Huron Central bosses ratify one-year deal
to save local line Published: August 14th 2009 Source: By David Helwig - SooToday.com Printer friendly version
Directors of Genesee and Wyoming Inc., parent
company of Huron Central Railway, have agreed to a tentative deal
reached yesterday that will keep the local railroad operating until
August 14, 2010.
Sault Ste. Marie Mayor John Rowswell tells SooToday.com tonight that
he has received confirmation of the ratification.
Mayor Rowswell will be in Ottawa next week for the Association of
Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) annual conference and he plans to
arrive early for breakfast and an "official congratuatory handshake"
with Mario Brault, president and CEO of Huron Central.
Genesee & Wyoming had said earlier this year that it would halt
operations between Sault Ste. Marie and McKerrow tomorrow, and from
Sudbury to Espanola on October 31.
The Huron Central tracks and right of way are owned by CP Rail,
which has indicated it will seek permission to abandon the line if
no operator can be found.
"I am extremely pleased with the tireless efforts of all involved,"
Rowswell said tonight, "...especially of the working committee:
Essar Steel's Armando Plastino, Domtar's Bonnie Skene and Michael
Jean, City of Sault Ste. Marie's Joe Fratesi and Bill Therriault,
and of Minister Tony Clement, MPP David Orazietti and Minister
Michael Gravelle. Saving this railroad is essential as a critical
transportation link for Sault Ste. Marie and the North Shore. Mr.
Brault and his team have been working 14-hour days to help make this
A news release issued today by the City of Sault Ste. Marie
indicates that over the next year, "the parties will work towards
the execution of a final agreement that will crystallize the
continued operation of the rail line through to August 14, 2010. All
parties will focus efforts on a long term solution to ensure the
permanent sustainability of this rail line."
According to figures released today by Genesee and Wyoming, Huron
Central's traffic volume was 824 total carloads last month, compared
to 1,308 in July 2008.
Last night, Sault Ste. Marie City Council authorized spending up to
$250,000 of economic development funds to implement short-term
actions to save the Huron Central line.
Joe Fratesi, the City's chief administrative officer, expressed
optimism that the needed infrastructure cash will be forthcoming.
Remarks by Chief Administrative
Officer Joe Fratesi at Sault Ste. Marie City Council meeting on
Thursday, August 13, 2009.
Remarks by Bill Therriault of the HRC Working Group at Sault Ste.
Marie City Council meeting on Thursday, August 13, 2009.