De­liver coal by rail, not by trucks

Cape Breton Post - - ED­I­TO­RIAL -

What is the hes­i­ta­tion of the provin­cial gov­ern­ment to con­sider the rail op­tion for de­liv­er­ing coal from the Donkin mine to the wharf in Syd­ney?

The prov­ince seems to pre­fer the more costly and en­vi­ron­men­tally dam­ag­ing op­tion of build­ing a new coal haul road from Donkin to the coal wharf in Syd­ney. Es­ti­mates for a high­way de­voted to large trucks are as much $32 mil­lion with main­te­nance costs ex­ceed­ing those of man­ag­ing a spur line.

The cost ef­fi­ciency of a new haul road loses its at­trac­tion when com­pared with build­ing a less costly rail spur (es­ti­mated in the range of $30 mil­lion) from Vic­to­ria Junc­tion to Donkin.

Heavy trucks car­ry­ing coal ev­ery­day do much more dam­age to the en­vi­ron­ment (green­house gas emis­sions) than would the oper­a­tion of a small rail line. And it takes more than three trucks to haul what only one rail hop­per can trans­port.

Truck­ing coal calls for road main­te­nance, not only on a new high­way but on other sec­tions of pub­lic roads used to trans­port prod­uct by truck. There is also a mea­sur­able road safety is­sue when large trucks are added to the high­way mix of daily traf­fic.

Nova Sco­tia Power (NSP) al­ready owns the Syd­ney Coal Rail­way that trans­ports coal from Syd­ney Har­bour to the Lin­gan Gen­er­at­ing Sta­tion. Al­ready in the busi­ness, NSP owns five lo­co­mo­tives, two of which are at Vic­to­ria Junc­tion. The lo­co­mo­tives are part of a fleet of bulk cars owned by NSP.

The rail op­tion for trans­port­ing coal re­in­forces the restora­tion of a rail busi­ness cul­ture in Cape Bre­ton in tan­dem with har­bour devel­op­ment and a con­tainer port. The pro­posed rail spur would also be a con­duit for trans­fer­ring coal to Point Tup­per and Tren­ton.

Com­mon sense and busi­ness sense point to rail as the eco­nomic choice over truck­ing. And it co­or­di­nates well with the vi­sion of ac­ti­vat­ing Cape Bre­ton’s ge­o­graph­i­cal and nat­u­ral re­source ad­van­tages in the global econ­omy. James Guy, Ph.D Syd­ney

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.