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Transportation watchdog asks Canadian transport minister to delay southern Ontario line's demolition


In an April 29 open letter to Canada's Federal Transport Minister David Collenette, Transport 2000 Canada President Harry Gow asked the minister to intervene in Canada Southern Railway Co.'s (CASO) plan to demolish its southern Ontario line. (CASO is jointly owned by Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway.)
Gow believes CASO's east-west corridor frees CN's overworked Toronto-to-Windsor/Sarnia, Ontario, line from congestion that delays passenger trains, and spares CPR's Pacific line from freight congestion between Toronto and Windsor/Detroit.
"The line is in the hands of CPR and CN, and the latter wants to
proceed with demolition of the whole line," wrote Gow, adding that so far CN had demolished only 1.5 track miles. "If CN succeeds in this project, permanent harm will be done to Canada's capacity to provide an alternative to border congestion by trucks at the frontiers this line serves
at both ends, and to our ability to provide fast, fluid rail service in south-
western Ontario."
Gow also believes Canadian roads, which once moved a lot of traffic along CASO's line from Detroit to Buffalo via Niagara Falls, Ontario, might soon again increase east-west traffic — making it only a matter of time before the corridor's capacity problems become acute.
CASO April 29 agreed to sell the Niagara River railway bridge for $12.6 million to Whirlpool International Truck Bridge (U.S.A) Inc. and Whirlpool International Truck Bridge (Canada) Inc. (WITB), which together plan to spend $220 million during the next five years redeveloping the bridge and approaches — connecting Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, N.Y. — to create a dedicated three-lane roadway and international toll bridge that WITB officials believe will expedite truck traffic and alleviate border-crossing congestion. The parties expect to close the sale next year.
Transport 2000 Canada, founded in 1976, is a transportation watchdog
group comprising 1,500 members in Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies and British Columbia chapters.

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More News from 4/30/2002