The summer of my not-so-amazing luck continues, but before I get into some new content (finally have some new meets and pics to share!), I wanted to touch on something that seems to be top of mind here in Eastern Ontario and Ottawa these days.
No, it's not the perpetually awful O-Train.
It's the fate of freight railways in the capital. In case you've been living under a rock, you know that CN has filed to discontinue service on the former Ottawa Central in this region. It doesn't come as a surprise to me, since this is hardly a strategic or important operation for this railway.
But I do want to remind you of a few things. You might recall (or you might not) that the former head of the Ottawa Central told this blog that he thought there was a good opportunity for a short line to resume operations in the city. This is not a railfan offering his opinion. This is the guy who successfully operated OCR in this region for years, before a recession forced the hand of OCR's parent company.
Here's another item to consider. Closer to my hometown, there is a significant portion of the old CSX Sarnia Subdivision, which has been dormant for several years. The railways wanted to pull up the line, but the Municipality of Chatham-Kent bought the rails in its territory to try and salvage an important freight link for its businesses and farmers. The prospects of a new operation were dim for years. At one point, Ontario Southland considered the operation, but backed away.
Well, lo and behold, a company has indeed purchased the line with the intention of operating a short line, mainly for rural customers along the line. I mention this because I see the CN operation here in Ottawa as very much the same type of short line. It has a limited customer base, but the beautiful part is, there seems to be very little overhead, compared to what OCR had to shoulder when it operated here. And who knows what a company focused on carload business can do when it has feet on the ground in the city who are solely focused on small customers?
So, I will say once again that this is not the end of freight railways in Ottawa. Not yet, anyway.