CN buys rail and ferry operations from Quebec Railway Corp. for $49.8 million Mon Nov 3, 9:25 AM The Canadian Press Email Story IM Story Printable View By The Canadian Press MONTREAL - Canadian National Railway Co. (TSX: CNR.TO) is buying a number of rail and ferry operations from Quebec Railway Corp. for $49.8 million. CN said Monday it will acquire three railway operations and a rail-freight ferry operation, plus 540 track miles of rail line it formerly owned in eastern Ontario, eastern Quebec and northern New Brunswick plus a ferry service on the St. Lawrence River. The freight carrier sold the rail lines to Quebec Railway in the late 1990s and has held a minority equity interest in the ferry operation since its startup in 1975. "The operations we're buying are important to CN because QRC is our second-largest short-line partner, serving important customers at origin and directly feeding our main-line network," CN president and CEO Hunter Harrison said in a release. "QRC has done a great job with these rail properties, and we believe can improve on that in future." "With our close partnership over the years, CN was the logical purchaser of these properties after QRC decided to dispose of key assets," said Quebec Railway chairman Pierre Martin. "We believe CN will build on our sustained customer focus to deliver even better service in future." Quebec Railway will keep its Sydney Coal Railway Inc. subsidiary in Sydney, N.S., and its Chemin de fer de Charlevoix inc. unit running east of Quebec City to Clermont, Que. Properties involved in the deal are: - Chemin de fer de la Matapedia et du Golfe -New Brunswick East Coast Railway -Ottawa Central Railway -Rail ferry firm Compagnie de gestion de Matane inc. (COGEMA). CN said it plans to invest capital over the next three years to upgrade the rail lines and will replace the existing locomotive fleet with more modern motive power. The company does not plan any changes to freight, VIA Rail passenger rail service or employment levels. The deal affects about 214 employees of Quebec Railway. CN will also take on the operation and management contract for the Chemin de fer de la Gaspesie, which runs from Matapedia to Gaspe, Que.