Omnitrax Canada president Merv Tweed said service may be discontinued if no one buys the rail way. (CP)Earlier this month, the Manitoba government said it was looking for federal help to ensure the continued operation of the northern line. Manitoba Transportation Minister Steve Ashton met with federal counterpart Marc Garneau in Ottawa. The line is the only land link to Churchill and three other communities from the south. Omnitrax Canada president Merv Tweed indicated that service could be discontinued if no new buyer were found. He also suggested governments could have the railway operate as a utility, presumably with regulation of rates and some form of subsidy in poor years. Ashton suggested the long-term survival of the port and railway could depend on expanding port storage facilities to handle potash and other goods. The northern rail line, which crosses hundreds of kilometres of bog and permafrost, has been plagued by derailments that have intermittently forced the suspension of both freight and passenger services. OmniTrax had thought of shipping crude oil along the railway, but backed off the plan last year. The proposal was opposed by aboriginal groups, environmentalists and the government of Manitoba.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: