Saskatchewan announces eligible shortline railways that will share C$700,000 available for projects like track maintenance, railway tie replacements, bridge repairs

SASKATCHEWAN , April 21, 2011 (press release) – Funding Increases by 40 Per Cent as Shortline Railway System Grows

The Government of Saskatchewan announced today the eligible shortline railways that will share the $700,000 available for this year's provincial cost-shared infrastructure grants for projects like track maintenance, railway tie replacements and bridge repairs.

"The province increased funding for the first time this year because the number of shortline railways has grown to 11 from seven and the length of track has increased by nearly 500 km since the program began in 2008," Highways and Infrastructure Minister Jim Reiter said.

"These shortlines are important because they provide shippers with another transportation option, contribute to reducing truck traffic congestion and related road wear, support economic development in rural Saskatchewan and link Saskatchewan's export-based economy to provincial, national and worldwide markets."

Because the grants are matched 50/50 by each shortline, up to $1.4 million will be invested in railway infrastructure for the current fiscal year. This means that more than $4 million dollars has been invested in the shortline system since the grants began in 2008.

This year's eligible shortlines and their provincial grant amounts are:

* Southern Rails Co-operative based out of Avonlea, $40,000;
* Carlton Trail Railway based out of Prince Albert, $81,778;
* Red Coat Road and Rail based out of Viceroy, $51,111;
* Great Western Railway based out of Shaunavon, $220,445;
* Thunder Rail based out of Arborfield, $40,000;
* Wheatland Rail based out of Cudworth, $40,000;
* Fife Lake Railway based out of Coronach, $43,111;
* Torch River Rail based out of Choiceland, $40,000;
* Great Sandhills Railway based out of Leader, $83,111; and
* Last Mountain Railway based out of Regina, 60,444.

This cost-sharing program was started to help shortline railways maintain their aging infrastructure and to support this component of Saskatchewan's multi-modal transportation system. This is the fourth year in a row the grants have been announced.

"It's great to see the province continue with the infrastructure grants and recognize the growth of this transportation sector by increasing the funding this year," Saskatchewan Shortline Railway Association President Roger Gadd said.

Saskatchewan has 11 privately-owned shortline railways that can operate on approximately 1,900 km of provincially-regulated track. These provincial shortlines connect to approximately 6,800 km of federally-regulated rail lines in Saskatchewan.

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