Freight services back between Churchill and Thompson, Man.


After a year and a half of waiting, Churchill, Man., is expecting a freight shipment to arrive by the end of the week. 

Churchill Mayor Mike Spence confirmed freight service is operational from Thompson, Man., to Churchill, about 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg. The service has been suspended since severe flooding washed out portions of the Hudson Bay Railway in May 2017, severing the town’s only land-link and sending cost of living in the area soaring.

« Bottom line, this is great news, » Spence said Monday.

« We’ve got community members and businesses that have … vehicles and other goods that have been stuck, whether it be in Thompson or other southern communities, that have been sitting there since May of last year. »

The announcement comes less than a month after trains rolled into Churchill for the first time since the flooding, which washed out portions of the roughly 400-kilometre track in 20 different places.

Without rail services, the town of roughly 900 people on the Manitoba shore of Hudson Bay was a fly-in only community for approximately a year and a half, driving up living expenses, food costs and the price of gasoline.

« It’s been a tough go, » Spence said. « We continue to pay high prices for fuel and certain goods. But we’re working towards, you know, getting the line back up and running, and services like the Via train passenger service. »

A map shows how rail service connects much of northern Manitoba. (CBC )

The town posted the announcement on Twitter and Facebook on behalf of Arctic Gateway Group, the public-private partnership that took over the the Hudson Bay Railway and the Port of Churchill from former owner Omnitrax following a deal in late August.

« It’s an important milestone, » Spence said.

Arctic Gateway Group is a coalition of local rail-line communities, area First Nations, Saskatchewan grain and pulse trader AGT Food and Ingredients and Toronto holding company Fairfax Financial. 

After a $117-million federal commitment to help resurrect the rail line and port, Arctic Gateway began repairs. On Nov. 1, CEO Murad Al-Katib told media the work was « substantially complete. »

The first train on the repaired track arrived in town on Oct. 31, with expectations to work toward freight and passenger service later in the year and heavier loads beginning in the spring.

« Once [passenger service] gets into play, it’s going to even be greater, » Spence said. « Our community will be able to get out and see family members in other communities. It means other community members visiting our community. »

He said passenger service is expected to be operational by the end of November or early December.

« It shouldn’t be long. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed and, like I said, it’ll be soon, » he said.

« It’s coming along. But naturally it’s not coming quick enough. »


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No injuries in freight train derailment in Scarborough – Toronto


Emergency officials are investigating what caused five freight train cars to derail overnight in Scarborough.

Investigators said they received a call around 2:41 a.m. for a train derailment at Kennedy Road and Eglinton Avenue East.

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Police said there were three cars on their side, with one partially blocking traffic on Kennedy Road.

Officers said they believe the train was carrying hazardous materials on board, but no leaks were discovered.

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Investigators said no injuries have been reported from this incident.

CN Rail says no dangerous goods were released from the train cars and that the company is working with local emergency services.

–With files from the Canadian Press

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


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5 cars of freight train derail in Toronto, no one injured


Five cars of a freight train derailed in an industrial area in Toronto early Sunday, but no one was injured and no hazardous goods were leaked, according to CN.

Emergency crews were called to the scene of the derailment on Kennedy Road, south of Eglinton Avenue East, in Scarborough, Toronto’s easternmost district, at about 2:43 a.m. ET.

Firefighters found the cars off the tracks and they tried to determine whether any harmful material had spilled, according to Capt. Adrian Ratushniak, spokesperson for Toronto Fire Services. They found none had, he added.

Firefighters then created a « safe perimeter » of about 300 metres surrounding the derailment to contain the scene before handing it over to CN staff, Ratushniak told CBC Toronto.

« There is no threat. There is no danger. And there were no injuries at the scene. At this time, our fire crews have cleared. »

About 25 firefighters and six trucks responded to the call, he said.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has been notified about the derailment that occurred overnight. (John Hanley/CBC)

Two ambulances went to the scene, but no one was transported to hospital or treated at the scene, according to James Burgin, deputy commander for Toronto Paramedic Services.

CN ‘regrets’ impact on local residents

Jonathan Abecassis, spokesperson for CN, said in a statement that CN is investigating the derailment.

« Current reports indicate that five cars have derailed in various positions, that there are no injuries or release of any dangerous goods and that the train is blocking a crossing on Kennedy Road, » he said.

« We regret any impact this incident may have on local residents. »

That train has since been removed and the roadway has been reopened, according to Toronto police.

The cause of the derailment hasn’t been determined.

A derailed freight train car lies in the grass beside CN tracks in Scarborough. (John Hanley/CBC)

Const. David Hopkinson, spokesperson for the Toronto Police Service, said they were told there was « hazardous material » on the train and police were ready to evacuate the area, but nothing leaked from the derailed cars and an evacuation was not necessary.

Hopkinson declined to say what kind of hazardous material was reportedly on the train. 

« There was no leak, » he said. « Traffic has resumed in the area. »

Derailment occurred near mosque

The Toronto Transit Commission suspended passenger pickup service at nearby Kennedy Station and closed access to its south parking lot, but service and access have resumed.

Julie Leroux, spokesperson for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said the board has been notified about the derailment.

« We are aware and we are gathering information, » she said.

The derailment occurred close to the Salaheddin Islamic Centre, a mosque in Scarborough.

The Salaheddin Islamic Centre, a mosque in Scarborough, is located near the derailment. (John Hanley/CBC)


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