Guelph Junction Railway has record year, issues RFP for new operator

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GUELPH, Ontario — Coming off the heels of a record year for carloadings, the Guelph Junction Railway is seeking a new operator for the line. A record 5,192 carloads were moved by current operator Ontario Southland Railway in 2019, a 12% increase over 2018 levels and 8% more than the last record year in 2017.

Based out of Guelph Junction 23 miles to the south of the City of Guelph, the Ontario Southland has operated the line since 1998 and is known to roster an eclectic mixture of vintage locomotives of both Montreal Locomotive Works ALCO powered and first generation EMD diesels.

On March 23, the City of Guelph on behalf of the Guelph Junction Railway issued an request for proposals for operation of the railway with a closing date of bids due April 16.

Bidders are asked to propose for operations of car movement on the line, while the Guelph Junction Railway will be responsible for all track, crossing and signal maintenance. If a new operator is selected the proposed timeline shows the selected operator will commence operating on June 6, 2020. So far, Cando Contracting, GIO Rail holdings (Operators of Port Colborne Harbour Railway and the Orangeville Brampton Railway), the Goderich-Exeter Railway, (a G&W Subsidiary), Railserve (who took over Petro Canada’s Clarkson refinery from OSR in 2010) and Todd Brothers Construction (with no known railway experience) have bid on the project as per public procurement documents on the City of Guelph procurement website.

The Goderich-Exeter Railway previously operated a portion of the Joint-Section GJR track on CN’s behalf from 1998 to 2018. Prior to OSR The Canadian Pacific Railway operated the GJR since it was built in 1888, and the City of Guelph consolidated 100% ownership of the Guelph Junction Railway in 1908. In 1999 the City of Guelph purchased a small segment of the former Guelph and Goderich Railway from Canadian Pacific to connect both segments of the then-isolated segments of their network within city limits.
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