Temporary repairs to Churchill rail line could get it running in 30 days: Consultant report – Manitoba

A temporary repair proposal outlines how Omnitrax could get rail service returned to Churchill, Man. in 30 days, according a report on the Denver-based company’s website.

The report, prepared for the company by engineering consultants AECOM and dated Oct. 6, explains a 30-day plan to restore restricted service to the line by performing temporary repairs at a cost of between $5 million and $10 million.

“Once these temporary repairs are completed, the line could be re-opened for very restricted service until the full plan to perform permanent repairs is completed in 2018,” the report said.

Standing in the freshly falling snow, Churchill Mayor Mike Spence said he doesn’t think Omnitrax is serious about the plan and the company is just “playing games with our community.”

“If we can do it great, but come on, it’s getting late. This should have been done earlier this summer,” he said. 

After a winter of blizzards and a spring of severe flooding, sections of the rail line to Churchill, a community of 900 located about 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg, washed out, leaving it without a ground transport connection.

The engineering consultants did a different report for Omnitrax, prepared in August, which included a 60-day plan to restore rail service at a cost of about $43.5 million. That report said there were more than 20 washouts from the late-May flood that swamped portions of a 249-kilometre stretch of the line, and identified damage in 130 locations.

After that report, Merv Tweed, president of Omnitrax Canada, said the company would not be in a financial position to repair or continue operating the line.

Last week, Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr threatened Omnitrax with legal action if the company did not resume rail service in 30 days. Transport Canada sent the company a “notice of default of its agreement” that said the rail service to the northern Manitoba community needed to be restored or Omnitrax would face an $18.8-million…

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