Churchill Line Progress

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Posted by cx500 on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 9:09 PM

The Bloomberg article explains why this venture may succeed where Omitrax came to grief.  Finally there is an important shipper on the Prairies that has real incentive to use the route to Churchill and the terminal elevator, since it is the same owner.  The Wheat Board had the incentive that the route put more money in the farmers' pockets rather than the big grain companies, which is perhaps another reason why the government of the day was anxious to destroy it.

It will be interesting to see if they pursue the producer-loaded grain shipments as well, although dealing with CN and CP for something other than 112+ car unit trains may be difficult.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 9:30 PM

The biggest problem may be how does the rebuilders get past wash outs to work on others ?  Sure there is a way maybe high rail equipment that can drive on ground around wash outs ?

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 10:36 PM

Support the Churchill Rail Line and Eat Your Peas!!

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Posted by Firelock76 on Thursday, September 13, 2018 5:25 PM

"All we are saying, is give peas a chance..."  Whistling

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Posted by kgbw49 on Thursday, September 13, 2018 6:01 PM

Tommy Roe would approve.

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, September 13, 2018 6:53 PM

You betcha Firelock!

All this bloviating about grain cars size and 'you can't' ...along with ' no longer viable' by people thousands and thousands of miles away whose sole connection and expertise to the Far North Sub Arctic is their designer down-filled parka they parade around and sweat in at the local mall. 

The new owners have an agenda, and they own the agenda! We grow a lot more than wheat on the Prairies ...duh.

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Posted by dwill49965 on Thursday, September 13, 2018 9:00 PM

Umm, you guys do realize that the linked Bloomberg article is almost 3 years old?  From Dec 15, 2015?  I couldn't read the article because I don't subscribe, but lets not get too excited yet.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, September 14, 2018 7:15 AM

So why would anybody ship anything to a part-time port a long way from anywhere?  But I digress, these are the same people that believed that the Crows Nest Pass grain rates were a human right.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Miningman on Friday, September 14, 2018 9:12 AM

The Bloomberg article is about the company that bought the Churchill Line. It was posted to show their  experience in railroading and bought the line at the time for their business of growing and shipping produce. Connect the dots!!! ...Duh!!

Better still learn how to think!

 

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Posted by cx500 on Friday, September 14, 2018 9:29 AM

The reason for shipping that way is that it is the shortest route when shipping to Europe.  By reducing the transportation cost it benefits the producers.  Churchill may seem a long way from anywhere, but it is not the destination, merely a transshipping point for the grains and pulse.  Vancouver, Thunder Bay and Montreal are also a long way from most destinations, as well as a long way from the Prairies.

Shipping export grain off the Canadian Prairies always involves a long rail trip to start, and from many locations Churchill is the shortest.  For grain going east it avoids the additional middle leg of transferring to lakers for the long trip through the Great Lakes and Seaway to be transferred (again) to salties.  And because of winter, that middle portion is also a part time route, albeit with a shorter interruption.  With the warming of the arctic the shipping season at Churchill is already longer than in the past, and the trend is expected to continue.

The Crow grain rates were a different beast.  The agreement signed (with one railway) had a limited application, and the rate was a normal commercial rate for the time.  Unfortunately no clause was included to allow for inflation, since that was not the consistent trend we experience today.  It was subsequently expanded unilaterally by the government to cover all railways and shipping points, and as you say, many farmers considered it sacred.  We all would enjoy paying 1900 era prices as long as our income was in current dollars.

 

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Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, September 14, 2018 9:34 AM

From a logistics standpoint, harvesting produce from the northern prairies occurs while the Port Of Churchill is still open for shipping.

If the harvest can be delivered to Churchill in a timely manner, it can get shipped out in a timely manner.

Churchill is actually not that far from Europe going over the top - it is only 3,351 nautical miles to Amsterdam.

By comparison, Halifax is 2,810 nautical miles to Amsterdam.

But it is much farther by rail from Winnipeg to Halifax (roughly 2,500 miles) than from Winnipeg to Churchill (roughly 1,100 Miles).

So total transportation costs are likely to be much lower from Winnipeg to Europe using the Port Of Churchill during the months when the shipping lanes are open, if you can do the rail transport economically. 

 

 

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Posted by PNWRMNM on Friday, September 14, 2018 2:23 PM

I assume the buyer/shipper has given this a lot of thought and see the point in reducing rail miles, but tell me about seasons.

When, what months, are Canadian peas and pulse crops harvested. What is shipping season at Churchill month open month closed.

Clearly once port closes is still possible to ship to Churchill to fill export elevator and ship last year's crop after break up of the ice before this year's becomes available. I also assume CP and CN would be willing to lease power and cars during the winter for grain to Vancouver, at least most years. Those are expensive assets to have sitting idle.

Mac

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, September 14, 2018 4:46 PM

PNWRMNM
I assume the buyer/shipper has given this a lot of thought and see the point in reducing rail miles, but tell me about seasons.

When, what months, are Canadian peas and pulse crops harvested. What is shipping season at Churchill month open month closed.

Clearly once port closes is still possible to ship to Churchill to fill export elevator and ship last year's crop after break up of the ice before this year's becomes available. I also assume CP and CN would be willing to lease power and cars during the winter for grain to Vancouver, at least most years. Those are expensive assets to have sitting idle.

