Teamsters join railway "S.O.S." to Save Ontario Short-Lines

    With a mounting increase in derailments all across Canada, Ontario's
    smaller railways require $29 million investment from McGuinty government
    to create 1,000 jobs and improve safety

    OTTAWA, June 17 /CNW Telbec/ - In the wake of rising train derailments
like the recent ones in Oshawa that forced families from their homes and in
the Ottawa Valley that dumped 20,000 litres of diesel into the waterways,
Teamsters Canada urges the provincial government to join the Ontario Short
Line Railway Infrastructure Partnership.
    "Ontario lost more than 60,000 jobs in May alone and the province's 14
short line railways are important enablers of economic activity, especially in
rural areas with agricultural and resource-based industries," said William
Brehl, President of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, Maintenance of Way
Employees Division, and a member of Transport Canada's Advisory Council on
Railway Safety.
    Ontario's short line railways connect to the main lines of Canadian
Pacific and Canadian National and provide essential rail service to
underserved areas of the province from Moosonee in the north to Amherstburg
south of Windsor.
    "But the infrastructure on many of the 14 Ontario short lines is in
disrepair and needs to be fixed. Some track restricts trains to less than 20
kilometres per hour and there is a real possibility some of these short lines
will close down as early as this summer due to safety concerns and operating
inefficiencies. This is not a bailout. It's an investment between the
companies and government; not only in creating Ontario jobs but in ensuring
public safety. We at the Teamsters do not always see eye-to-eye with the
Railway Association of Canada, but this is a viable plan that creates jobs,
protects public safety and the environment, and keeps vital links open to
rural areas, particularly in Northern Ontario. It is time for Premier Dalton
McGuinty and his government to come on board," Mr. Brehl said.
    "We cannot ignore the fact that no other form of transportation can move
all of the commodities that trains do. The people of Ontario need less
pollution, less congested highways and a re-energized economy. A safe railway
system is the only form of transportation that can contribute in a meaningful
way to the realization of all three of these goals. They say that everything
old becomes new again. The railways built this country and have always played
a crucial role in our national life. In a country as vast as ours, safe rail
transportation simply makes sense, and never in our history has that been
truer than it is today," Mr. Brehl added.

    About TCRC-MWED

    Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Maintenance of Way Employees Division
(TCRC-MWED), a division of Teamsters Canada, represents more than 4,000
maintenance of way workers at CP Rail and almost two dozen short line
railroads across Canada. Its members are involved in inspecting, monitoring
and repairing the tracks, bridges and structures on the network. TCRC-MWED's
mission is to make sure that the railway is safe, in spite of any economic,
managerial or other obstacles.

For further information:

For further information: and a pdf copy of the Ontario Short Line
Railway Infrastructure Partnership proposal: Lise Cyr, TCRC-MWED,
1-800-567-0571,; Bill Brehl, President, TCRC-MWED, (613)
889-8620 - cell,

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Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, Maintenance of Way Employees Division

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