CN Right-of-way Vegetation Control Notice

The Provincial, State and Federal governments have recognized railways as essential service providers. CN remains committed to running our railway safely and playing our role in moving the critical supplies citizens are counting on during these difficult times.

To that end, they have reached out to advise the Municipality of Cumberland of their vegetation control activities in our area between April and October 2021. A regularly updated schedule will be available at


If not managed properly, trees, brush or other vegetation can severely compromise rail and public safety. Vegetation can impede the view motorists have of oncoming trains, and increase the risk of crossing accidents. Moreover, unwanted vegetation can damage the integrity of the railbed, interfere with signals and switches, contribute to track side fires, compromise employee safety, reduce visibility for train crews at road crossings/train control signals and track side warning devices, to name a few of the potential risks.

CN's annual vegetation control program is designed to mitigate these risks by managing brush, weeds and other undesirable vegetation. CN’s vegetation control program is a critical contributor to safe operations and assists in contributing to the overall safety of the communities through which we operate.

Control measures:

CN manages vegetation using both chemical and mechanical methods. They are sensitive to concerns the community may have regarding chemical vegetation control. At CN, they are committed to environmental safety and sustainability.

The track infrastructure is composed of two main sections, the ballast section typically ranging from 16-24 feet (which is primarily gravel and supports the track structure) and the right of way portion (which is the area outside of the ballast section to the CN property boundary).

The 16-24 foot ballast section and the areas around signals and communications equipment that are critical for safe railway operations will be managed using chemical methods. Application in these safety critical areas is done by spray trucks or spray trains with downcast nozzles that spray a short distance above the ground surface with shrouded booms, specially designed to limit the chemicals from drifting. The right-of-way section is primarily maintained using mechanical control methods such as mowing or brush cutting, however, small areas within the right-of-way that contain noxious or invasive weeds may be chemically treated.

CN will use chemical control techniques on the ballast section throughout the network for safety reasons. Furthermore, when chemicals are applied to the ballast section via spray train or truck, as outlined in the photo below, additives called surfactants that make the chemical work better may be included to help manage the application.

CN has retained professional contractors qualified to undertake this work. They are required to comply with all laws and regulations applicable to CN. In addition, the contractors will ensure that vegetation control is performed with consideration of the environment and in accordance with the highest industry standards.


Should your community have any noxious weed removal requests, we ask that you contact CN's Public Inquiry Line at or fill out the form at before June 1, 2021 with the specific information and location. CN will make every effort to include those locations as part of our 2021 Vegetation Management Program. All notices sent after the above-mentioned date will be included in the 2022 Vegetation Management Plan.

For any questions or more information, please contact the CN Public Inquiry Line by telephone at 1888-888-5909, or by email at .

Here is a list of FAQs regarding the program that may be of further assistance.