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Uxbridge looking to the future of its downtown railyard


DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard


UXBRIDGE: In the wake of the York Durham Heritage Railway's (YDHR) declaration of bankruptcy, earlier this year, Uxbridge Township is actively seeking a new organization to take over the railway operations. Discussions at a recent council meeting centered around a report presented, by clerk Debbie Leroux, outlining potential future plans for the railway station and its surrounding land.

Ms. Leroux expressed the township's optimism in attracting a short-line rail operator, to run a tourist train, thereby revitalizing the railway's role in local tourism. While some interest from short-line rail operators has been noted, the township remains realistic about the potential outcomes and is open to alternative proposals from tourism-related enterprises.

Despite the bankruptcy proceedings, YDHR's equipment and property still occupy the railway lands. These assets have been put up for sale by the bankruptcy trustee, B. Riley Farber, with a recent cutoff date for offers. Debbie Leroux emphasized, there is currently no set deadline for the removal of unsold equipment, and the township is collaborating with the trustee to manage the process. Flexibility has been underscored, by township officials, regarding the removal of assets, with a willingness to accommodate arrangements with purchasers.

Council unanimously approved Leroux's recommendations, signalling their commitment to finding a suitable solution for the railway's future. These recommendations include ongoing collaboration with Metrolinx, regarding the use of rail yard and rail line lands by a potential short-line railway operator. Furthermore, in the event no viable interest is received, preparations will be made to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP), to invite proposals for alternative tourism uses of the station and surrounding lands.

The township's proactive approach reflects its dedication to preserving the heritage and economic potential of the railway, while adapting to changing circumstances. As efforts continue, to secure a new operator, stakeholders and residents remain hopeful for a successful outcome which will breathe new life into this iconic feature of the downtown landscape.

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