illustrates major railroads in Canada.

In an effort to improve safety regulations for rail transportation in North America, Canada and the United States finalized legislation in July 2015 for securing and retrofitting trains and retiring certain older rail cars used to transport petroleum products.

  • Along with new safety standards for tank cars carrying volatile liquids, under the new rules, a standard number of handbrakes must be set and verified when a train carrying hazardous materials is parked for the night.
  • For tank cars carrying crude oil, more than 16 000 will have to be phased out or retrofitted in the United States and Canada by 2018. By 2020, an additional 27 000 cars used primarily for crude oil will need to be upgraded to meet safety standards.
  • For tank cars carrying ethanol, almost 20 000 will have to be retrofitted by May 2023.
  • All remaining tank cars used for flammable liquids need to be retrofitted or replaced by 2025.

The reversal of Kinder Morgan’s Cochin pipeline that had previously exported propane has resulted in an oversupply of propane in western Canada, incentivizing rail infrastructure to transport propane to market. Keyera Corporation built a rail terminal for natural gas liquids (NGLs) near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, that is capable of exporting up to 6.4 thousand cubic metres per day (10m3/d)─40.3 thousand barrels per day (10bbl/d)─of propane. The facility came online in 2015.

Plains Midstream Canada’s Fort Saskatchewan facility expansion, completed in 2016, includes a loading terminal of 60 rail cars per day with about 7.2 103  m3/d (45.0 10bbl/d) of capacity to export propane out of Alberta.

Pembina Pipeline Corporation’s Canadian Diluent Hub was completed and on stream in 2017. The complex will handle diluent at its Heartland terminal near Fort Saskatchewan, providing oil sands producers access to a growing supply of domestically produced diluent. The complex will provide an additional 63.6 10m3/d (400.23 10bbl/d) of takeaway capacity to third-party diluent pipelines. The diluent handling facilities have the capacity to deliver 28.6 10m3/d (180.0 103 bbl/d) to third-party diluent delivery pipelines, as well as rail import capacity.

Figure 9.6

Major oil and NGL rail terminals are shown in Figure 9.6 [Tableau] and in Table 9.10 [HTML] and Table 9.11 [HTML].


Trucks can transport oil, NGLs, propane, water, sulphur, asphalt, and petroleum coke. Trucking allows for a crude oil well to begin production before being tied into a pipeline gathering system (when volumes are low) and to produce when located in a remote area.