Governments turning 'deaf ear' to northern Ontario transportation, Huron Central Railway says

Despite a nearly $1 million investment and political support from all three major political parties in Ontario, the Huron Central Railway says it will be making its final run by the end of 2018.

More than 40 jobs hang in balance as railway waits for government funding

Huron Central Railway said without more government support it will be closing down its Sault-Sudbury short line by the end of 2018. (www.gwrr.com)

Despite a recent investment of more than $800,000 from the Liberals and political support from all three major political parties in Ontario, the Huron Central Railway says it will be making its final run by the end of 2018.

The company, which runs a short line from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury, announced in a press release Tuesday that high operational costs and low commodity prices are forcing its closure.

The railway has faced similar challenges in the past.

Last year, Huron Central threatened to shut down if it didn't get $46 million in government money to refurbish the tracks. The railroad made similar threats in 2009 before landing $30 million in provincial and federal funding.

The Liberal government investment was through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, a funding boost that was meant for improvement to tracks and helping keep afloat approximately 40 jobs in the area.

"We are obviously disappointed with this turn of events," said Louis Gravel, president of Genesee & Wyoming Canada, Huron's parent company. "We have done everything in our power to keep HCRY in operation, but both the provincial and federal governments have turned a deaf ear on the situation."

The railway, which runs a short line from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury, carries freight from companies like Algoma Steel, Domtar Paper in Espanola, Eacom Timber in Nairn Centre and Vale in Sudbury.