Trains run again after landslides cut key supply links – .

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Train derailment in British Columbia caused by track washout during storm – .


CALGARY –

The first trains have entered Vancouver since floods and landslides cut off major supply links in southern British Columbia, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. said.

CP cars loaded with prairie grain and fuel entered the port city this morning after limited service resumed on washed out tracks.

The Calgary-based company said its rail corridor sustained damage in about 30 locations between Vancouver and Kamloops, British Columbia, with “significant loss of infrastructure” at 20 of them.

“The next few days are going to be critical to synchronize the entire supply chain,” spokeswoman Salem Woodrow said in a telephone interview.

Hundreds of employees and contractors worked tirelessly to repair rail tracks after torrential rains and mudslides engulfed streets and devastated highways, throwing CP cars and at least one locomotive along the route. Fraser Canyon near Hope, British Columbia.

East of Lytton, British Columbia, lanes remain suspended over a section of the Trans-Canada Highway that was swept away by a landslide.

Beginning on November 14, flooding hampered the flow of goods between Canada’s largest port and the Okanagan Valley region of British Columbia, displaced hundreds of residents and stranded thousands of people, killing at least four people.

The Canadian National Railway Company said it also plans to restore limited service on Wednesday.

“Repair work continues on the CN system and we expect trains to run on the Prince George to Vancouver line this afternoon and the Kamloops-Vancouver corridor will reopen tonight tonight, barring any problems. unforeseen events, ”spokesman Mathieu Gaudreault said in a press release on Wednesday. E-mail.

November is a critical time for shipping grain – canola in particular – with most Canadian grain moving by rail to ports in British Columbia.

Some can be diverted to Prince Rupert, B.C., the United States or Thunder Bay, but the window for the latter is nearly closed as winter ice looms, while rail freight is generally difficult to divert en masse. .

Contract extension penalties and demurrage charges – issued by a shipping company when freight exceeds the allotted time at a terminal – pose a threat to farmers and grain elevators trying to clear overflowing barns and elevators.

According to the Western Grain Elevator Association, the prairie grain backlog could lose much of its value if trains cannot get them to port before spring, when prices typically fall amid increased global supply.

John Gradek, transportation expert and former senior manager at CP, says questions remain about short-term traffic capacity and long-term infrastructure resilience.

“The way may be open, but it’s still not you carrying the volume they used to do in the past,” he said of Canada’s two largest railroads.

Sections of the corridors operated by CP and CN run along the Fraser River east of Vancouver. Others meander through avalanche-prone peaks protected by “snow shelters” – a tunnel-like surface covering the track – or along thin plateaus between the river and the mountains.

“Erosion of the riverbed from flooding created these spaces… so you were literally building on flood planes. You are building in risky territory when you do this, ”Gradek said.

“It may be necessary to go back and review the topography of these tracks to understand what kind of infrastructure we can design or build to protect ourselves from landslides. “

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 24, 2021.

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