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Huron Central bosses ratify one-year deal to save local line
Published: August 14th 2009
Source: By David Helwig -
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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 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 work."

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.

Bill Therriault on Huron Central deal (Part 2)

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