SNC-Lavalin to study the feasibility of a new railway in Quebec


The Canadian and Quebec governments are advancing analysis of a new freight train line in northern Quebec that is touted as the first route to bypass the busy Windsor, Ontario rail corridor and avoid major bottlenecks strangulation.

The engineering company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. announced on Wednesday that it had won a two-year contract with the Qc Rail Company Rail SEC with its partner Norda Stelo to carry out pre-feasibility and feasibility studies in order to analyze the technical viability and cost of a 370-kilometer railway linking the town of Dolbeau-Mistassini to the deep-water port of Baie-Comeau. The railway would provide companies with a new northern transportation corridor – connecting existing lines further west to global markets, SNC-Lavalin said.

The project “could potentially lead to a more efficient and financially beneficial rail line for the movement of goods across Canada,” said Ben Almond, who leads SNC’s engineering, design and project management activities in Canada. . SNC said the line would be the first route to bypass the busy rail corridor in Windsor and all of its major cities, including Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec City and Montreal.

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Potential railway extension in northern Quebec

SNC-Lavalin won a Quebec contract

Railway to study the viability of a new 370 km

railway in northern Quebec, extending the

national railway line connecting Dolbeau-

Mistassini at the port of Baie-Comeau

THE GLOBE AND THE COURIER, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPEN-

CONTRIBUTORS OF THE STREET PLAN; Government of Quebec

Potential railway extension in northern Quebec

SNC-Lavalin won a contract from Chemin de fer Québec to

study the viability of a new 370 km railway line in the North

Quebec, extending the national railway line by connecting

Dolbeau-Mistassini at the port of Baie-Comeau

THE GLOBE AND THE COURIER, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP

CONTRIBUTORS; Government of Quebec

Potential railway extension in northern Quebec

SNC-Lavalin won a contract with Quebec Railway to study the viability

a new 370 km railway in northern Quebec, extending the national railway line

by connecting Dolbeau-Mistassini to the port of Baie-Comeau

THE GLOBE AND THE COURIER, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS;

Government of Quebec

Logistics and transportation have become priority issues for business and political leaders in Canada as the country tries to recover from the pandemic. The Canadian economy unexpectedly stagnated from April to June after gaining 5.5% at the start of the year, a reversal triggered by a sharp drop in exports of autos and other goods linked to market disruptions. the global supply chain.

“The increased capacity is a good thing, so the shipper community would generally support the idea,” said Bob Ballantyne, president of the Freight Management Association of Canada. The main things that line users would consider are tariffs and service reliability, he said.

Ottawa and Quebec each put $ 7.5 million to finance the preliminary analysis while the regional economic development agency of Manicouagan also committed a small amount. The results will make it possible to gauge the interest of potential funders and railway users for the project, which is not guaranteed. An initial cost estimate for the line, based on similar projects in North America, was set at $ 1.6 billion.

Qc Rail is a new limited partnership created specifically to oversee the professional evaluations of the proposal. Its board of directors includes representatives of local communities in the region, in particular the Innu councils of Pessamit and Mashteuiatsh.

It is difficult at this stage to predict whether the project will come to fruition, but the concept nonetheless enjoys significant support from the population of the region, said Qc Rail president Marcel Furlong.

“A rail project like this would eliminate some of the truck traffic from our roads,” Furlong said in an interview. It could also reduce the load on existing rail lines further south, many of which are heavily used, and provide faster transit time to market, he said.

Several companies have already expressed support for the plan, including agricultural product supplier Cargill, aluminum producer Alcoa and pulp and paper manufacturer Resolute Forest Products, according to Radio-Canada. All three already have operations in Baie-Comeau.

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SNC-Lavalin has indicated that it will provide topographical, geotechnical, hydraulic, environmental and civil studies, as well as the proposal of an optimal route for the project and cost estimates. The route would likely cross several major rivers and cross several wildlife conservation areas as well as lands subject to land claims by Indigenous communities.

Those involved see the line being used for bulk and general freight, according to information on the Qc Rail website. Environmental group Greenpeace has expressed concern that the line will be used to transport oil and gas, but the website says any business case for the project will not depend on fossil fuels.

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