Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hudson Bay Railway to Re-Open

Hudson Bay Railway 3001 in Thompson
HBRY 3001 in Thompson, Manitoba
After a derailment on June 3, the Hudson Bay Railway closed the rail line between Gillam and Churchill. Omnitrax, the owner-operator of the line (and the port of Churchill), said that permafrost had damaged the line and they were making repairs and hope to re-open within the first week of July. They had briefly re-opened the line to freight service but had to suspend it again.

VIA 8228 in Thompson
VIA Rail in Thompson, Manitoba
VIA Rail last sent a train to Churchill on May 30. The company said they will not send VIA 692/693 over the line until they are satisfied that it is safe for passengers. In the meantime, passengers intending to use the train have had to find alternate arrangements (aka "fly").

This closure has really impacted the people of Churchill, as they depend on the railway for the majority of shipments into the town. The only alternative is to fly fuel, food and other supplies in at a greatly increased cost. Hopefully the line will be re-opened when Omnitrax says it will.

This might really make people question whether they should still be considering shipping oil by rail.

UPDATE: has posted an update.

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