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Talks to sell broken rail line to Churchill, Man. break down

Hudson Bay Railway said Tuesday talks to sell the broken rail line to Churchill have fallen apart.
Hudson Bay Railway said Tuesday talks to sell the broken rail line to Churchill have fallen apart. Omnitrax / Submitted

After months of negotiations a deal that would have seen the only rail line to Churchill sold have broken down.

READ: One year later, Churchill residents still waiting for fix

In a statement, the Hudson Bay Railway said talks with two First Nations groups and Fairfax Financial had fallen apart.

“Despite our best efforts to find common ground on certain key issues, it now appears that this transaction has fallen apart and that a sale of the HBR to this group may not be possible,” the statement read.

It goes on to thank Fairfax Financial and Grand Chief Dumas for negotiating in good faith.

“This outcome is unexpected and very unfortunate,” the statement read. “We offer our apologies to those who depend on the line.”

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The train was suspended in June 2017, due to the havoc caused by severe spring flooding.

READ: Federal regulators order Omnitrax to fix the rail line

Omnitrax , which is the holding company for the Hudson Bay Railway, later said the cost of repairing the line would come with a $60 million price tag, and the company said it wasn’t “economically feasible” for them to cover the bill.

Last month, the Canadian Transportation Agency said the owners had a legal obligation to fix the line and ordered it to start repairs by July 3.

In the same statement Tuesday, Hudson Bay Railway said it issued a request for proposals last week but repairs were still not underway.

“…we want to make it clear that this development may jeopardize the opening of the rail line this season.”

The company has maintained it does not have the finances to fund the repairs on its own.

In a statement Churchill’s Mayor, Mike Spence and OCN Onekanew (Chief), Christian Sinclair said they remain united.

“Our buying group is united. We remain at the table and we fully support the efforts to conclude a reasonable deal.”

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