Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rail News, Times Three

A few items of rail news all arrived at once. Two are of interest to the Winnipeg area and one to the Kamloops area, although there is a Winnipeg connection.

First, a new grain terminal will be built at CentrePort in Rosser, by the Winnipeg airport just outside city limits. A privately-owned company called BroadGrain Commodities will build a large terminal to handle grain and beans. This presumably will include a modern high-throughput elevator.

Based on this map (PDF), the terminal will be parallel to CP's Carberry subdivision.

CP's Winnipeg yard
Second, former Quebec premier Jean Charest has been named the head of a Rail Relocation Task Force for Winnipeg / Manitoba. The role of this task force is nebulous at the moment, but they have four guiding principles, with the key focus being "enhanced railway efficiency and function in the capital region."

I'm.. skeptical.

Many have seized on this as an opportunity to move the CP rail yard out of downtown Winnipeg. The cost of doing this would be astronomical, both in terms of the actual relocation and also in terms of cleaning up the environmental damage done by the yard.

I agree there are big benefits, both in terms of freeing up prime locations for redevelopment, possibly increasing the city's tax base significantly, and reducing noise and other environmental issues. I just question whether the cost is worth it, and who's going to pay for it.

We shall see. I intend to watch this closely and will write about it again.

EDIT: The new provincial government seems to be backing away from this project.
EDIT 2: The new government definitely seems to be backing away.
EDIT 3: The Palliser government has killed the study.

Third, Cando Rail Services has announced it will build a new rail terminal in Kamloops, BC. They acquired the former Weyerhauser sawmill site along Mission Flats Road, adjacent to the CP Thompson subdivision.

Cando will build 15 miles of track there, both for railcar storage and for transloading materials between truck and railcars. They are going to start with 250 car storage spots. Since Cando does significant track work for CN and CP, they will likely be basing some crews and material out of there to work in BC.

The sawmill was served by a wye off the CP main line. This wye still exists so it should not be difficult to get new track in service.

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