Iconic Sask. grain cars to be sold off

The province of Saskatchewan will be selling off nearly 1,000 hopper cars as it winds down the Saskatchewan Grain Car Corporation.

The decision was announced in this year's provincial budget.

The corporation started in 1981, and leases railway cars to companies to help move grain across the country.

"The time is right for the Government of Saskatchewan to exit this business," said Minister of Highways and Infrastructure David Marit in a news release.  

"By selling the fleet now, the cars will still move Saskatchewan grain. At the same time, the province will get a higher return by selling the cars while they still have significant useful service life left."

The rail cars have around 14 years of service left before they will need to be replaced. The cost of replacing the fleet of cars would cost an estimated $100 million.

The province will give Saskatchewan's short line railways the first option to buy the fleet of cars.

Over the years, the corporation has generated $20.5 million in dividends. However, in 2016, the corporation lost $221,000.

The cars will be sold this summer under the oversight of a fairness adviser.