The Forty Mile Rail Transload Facility in Foremost, Alta., has been a hub for transporting grains from area farms to other parts of the country for three years. This year, the site is getting a much-needed upgrade with the help of a major investment from the federal government.
The Natural Resources Ministry and Transport Ministry of Canada announced it’s investing $4.2 million in regional transportation infrastructure. Part of this will go to improve the Cardston subdivision line, and upgrade the Forty Mile Rail Transload Facility in Foremost.
The current infrastructure only allows 25 cars to be transported at a time, which limits the amount of grain product that can be moved annually.
The new improvements will increase the shipments per year — from around 260 carloads per year to a whopping 4,000 carloads per year — and eventually up to 15,000 carloads per year of product from local farmers as well as larger companies.
Foremost mayor and Forty Mile Rail spokesperson, Lorne Buis, says they have already received interest from a number of groups overseas.
“Every country in the world we can ship to now because we have access to a port from Foremost,” Buis said.
“Now the hard work starts in trying to upgrade our facility. We need more areas for the trains to pass by and things like that and this is just huge to make that happen.”
For farmers in the area, the upgrade means a stronger connection to a global market.
“Forty Mile Rail has already provided some opportunities for local farmers,” said farmer Brian Hildebrand.
“Now we’ve been able to secure some markets for crops that we wouldn’t have otherwise.
“There are some specialty crops, like the peas we’re harvesting here today, for a specific buyer overseas. This is something we have access to because we have a transport station in our area.”
The new investment is expected to create 95 jobs in the Southern Alberta region.