SASKATOON, Sask. — A group of Saskatchewan farmers is taking over a stretch of Canadian National (CN) rail line to help meet the region’s grain hauling needs.
Prairie Alliance for the Future (PAFF) has reached an agreement with CN to runt rains on a network of CN branch lines near North Battleford beginning Aug. 1. There are 13 loading sites along the line, and local farmers will negotiate rail service with CN.
Some observers say the success of this program could help determine the future role for farmers in grain handling and transportation.
"Farmers have never been in this position before, to sit down with railway guys and negotiate and discuss rates and service," PAFF chairman, Kyle Korneychuk tells local media. "We’re giving farmers an opportunity and we’re putting ourselves out on a limb by saying farmers want the chance to control their own destiny."
The agreement offers a solution to grain lines with low levels of rail traffic, according to CN.
PAFF is a non-profit group consisting of farmers, community groups and railway workers. It will operate 340 kilometres of track and will assume all operating costs. Under the arrangement, farmers are expected to save more than $10 per tonne on grain shipping.
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