News & Reviews News Wire Canadian government says it will help restore Hudson Bay rail line to Churchill

Canadian government says it will help restore Hudson Bay rail line to Churchill

By Trains Staff | September 12, 2017

| Last updated on February 23, 2024

Line has been out of service since flooding in May

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May of rail line in northern Maintoba
A map of the Hudson Bay Railway. OmniTRAX

CHURCHILL, Manitoba — Canada’s federal government is willing to help restore rail service on the Hudson Bay Railway to Churchill, agricultural news source Commodity News Service Canada reports. The rail line, which is currently owned by OmniTRAX, has been out of service between The Pas, Man., and Churchill since late May due to flood damage.

OmniTRAX officials estimate track repairs could cost as much as $60 million. In the past few months, railroad officials have also said they were not prepared to restore rail service without government assistance.

Now, the federal government says it is willing to act quickly to restore rail service, but they have a few stipulations.

First, the government wants rail assets transferred at a reasonable price from OmniTRAX to a new operator. The government also wants the new operator to have support from First Nations and other communities along the route as well as a viable business plan focusing on safety, reliably, and cost-effectiveness.

Those requests could help lead to more than $500 million in government funding to restore the rail line in the next 10 years.

This is the first time the Canadian government has committed to helping restore the troubled rail corridor.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously said OmniTRAX was responsible for repairing the rail line due to legal obligations with the rural communities along the route.

But now, the government is concerned the railroad has not yet started repairs and that the line’s rehabilitation could be impacted by the upcoming winter season.

According to the government, a 2008 agreement with OmniTRAX required the railroad to maintain and operate rail service to Churchill until 2029, while the government would offer financial support to the Hudson Bay Railway.

OmniTRAX purchased the former Canadian National rail line and government-owned port facilities in 1997.

A First Nations consortium called Missinippi Rail reached a deal with the railroad earlier this summer to transfer assets for $20 million through a loan agreement with OmniTRAX. The two entities reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding in June.

But before rail service can resume, railroad officials will have to repair at least 19 washouts, five bridges, and inspect 30 additional bridges and 600 culverts.

The Hudson Bay Railway is a 627-mile rail line from The Pas north to Churchill in Manitoba on a former Canadian Northern Railway right-of-way.

See the original story online.

6 thoughts on “Canadian government says it will help restore Hudson Bay rail line to Churchill

  1. Canada does not have a real true elected socialist party. The New Democratic Party has some socialist platforms but not completely socialist. Socialism is dying in both Canada and the United States. Maybe by 2040 both Canada and the U.S. will be ruled by unelected corporation officials.

  2. Justin Trudeau is safer to have Canada`s prime minister because some conservative hardliners would like to increase income tax to lower income people to encourage them to find higher paid jobs which is scarcer due to automation including possibly a required annual income to have a private vehicle to reduce infrastructure costs.

  3. Not sure how to say this, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accomplished nothing. Maybe he will shine with the HBR. I know he means well, he just hasn’t had any luck. It could be worse, he could be the buffoon (Donald TrumpP.

  4. They better make sure OmniTRAX doesn’t strip everything bare on their way out the door…their track record hasn’t been good…

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