Thursday, July 01, 2010
CN Slow Orders in New Brunswick
CBC is reporting that CN has imposed a number of slow orders (or "go-slow orders" as the article says) on the former NBEC line between Campbellton and Miramichi.
The author of the article (Alison Northcott) called me but I guess I didn't make it into the story. :)
CN is saying that the line needs significant capital upgrades but it is not willing to make the investment, based on current traffic. I can't blame CN for this. The line has been deteriorating for years, from the NBEC days until now. CN is in business to make money, and it makes no sense for them to invest millions in the line when their freight service does not require the higher speeds that VIA needs.
The only solution, from my point of view, is significant government investment similar to last year's government investment in NBSR. VIA Rail provides a public service to the Maritimes and it is government's responsibility to support that.
The CBC article does quote Bruce MacFarlane, from New Brunswick's Regional Development Corporation, as saying they are negotiating with CN to invest in a similar fashion. Maybe they can fold that into the government's action plan for northern New Brunswick? How about this line item: "Making strategic investments in tourism and infrastructure projects that support economic growth."
Letting this rail line fail, like so many others in New Brunswick have, will be another huge body blow for northern New Brunswick. Let's see all levels of government step up and help improve this important transportation link.