Huron Central Railway gets $31.5M to continue operating

Northeastern Ontario’s Huron Central Railway, between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, will continue to operate thanks to a new $31.5 million investment.

Railway previously received nearly $1 million in 2018, and $30 million in 2009

The Huron Central Railway connects Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury with freight train service. (

Northeastern Ontario's Huron Central Railway, between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, will continue to operate thanks to a new $31.5 million investment.

On Tuesday the federal and provincial governments announced they would each provide $10.5 million to improve the rail line. Genesee & Wyoming Canada, which operates the railway, will also contribute $10.5 million.

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said at a press conference in Sault Ste. Marie that the investments will lead to track improvements that will allow for longer and heavier trains to use the railway,

"Moreover, the collaboration between the federal government, the province and Huron Central Railway is frankly a shining example of how we can come together to build and improve our internal trade corridors," Alghabra said.

Genesee & Wyoming Canada operates more than 288 kilometres of leased track between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, where it provides commercial freight service for companies like Algoma Steel and Domtar.

In 2020, the company said it would have to end its operations on the rail line without government intervention to improve its infrastructure.

Genesee & Wyoming Canada received nearly $1 million in government funding in 2018 to continue its operations at that time. In 2009, it received $30 million for infrastructure improvements.

Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan says both levels of government asked Genesee & Wyoming Canada for a long-term business plan supplying funds to improve its rail infrastructure. (Facebook: Terry Sheehan MP)

Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan said the company had to provide a business plan to both levels of government ahead of its latest round of funding.

"We had worked with the company and insisted on having a business plan that would, you know, have the long term view in it," Sheehan said.

"It's good not only for the existing clients that they serve but hopefully we'll see some more businesses utilizing the rail whether they're existing or new ones that are coming to northern Ontario to set up."

Sheehan said the improvements to the rail line will help keep thousands of transport trucks off of northern Ontario highways, which will make them safer and benefit the environment.

No passenger rail service

Linda Savory Gordon, a board member with the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains, said she welcomed the news the railway will continue to operate, but was disappointed it will be limited to freight trains.

"We of course want a return to passenger service on that line," she said.

Savory Gordon said the Huron Central Railway had passenger service until the 1970s, when it was used exclusively for freight trains.

"We just see absolutely no reason why that shouldn't be also operating as a passenger service," she said.

Savory Gordon said many people in northern Ontario, especially newcomers and students, don't have personal vehicles, and improved passenger rail service would be helpful for them. She added rail service is also better for the environment than having more cars on the road.


Jonathan Migneault

Digital reporter/editor

Jonathan Migneault is a CBC digital reporter/editor based in Sudbury. He is always looking for good stories about northeastern Ontario. Send story ideas to

With files from Jonathan Pinto


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