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Rail or road? Let’s weigh our freight options

By Greg MacLeod 
Published March 11, 2015
A tractor-trailer whizzes by on Highway 102 near Elmsdale. “It is time for the Nova Scotia legislature to undertake a very serious study of the pros and cons of freight transport by highway or by rail.”A tractor-trailer whizzes by on Highway 102 near Elmsdale. “It is time for the Nova Scotia legislature to undertake a very serious study of the pros and cons of freight transport by highway or by rail.”

Halifax, beware!

The railway service we take for granted may not be as secure as thought. Fifty years ago, Nova Scotia also had marvellous rail service, but gradually it has been cut back. 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. The latest is the attempt to abandon the Cape Breton line.

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For sale: Cape Breton railroad

By Tom Ayers © Chronicle Herald - Cape Breton Bureau

A Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway train makes one a run through Sydney in November. The Sydney subdivision is up for sale. (TOM AYERS / Cape Breton Bureau)
A Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway train makes one a run through Sydney in November. The Sydney subdivision is up for sale. (TOM AYERS / Cape Breton Bureau)

SYDNEY — Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway has put the Sydney subdivision on the market, but the chairman of a community group trying to save the line says it’s not likely there are buyers, at this point.

The company ran newspaper advertisements last week seeking response from an interested operator that has an application for a licence or is willing to amend its licence, within 30 days.

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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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