Badlands Rail Company denied CN railline | DrumhellerMail
Last updateSat, 20 Jul 2024 10am

Badlands Rail Company denied CN railline


    Private ownership of the railline that once rumbled through Drumheller has been put aside for now.

    CN Rail has denied the proposal of the Badlands Rail Company (BRC) for the purchase of the Oyen to Lyalta and west rail lines.
    Now the railline, the last between Medicine Hat and Provost, will be offered to the federal government for 30 days.
    If Canada does not wish to purchase the line, it will then move into the Alberta government's court for another month, and if they too don’t want it, the line will be offered to municipal governments.
    If governments have no interest, it will be offered to any buyer for any purpose, says Brad Wiebe of Palliser Municipal Services, the organizers behind the BRC.
    The BRC is not dead yet, and they will continue to meet to discuss the future in case governments pass up the line.
    “From Medicine Hat to Provost, that’s a big area to not be serviced,” said Wiebe.
    Shipping by rail is more economical, environmentally cleaner, and a benefit to communities, said Wiebe who has acted as a medium between Palliser and the BRC.
    The line has been listed in discontinuance since November of last year.
    CN Rail went from being a crown corporation to a private corporation in the mid-90’s.
    As a crown corporation (administered by the federal government of Canada), CN was basically operating as a service to communities.
    Since becoming a private corporation, they are as tight as can be to increase their shareholder return. This is the reason behind the discontinuance of some lines, said Wiebe.
    CN Rail de-markets the rail-line before discontinuance, legitimizing selling the line due to low use.
    “You can’t blame them,” he said. “As a private corporation it’s what they have to do.”
    Shipping by rail is being slowly dismantled in Canada, while line use in the United States is increasing, says Wiebe.
    Salvage companies in the states are purchasing discontinued rail-line material in Canada for use in new U.S. lines.
    “A lot of industry still requires rail,” says Wiebe, while mentioning the BRC was comprised of shareholders who were focused on its use in agriculture.
    Waste hauling, product shipping, and even tourism are ideas floating around for uses of the line if BRC has their way in the end.
    The rail will be on the table for the three levels of government before it returns to commercial sale.

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