August 22, 2014 10:27 am

Committee tasked with finding ways to save Cape Breton rail line

Stephen C. Host/The Canadian Press

HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia government has created an advisory committee in a bid to save a money-losing rail line in Cape Breton.

The Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway said earlier this year that it will apply to stop freight service along a portion of the line once a subsidy agreement with the province runs out Sept. 30.

President Mario Brault has said the $2-million annual subsidy is no longer enough to make up for a continued decline in traffic between St. Peters Junction and Sydney.

The government says the advisory committee, which includes representatives from the three levels of government, will work to find ways to increase traffic and improve the business case for a private operator to take over the line.

An interim report is due to the provincial government in December, with a final report expected next spring.

The government says Genesee and Wyoming, which owns the rail, has indicated about 10,000 railcars would have to run on the line annually to be cost-effective.

As it stands, only about 500 cars use the line every year.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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