Potential B.C. Rail buyer to target freight

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PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – A U.S. company has expressed interest in buying B.C. Rail, and getting back into the intermodal freight hauling business.

Denver-based Omnitrax is actively seeking information about buying or operating Crown Corporation B.C. Rail and is seeking feedback from business leaders and Interior B.C. communities.

The province has insisted it will not sell or privatize the rail line.

However, Omnitrax is going ahead with meetings in 108 Mile House, Prince George and possibly Squamish to discuss the idea further with community representatives and local shippers.

Omnitrax is the only company interested in operating a 300-kilometre stretch of railway from Fort St. John and Fort Nelson, an area that B.C. Rail had sought new operators for earlier in the year.

Gary Rennick, president of Omnitrax, says if the company becomes involved, it will target truck-moved freight.

“I know there’s a considerable amount of traffic off of B.C. Rail that’s now being trucked away from them,” he tells local media.

“If we were to be the owner of the railway and operated it, we would certainly be very actively getting (that traffic) back on rail,” he says.

He adds “We’re very aggressive in terms of developing business opportunities.”

The company operates Manitoba’s Port of Churchill as well as the Okanagan Railway in B.C.

B.C. Rail dropped its intermodal freight service in an effort to cut costs and passenger service in the Prince George area is in jeopardy as well.

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