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Churchill Line Sold/VIA to return service Dec. 2

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Finally some good news to report on Amtrak Unlimited. The Hudson Bay Railway owned by OmniTrax that has been out of service since last year has been sold. It looks like a consortium of First Nations People have bought the line.

 

And the even better news repairs have already started and they strive to have the line open by winter. So maybe the VIA Hudson Bay will return this year.

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Interesting article, but noted one glaring error: "Stephens noted the closest Canadian shipping port to Asia is Prince Rupert, B.C., and the closest to Europe is Montreal."

Last time I checked, Halifax was a whole lot closer to Europe than Montreal....

 

Regardless, it is good news that the port will be reopened to freight and passenger traffic. I am hoping that some day, some expedition cruise ships may offer an additional means of reaching Churchill. What a grand combination trip that could make...one way by rail, the other by sea. :cool:

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Interesting article, but noted one glaring error: "Stephens noted the closest Canadian shipping port to Asia is Prince Rupert, B.C., and the closest to Europe is Montreal."

Last time I checked, Halifax was a whole lot closer to Europe than Montreal....

 

Regardless, it is good news that the port will be reopened to freight and passenger traffic. I am hoping that some day, some expedition cruise ships may offer an additional means of reaching Churchill. What a grand combination trip that could make...one way by rail, the other by sea. :cool:

Actually, St. Johns, Nfld. is closer to Europe than Halifax. Though I don't know how much shipping there is out of St. Johns.

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Interesting article, but noted one glaring error: "Stephens noted the closest Canadian shipping port to Asia is Prince Rupert, B.C., and the closest to Europe is Montreal."

Last time I checked, Halifax was a whole lot closer to Europe than Montreal....

 

Regardless, it is good news that the port will be reopened to freight and passenger traffic. I am hoping that some day, some expedition cruise ships may offer an additional means of reaching Churchill. What a grand combination trip that could make...one way by rail, the other by sea. :cool:

Actually, St. Johns, Nfld. is closer to Europe than Halifax. Though I don't know how much shipping there is out of St. Johns.

 

You are correct....basically St. John's is a port mainly to serve the island of Newfoundland. Halifax is a major port for all of Canada.

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Churchill rail repairs nearly done

 

My favorite part of the article:

 

Churchill resident Patricia Kinduirin is helping plan a street party to celebrate the trains rolling back to town. There will be food, music and a bonfire — so to speak.

 

"I have an Omnitrax banner that I am going to burn at our party," Kinduirin said, referring to the company that formerly owned the railway.

 

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I suspect that when passenger service does resume, it will not fall under VIA Rail...more like this...

http://www.tshiuetin.net/index_an.html

"Each passenger is allowed to check up to three (4) pieces of baggage, which must:"

 

Huh? Oh, never mind! I forgot the Canadian dollar is worth less than the U.S. Dollar so you are allowed 4 Canadian bags or 3 U.S. Bags. :giggle:

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I suspect that when passenger service does resume, it will not fall under VIA Rail...more like this...

http://www.tshiuetin.net/index_an.html

"Each passenger is allowed to check up to three (4) pieces of baggage, which must:"

 

Huh? Oh, never mind! I forgot the Canadian dollar is worth less than the U.S. Dollar so you are allowed 4 Canadian bags or 3 U.S. Bags. :giggle:

 

That is Amtrak inconsistency taken to a whole new level! :P

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Yes, but I suspect that five (bags) is right out!

 

Go to 1:16

Edited by cpotisch

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15 hours ago, CHamilton said:

Good news! Just in time for winter.

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On 11/3/2018 at 8:03 AM, bretton88 said:

Now the real question is when Via will restore service and if that service will extend to Winnipeg.

When? As soon as it has been confirmed that the infrastructure is safe for passenger operations.

Where? Not really a question if I read the following Press Release:

Quote

VIA RAIL TEMPORARILY CHANGES ITS SCHEDULE IN NORTHERN MANITOBA

Wednesday, October 4th 2017


 

Winnipeg, October 4, 2017– Due to operational imperatives, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) announces that it will be temporarily modifying its schedule in Northern Manitoba as of November 1st, 2017. The Corporation will offer the following train services: once per week return service between Winnipeg and The Pas, twice per week service between The Pas and Thompson, and three times per week service between Thompson and Gillam. This temporary schedule will be in effect until the resumption of the service to Churchill.

[...]

“VIA Rail is committed to providing communities with a frequent and reliable service. Since the closure of the railway in May, VIA Rail has been operating with reduced available equipment which has affected the reliability of the service.This revised schedule will allow us to continue to fulfill our commitment to remote communities until the service to Churchill resumes”, said VIA Rail’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano.

https://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/media-room/latest-news/221241/04-october-2017-via-rail-temporarily-changes-its-schedu

Edited by Urban Sky

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It's being reported on a couple of the Canadian forums that VIA is set to resume service to Churchill on December 2

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/via-rail-service-resumes-in-northern-manitoba-between-gillam-and-churchill-701280671.html

 

MODERATOR NOTE:  The thread announcing VIA is to return service on December 2 was merged with original thread and title was updated.

Edited by pennyk

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The VIA Rail train to Churchill is perhaps one passenger train that 'should' be run as a 'mixed' passenger and local freight train to defer costs, and provide additional service to the online communities it serves.

