CANARAIL uses various commercialized computer software packages such as AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Mathcad 14.0, Planimate, Raster Design and SAP and customized Excel Visual Basic Applications. CANARAIL has also developed numerous spreadsheet-based models to facilitate the analysis design and the most efficient rail-based transport systems possible for its clients. The following provides a brief description of some of these key models.



CANARAIL uses the AutoDesk design platform which harnesses AutoCAD, AutoCAD Raster Design and AutoDesk Civil3D. Data used to generate surfaces which create railway profiles and cross sections, is sourced from field or aerial surveys, satellites or map images converted to 3D digitized topography. Topography, images and GIS data are overlaid to visually identify design constraints imposed from inhabitants, civil infrastructure, watersheds, geography, and environmentally sensitive sites. Real-time alignment design iterations consider construction costs, cut and fill volumes, rolling stock operational constraints and overall environmental impact.

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Designed to calculate earthwork quantities for railway alignments laid out on topographic mapping for all levels of studies - pre-feasibility through preliminary engineering - but not for final design. It is especially useful on projects where digital mapping is not available, yet there is a requirement to develop a profile for the alignment. In addition to assisting in the calculation of the earthwork quantities, the spreadsheets are of assistance in designing a low-cost profile. Through spreadsheet graphic capabilities, the designer can view the mass-haul diagram resulting from a profile and make revisions to better balance the cut and fill quantities.
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Uses queuing theory to model train operations over a single-track railway. CANARAIL uses this model to assess maximum line capacity and to quantify the delays resulting from train meets and their impact on overall running and train cycle times. This analysis helps to assess the point where it is financially advantageous to construct additional passing loops to reduce train delays and cycle times rather than procure additional rolling stock.


CANARAIL uses the Planimate® software application to design dynamic system models. These models can be applied to a wide range of activities and industries, including manufacturing, mining, rail systems, logistics and distribution, service industries, etc., thus enabling the simulation and animation of system processes for the present or the future, or any chosen situation. Analyzing such dynamic models allows CANARAIL to more realistically assess a business plan or a development proposal taking into account the client’s targets, such as production capacity.

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TPC (train performance calculation software)

CANARAIL’s Train Performance Calculator (TPC) program simulates the operation of a train over a specific length of a railway line to evaluate its speed, travel time, and energy consumption. The TPC operates in a spreadsheet and takes full advantage of this environment to analyze the characteristics of the train, segment by segment, over the length of any run. This approach allows the user to easily modify characteristics of the train or the track, recalculate the simulation with the new characteristics and see the results immediately. TPC produces graphical results for:
  • Instantaneous train speed and track speed limit
  • The above speed graphs superimposed with the track profile
  • Distance-time graphs
  • Instantaneous energy consumption
  • Running time by segment

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Used by CANARAIL to analyze the stresses occurring in the railway track structure resulting from a single or multiple axle load configurations. It was developed to assess any track gauge (narrow, standard, broad, and even dual-gauge), in view of the variety of situations that the company encounters in its international work. The model compares the calculated stresses against recommended or generally accepted values and allows rapid analysis of multiple combinations of rail size, sleeper spacing, and ballast depth. This permits optimization of the track structure with respect to the specific loading conditions and local costs of materials (for instance, at a location where suitable ballast is expensive, the design would be modified to decrease sleeper spacing and reduce the ballast depth).
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