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Campaign for CB rail about to enter a new stage

SRDS perspective banner tracks

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."

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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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President’s update

david raeScotia Rail Development Society President’s update

This is the first e-newsletter from the Scotia Rail Development Society. It aims to update our membership and the wider community on the developing campaign to retain the Cape Breton-Truro rail line.

The meeting on 1 May was attended by over 200 people and the Society currently has 155 members. At the meeting we heard news from Deputy Minister Paul LaFleche that any decision to abandon the rail line would not be taken until after February 2016. The involvement of Mayor Clarke, MP Mark Eyken and MLA Alfie MacLeod at the meeting was excellent. There have been other developments in the past 8 weeks, summarised below.

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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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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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