Wednesday, June 18, 2008
CN and NBEC
Rumours have been swirling around the railfan world about CN purchasing the New Brunswick East Coast Railway (NBEC). I haven't commented on it here because I try not to pass rumours along... too much. :) Things are quite a bit more clear now. Here's the story as I understand it.
The Chemin de Fer du Quebec (CFQ) / Quebec Railway Corporation (QRC) is the owner of the NBEC, as well as CFMG, OCRR, CFC, and the SCR. According to Wikipedia, the CFQ is owned by Groupe Jean Fournier Incorporated and a group of private investors. I am sure of the last part but I don't know who that Groupe is.
Several (or most) of the owners of the CFQ were interested in selling their stake in the railway. Two parties became involved, one of them CN and one of them a private investor. CN and CFQ had quite a long discussion and it seemed certain that CN would purchase most of the CFQ lines. The rumours were so strong that I heard a VIA conductor talking about it with an NBEC crew on the radio as they went by Belledune!
About a week ago, CN backed out and the deal is off. No word on the other investor yet.
I don't blame the investors for wanting to get out. Several of the QRC lines have fallen on hard times and there may be worse news to come. I never understood why CN was interested in the QRC lines, except maybe to keep them from being acquired by other railways. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months.