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Brief History of Rail in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Railway
By Greg MacLeod

Fifty years ago Nova Scotia had marvelous rail service, but gradually it has been cut back. Rail Services were provided from the Atlantic to the Pacific by the government owned company, CN.

During the last 50 years, railway services were abandoned piece by piece.

In September,1961, the last train operated on the round trip Maccan - River Hebert - Joggins, in Cumberland County. In that same year, the Cornwallis Valley Railway was abandoned.

In 1981 the CNR abandoned the Liverpool to Yarmouth main line and the Bridgewater to Bridgetown branch.

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Highway Or The Railway For Freight?

By Greg MacLeod

Nova Scotia spends over $ 200 million on highways every year. Engineers estimate that a fully loaded truck trailer causes more damage to a highway than 5,000 cars

Safety: material that was carried by 500+ rail cars will be traveling by tracer trailers- the discontinuation of rail will add approximately 2,380 heavy truck onto our highways

Energy efficiency: on average a freight train can move 1 ton of freight about 484 miles on just one gallon of fuel. Comparable data for truck transport suggest that trucks move 1 ton of freight 155 miles on one gallon of fuel

Cost effective: cheaper than other modes of transportation

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Cape Breton railway’s future focus of public meeting Friday

By Chris Shannon - © Cape Breton Post

David Rae © Chris Shannon - Cape Breton Post. David Rae, dean of the Shannon School of Business at Cape Breton University, is encouraging the general public to attend a meeting Friday of the Scotia Rail Development Society. The purpose is to update the community on efforts to save the railway from abandonment. The railway’s owner, Genesee and Wyoming Inc., plans to file an abandonment application with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board this fall.

SYDNEY - David Rae still believes there’s hope to save the railway in Cape Breton, but first people need to be better informed.

A public meeting of the newly formed Scotia Rail Development Society will be held Friday in Sydney.

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Why Are We Organizing A Community Movement To Maintain Our Railway

First - It is a moral responsibility.

We must prevent Genesee Wyoming from taking up the steel tracks and selling them. We see the railway as part of public infrastructure necessary for job creation in the future. With unemployment over 15% and one of the highest child poverty rates in Canada, job creation is a moral necessity.

Second- It is a question of justice.

Rail America bought the rail-line for around three million dollars and then sold it to Genesee Wyoming who now want to sell the Cape Breton portion of the steel rails for $15 to $20 million and run only the Pt Hawkesbury–Truro part. That would leave Cape Breton without rail service. The federal government, with tax payers money, built this railway over a century ago. Sysco, with tax payers money, built the steel rails. I consider the rail system to be a publicly funded asset and it is unjust to allow a foreign company to make a windfall profit from it.

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Further six months needed for Cape Breton rail abandonment

'We have the time to do the work'

By Greg McNeil - © Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY — A standing room only crowd at the Joan Harris Cruise Pavilion was told Friday that the groups trying to save the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway have an additional six months to find a solution.

Scotai Rail May 1 2015© Greg McNeil/Cape Breton Post - An estimated 350 people from across Cape Breton were at the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavillion on Friday to hear an update on the future of rail service on the island.

The message came from the Paul LaFleche, the deputy minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, as it relates to Genesee and Wyoming Inc., the rail line owner, and its intentions to abandon the line.

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Cape Breton group aims to protect rail service

By Tom Ayers © Chronicle Herald - Cape Breton Bureau

SYDNEY - Greg MacLeod was one of the last passengers on the Via Rail coach that ran between Sydney and Halifax before it was discontinued about 25 years ago.

And the 79-year-old Catholic priest and retired university professor wants to see a similar service come back.

But for that to happen, Cape Breton Island needs railway tracks.

“I was on the last rail-liner out of Sydney,” MacLeod said. “I wanted to pay attention to the views. There’s nothing like it outside of the Rocky Mountains.

“Anyone who’s travelled a bit, the most beautiful train ride you could take, other than the Rocky Mountains, is the one around the Bras d’Or Lake.”

MacLeod helped found the new Scotia Rail Development Society, which is hosting a membership drive and update on efforts to protect Cape Breton’s rail line, on Friday from noon to 2 p.m., at Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion in Sydney.

He said those who attend will hear about provincial efforts to determine the maintenance and upgrading costs associated with keeping the rail line intact, and to determine whether there is any new business that can make the line financially viable.

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Our Mission Is Fourfold:

  1. Explore various options for continuation of the rail service to Sydney, Cape Breton
  2. Demonstrate the vital importance regionally in order to support the continuation of the rail link to Sydney, Cape Breton
  3. Support efforts to ensure continuation of the rail link to Sydney, Cape Breton
  4. Secure in perpetuity the right of way of the line

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