Photos show widespread damage on rail line to Churchill

Serious damage done to rail line after serious flooding in northern Manitoba. OmniTRAX / Submitted

New photos show just how badly damaged the rail line to Churchill is.

On Tuesday OmniTRAX released photos showing large chunks of the gravel bed completely washed away, missing and warped rail ties and dozens of kilometers of track surrounded by water.

READ: Train to Churchill, Man suspending indefinitely 

On June 9 the company announced the only ground transportation to Churchill on the coast of Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba had been suspended indefinitely and is not expected to resume until winter, or early spring.

OmniTRAX said full inspection and assessment of the flooded line will take four weeks to complete and cost $500,000.

The owners of the Hudson Bay Railway line say flooding that submerged a section of the track and stopped service on May 23 caused severe damage.

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On June 12, the town held a meeting attended by hundreds of residents and business owners facing an uncertain future.“If there’s no tours than nobody’s buying anything,” said Rhoda DeMeulles, owner of the hardware store called Churchill Home Building Centre.

“With the lack of materials and no customers for the north … I think we’re going to have to put it down to zero staff,” said the business’ other owner Dale DeMeulles.

Summer tourism has become a boon for Churchill. Via Rail estimates more than 2,700 people travel there by train between June and August.

Those people will now have to choose between cancelling their trip or buying a much more expensive plane ticket to get to the town.

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