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Winter fuel expected to be a challenge for Churchill

Pictures who extensive damage to rail tracks heading to Churchill after flooding.
Pictures who extensive damage to rail tracks heading to Churchill after flooding. OmniTrax / Submitted

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is considering bringing in extra propane storage units to help people in Churchill get through the winter now that their rail service has been cut off.

Lee Spencer, with the province’s emergency measures organization, also says Crown-owned Manitoba Hydro is looking to see whether some customers in Churchill can be switched from propane to electricity to help supplies last longer.

READ MORE: Train to Churchill, Man. suspended ‘indefinitely’ after flooding damage

The subarctic community on the shore of Hudson Bay lost its only land link to the outside world this spring, when flooding damaged the rail line and washed away a lot of rail bed.

The railway’s owners, Omnitrax Inc., have said it could be next spring before repairs are complete, and an assessment of the damage will take a few more weeks.

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READ MORE: Churchill mayor says rail damage might not be bad

The town council has said it does not have enough propane storage capacity to keep homes and businesses heated through the long winter.

Without the rail line, food and other supplies must be flown in at higher cost or brought in by ship during the short ice-free season.