The reopening of the Churchill rail line will present some great opportunities for farmers in northeast Saskatchewan, according to the Vice-President of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS).
Ian Boxall was asked by northeastNOW to respond to Friday's announcement concerning the long-shuttered rail line. Boxall said the rail line will save Saskatchewan producers money.
"I mean, reduced freight rates for all products that can be shipped out of Churchill. It's our closest port, so [the deal] is a win for farmers in the northeast," he said.
The acquisition deal by the Arctic Gateway Group includes the Hudson Bay Railway and the Port of Churchill. There has been no mention though of a nearby shortline from Crooked River to Hudson Bay, which APAS has been pressuring CN to reopen. CN has said there are no planned investments in the Tisdale corridor, but Boxall said he will not give up.
"Well, I guess we just need to keep the pressure on them and make sure they understand that's a crucial piece of track for the success of the Port of Churchill," he said.
The Churchill rail line is the only land link for the northern Manitoba town of Churchill. The community has been isolated since spring flooding in 2017 damaged the line and forced fuel and food to be flown in at skyrocketing costs.
It's not clear how quickly repairs to the line can be done, but officials have said that construction crews are mobilizing and hoped to have it finished before winter.
-- with files from The Canadian Press
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell
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