The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board says the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway can cease freight rail service on the line running east of the St. Peter's junction as of Oct. 1.
The railway, owned by Genesee and Wyoming, has until Jan. 29 to file a discontinuance plan with the review board.
The review board says the railway must deliver goods by rail during the period leading to its closure if the service is required by a shipper that is prepared to pay a reasonable rate.
Otherwise, the board says the railway is free to continue with alternate trucking arrangements to its customers.
The board says the period of notice is reasonable given that the province's $2-million annual subsidy for the line expired Sept. 30 and the fact its been known since last June that the railway would be seeking approval to discontinue the service.
Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan says Genesee and Wyoming will have to wait until April 1, 2016, before it can apply to abandon the rail line.