Quebec Railway Company Rail SEC (Qc Rail) has awarded a consortium of SNC-Lavalin and Norda Stelo a two-year contract to undertake pre-feasibility and feasibility studies to assess the technical and economic viability of constructing a 230-mile (370-kilometer) railroad in northern Quebec connecting Dolbeau-Mistassini and the deep-sea Port of Baie-Comeau.
SNC-Lavalin will provide topographical, geotechnical, hydraulic, environmental, and civil studies, as well as the proposal of an optimal route for the project, including cost estimates.
If the feasibility studies’ findings are positive, the railroad “will be the first route to bypass the heavily trafficked Windsor corridor and all its major cities—Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City—offering Canadian companies a possible new northern transport corridor fluid to world markets,” SNC-Lavalin said. “It will provide the second-most-significant transportation route for goods by rail across Canada, linking railroads from the provinces of Manitoba to eastern Quebec, boosting northern Quebec’s wider economy development, and helping to facilitate transportation to foreign markets.”
The studies are scheduled to be completed by late second-quarter 2023. Construction will begin shortly thereafter, provided the findings are favorable.
CN currently serves the Port of Baie-Comeau. Switching and terminal railroad SOPOR (Société du port ferroviaire de Baie-Comeau) operates the port facilities.