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46 minutes ago, railiner said:

The VIA Rail train to Churchill is perhaps one passenger train that 'should' be run as a 'mixed' passenger and local freight train to defer costs, and provide additional service to the online communities it serves.

There is really no need for the train to go south of The Pas (pronounced 'paw") to Winnipeg. It could be run by the First Nations similar to Tshiuetin Rail in Labrador/Eastern Quebec

http://www.tshiuetin.net/an_informations.html

Edited by NS VIA Fan

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9 hours ago, NS VIA Fan said:

There is really no need for the train to go south of The Pas (pronounced 'paw") to Winnipeg. It could be run by the First Nations similar to Tshiuetin Rail in Labrador/Eastern Quebec

http://www.tshiuetin.net/an_informations.html

This is indeed possible, but would adversely affect the train's utility for tourism and would require to either deadheading equipment between The Pas and Winnipeg on a regular basis or to duplicate the maintenance facilities already present in Winnipeg. Sept-Iles and Schefferville are isolated from the North American rail network, The Pas and Churchill are not...

10 hours ago, railiner said:

The VIA Rail train to Churchill is perhaps one passenger train that 'should' be run as a 'mixed' passenger and local freight train to defer costs, and provide additional service to the online communities it serves.

Such a service existed until 2001, as shown in VIA's 2000-10-29 timetable:

  • Monday: Gillam (10:00) to Churchill (17:35)
  • Wednesday: Churchill (09:00) to Gillam (16:35)
  • Saturday: Gillam (10:00) to Wabowden (16:15)
  • Sunday: Wabowden (08:30) to Gillam (15:00)
Edited by Urban Sky

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9 hours ago, Urban Sky said:

This is indeed possible, but would adversely affect the train's utility for tourism and would require to either deadheading equipment between The Pas and Winnipeg on a regular basis or to duplicate the maintenance facilities already present in Winnipeg. 

 

A lot of cost for little benefit……expand the Keewatin Rail maintenance facilities already available in The Pas. It’s an employment opportunity for the First Nations. Keewatin Rail is based in the Pas and operates the former VIA service to Pukatawagan. 

Sure there is some tourism….seasonal for the Polar Bears and Northern Lights. Most now arrive by air in Churchill. Can’t see the number of rail travelers increasing  sufficiently to off set the cost of running to/from Winnipeg.

Gear the schedule to the isolated communities at convenient times……providing a link into The Pas or Churchill for shopping and appointments. Anyone going the greater distance to Winnipeg for a hospital stay etc is probably already there by air ...not spending an additional 13 hrs on the train.

 

Edited by NS VIA Fan

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4 hours ago, NS VIA Fan said:

 

A lot of cost for little benefit……expand the Keewatin Rail maintenance facilities already available in The Pas. It’s an employment opportunity for the First Nations. Keewatin Rail is based in the Pas and operates the former VIA service to Pukatawagan. 

Sure there is some tourism….seasonal for the Polar Bears and Northern Lights. Most now arrive by air in Churchill. Can’t see the number of rail travelers increasing  sufficiently to off set the cost of running to/from Winnipeg.

Gear the schedule to the isolated communities at convenient times……providing a link into The Pas or Churchill for shopping and appointments. Anyone going the greater distance to Winnipeg for a hospital stay etc is probably already there by air ...not spending an additional 13 hrs on the train.

 

"Every year 530,000 people travel to Northern Manitoba, according to Travel Manitoba. Those visitors spend more than $115 million annually during those trips. Churchill tops the list of destinations for the region.

“We lost a lot in the summer,” said Daley. “We lost the first couple weeks of October… usually it’s our train traffic. We lost that this summer.”

During the summer months, the majority of visitors arrive in town by train.

“Having the rail line out and losing 80 per cent of our summer business… you just put your head down and keep going,” Daley said."

https://globalnews.ca/news/3982336/tourism-industry-in-churchill-taking-hit-since-rail-line-wash-out-last-spring/

"Churchill, however, faces a number of tourism hurdles that may explain the relatively low numbers in the region. The most obvious problem is transportation. There are no roads connecting Churchill to the rest of Manitoba. The only way to get there is by air or rail, and neither option is wallet-friendly. A flight from Winnipeg to Churchill is typically several hundred dollars – and that does not include the costs to get to Winnipeg in the first place. VIA Rail offers passenger trains to Churchill twice a week. While a one-way rail trip costs about $200, it also takes two days."

http://cwf.ca/news/currents/currents-tourism-gateway-options-could-help-churchill-survive-loss-of-port/

"Michael Woelcke, a regional manager for Via Rail, says the Crown company hasn’t yet tallied its losses, but is expecting to lose between 5,000 and 9,000 passengers, after strong bookings for the current beluga whale-watching season and autumn polar bear season."

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/tourism-not-a-total-loss-in-churchill-440860693.html

PS: The restored schedule already allows same-day visits to Churchill (Tue+Thu+Sat) and Thompson (from the North: Wed+Fri), while The Pas requires a night (arrive late Wednesday evening, depart 27 hours later)... 
image.png.5a8bf76c50d19cbb104f74112e2b1597.png

Edited by Urban Sky

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