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Campaign for CB rail about to enter a new stage

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Scotia Rail Development Society: the campaign for Cape Breton rail line about to enter a new stage

The Scotia Rail Development Society held a meeting of its committee and concerned members on Tuesday 28 th July at Cape Breton University (CBU) Shannon School of Business.

The meeting was chaired by Dr David Rae, the Business School Dean who will be representing the Society at the Ministers Rail Advisory Committee at Port Hawkesbury on 30 July. 25 members attended - from the Committee, local businesses, community groups and from transport and industrial backgrounds.

"The rail closure threat has gone a little quiet but we believe the campaign is about to enter a vital period" said Rae. "Three reports commissioned by the Provincial Government are expected to be shared with the Ministers Rail Advisory Committee on Thursday. We will be pressing for those reports to be made public as soon as possible. The reports deal with what happened to the traffic which was lost to the rail line, the potential sources of new traffic, and the investment needed to bring the line back to safe operating condition, based on an engineering study. These reports are likely to hold vital information which the Province will use to determine whether to grant or refuse an application for abandonment by the current owner, Genesee Wyoming, who withdrew all services on the line last December."

"It is now very apparent that the future development of the Sydney Port is inextricably linked with the rail line; the port cannot develop to fulfil a potentially major international trading role without the modernisation of the rail link, whilst the rail line needs the port to provide its baseload traffic. The current CN intermodal traffic which comes off rail at Moncton and is trucked to the Marine Atlantic terminal at North Sydney could be handled more economically, safely and environmentally soundly by rail. The reopened Donkin coal mine traffic must be handed by rail and not by road for the same reasons of cost, safety and environmental impact."

The rail society resolved to set up local chapters in Central Cape Breton, North Sydney/Sydney Mines, Glace Bay and Sydney port to broaden its membership and engage local issues. In the run-up to the Federal elections it will be challenging candidates in the two Cape Breton ridings to declare their support to retain the rail link as a vital part of the economic infrastructure.

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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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