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Canadian government to farmers coalition: Time to talk turkey about hopper fleet transfer


After years of proposals and stalled talks, the Canadian government plans to begin negotiating with the Farmer Rail Car Coalition (FRCC) to transfer ownership of the remaining federal fleet of 12,400 hoppers to the coalition, which represents grain farmers.

Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway use the government-owned rail cars to move the majority of their grain traffic. The government provides the cars to railroads free of charge to move export grain from the Canadian prairies to the ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Thunder Bay and Churchill.

During the past year, government officials have been working with coalition representatives to ensure a negotiated commercial transfer agreement will be "consistent with both parties' shared interest in moving toward a more commercial, efficient and competitive grain transportation system that meets the needs of producers, railways and other stakeholders," according to a prepared statement.

Government officials expect to make a final decision on the commercial transfer in spring.

"This is an important step toward ensuring that western grain producers have a long-term and affordable system for shipping their grain," said Andy Mitchell, Canadian agriculture and agri-food minister.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/10/2005