CN agrees to take part in Halifax commuter rail study

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HALIFAX - CN has agreed to participate in a long-awaited feasibility study of commuter rail in HRM.

A Via Rail train moves through Halifax in June.

Coun. Tim Outhit said Metro Transit director Eddie Robar received a letter from CN late last week indicating the rail company would contribute information on aspects critical to the project such as land, infrastructure and current traffic to the study.

“Having them there, with their data and having them around the table certainly makes it more efficient and more accurate,” said Outhit on Wednesday.

Funding of $250,000 was approved for the study in 2012, but progress stalled after that because of a legal dispute between the municipality and rail company over maintenance of several bridges in the south end.

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled in CN’s favour in October, and HRM invited the company to join the feasibility study last month.

Outhit said the study will examine everything from routes, fares and frequency to land use, cost and right of ways.

He said he has no presumptions about the results.

“All I know is that after 20 years of us talking about it, it’s time we had the answer,” he said. “Either it is viable or it isn’t, if it is, we get on with it, if it isn’t, then we go back to how quickly can we get buses and ferries going to accommodate growth.”

- by Ruth Davenport - Metro Halifax

Organizations: Nova Scotia Supreme Court

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