Cutting rail service to Maritimes unacceptable, say N.B. MPs
Calling on Tory MPs to secure 70-km stretch connecting Bathurst to Miramichi
Opposition MPs in New Brunswick say cutting rail service to the Maritimes is unacceptable and it's time for Tory MPs to push the issue in Ottawa to secure the current line.
CN Rail announced earlier this month it's abandoning a 70-kilometre stretch of tracks connecting Bathurst to Miramichi because its freight cars don't use the line.
Via Rail has said it can't afford to buy the line for $10 million and could cancel passenger service from Quebec to the Maritimes if CN doesn't find an investor.
Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc believes Via Rail would like to walk away from the Maritimes and focus on the Ottawa-Montreal-Toronto corridor where it makes money.
But LeBlanc says Via Rail is a national institution and transportation is a public service.
"If you took all kinds of public services and shut them down cause they weren't making profits at certain times or in certain parts of the operations — you know the fire department doesn't make a profit either. It's a ridiculous idea that the government has no obligation," he said.
NDP MP Yvon Godin says $10 million isn't that much money for Ottawa to come up with to save rail service for the region.
Via says it will look at other options, including re-routing traffic to the Maritimes through western New Brunswick.
"Where is the lines going to go after? It's going to go through Moncton towards Edmundston and going towards Montreal," said Godin. "How much is that going to cost to put all the new stations, put all the signs?"