Saskatchewan’s 13th shortline railway—the Long Creek Railroad (LCRR)—was officially opened today by Highways and Infrastructure Minister Don McMorris.
“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,” McMorris said. “Shortline railways provide shippers with another option to move goods and reduce truck traffic on our highways. They also support economic development in rural Saskatchewan.”
The Government of Saskatchewan has provided Long Creek Railroad with an $800,000 interest-free loan to assist in purchasing the 66 kilometres (km) of rail line from CP Rail. The province has supported the purchase of short line railways by community groups, local stakeholders and local governments in the past, by offering loans and advice.
“We have developed a business plan that will focus on providing rail service to existing and future agribusiness and producer car shippers and the oil industry,” Long Creek Railroad President Glenn Pederson said. “This has been a collaborative process and we’re thankful the Government of Saskatchewan has provided us with support. We’re confident we’ll be able to move goods to port using a cost-effective approach.”
“Canadian Pacific acknowledges the support of the Province of Saskatchewan in assisting the Long Creek Railroad becoming the owner of this railway line,” Canadian Pacific 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 the Long Creek Railroad, Saskatchewan has 13 shortlines and more than 2,000 kilometres of provincially-regulated track.