Ottawa didn’t have the freight demand to continue to justify a high level of service (decline of lumber, pulp and paper businesses) and western Canada —> Montreal demand is far less than when the lines were put in. CN and CP removed almost 60 million tonnes of grain from the prairies this year. In its heyday most of that grain would go to Montreal by train to be loaded in ships. Last year it was less than 1 million tonnes. The Seaway took a whole lot of that demand which is bound for the Atlantic basin - 7.9 million tonnes from Thunder Bay, with about 6.7 million tonnes on Sea going lakers.
Interesting! If CP and CN transport significantly less freight from western Canada to the coast, where does most of the freight along the lakeshore come from today? Is it mostly from Southern Ontario and midwestern US?