The grants are provided through the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure's Shortline Railway Sustainability Program. This program began in 2008, and by the end of this fiscal year it will have invested C$1.5 million in provincially-regulated railway infrastructure. The provincial grants are matched by the shortlines, which will mean a total of C$3 million invested.
"These railways provide shippers with another
transportation option help with economic development in rural Saskatchewan and
contribute to reducing truck traffic congestion and related road wear,"
Highways and Infrastructure Minister Jim Reiter said. "Shortlines are
important because they help link Saskatchewan's export-based economy to provincial,
national and worldwide markets."
This year's recipients and their provincial grant amounts are:
• Southern Rails Co-operative based out of Avonlea, $30,000;
• Carlton Trail Railway based out of Prince Albert, $60,957;
• Red Coat Road and Rail based out of Viceroy, $40,994;
• Great Western Railway based out of Shaunavon, $176,811;
• Thunder Rail based out of Arborfield, $30,000;
• Wheatland Rail based out of Cudworth, $30,000;
• Fife Lake Railway based out of Coronach, $34,578;
•Torch River Rail based out of Choiceland, $30,000; and
•Great Sandhills Railway based out of Leader, $66,660.
This cost-sharing program was started to help shortline railways maintain their aging infrastructure and to support this component of Saskatchewan's multi-modal transportation system. This is the third year in a row the grants have been announced.
"We're pleased to see the ministry continue
this program as our industry grows with two additional shortline railways
starting last year," Saskatchewan Shortline Railway Association Chairman
Roger Gadd said.
Saskatchewan has 10 privately-owned shortline railways that can operate on about 1,700 km (1,050 miles) of provincially-regulated track. These provincial shortlines connect to about 7,100 km (4,400 miles) of federally-regulated rail lines in Saskatchewan.