Grain elevators can be seen dotting the landscape of the prairies, and many have been bought by private owners and are being used for their original purpose of storing grain.

Many were also built next to railways, though those are often either infrequently used or have been torn out.

A group of farmers has not only bought the grain elevators along the railway line, but they also purchased a line that runs from Tribune to Estevan themselves to privately run it, called the Long Creek Railroad.

The railroad was set to be torn up in 2005, but farmers came together to start one of the few independently-owned railroads in the province.The railroad was set to be torn up in 2005, but farmers came together to start one of the few independently-owned railroads in the province.

This decision was made when the Canadian Pacific Railway went to close that line in 2005 and means that with their own private engine they've been able to run crops and other commodities on the line since 2012.

Adriaan Lievaart, who owns the elevator along the line near Outram, says that the purchase made something of what was going to be scrap iron.

"We're utilizing something that was going to be abandoned only a decade ago, when CP rail decided to abandon this 40 miles of track, basically it would have been piled up for scrap iron. Instead, a group of farmers decided it should be saved and that's what kind of happened."

The railcars and elevators help with the storage of grain, which can be a problem come harvest time for some farms.

"We still use it for cleaning and storing grain, and the odd time we ship on the siding we ship railcars of durum wheat there. We are going to start loading more canola cars as that progresses. It seems to be becoming a little more popular right now."

One benefit of the line is that fewer trucks need to be used to haul the freight. That can make a big difference on highways and gravel roads, which both tend to take a lot of stress from large semis and grain trucks.

"I know that we've shipped 150 railcars of canola off of this little short line in the last six months, so that's like putting two or three hundred fewer trucks off of the highway. It's definitely saving our highway infrastructure a little bit."

Even though it's owned by farmers, the railroad has done a lot to diversify what it carries, targeting niche areas that larger companies may ignore.

"We've had different projects. grain has never been our mainstay because we're competing against the larger terminals and the inland terminals. Basically, we've done a lot of storage and a lot of shipping of smaller items and niche markets. Frack sand is kind of a popular product, it comes in by rail and gets offloaded in Estevan there."

"It's been very successful, it hasn't been the biggest moneymaker in the world but we've held our own and here we are, I would say 10 years into operation."