Search for railway documents

To use the Railway Tool, you will need to request authorization or sign in.

You can search railway documents based on:

  • text in the railway documents
  • document date or deposit date.

There is no fee for conducting searches under either section 104 or 105 of the Canada Transportation Act.

Note

Searches are conducted by interested parties and not by the Registrar’s staff.

Tips for searching railway documents

When conducting a search, there are a few things that should be considered.

  • Search by language – The documents being searched have been provided by external sources and are therefore generally unilingual. If searching by type of document, such as mortgage or hypothec, you may want to search using terms in both languages.
  • Optical character recognition – The documents provided to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada by external sources vary in quality. Depositing a low quality document may result in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) errors (such as an extra space within a word). This may make it difficult for the search engine to retrieve your document. Instead of searching by railcar number, we recommend that you enter the document title, document number, or document parties in the Enter search term field.
  • Incompatible schedules – Schedules (also known as exhibits) attached to railway documents are often not OCR compatible. As a result, information included in these schedules (such as railcar number, equipment ID or build year) will not be retrieved by the search engine. For example, if you are using a railcar number to search for a lease agreement and that railcar number appears in the schedule, but not in the body of the lease agreement, the search engine will not return any result. To overcome this issue, we recommend that you enter the document title, document number or document parties in the Enter search term field.
  • Additional search options – We recommend using the document title, document number and document parties as search terms. If you click on Additional search options and enter each of the above search terms in its own field, you will be searching for all three terms simultaneously. To maximize your results, we also recommend selecting All including the document text from the Select a search field drop-down menu.
  • Search by predecessor companies or former corporate names – The documents in the database have not been amended since deposited. For example, they do not reflect: subsequent amalgamations of railway companies; other transactions involving successors in title; or any changes of corporate name of the parties to a document. When conducting searches, you may want to search for predecessor companies or former corporate names.
  • Built-in calendar – If you use the built-in calendar to select a date in the Date from or Date to fields, you will note that the drop-down menu covers only 10 years at a time. If you need to select an earlier date, choose the earliest year in the list (for ex., in the range 2003-2013, choose 2003), then re-open the menu and continue until you find the year you are looking for. The years go back to 1868.
  • Search by date – If you enter a date in the Date from field and leave the Date to field blank, the system will assume that you entered today’s date in the Date to field. If you want to do a search for a specific date, you must enter the same date in both the Date from and Date to fields (for ex., from March 30, 2018 to March 31, 2018).

Text search

  • Select the type of text search from the drop-down menu. Your options are:
    • All – searches all document fields as well as the text version of the document
    • Document number – searches for a specific document number
    • Document title – searches document titles
    • Legislative reference – searches specific legislative references
    • Document parties – searches listed document parties
  • Enter the text you wish to search for in the search text field
  • If you want to enter additional search criteria, such as a date range or additional text, click on Additional search options
  • If you have entered all your search criteria, click on Search
  • If you want to modify your search criteria before searching, click on Clear.

Date search

  • Select a search operator (and, or, but not) to indicate whether the date range is being added to the text search
  • Select a date type (deposit date or document date)
  • Enter a range of dates to search
  • If you want to enter additional search criteria, such as one or more text fields, click on Additional search options
  • If you have entered all your search criteria, click Search
  • If you want to modify your search criteria before searching, click Clear.

Search results

You can filter the search results with the following:

  • Hide descriptions – Removes the text description of the document.
  • Show highlighted terms – Bolds the search terms in the document description.
  • Title of the document – Takes you to a page with the document details.
  • Text – Shows the optical character recognition version of the document.
  • PDF – Shows the scanned image of the document.
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