Winnipeg - Initiatives announced by the federal government will enable CP Rail to launch an ongoing program to ensure the continued maintenance of grain dependent branch lines.
The 1983 program calls for $40.6 million to be spent on "normalized maintenance", compared with $13.5 million which would have been spent by the railway under the lower level of revenue budgeted for previously.
Because of the continuing shortfall of revenues resulting from the low grain rate, the operating capability and condition of the grain dependent branch lines have deteriorated.
The resulting deterioration of these lines over the years is being remedied under the existing Branch Line Rehabilitation Program, which began in 1977.
This federal government program recognized that a protracted period of deferred maintenance had reduced the branch line system to a point where major programs were required to restore it to proper operating condition.
"The Branch Line Rehabilitation Program enables us to restore the operating capability of the lines," said R.S. Allison, executive vice-president. "Interim grain payments, followed by a legislated Crow resolution, will provide CP Rail with the financial capacity to fund maintenance programs for these rehabilitated lines on a continuing basis to ensure they do not deteriorate again."
The "normalized maintenance program" involves surfacing and lining of track, fencing, laying of maintenance ties, as required, maintenance of ballast and culverts, brush control, and track repairs.
Commencement of interim payments will trigger the program, which will begin this year and will be coordinated with the Ministry of Transport, the Canadian Transport Commission, and the grain trade.