Thursday, September 15, 2011
Newcastle Sub To Be Abandoned?
CTV is reporting that CN is considering abandoning all or a portion of their northern line in New Brunswick and Quebec.This is the former NBEC / CFMG territory they purchased a scant 3 years ago in November 2008.
CN's Julie Senecal said that the line has not experienced any growth in traffic. No doubt the line is losing money for CN. The CTV report goes on to say that once Brunswick Mines shuts down in 2013 as planned, VIA Rail will be the largest customer on the line. CTV went on to say that if VIA were to shift to the CN main line, it would be "quicker and faster".
Now my opinions. First off, I have never understood why CN bought the line back from NBEC / CFMG in the first place. It was obvious that there was not going to be any growth on the line, with the pulp and paper mill closures, and nothing has emerged. It has been suggested that CN bought it to prevent any competitors from purchasing it. Perhaps.
CTV missed the obvious point that if VIA were to switch the Ocean to the CN main line between Edmundston and Moncton, VIA would not be serving the communities of northern New Brunswick and Quebec, major users of the Ocean... and don't forget that the whole Gaspe coast would be cut off and the Chaleur would be lost as well.
Personally, I think CN is making a case for government support of the line to retain VIA's route. I'm not against that, given the economics of the situation. CN is in business and is not going to keep supporting a money-losing line. Government should step in and help with the maintenance cost.
I'm still wondering why CN bought the line in the first place...
PS - it would be nice if CTV actually took a photo or video of the line in question. Their footage shows VIA in Halifax and apparently the Corridor, with a few shots of the CN Gordon Yard in Moncton. Do they still have any reporters in northern New Brunswick? The shots in this blog entry were actually taken on that line! ;)