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Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals

9/4/2018



Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

OmniTRAX sells Hudson Bay Railway, Churchill port facilities


The acquisition will allow for the repair and restoration of the rail line — the only land link to Churchill — which has been shut down between Gillam and the port for the past 15 months due to flooding damage.
Photo – Port of Churchill

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OmniTRAX Inc. has sold the Hudson Bay Railway and Port of Churchill to the Arctic Gateway Group LP and a consortium of First Nations and communities in association with Missinippi Rail LP. The sale closed Aug. 31.

The Arctic Gateway Group consists of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. and AGT Food and Ingredients Inc. The financial value of the acquisition was not disclosed.

The acquisition will allow for the repair and restoration of the rail line — the only land link to Churchill — which has been shut down between Gillam and the port for the past 15 months due to flooding damage that occurred in spring 2017.

Work will begin immediately to repair the line and all efforts will be made to restore service before winter 2018, Canadian government officials said in a press release.

"We have commenced repairs by awarding a contract to Cando Rail and Paradox Access Solutions. We are racing against time to attempt to restore services prior to the winter season," said Fairfax President Paul Rivett in a separate press release.

The buyers spent the past eight months developing a business plan and forming principles for "successful new ownership" of the railway and port facilities, he said.

"The government of Canada acknowledges the value and importance of our inclusive group and is supportive of our efforts providing a long-term support package through Western Diversification and Export Development Canada to acquire the assets and implement Phase 1 of the project, which is to repair the rail line, undertake safety and rehabilitation upgrades to the port and the railway assets to efficiently operate freight and passenger services to the northern communities and the port," Rivett added.

The agreement is considered historic for several reasons, foremost being the restoration of rail service to the region, said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.

"A 50 percent ownership stake for the communities and board appointments commensurate with this interest, have been secured by Missinippi Rail," Dumas said. "Participating communities will enjoy preferential employment and contracting opportunities consistent with modern agreements concerning business in our territories."

The acquisition occurred after other proposals to acquire the rail line and port facilities fell through earlier this year.



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