CP Rail has people guessing about yard
Published: August 27, 2007
Source: The Record - BRENT DAVIS
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BLANDFORD-BLENHEIM - Canadian Pacific Railway officials are remaining tight-lipped about a rail yard the company plans to build just west of Waterloo Region.
The proposed yard would be built in Blandford-Blenheim Township, on land bordered by the existing Canadian Pacific main line to the south and Trussler Road to the east.
The location is roughly halfway between the new Toyota plant under construction in Woodstock and Canadian Pacific's contentious Cambridge marshalling yard near Hespeler Road and the Delta intersection.
That crossing sees daily traffic tie-ups as rail cars carrying Toyotas manufactured at the Cambridge plant are shunted back and forth across the road.
However, it's not clear whether the planned yard is intended to relieve congestion at the busy Galt site.
"I'm not sure if the two are really related at all," said Thomas Schmidt, Waterloo Region's commissioner of transportation and Environmental Services.
"We're aware (that CP) was looking at yards in that area," he said. "As far as whether there's any impact on marshalling yards in the Delta area, we're not aware of any."
The region plans to spend about $22 million constructing an overpass that will carry Hespeler Road over the tracks.
The 18-month project is scheduled to begin in 2009, and CP Rail is expected to contribute up to $2.5 million.
Before settling on the overpass plan, regional councillors tried, unsuccessfully, to get Canadian Pacific to move its Galt marshalling yard elsewhere.
Negotiations fell apart when Canadian Pacific couldn't promise that shunting operations wouldn't still occur on Hespeler Road or other area roads even if the yard moved away from Galt.
Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig said he wasn't aware of CP's plans for the Blandford-Blenheim yard.
The railway's regional manager of public affairs, Michel Spenard, said he wasn't able to provide many details about the Blandford-Blenheim plan ahead of a public information session that will take place Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Ayr fire hall on Scott Street. It will be an open house format.
Spenard wouldn't say whether the rural yard would affect CP's operations in Cambridge. He did say that environmental assessments for the site are already underway
The company is completing deals to buy land from owners in the largely agricultural area near the hamlet of Wolverton, Spenard said.
"Probably we don't have 100 per cent of the property."
Officials in Blandford-Blenheim and neighbouring North Dumfries said they've been kept in the dark by CP.
Although a lot of rumours have been swirling about, North Dumfries administrator Rodger Mordue said a CP notice placed in the Ayr News announcing the information session was the first official thing he'd seen on the planned yard.
"Although it's technically not in North Dumfries, it affects us a lot," he said. "The rail line goes right through the middle of the village (of Ayr)."
CP already plans to build a spur line and a large marshalling yard in Woodstock to serve the new Toyota facility.