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Funding For Short Line Railways Still Off Track

Saskatchewan's Provincial Budget included $530 thousand for a new Short Line Rail Infrastructure Program.
 
Infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges for short lines in trying to maintain aging track.
 
Andrew Glastetter is General Manager of Great Western Railway and says it's a good start, but the province really has a long way to go yet to truly acknowledge the value that short lines contribute to the supply chain.
 
"I can tell you it was a bit of a pleasant surprise, when we heard about it, we hadn't heard any indication leading up to the budget, that was going to be the case. So, we were certainly happy about that. The province had a Short Line Rail Sustainability Program for many years up until 2017, when we had that real challenging budget year, all across the board and that was one of the programs that got cut out entirely."
 
At the time, he says, the program was a little over $900,000, and it was spread out amongst all of the short line railways in the province.
 
Since then, they've been actively trying to work with the province, not only at the Great Western Railway level, but also at the Western Canadian Short Line Railway Association level to educate them (the Provincial Government) and really make sure they understand the kind of importance short line railways play in the entire supply chain.
 
"The supply chain in Western Canada has been under a lot of pressure and has a lot of bottlenecks. There are a lot of things that the short line railways contribute to help move traffic efficiently and more environmentally friendly than generally the trucking industry and everything else. So a lot of that work has been in place over the last few years."
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