Steel Mills

Rail Line Termination Threatens Algoma

Written by Sandy Williams

A rail line servicing Canada’s Algoma steel mill is in financial jeopardy over track maintenance costs. The Huron Central Railway, which connects Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, needs $46 million to cover infrastructure repairs over the next five years.

This is the second time in the last decade that Huron Central has appealed to Ottawa for funding to keep the line operational. In order to secure funding from the government, the rail line requires a commitment from a provincial partner to match the dollars.

Huron Central is owned by Canada Pacific Rail, which contracts with Genesee & Wyoming Canada to feed regional freight to CP’s main line at Sudbury.

Huron Central is hoping to gain the support of Queen’s Park as a partner. If the request is rebuffed, parent company G&W says it will make a decision by early 2018 on whether it will terminate service.

Huron Central services three major industrial shippers including Algoma located in Sault Ste. Marie. The mill is serviced by the Canadian Pacific Railway via Huron Central Railway, which is vital to Algoma for moving its products to market.

Algoma spokesperson Brenda Stenta said that if a shutdown occurs, the company will use “alternative means to get our product to market, reliably and on-time.”

Canadian Pacific Rail, which owns G&W, remains a “valued supplier to Algoma,” said Stenta, “and we remain optimistic they will achieve a resolution that ensures their continued service to Algoma and other regional customers.”

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