Rail Planning

WSP experts are improving rail systems in Canada and across the globe to adapt to population growth, increasing urbanization, climate change, technological advances and increasing heavy haul movements.

Rail clients depend on our railway planning expertise to reduce costs, improve efficiency, increase productivity and optimize performance while continuing to accommodate growing demand for both passengers and freight. All of this is accomplished with an emphasis on the safety of the public, our clients and the environment. Our innovative thinking and experience in the railway industry ensure that we determine the optimal cohesive solution. "We are on the cusp of a revolution in transport, driven by technological change and opportunity, fueled by socio-economic and personal needs," Giles Perkins, Technical Director in Transport Planning & Intelligent Transport at WSP.


WSP rail planners design to improve the world they travel themselves, taking into account environmental, social, political, and economic contexts. Innovative planning leads to effective rail infrastructure investments that maximize consumer growth while controlling costs. It can also ignite a community’s economic development.


Clients recognize us for our collaborative, comprehensive, environmentally sensitive, and cost-effective approach. Around the world, our rail engineering teams have extensive knowledge of region- and country-specific rail regulation and policies, from the Railway Safety Act, Transport Canada and Canadian Operation Rules with experience in the US Federal Transportation Administration. WSP is a global company with collaborative approach to transportation planning reaching out to the United States, Britain, Europe, Norway, Australia and New Zeeland. We also have strong expertise in community, regional, environmental, smart growth, multimodal, and policy planning.


WSP has provided project management and design supervision services on a 14-mile (22-kilometre) section of the Shenzhen Metro Line 3 extension, in China.

Putting Our Rail Experience to Work for You

As design consultant for several Metrolinx projects in the GTHA, WSP is creating innovative designs to provide an enhanced rider experience, while protecting the future design of freight railway requirements. While planning 20 years ahead, sustainability is always in the for front of our design, which is a constant challenge with limited space in a growing urban environment.


Across Canada, WSP’s Rail and Transit group has provided innovative solutions, operational designs and detailed designs to clients. We have provided consultation on rail network optimization in Halifax, track and bridge inspections for Central Manitoba Railway in Winnipeg, at grade crossing assessments in Saskatchewan for rural municipalities, preliminary rail design for rail served clients in Alberta, and detailed transportation planning and design for TransLink in Vancouver.


With the growing freight rail market in Canada, WSP provides rail solutions for small to mid-sized clients involved in multi-modal transportation of our national products to new markets. Improving freight car handling efficiency by introducing effective switching operations, allowing Class 1 railways to interchange with their short line partners to optimize car shipments and provide cost effective rail transportation from origin to destination. These innovative solutions enhance the rail network capacity for shippers and consignees as well as railways.


Thanks to WSP’s implementation plan to provide light rail transit, riders of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Central Subway will have a rapid, emission-free alternative to crowded buses and congested city streets by late 2019, reducing travel times and improving reliability in a densely populated area. We supported the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) on the financial planning and cost modelling for rail, bus and paratransit fleets.


Our consultants offer strategic advice on rail engineering projects ranging from major investment studies to sustainable land use, from initial specification through to appraisal, evaluation and detailed design and implementation. WSP is always looking down the line for you.

Our services include:

  • Environmental studies
  • Major investment studies
  • Sustainable land use and master plans
  • Studies such as service quality, pedestrian circulation, site development assignments, major facility location and design
  • Consensus-building
  • Assignments for metropolitan planning organizations
  • Research and training assignments in transportation planning and programming, land use/transportation relationships, public involvement, air quality, intelligent transportation systems
  • Travel Demand Forecasting
  • Transit-oriented development
  • Transport planning
  • Rail Terminal Design
  • Utility Railway crossing Design