• Hudson Bay Railway

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.

Moderator: Ken V

  by mdvle
 
I suspect the railway is viewed as necessary given assumed hopes of the port opening again, as well as providing tourists through VIA Rail.

While a gravel road would solve the getting supplies in I doubt it would be attractive to tourists, thus leaving small planes as the only alternative.

There is no easy answer.

From a government perspective, having paid almost $20 million to maintain the line for the last 10 years the prospect of paying another $40+ million to return the line to service with the risk that it could be wiped out again at any time doesn't look so attractive.
  by electricron
 
mdvle wrote:I suspect the railway is viewed as necessary given assumed hopes of the port opening again, as well as providing tourists through VIA Rail.

While a gravel road would solve the getting supplies in I doubt it would be attractive to tourists, thus leaving small planes as the only alternative.

There is no easy answer.

From a government perspective, having paid almost $20 million to maintain the line for the last 10 years the prospect of paying another $40+ million to return the line to service with the risk that it could be wiped out again at any time doesn't look so attractive.
Tourists may not like a long gravel road, but would they like a paved road better?
I suggested a highway, even a gravel road, would be better economically than relying on a washed out railroad. Ideally, every town in Canada should be connected to the rest of Canada by a road. While there are islands where building bridges and roads to are unlikely, other forms of transit should be provided or subsidized - like the ferries to Newfoundland. You're not going to see sustainable growing economical development without a road.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Really, would I be about to operate MY CAR over a gravel highway. I wouldn't even do it out in Iowa.

I can recall how during 1977, a Service buddy (now deceased) and I were thinking of a journey up the Al-Can Highway. Much of it was gravel back then, but it turned out, he was not about to subject his car to that wear and tear - and I sure wasn't about to allow such to mine.
  by mdvle
 
The problem is what economic development would a road allow for Churchill? It was only ever built because 100 or so years ago it was decided Canada needed a deep water northern port, and it certainly appears that it isn't viable as that.

Search online found * that Nova Scotia says 2009 costs to build a 2 lane highway at $3.5 million per km, excluding bridges.

Measuring on Google Maps shows Churchill to Sundance (which appears to be the nearest significant road) is 245.5 km.

So a highway looks like around $860 million, a hard sell when both levels of government are already running deficits.

Not to mention the time required given the necessary legal process that would need to be followed before construction could even start.


* https://novascotia.ca/tran/highways/faq.asp
  by NS VIA FAN
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote:Really, would I be about to operate MY CAR over a gravel highway. I wouldn't even do it out in Iowa.

I can recall how during 1977, a Service buddy (now deceased) and I were thinking of a journey up the Al-Can Highway. Much of it was gravel back then, but it turned out, he was not about to subject his car to that wear and tear - and I sure wasn't about to allow such to mine.
Canadians are used to driving on gravel roads in rural areas where there just isn’t the traffic to justify paving. My Province…Nova Scotia has freeways and toll-way built to what you would call Interstate standards but still there are miles of good gravel roads I wouldn’t give a second thought to driving.

A road was recently constructed to Tuktoyaktuk (69.4 N) on the Arctic Ocean which is a lot further north than Churchill at 58.7 N. (Churchill is actually south of Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki)

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the ... -1.4401922" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Here’s a gravel road adventure I did several years ago to Labrador. Today a lot of that road has since been paved.

https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php ... 6#msg79396" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by XC Tower
 
Great link to your Labrador trip, NS VIA FAN!...I will follow it through at a later time.
For me, seeing a rail line let go is always difficult, as I feel it is a superior land mode of travel in many ways, but in cold economic terms is where I admit to getting lost.....There is always an emotional component on my part that doesn't translate well to the financial, I also make admission to....
The fact that there is no easy answer seems to be the best explanation that I have read on here. From what I have seen on the subject, there seems to be support from the native people in Churchill for the railway to be repaired through outright purchase with financial assistance from the Canadian government, but will it happen? I am not sure.
How has this railroad route to Churchill lasted this long? Has it always been a money loser?
Thank you.


