Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cash Injection for Huron Freight Railway

An extra year for important link
Shipping News Feature

CANADA – Tony Clement, Canada’s Industry Minister, yesterday announced that the federal government is to inject $1.5 million into the Huron Central Railway.

Speaking during a public meeting at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault the minister said that: “I’m well aware of the Huron Central situation and I know it's a vital link.”

“The government is committed to supporting this economic lifeline,” he added.

However, the funding is, he later admitted, only sufficient to cover the lines operating costs for a year.

“We’ve basically given ourselves a year to sort out some of the issues and to come up with a longer-term solution. I don’t want to speculate what that is,” Clement said.

The Huron Central Railway, which runs for 305km (190 miles) between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, has since 1997 been an important freight service for the steel, chemical and paper industries in the region. At its peak it hauled some 23,000 carloads annually.

However, the current downturn has made dramatic cuts in requirement for the railroad and in June the operator, Genesee & Wyoming Inc., announced they planned to discontinue services from October this year.

The Canadian government’s decision buys valuable time for the railway that could prove crucial to its long-term viability.