By Anastasia Philopoulos
Like a haze that rises from a hard working steam engine, it appears the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) has created something of its own smokescreen, say the Friends of the Steam Train.
The group recently released a new five-step plan to get the train back on track and is publicly requesting a meeting with the MTQ, the Compagnie de chemin de fer de l’Outaouais (CCFO), and the three municipalities affected by future decisions concerning the tracks. According to Friends of the Steam Train board member John Trent, the hope is to encourage more open dialogue and transparency.
“We need information. We need to know what they’re telling us. This can only be done [through] a face-to-face meeting between our engineers and theirs.”
Over two years ago, Friends of the Steam Train consulted rail experts and estimated it would cost $6 million to fix the tracks. The CCFO completed a marketing study eight months later and asked the government for $13 million in order to repair the tracks and renovate the cars and other equipment.
Referring to a repair estimate that purportedly came from the MTQ and has been making the rumour mill lately, Trent said, “Our biggest problem is that we don’t really know what $50 million refers to. As far as I know, it doesn’t have much to do with the tracks.”