Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Metrolinx completes purchase of CN line

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Metrolinx, an Ontario government Crown Corporation, today completed the acquisition from CN of the 60-mile-long Barrie-Bradford GO Train corridor between downtown Toronto and Barrie, Ont. The last transaction in the deal was the purchase of the lower portion of the Newmarket Subdivision in central-north Toronto for C$68 million (US$64 million).

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Metrolinx is responsible for creating an integrated, multi-modal transportation network in the Greater Toronto Area from York and Durham through Toronto, Peel Halton, and Hamilton. GO Transit, the operating division of Metrolinx, provides commuter rail and bus services in the GTA.

Metrolinx President and Chief Executive Officer J. Robert S. Prichard said: "This transaction marks a milestone for the agency, giving us--for the first time--end-to-end ownership of a GO Transit rail line. This transaction with CN will permit improvements to service between Toronto and Barrie and points in between. Improved commuter rail and mass transit are vital to easing traffic congestion and air pollution in the GTA, while improving the productivity and economic competitiveness of the region."

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Claude Mongeau, CN executive vice-president and incoming president and chief executive officer, commented: "CN is pleased to have reached this sales agreement with Metrolinx. We have close ties with GO--most of its services in the Greater Toronto Area operate over CN's network--and we see our partnership with GO and Metrolinx continuing to drive the environmental benefits of rail in the Toronto region. In addition, this line sale will generate additional value for the company."

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GO currently runs eight commuter trains each weekday between Toronto and Barrie over the Newmarket Subdivision, which also accommodates a daily CN freight train and VIA Rail Canada Inc.'s transcontinental passenger train three times a week.

Under its sales agreement with Metrolinx, CN will continue to serve five freight customers on the lower Newmarket Subdivision.