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Federal regulators order Omnitrax to fix Churchill rail line

Federal regulators have ruled that the owners of a broken rail line to Churchill were wrong not to repair the line that kept the northern Manitoba community connected to the outside world.
Federal regulators have ruled that the owners of a broken rail line to Churchill were wrong not to repair the line that kept the northern Manitoba community connected to the outside world. Omnitrax / Supplied

Federal regulators have ruled that the owners of a broken rail line to Churchill were wrong not to repair the line that kept the northern Manitoba community connected to the outside world.

The Canadian Transportation Agency says the Hudson Bay Railway Co., (HBR) owned by Denver-based Omnitrax, had a legal obligation to fix and maintain the line.

In a ruling dated June 13 its ordered HBR to “….initiate repair of the railway line by July 3, 2018, and to complete the repair and resume operation of the railway line as expeditiously as possible.”[

READ MORE: One year later, Churchill residents still waiting for rail line fix

The line is the only land link to Churchill and was severely damaged by flooding in May of last year.

Omnitrax said it could not afford to repair the line and rejected demands from the federal government to fix it.

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For the last year, goods and people have had to be flown in at much higher cost, and Omnitrax has been negotiating a deal to sell the rail line to a consortium of northern communities.

READ MORE: Deal in principle reached to restore rail service to northern Manitoba: Feds

Manitoba’s New Democrats filed a complaint with the federal regulator, which has ruled that Hudson Bay Railway should have been able to repair the line within six months of the flood.

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