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Northern Spirits down

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If you can't tell from the title, the Northern Spirits (VIA Winnipeg-Churchill) has encountered an extended service disruption, effectively joining the Chaleur (VIA Montreal-Gaspe) on becoming a route being classified as "indefinetely suspended", according to a Facebook post from the Amtrak Fans group, due to the following reason: extensive damage. For the time being, residents of Churchill can only fly to get out, and sub-arctic tourism also took a big hit.

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Only the Gillam - Churchill portion of the route is suspended....but it is this section of the line where communities have little or no access other than the train.

 

VIA trains between Winnipeg - The Pas - Thompson - Gillam are still running.

 

http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/via-rail-service-between-churchill-and-gillam-suspended-indefinitely-due-to-closure-of-the-railway-infrastructure-in-northern-manitoba-627562033.html

 

PS: The ‘‘Northern Spirits’ were a group of old 10&6 sleepers VIA had acquired from Amtrak and refurbished for service between Winnipeg and Churchill.....they have long since been retired. The train itself was known as the ‘Hudson Bay’ but after VIA eliminated most train names it's now just the Winnipeg-Churchill service.

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Sorry I delayed ever riding it...now who know's if I'll ever get the chance. That leaved ONR's Polar Bear as the only train to reach a part of Hudson Bay (James Bay)...better ride that, while I can.... :mellow:

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Should I take that "indefinitely suspended" means it is unlikely to come back?

Nope. Ownership of the line in question is being transferred to a First Nations Tribe. One of their first concerns is providing service to communities along theline which lack road access.

Edited by MikefromCrete

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Should I take that "indefinitely suspended" means it is unlikely to come back?

 

Nope. Ownership of the line in question is being transferred to a First Nations Tribe. One of their first concerns is providing service to communities along theline which lack road access.

Oh, good! Thanks for the info. :)

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Should I take that "indefinitely suspended" means it is unlikely to come back?

Nope. Ownership of the line in question is being transferred to a First Nations Tribe. One of their first concerns is providing service to communities along theline which lack road access.

Oh, good! Thanks for the info. :)

 

 

Of course, a big part of the line now has been wiped out by a flood, with a five-car VIA train trapped at Churchill, so it might be quite a while before any service is reinstated, but I believe the local residents want the line restored as soon as possible, since it is a lifeline for both Churchill and all the towns along the route. The Canadian government may have to pony up a lot of money to restore the line before or after its transfer to the First Nations group.

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Should I take that "indefinitely suspended" means it is unlikely to come back?

Nope. Ownership of the line in question is being transferred to a First Nations Tribe. One of their first concerns is providing service to communities along theline which lack road access.

From what I gather, the ridership on the portion south of Thompson, where there is road access, is abysmal. Would not be surprised if it's reduced.

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Should I take that "indefinitely suspended" means it is unlikely to come back?

Nope. Ownership of the line in question is being transferred to a First Nations Tribe. One of their first concerns is providing service to communities along theline which lack road access.
From what I gather, the ridership on the portion south of Thompson, where there is road access, is abysmal. Would not be surprised if it's reduced.
There's been a lot of thought that the train will eventually get truncated down to just Thompson to Churchill, possibly not run as a VIA train anymore.

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Ahhh here we go... I have seen this sad old story many a time before!

 

Here is the story line:

1) Natural disaster or heavy use makes tracks unusable.

2) Passenger service gets "suspended".

3) years go by with no passenger service.

4) The rail operator, government or other people say "its going to cost us too much to restart this train".

 

Here are some examples:

1) Amtrak gulf coast service.

2) Via Rail Gaspe service.

3) Via Rail Victoria BC service.

and now 4) Via rail Gillam to Churchill service.

Edited by Heath Loxton

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Ahhh here we go... I have seen this sad old story many a time before!

 

Here is the story line:

1) Natural disaster or heavy use makes tracks unusable.

2) Passenger service gets "suspended".

3) years go by with no passenger service.

4) The rail operator, government or other people say "its going to cost us too much to restart this train".

 

Here are some examples:

1) Amtrak gulf coast service.

2) Via Rail Gaspe service.

3) Via Rail Victoria BC service.

and now 4) Via rail Gillam to Churchill service.

The only problem with your summary is…..Amtrak’s Gulf Coast, VIA Gaspe and VIA Victoria are all in well populated areas with good road and air access.

 

There is nothing between Gillam and Churchill so if the railway is not restored....perhaps it’s time to construct an all-weather road.

 

There is air service at Gillam and Churchill but even that was having problems this spring.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/gillam-calm-air-flights-1.4068080

Edited by NS VIA Fan

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Ahhh here we go... I have seen this sad old story many a time before!

 

Here is the story line:

1) Natural disaster or heavy use makes tracks unusable.

2) Passenger service gets "suspended".

3) years go by with no passenger service.

4) The rail operator, government or other people say "its going to cost us too much to restart this train".

 

Here are some examples:

1) Amtrak gulf coast service.

2) Via Rail Gaspe service.

3) Via Rail Victoria BC service.

and now 4) Via rail Gillam to Churchill service.

Another difference is that the Gulf Coast track was restored within a year after Katrina and is in service as a freight route. So there is really little infrastructure excuse (stations, maybe) not to restart service.

 

In all the other cases, the rail is not in serviceable condition and there is no freight service to support the rail infrastructure.

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Here are some examples:

1) Amtrak gulf coast service.

2) Via Rail Gaspe service.

3) Via Rail Victoria BC service.

and now 4) Via rail Gillam to Churchill service.

1 is Sunset Limited between New Orleans and Orlando (although the Silvers continue to provide service between Jacksonville and Orlando)

2 is Chaleur

Don't know what VIA called number 3 prior to dropping the naming schemes. Anyone know what the Victoria BC service used to be called as?

4 is the Hudson Bay

PS: VIA also dropped service to Lynn Lake, and Amtrak also dropped Phoenix/Tempe/Coolidge from the Sunset Limited, and many routes, such as: National Limited, North Coast Hiawatha, Lone Star (FTW-OKC returned as Heartland Flyer), Inter-American, Desert Wind, Pioneer, Mountaineer, Montrealer, Niagara Rainbow, Three Rivers, Floridian, Broadway Limited, International Limited, Black Hawk, Fast Mail, and Metroliner (replaced by Acela Express), to name several.

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I wonder if they could establish a summertime coastal ferry between Churchill, and other communities along the bay, all the way to Chisasibi, PQ, and perhaps down to Moosonie?

That way, they could make connections with the bus (Maheux), and rail (ONR) networks, and have an alternative to flying at least part of the year.

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