Canadian government orders OmniTrax to repair line to Churchill

Trains Industry Newsletter
Get a weekly roundup of the industry news you need.
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine. View our privacy policy.
A VIA Rail Canada trainset was stranded in Churchill, Manitoba, for several months before being removed last October.
Joe Stover

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Shortline holding company OmniTRAX has been ordered by the Canadian government to repair its out-of-service line to remote Churchilll, Man., with repairs to begin no later than July 3.

The order by the Canadian Transportation Agency requires monthly progress reports beginning in August, and requires OmniTRAX property Hudson Bay Railway to resume as “as expeditiously as possible, according to the CBC, which received a copy of the decision on Thursday.

The agency determined that the railway has a public duty to provide service, and “finds that since November 2017, HBR has been … in breach of its level of service obligations,” the Globe and Mail reported, quoting the 11-page ruling. “The (Canada Transportation Act’s) long-standing rail level-of-service provisions reflect the public duty of railway companies to provide service on the railway lines they own or operate.”

The railroad provided the only year-round ground transportation to Churchill prior to the line being severed by flooding in May 2017. [See
“Future of Hudson Bay line in ‘jeopardy’ after catastrophic flood,” Trains News Wire, June 12, 2017.] With the line out of service, the cost of goods have soared as they have to be flown in. The flooding also ended VIA Rail Canada service to Churchill pending restoration of the line; the VIA trainset trapped in Churchill by the flooding was removed by ship last October. [See “Delayed ship ready to rescue stranded VIA Rail passenger train,” Trains News Wire, Oct. 16, 2017.]

OmniTRAX has 30 days to appeal the ruling, but the Globe and Mail notes that the decision may be moot because the company has reached an agreement in principle to sell the railroad. That agreement was announced just after flooding closed the route. [See “First Nations group reaches deal to buy Port of Churchill, rail line,” Trains News Wire, June 7, 2017.]

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

  • Previous Day
  • June 15, 2018
  • Next Day
Leave a Comment
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Please keep your feedback on-topic and respectful. Trains staffers reserve the right to edit or delete any comments.


The Genesee & Wyoming 

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy
Subscribe Up To 58% off the newsstand price!
Subscribe To Trains Mag Today