May 12, 2014 9:51 am

Federal government invests $10.2M to keep northern N.B. rail route

FREDERICTON -A 70.8 km stretch of track between Miramichi and Bathurst will be preserved after the federal government announced $10.2 million will be invested to maintain the line.

The announcement was made Monday morning in Fredericton by Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.

It’s a tentative agreement between Via Rail and the Canadian National Railway and will mean the passenger service between Halifax and Montreal will continue.

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Much to the relief of many New Brunswickers, who have protested the possible ending of the line for months.

“It provides passenger rail service to numerous people in the province,” Raitt said. “I know it’s numerous, because every single MP from the New Brunswick area has been stalking me for the past six months.”

In January, the New Brunswick government announced a $25 million investment to upgrade the track between Moncton and Miramichi. But the stretch between Miramichi and Bathurst was not included in that because of the cost needed to upgrade the line.

The $10.2 million will mean that stretch of track will be upgraded and maintained, keeping Via Rail’s Ocean passenger train operating for three days a week.

Just last week, Raitt announced a new president and CEO for Via Rail. The announcement in Fredericton was Yves Desjardins-Siciliano first public appearance as the new president.

He said the next step is to promote the service and get traffic “back to where it used to be.”

“We’ve had conversations with the municipalities as well as the province in terms of helping support the marketing of the service,” he said. “And also help generate destination activities to facilitate selling New Brunswick to the people of central Canada.”

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