XC
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Hafta wonder, Mr. VIA Fan, but how much further life did your Corolla have after that adventure?

I've had five Toyota products (of the "L" varietal) since '96. No way would any be near those gravel highways - at least during my ownership.

Finally, I presume those gas prices you noted are CD$/lit.
  by mtuandrew
 
There are few places on the continent today where you could build a (semi-) public highway immediately abutting a railroad line, using the same embankment and possibly the same bridges with no fence between. This could be one, with the lack of traffic and presumably slow rail speeds. Specifically, a wide single lane and periodic turnouts onto the railroad right-of-way. I imagine this would be a toll road at least for semis & buses. The tolls would help defray interest on public construction bonds, ideally.

Thoughts?
  by NS VIA FAN
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote:Hafta wonder, Mr. VIA Fan, but how much further life did your Corolla have after that adventure?
It’s a Toyota…..and was none the worse for wear!

The Labrador trip was in 2010 when the car was 9 months old. I kept it for another 3 years and sold it to a buddy. He has 225,000 clicks on it now (140,000 miles) and still working just fine!

My initial drive each morning is on 4 lane ‘freeway’…but depending on where work takes me…..any car I’ve ever owned will probably average 20 clicks per week on gravel roads. Just the way it is around here and you think nothing of it!

>>>>>>>>>>>

But getting back to a highway replacing the railway to Churchill……If you look at this map:

http://www.borealbirds.org/sites/defaul ... afrost.png" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

……you can see the extent of Permafrost around Churchill and would encounter similar conditions to the new highway from Inuvik to Tuk where you would want to do any work on tundra and permafrost in winter. This would probably apply to any new railway construction also. (Did you ever look at old photos of the line to Churchill and wonder why the old telegraph line poles were tri-pods and built-up with cribwork and rocks?)

“The majority of the work, aside from some smoothing of the top layer, has to be done in the winter to preserve the integrity of the tundra and its permafrost. A geotextile fabric is laid on the proposed building site before it is topped with at least a metre of gravel.

“That will insulate the permafrost from melting in the summertime,”……..“If you put the gravel down in the summertime it’ll disturb the surface layer of the tundra. You can’t operate out there in the summertime; the tundra covering the permafrost is just too fragile.”


https://norj.ca/2014/11/inuvik-to-tuk-h ... rosperity/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Tell me how I am mistaken, but IF the Port is "done for", wouldn't a highway provide more transportation options for the Churchill region?

Now if considering the USA's "protectionist" positions of late and if Canadian agricultural interests are looking for new export markets to replace those lost (well for maybe only somewhat more than another six years), might those intetests again be looking at Churchill? If such were to be the case, rail is the only means to handle such traffic economically and efficiently.

With the justifiable "remote area" argument prevalent in Canada, passenger train service would be restored.
  by Ken V
 
A done deal this time ??
Repairs on a vital rail link to northern Manitoba are set to begin immediately, the federal government said Friday, following a deal to sell the flood-damaged line leading to the remote town of Churchill.

The community of roughly 1,000 people — Canada's only deep-water Arctic port — has been without a land route since the railway flooded in May 2017. The closure drove up costs for fuel and food, which had to be brought in by air or ship.

The railway and the Port of Churchill have been purchased from Denver-based Omnitrax Inc. by Arctic Gateway Group Limited Partnership, a private-public partnership that includes Missinippi Rail Limited Partnership, Fairfax Financial Holdings and AGT Limited Partnership.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba ... -1.4807450" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
dowlingm wrote:Hudson Bay Railway is telling Canada's federal transportation regulator a deal to sell the rail line leading to Churchill, Man., is imminent.
https://youtu.be/uS2nWLz-AbE" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

You'd think by now the Canadian media outlets would be "a bit skeptical"; if they want to see what fake news is all about, just look below the 49th.