Friday, March 23, 2007

Shortline Railway Act Revisions

As I mentioned, the New Brunswick Shortline Railways Act is being revised to allow some unspecified business improvements for shortlines, as well as permit the construction of new rail lines.

You can read what is being proposed as well as the status of bill 36. It had third reading on March 22 so it should receive royal assent soon.

The existing bill as written does not permit the creation of new short lines. The new wording defines a shortline railway as "a railway, within the legislative jurisdiction of the Province, that a railway company operates or intends to operate for the carriage of passengers or freight, and includes all railway lines that a railway company owns or proposes or is authorized to construct".

The other change allows the Minister of Transportation to override regulations, provided it is in the public interest (as determined by the Minister) and "is not likely to threaten safety". I suspect there are some onerous regulations that the province's shortlines would like to be exempted from.

In my next post, I'll talk about the new shortline railway that is being proposed to serve the Acadian Peninsula.

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