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CP says it could have British Columbia rail line reopened by midweek

By | November 22, 2021

Province begins gas rationing as result of flood damage

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Railroad and highway washed out by flooding
Railroad and highway washed out by flooding
A section of the Trans-Canada Highway and a rail line near Lytton, British Columbia, show washout damage from recent flooding. Canadian Pacific anticipates reopening its line through the area this week. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — With flood damage to road and rail lines still cutting much of the province off from the rest of Canada, British Columbia has begun rationing gasoline and instituted travel restrictions that will prohibit vehicle traffic on some key highways to commercial transport of essentials such as food, water, and medical supplies.

Meanwhile, Canadian Pacific said it anticipated restoring service on its east-west route serving Vancouver this week.

Reuters reports the limit of 30 liters of gas per day (about 7.9 gallons) is to allow fuel supplies to last through Dec. 1. The news service also quotes a CP representative as saying that service will be restored by midweek “barring any unforeseen issues,” while CN said it anticipated its repair work will extend into next week.

The rail lines through the Fraser River Canyon have been shut down since heavy rains last week washed out both tracks and highways [see “Rail service in British Columbia halted …,” Trains News Wire, Nov. 16, 2021].

The Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries up to 300,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Alberta to the coast, is also shut down, but anticipates restarting some delivery by the end of the week.

The Canadian Press reports that highways 3, 7, and 99 have reopened or are expected to do so shortly, with the province’s Public Safety Minister, Mike Farnsworth, saying details on enforcement of travel restrictions would be announced shortly.

3 thoughts on “CP says it could have British Columbia rail line reopened by midweek

  1. Does any reader know how severely the CN’s former BC Rail route was impacted? CN has been running only local service over this line for the past year, but before the flood it was being maintained and still hosted the ROCKY MOUNTAINEER’s less-known weekly Jasper service via Prince George.

    1. Carl, I saw another article that mentioned a total of four washouts on the former BC Rail line from the recent storm. The one photo I saw was of a relatively minor one near Pemberton. At any rate freight trains have not been using this route.

      RMR has been the only regular through trains between Squamish and Williams Lake for over a year. There is still a local switcher from Williams Lake to mills in the Exeter area (north end of the Kelly Lake Hill), and North Vancouver crews have gone past Squamish as needed to switch the Continental Pole mill a few miles north of Pemberton. And occasional moves to place and remove stored cars.

      There are no crews left working out of either Squamish or Lillooet.

  2. Heart-breaking and emblematic of the contempt the big carriers have today for their shippers. Freight now must go east from Prince George to the Red Pass Jct area, and then down the incredibly busy Canadian Northern route to Vancouver. This is much longer (696 miles vs 466 via BCR) and while it eliminates the steep grades northbound out of Lillooet most traffic was southbound in that district and thus did not require dedicated helpers for the grade.

    And now northern BC traffic must fight the overwhelming parade of overly-long PSR behemoth trains through the constricted Thompson and Fraser Canyons. But all hail the memory of E. Hunter Harrison, the man whose foolish theories on super-long trains and devotion to the O/S above anything else are killing the rail freight renaissance, and converting once fluid mainlines into parking lots.

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