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Genesee & Wyoming Canada Inc. (GWCI) will extend operation of Huron Central Railway service until June 30, 2021, Canadian news outlets reported late last week. GWCI's previously announced end-of-service date was Dec. 18.
GWCI officials announced in a Dec. 11 news release that they will continue working with all stakeholders on a co-investment to rehabilitate the Montreal-based short line, which operates along 173 miles of leased track to provide commercial freight service between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury in northern Ontario.
Since the Aug. 31 announcement of the company's decision to cease Huron Central operations, GWCI officials have been in regular discussions with governments of Ontario and Canada, GWCI President Rick McClellan said in the release, as reported by Northern Ontario Business.
"Over the past two weeks, these negotiations have intensified as our government partners explore an agreement with GWCI and consider our revised proposal to co-invest in rehabilitation of the railway," McClellan said. "It is evident that both the provincial and federal governments are genuinely working to find a solution to keep [Huron Central] operational and secure the jobs of our 43 local workers."
Huron Central serves as a supply route for the region's forestry and steel industries, transporting about 12,000 carloads of freight annually, according to GWCI. Although the company initially planned to cease the short line's operations in March, the timeline for disclosure was extended to Dec. 18 due to the coronavirus outbreak.