New Westminster Railway Bridge: Transportation needs study

Learn more about the future of the New Westminster Railway Bridge (NWRB).

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Project overview


Surrey, British Columbia
Locate the New Westminster Railway Bridge on a map

Type of project


Partnership between
  • Canada Infrastructure Bank
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada
  • Transport Canada
  • Infrastructure Canada
Project status

Study to assess the network and capacity for the New Westminster Rail Bridge and the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Next steps

Completion of the assessment of transportation needs and results evaluation

Project description

Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is working with the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada to understand the transportation needs for freight traffic over the NWRB.

CIB is funding a study through a request for proposal. This study aims to understand the transportation needs for freight traffic through the Asia-Pacific Gateway and over the NWRB.

At the end of this study, CIB will assess its participation in the long-term investment requirement for the NWRB.

Benefits to Canadians

This bridge plays an important role in supporting the greater trade and transportation network in Canada and the United States. It is a critical link in the Vancouver-Lower Mainland rail network and the Asia-Pacific Gateway.

Over the years, rail traffic has increased. Rail capacity across the Fraser River has become an important issue for stakeholders involved in goods movement in the Lower Mainland.

Assessing replacement, rehabilitation and maintenance of the bridge will ensure the long-term efficiency and reliability of supply chains in the region and support the competitiveness of the Canadian economy.

Project background

The NWRB was built in 1904. It connects New Westminster with Surrey in British Columbia.

It is a single-track swing rail bridge of around 630 metres (2,100 feet) long, with a vertical clearance of 10 metres over the Fraser River.

It is owned by the federal government through PSPC. However, it’s Canadian National (CN) that has operated and maintained it since 1992 through an entrustment agreement.

Several railway companies use this bridge:

Transport Canada conducted a study completed under the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative. This study concluded that the New Westminster Railroad Bridge was experiencing congestion. Also, the demand would surpass bridge capacity before 2030.

Latest news about this project

February 1, 2021: Launch of the Request for Proposal for Network and Capacity Study for New Westminster Rail Bridge and Asia-Pacific Gateway

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