06/12/2014 07:58 EDT | Updated 08/12/2014 05:59 EDT

Nova Scotia Tories say Cape Breton railway a vital link for region

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's Opposition Progressive Conservatives say a railway in Cape Breton is vital to the region's economy and needs to be saved.

The Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway says it intends to abandon freight service between St. Peters Junction and Sydney because it's losing money.

The company says it will apply to the Utility and Review Board to stop using the Cape Breton portion of the line once a subsidy agreement with the province runs out Sept. 30.

President Mario Brault says the $2-million subsidy is no longer enough to make up for the continued decline in traffic.

The Tories say the railway is a lifeline to businesses in Cape Breton that rely on the line to ship their products.

The governing Liberals say they're willing to maintain the current subsidy but can't afford to offer more money.

Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan says discussions will take place with businesses and municipal officials about the next steps, including finding another operator.

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