The Canadian province of Saskatchewan opened its 13th shortline, the Long Creek Railroad (LCRR), on Oct. 2.
“To ensure Saskatchewan continues to grow, our government is proud to play a supporting role in growing an export-based economy through investments like shortline rail,” Highways and Infrastructure Minister Don McMorris said.
The government of Saskatchewan provided LCRR with a CA$800,000 (US$810,800) interest-free loan to assist in purchasing the 66 kilometers (41 miles) of rail line from Canadian Pacific. The province has supported the purchase of shortline railways by community groups, local stakeholders and local governments in the past, by offering loans and advice.
“Canadian Pacific acknowledges the support of the province of Saskatchewan in assisting the Long Creek Railroad becoming the owner of this railway line,” CP General Manager of Gateways and Government Affairs Jason Copping said. “CP values our relationship with shortline operations across our network in helping to drive the North American economy and we are looking forward to working with the LCRR as the grain and oil markets grow.”
The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure provides assistance to shortline rail through a variety of cost-shared programs that include grants for feasibility studies and safety initiatives. The ministry has also provided loan assistance toward the purchase of existing track when supported by a viable business plan.
With the opening of LCRR, Saskatchewan has 13 shortlines and more than 2,000 km (1,200 miles) of provincially-regulated track.