Ottawa announces $12.4M to upgrade railways near Saskatoon, Swift Current

Two short railways in central Saskatchewan are set to receive some large-scale upgrades. 

On Friday, the federal government announced $12.4 million for two infrastructure projects planned by Great Sandhills Railway in Unity and Leader. 

According to Transport Canada, the improvements will enhance rail capacity, reduce bottlenecks and increase competition with access to two railways.

The first project will upgrade the track of the Great Sandhills Railway shortline running from Burstall, Sask., to the Canadian Pacific Railway mainline outside Swift Current.

Once complete, the upgrade will will increase trips on the line to once a day from twice a week and reduce blockage time on CP's mainline, Transport Canada said.

The second project will reduce congestion on the CP and Canadian National mainline tracks between Saskatoon and Edmonton. Three loop tracks will be built there, along with a repair shop at North West Terminal outside Unity, Sask. 

Ottawa estimates 300 jobs will be created in the region during construction.

In a news release, the Western Canadian Short Line Railway Association said the money will, "accelerate local economies for decades to come."