As the rail industry continues to evolve, the BR&CF
is looking forward to the future and serving our members.
CTY LTD Update
The purpose of this Information Bulletin is to bring everyone up to date
on what has happened since the CTY LTD Ratification.
Railroad workers have been fighting fatigue in the
rail industry for decades but the problem persists. We are now asking
you to help us document the problem.
Rail-rescue bid wants $3M
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Published: July 2nd 2008
Printer friendly version
Farmers, reeves and mayors are hoping the Doer government will chip in
nearly $3 million to help save a short stretch of rail line in southern
Manitoba slated for demolition today.
Rapidly rising gas prices have kickstarted the rescue bid.
"We basically have this week," said Doug Collins, vice-president of the
newly-formed Boundary Trail Railroad Company. "The salvage company is
starting to take the line up. Time is really critical."
Called the Napinka and La Riviere lines, it's an 80-mile stretch of
track that connects Killarney to Morden and then on to the Canadian
Pacific Railway mainline. The tracks are part of well over 360
kilometres of Manitoba rail lines that are in the midst of being
abandoned, part of the slow disintegration of a network of shortlines
that once crisscrossed the province and linked nearly every small town
and grain elevator.
Many producers are now forced to truck their grain or livestock an hour
or more down the highway -- a much more expensive and much less
environmentally-friendly mode of transport.
The loss of a rail line also makes it tougher for small towns and rural
municipalities to attract businesses, like an ethanol plant or a meat
processing facility that would prefer to rely on cheaper rail transport,
said Roblin reeve David Lees.
Tory and Liberal opposition MLAs have been pressuring the Doer
government to step in and help save the Napinka-La Riviere shortline and
many others like it.
But CP Rail and a salvage contractor are poised to begin demolition this
CP spokesman Mike Lovecchio said the company is still open to serious
purchase offers, but nothing the company considers serious has so far
come forward. He said CP has been up front about its plans to
discontinue service on the line for three years, giving plenty of notice
to communities and customers.
Collins acknowledged that producers and politicians have been slow to
begin their rescue operation, but he said rapidly rising gas prices in
the last several months gave everyone the kick start they needed to get
a proposal together.
Boundary Trail is selling shares to producers, and industrialist John
Buhler has also expressed an interest in helping with funding. About 10
reeves and mayors have also committed to the project.
Under federal rules, rail companies like Canadian National and CP must
give rural governments $10,000 every year for three years for every mile
of rail line in a municipality that's abandoned.
The Doer government is the deal's missing link, says Collins.
Boundary Trail is asking for $2.7 million from the province, about a
third of what the company hopes is needed to buy the line back from CP
Rail and the salvage company. It's a deal similar to the one
Saskatchewan has in place to maintain shortlines.
However, the Doer government remains mum on the proposal.
Richard Danis, the director of transportation policy at Manitoba
Infrastructure and Transportation, said the province has received
Boundary Trail's business plan and is committed to making a decision as
soon as possible.