The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), Transport Canada (TC) and the Government of Quebec signed an agreement to provide an investment package to Tshiuetin Rail Transportation Inc. and Tshiuetin LP to modernise the first owned and operated Indigenous railway in Canada.
The CIB will invest CAD 50 million (USD 39.65 million) in the form of a long-term, fully repayable loan, while the Government of Quebec will invest CAD 5 million (USD 3.96 million), repayable over the next two years.
Transport Canada, which has supported Tshiuetin since 2005, has renewed its commitment to the company for the next three years under its Remote Passenger Rail Programme, increasing its total annual subsidies of at least CAD 12 million per year for operating and capital expenditures.
The partnership includes significant track structure improvements, the upgrade of an existing worker lodging camp and the construction of a new one, as well as the construction of a new train station. The project also involves the acquisition of new fuel-efficient locomotive and new passenger cars which will enhance passengers’ comfort. The new trains will also be equipped with communication technology which will ultimately allow on-board internet access. Passengers will be able to stay connected to their work and loved ones while travelling.
The Indigenous railway is a lifeline for the communities along the corridor. The freight and passenger service are the only readily accessible link connecting three First Nations – the Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam, the Innu Nation of Matimekush-Lac John, and the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach – between Schefferville and Sept-Îles.
The Tshiuetin Rail Transportation owns and operate a rail line with a length of 132.5 miles (213 km) connecting Emeril (Labrador) and Schefferville.
The upgraded service will stimulate employment and economic growth. Modernised freight services will increase the capacity and efficiency of goods transport, creating new business opportunities.
The project will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions through shorter travel times and more fuel-efficient trains. First Nations members will continue to benefit from rail access to their traditional hunting grounds.