Negotiations have begun with CN on the possibility of producers and investors acquiring the rail line from Lyalta to Oyen.
The group, operating under the name Badlands Rail Company, has made an offer to CN.
Dwayne Marshman, current chair for the board making up the company, says it appears to be positive.
“They seem interested in making a deal, whether we can raise the capital needed we have to find out later,” said Marshman. “I don’t think CN is really interested in closing down any railroads, the only issue is it is a dollar and cents thing. If someone is interested in purchasing it and running it, and delivering cars to them, I think they would be more than happy.”
He could not release the details of the company’s offer, as negotiations are still ongoing.
Leading into negotiations, they held investor meetings throughout the area explaining the project, and urging investors to get on board with an idea that could potentially save producers transportation costs. He is happy with the position the company is in going forward.
“We need to raise a little more initial capital,” he said. “We have done pretty good as far as our funding so far. We needed $200,000 for a deposit and we have it. But we need a little more money for our consulting fees and legal fees and some engineering work. We are going to have to raise another $100,000 but we are confident that as we need that money, we won’t have any trouble getting it.”
He says beyond producers, there are other industries interested in using the rails. With a functioning railway in place, there are possibilities of other spin-offs including commercial traffic, tourism and even a commuter train.
“We do have some other industries that are definitely supporting us, and we do have other new industries that a railroad would certainly benefit them if they could get quality on time service,” said Marshman. “There are so many avenues opening up right now, we get calls on a daily basis.”
The group was required to notify CN they were interested in making an offer by February 15, and then they had to March 31 to make an offer. The two groups met on April 8.
“We have to have a finalized deal by August 16 at the latest, we’re hoping we won’t take that long,” said Marshman.