OmniTrax to sell Hudson Bay Railway

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Hudson Bay Railway SW1200 No. 824 works at The Pas, Manitoba, in August 2007.
Steve Hobson
DENVER – OmniTrax is selling its Hudson Bay Railway and Port of Churchill operations to a group of northern Manitoba First Nations. The Colorado-based company has accepted a letter of intent for the purchase of its Manitoba assets, CBC News reports.

“It’s a group of communities along the line and others that, you know, over the period of time have always believed the railway was theirs. This now can become a reality based on current negotiations,” OmniTrax president Merv Tweed tells CBC. He will not reveal the purchase price or which First Nations are involved.

Hudson Bay Railway Co. began operations in 1997. It owns and operates more than 627 miles of former Canadian National track north from The Pas, Manitoba, to Churchill on Hudson Bay, with a branch from The Pas to Flin Flon. VIA Rail also operates remote services on the line with its Hudson Bay passenger train between Winnipeg and Churchill.

One model for the sale is the Keewatin Railway Co., which in 2006 purchased the 185-mile Sherridon Subdivision from OmniTrax between Sherritt Junction and Lynn Lake, also in Manitoba. The railroad is owned by three First Nations and was created with the financial support of the Government of Canada. In conjunction with VIA, Keewatin operates twice weekly passenger service between The Pas and Pukatawagan.

OmniTrax and the First Nations group will now enter a 45-day due diligence period in which both parties will work together to finalize a deal.

In recent years grain shipments on the line have declined, prompting OmniTrax to announce earlier this month that it was selling the operations.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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