Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Hudson Bay Railway For Sale

The Hudson Bay Railway in Thompson, MB
The CBC is reporting that Omnitrax is going to put their Churchill railway line (the Hudson Bay Railway) and the Port of Churchill up for sale. The president of Omnitrax Canada, Merv Tweed, has stated that the port and rail line will be sold together.

A sharp decline in grain shipments this year, and "expressions of interest on it in the last three to six months" led to the decision to put the pair on the market.

OmniTrax bought the railway line between The Pas and Churchill in 1997, the same year that they purchased the Port of Churchill. The line spans 627 miles and the Hudson Bay Railway interchanges with CN at The Pas and with the Keewatin Railway Company at Sherritt Junction.

VIA Rail's Winnipeg-Churchill train operates over the Hudson Bay Railway between The Pas and Churchill.
VIA Rail's Churchill train in Thompson, Manitoba
It remains to be seen if this is a serious attempt to sell the line/port, or a tactic to gain more government funding of the line or port. To me, this quote from Mr. Tweed is particularly telling: "If governments want that [the railway as a social service to the north] to continue, which I believe they do, then I believe they should be a participant in the costs of that and we've explained that very clearly to them. We've shown them the costs of doing business in the north and we hope they respond."

UPDATE: The port and rail line have been tentatively sold to a group of First Nations, who are looking for government assistance.

No comments: