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This article was published 2/8/2012 (3334 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
GIMLI -- Interlake farmer Wayne Bracken won't have to truck his grain 50 kilometres to Winnipeg anymore thanks to a new railway line. He won't even have to leave home.
"I'm hoping I can load cars right in my yard," the 72-year-old Clandeboye producer said, standing next to the new Lake Line Railroad, which passes through his property.
The 50-kilometre stretch of track between Gimli and Selkirk was purchased from Canadian Pacific Railway by community users such as Bracken with $1.25-million help from the province.
When area grain elevators shut down more than a decade ago, farmers were forced to truck their grain into the city, said Bracken, who's been farming since he was 10.
Bracken never thought he'd see the day when grain transportation came to him, he said after a press conference in Gimli next to the railway line and a bright blue engine.
The short-line Lake Line Railroad will serve close to 2,000 producers, said Keystone Agricultural Producers president Doug Chorney.
The Lake Line Railroad has already begun freight rail service to shippers along the railway line and to Hudson Cement in Selkirk. It also has an agreement to provide freight services to Diageo Distillery's plant in Gimli, which makes Crown Royal whisky, said Gimli MLA Peter Bjornson, standing next to tanker cars on the line hauling booze to bottlers.
The Lake Line Railroad gives farmers more options to haul their grain and gets heavy truck traffic off local and provincial roads, said Randy Penner, the president of the railway line.
It also opens up the possibility new businesses that are rail-dependent will locate in the Gimli area, Penner said.
Under the terms of an agreement with the province, the railroad is required to operate the short-line railway for at least 10 years or repay the funds.
The province also provided the Lake Line Railroad with $20,000 in late 2010 to complete a feasibility study on the purchase of the rail line.
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.