Last logging railroad in North America falls

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Woss, British Columbia
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WOSS, British Columbia — Western Forest Products announced Tuesday that Vancouver Island’s Englewood Railway, the last logging railroad in North America, is closed for good.

The decision to close the logging railroad on the north end of Vancouver Island comes six months after three Englewood employees were killed when a runaway log train crashed into a maintenance-of-way crew. The railroad was immediately shut down following the incident and had yet to resume operations while Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigated the crash.

In a statement to Trains News Wire, Western Forest Products officials cited economic conditions as the primary reason for shutting down the railroad for good. Logs will now be transported by truck.

“To improve the flexibility of our operations and create efficiencies in the processing and transport of logs on the North Island, we have made the decision to permanently discontinue operating our Englewood train,” says spokesperson Amy Spencer. “This change is consistent with ongoing efforts to reduce costs and strengthen the company’s competitiveness.”

Thirty-four jobs will be cut with the railroad’s closure, although Spencer says some people will be moved to new jobs within the company.

It’s unclear what will happen to the railroad now that WFP has decided to permanently close it, but officials say they recognize its importance as the last logging railroad on the continent.

“In recognition of the historical importance of the Englewood train, we will work with North Island communities and governments to determine how best to honour its long history,” Spencer says.

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