December 4, 2018 5:45 pm

Rail passengers bound for the north arrive in Churchill

WATCH: For the first time since May 2017, passengers have arrived by train into Churchill. The VIA Rail cars rolled into the northern Manitoba town from Winnipeg on Tuesday.

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After a long-awaited return to rail access, passengers rolled in to Churchill, Man., Tuesday.

The VIA Rail train left Winnipeg midday Sunday and arrived in the northern Manitoba community some 48-hours later.

READ MORE: Passenger rail service to return to Churchill in early December

Residents eagerly waited, with the the Town of Churchill posting updates on their social media channels.

The town has been without rail service for a year and a half after spring flooding in 2017 washed out several portions of the tracks. The northern community was essentially cut off from civilization, since the rail line was the only land route in or out of the area, creating many hardships for those who live there.

WATCH: The high price of living in a community with no land line to the rest of the province

After the owners of the line failed to comply with government-issued demands to make repairs, the line was bought in the summer of 2018 by a consortium of owners called Arctic Gateway Group, including First Nations organizations.

While freight service resumed Nov. 24., Tuesday brought the first rail passengers in more than 18 months.

READ MORE: Manitoba’s Arctic science celebrated in new Expedition Churchill campaign

Now that service is back on track, area officials hope tourism will pick up once again.

The University of Manitoba has partnered with VIA Rail to operate a trip, complete with an Arctic research-themed dining car that will travel the rail line between Winnipeg and Churchill with the hope of raising awareness about climate change.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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