The handling of longer, heavier trains is vital for Canada's transportation system, according to the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada.
In its review of the multi-modal sector, TSB said it has investigated at least 12 derailments since 2000 where in-train forces played a role in the mishaps.
The length of the train and the way its cars are put together affects the forces involved during train handling, according to TSB.
Lighter cars can slow down and speed up faster than heavier ones, generating disruptive push/pull forces that can derail the train.
This is more obvious in longer trains, especially when empty cars are located at the front.
The board said the risk of passenger trains colliding with vehicles remains too high in busy rail corridors.
The independent agency said safety management systems can help transport companies locate hazards, manage risks and follow effective safety methods.