NTA Releases Report on Branch Line Review

OTTAWA, November 3, 1995

The National Transportation Agency has completed its review of certain light steel and low volume grain dependent railway branch lines on the Prairies. The Review, announced on April 11, 1995 by Transport Minister Douglas Young and Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Ralph Goodale, was undertaken to assist the federal government in making decisions about which lines should be discontinued. The Agency was requested to report on its recommendations by November 1, 1995.

The Agency recommends that the 17 branch lines submitted by CN and CP, totalling 535 miles, should be abandoned through a "fast track" process. The analysis concluded that in the case of each of the 17 lines, substantial savings in system grain handling and transportation costs would result if the lines were abandoned. The Review determined that the total net saving to the system would be nearly $14 million annually.

The Report provides an objective analysis of the full economic costs to the grain handling and transportation system - including an assessment of the impact on rail, trucking, grain elevation and road costs - of retaining or dropping certain branch lines.

The Review was lead by Marian Robson, a Member of the NTA and was supported by a Secretariat of the NTA, the Grain Transportation Agency and consultant Dr. John Heads. Extensive consultation occurred throughout the process with a 24-member Branch Line Advisory Committee which consisted of producer organizations, grain companies, railways, the trucking industry, rural and urban municipal organizations and provincial governments.

INFORMATION: Neil Thurston (819) 997-4914
or Communications (819) 997-0344

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