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CN and the province of New Brunswick on Friday announced they reached an agreement to preserve freight-rail service on a northern New Brunswick line.The province agreed to provide up to $25 million for rail infrastructure improvements in CN's Newcastle subdivision, and the railroad agreed to "spend a comparable amount" to maintain and operate the line, CN and province officials said in a press release. The deal ensures continued freight-rail service for 15 years on the northern and southern sections of the line between Irvco and Nepisquit Junction, and between Catamount and Nelson Junction, CN officials said.The province's contribution will be used to rehabilitate and upgrade the line to the operating standards. The work is scheduled to start in spring."Our investment in the rehabilitation of two sections of railway line ensures companies in northern New Brunswick can continue to ship their goods to market efficiently and explore new opportunities for growth," said New Brunswick Premier David Alward.CN, the province and local businesses plan to continue working together to increase freight traffic on the line in future years."This agreement would not have been possible without the commitment of both parties to continuing investments and to the growth of rail freight traffic in the region," said Sean Finn, CN's executive vice president of corporate services and chief legal officer.The Class I will seek to discontinue operations on the 44-mile middle section of its Newcastle subdivision between Nelson Junction and Nepisquit Junction due to "the significant investments required" to maintain the line, and the lack of both originating and terminating traffic on the segment, CN officials said.The route first will be offered for sale in early February to private interests, and then to municipal, provincial and federal government interests per Canada Transportation Act provisions. There will be a five-month window to obtain offers for the segment, CN officials said.
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