Friday, November 09, 2007

Running Rights in New Brunswick?

Province wants railways to get on the same track in New Brunswick, November 9 2007.

The article quotes Doug Johnson, an assistant deputy minister for the provincial Department of Transportation, as saying the province intends to encourage CN to provide running rights for local short line companies, meaning the New Brunswick Southern Railway and the New Brunswick East Coast Railway.

The article goes on to Ian Simpson, general manger of New Brunswick Southern Railway. Mr. Simpson said that NBSR has a good relationship with CN but is always interested in more traffic.

My take? CN has historically shown little to no interest in running rights with shortlines, so this is likely a non-starter. That being said, there are advantages to the shortlines if this were to happen. NBEC is captive to CN at both ends of its line, so it has no real opportunity to ship by another carrier (read: CP). NBSR has the opportunity to ship through the U.S., and does so, but it could benefit from greater access to Nova Scotia traffic.

The big question is: what's in it for CN? As far as I can see, nothing at all. As the only mainline carrier in the Maritimes it gets all the long-haul traffic. Why would they give that up?

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