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Port of Churchill Closing


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#1 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 04:38 AM

The Port of Churchill is closing....

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...ister-1.3695696

....and may be just a tactic to speed up negations by Omnitrax with the Government or a First Nation group to take over the operations of the railway and the port.

It will be interesting to see what happens to VIA's service between Winnipeg and Churchill. Perhaps not a through train all the way to Winnipeg.....but the isolated communities along this line north of The Pas (pronounced Paw) and Thompson and on into Churchill would still require some type of passenger service. The operations could be turned over to a First Nation group just as VIA did with the Pukatawagan train....also in northern Manitoba and now operated by the Keewatin Railway:

http://www.krcrail.c...ssenger-service


Here's the Pukatawagan Mixed that still uses the old VIA Blue Fleet equipment.




In a similar situation in Labrador....the QNS&L passenger trains were turned over to the First Nation owned Tshiuetin Rail and serve the isolated communities between Sept-Iles and Schefferville QC at the end of the line.

http://www.tshiuetin...formations.html

Edited by NS VIA Fan, 29 July 2016 - 04:54 AM.


#2 Palmetto

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 08:29 AM

Thanks.  Just curious to know if you were able to get an approximate passenger count as the train passed.



#3 jamesontheroad

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 04:39 AM

A few more (sad) updates since this thread started.

 

Firstly, freight service to Churchill has been cut to just one train a week since July. (CBC News).

 

Secondly, the Tolko paper mill near The Pas has closed its doors, creating more than three hundred redundancies. (CBC News) Tolko was responsible for some of the freight to their location, just north of The Pas.


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#4 Gulfwind2

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 12:46 PM

Gosh this is devastating. I took a trip up to Churchill this summer when VIA ran the Park Car on a couple of roundtrips from WIN-CHL and noticed that people in town were anxious about the lack of activity at the port and lack of news regarding the ship traffic later this year. I guess they had good reason to be, for it wasn't but a month after my trip that Omnitrax shut the grain elevator down permanently. I may be attempting another Churchill trip during 2017's Polar Bear season, and that may be my last very hoorah for that part of Canada. The economics of running a tundra railroad are nothing less than insurmountable when your traffic dwindles to such a basement-level. The line is in better shape than it was in 10 years ago, but if the province does not intervene then the line will almost definitely face abandonment in the coming years. 


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Want to solve the problem of passenger trains not having the infrastructure they need?

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STEP 3. Then watch. Investors are happy, passenger trains no longer have to fight freight for priority, speeds of 125mph + are now possible with no risk of freight collision, freight railroads have higher track capacity than before without having to conduct a single environmental impact study, and AU forums have far less to complain about.

 


#5 bmjhagen9426

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 10:03 PM

If this downhill trend continues, I'm guessing that a repeat of what happened to the Montreal-Gaspe line may happen?


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#6 Train2104

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 10:31 PM

If this downhill trend continues, I'm guessing that a repeat of what happened to the Montreal-Gaspe line may happen?

 

I doubt it. Unlike Gaspe, everything north of Gillam has no road access. The railroad needs to be there.

 

Of course that doesn't mean service won't degrade (down to weekly, even slower, etc). It can't go away completely.



#7 bretton88

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 11:23 AM

If this downhill trend continues, I'm guessing that a repeat of what happened to the Montreal-Gaspe line may happen?

 
I doubt it. Unlike Gaspe, everything north of Gillam has no road access. The railroad needs to be there.
 
Of course that doesn't mean service won't degrade (down to weekly, even slower, etc). It can't go away completely.
I doubt they'll cut frequency. There is discussion of cutting the train back to originate in The Pas (last road accessible city) instead of Winnipeg though.

If I won the lottery, I'd probably build a passenger from nowhere to nowhere.


#8 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 11:34 AM

I doubt they'll cut frequency. There is discussion of cutting the train back to originate in The Pas (last road accessible city) instead of Winnipeg though.


Makes sense....no need for a train running all the way to Winnipeg when the majority of passengers from the isolated communities are just travelling into the closest larger community such as Tthe Pas or Thompson for supplies or appointments.

#9 Train2104

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 05:33 PM

I doubt they'll cut frequency. There is discussion of cutting the train back to originate in The Pas (last road accessible city) instead of Winnipeg though.

The last road accessible station is Gillam, most Churchill passengers go to Thompson. But there's non-road-accessible stations in between The Pas and Gillam.

Cutting it back from Winnipeg would likely mean no longer operating it as a VIA train. It would likely end up being a Hudson Bay RR/Omnitrax operation. But I'm not sure if that's necessary, as the article only says freight operations are being severely curtailed at Churchill. The line south of Thompson is likely busier freight wise.


Edited by Train2104, 06 December 2016 - 05:38 PM.


#10 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 06:05 PM

Cutting it back from Winnipeg would likely mean no longer operating it as a VIA train. It would likely end up being a Hudson Bay RR/Omnitrax operation. But I'm not sure if that's necessary, as the article only says freight operations are being severely curtailed at Churchill. The line south of Thompson is likely busier freight wise.

 
As I noted above........Perhaps this is the time for a First Nation to take over the operation and there are several examples of the already:

The First Nation owned Keewatin Railway operates the mixed train between The Pas and Pukatawagan, Manitoba . And in Labrador another First Nation owned railway........ Tshiuetin Rail Transportation has taken over the passenger trains between Sept-Iles and Shefferville from the QNS&L.

This continues a trend that was started when BC Rail ended their RDC passenger service and the Seton Lake First Nation was left isolated without road access. They acquired Rail Shuttle vehicles to continue a passenger service into DArcy and Lillooet.

I wonder if there are any other passenger lines that primarily serve First Nation communities that might better meet their need if they operated the trains themselves. A couple that come to mind are the White River RDC service in Northern Ontario and the Canadian will stop at isolated points but it requires advanced notice. Also the Ontario Northland Railway "Little Bear" mixed to Moosonee.




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