Mac

With Climate Change and global warming, the shipping season at Churchill should be lengthened over the historic norms.  There is money to be made from global warming and people out there willing to bet on it.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, September 14, 2018 5:09 PM

Out here crops are of course predominantly harvested starting in late summer, and railroad grain traffic is highest during and after the harvest season, but it does not disappear during the rest of the year.  That's where storage capacity comes in.  Prairie farmers and large elevators store the harvest and ship it out gradually year-round. 

The hectic days of the fall grain rush, with double-headed Ten-Wheelers and Pacifics or 4+ unit consists of GMD1's, SW1200's and various MLW switchers tiptoeing along 60 lb jointed rail to and from the iconic wooden "prairie skyscrapers" in every small town are long in the past.

Today prairie grain traffic is dominated by massive inland terminals that receive 100+ car spots, load all those cars in one day, and store much, much more.  That capacity has evened out grain shipments across the year, while also killing off many branchlines that the new terminals did not locate on.

Also, rail shipments to Churchill have historically been more cost-effective during winter, as the frozen ground and subgrade can support heavier, fully loaded cars.  Of course ships cannot access the Arctic Ocean and Hudson Bay during that part of the year, but as was mentioned global warming is making the shipping season longer with each passing year.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Miningman on Friday, September 14, 2018 6:12 PM

Churchill's portliest booster says “We’ll be looking at fertilizer. We’ll be looking at potash. We’ll be looking at things like cement and any other dry products that come in for Western Canada.”

https://www.producer.com/2018/09/new-railway-owners-optimistic-about-export-potential/

Also...Well he ain't Stompin' Tom but his hearts in the right place!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6G-OEhtQF4

 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, September 14, 2018 10:12 PM

BaltACD

With Climate Change and global warming, the shipping season at Churchill should be lengthened over the historic norms.  There is money to be made from global warming and people out there willing to bet on it.

 

What happens if that global climate change dries up the grain crop?

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, September 15, 2018 12:10 PM
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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, September 15, 2018 12:25 PM

All kidding about peas aside, this is really good news to hear.

There's a lesson here.  If you push at the walls hard enough, and long enough, sometimes you can move them. 

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, September 15, 2018 12:40 PM

Thanks Firelock, you bet. I know these people well, they will prove everyone wrong and perform miracles.

I hope all the naysayers, whom I shall not mention but are well known to us here, hear that fella in the clip with the head dress, the young Chief, because he is talking straight at them.

Their communities will now survive, they will have work and essentials and the fear is lifted, not the rails.  

Not everything in this world is to make Jeff Bezos richer. 

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, September 15, 2018 12:48 PM

You're welcome Miningman!

And I have thank "Trains" magazine for providing their coverage and this Forum, otherwise those of us "...south of the border..."  wouldn't have known about any of this.  All the American mainline media seem to care about is what the Kardashians and all the other silly celebrities are up to.

Among other inconsequential things, which are too tiresome to go into.

Hey, everybody on the Forum is a sharp individual, I don't have to draw any pictures for them.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, September 15, 2018 1:22 PM

MidlandMike
 
BaltACD

With Climate Change and global warming, the shipping season at Churchill should be lengthened over the historic norms.  There is money to be made from global warming and people out there willing to bet on it. 

What happens if that global climate change dries up the grain crop?

Observation, with Florence being the latest example, Global Warming tends to create more moisture - not less.  It may change where that moisture will tend to fall.

The Great Plains - which one could consider there 'bread basket' of the USA for all the agricultural products they grow - had a 1100 year drought until about the 1500's.  The same area the got struck by the 'Dust Bowl' drought of the 1930's.  

Blanket statements cannot be made about how weather will be at any specific point over time.  Areas go from drought to flood and back in the relative blink of the eye in geological time.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, September 15, 2018 9:33 PM

The main effect of global warming (besides the warmth) will be more extreme weather events.  Probably not what farmers want to hear.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Sunday, September 16, 2018 9:15 AM

Meanwhile, the main thing for this thread is that it is great that the railroad to Churchill will be open for business again regardless of whose prediction for 30, 50, 100 years from now is right. Many people’s lives are going to be improved right now.

Does anybody know the throughout of the Churchill port on a daily or annual basis? Can they handle a unit train per day of any commodity such as wheat, corn, peas, etc,, during the shipping season?

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, September 16, 2018 12:23 PM

does anyone have an actual progress report ?  We are just 4  or 5  days from the fall equinox .

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Posted by beaulieu on Sunday, September 16, 2018 1:10 PM

I have some questions about the viability of the Port of Churchill. My first question is why is so much Canadian grain moving on the Great Lakes by Laker? There is very little US grain moving in US Lakers, most of it moves in foreign ships direct to European customers. There always seems to be plenty of ships available. Ship availability could be a problem for the Port of Churchill unless they get more inbound cargo. The shipping companies would rather let a ship rest at anchor rather than sail in search of a load, as crew costs are lower than fuel costs. The next problem is the increasing desire of shippers and customers not to mix crops from different farms leading to more grain, and especially pulse moving in containers, rather than bulk.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, September 16, 2018 2:02 PM

It is with a heavy heart that the Arctic Gateway Group advises that a derailment has occurred on the Hudson Bay Railway.

The derailment occurred at approximately 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, September 15th, near Ponton, Manitoba. Ponton is approximately 145 miles southwest of Thompson and approximately 545 miles northwest of Winnipeg. In addition to the Arctic Gateway Group personnel who attended at the site of the derailment, multiple emergency services agencies, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, local fire department and health authorities, and a hazardous materials-handling team, were dispatched and assisted in efforts to respond to the incident.

The Arctic Gateway Group is cooperating with the emergency services teams on site and will also be conducting a full internal review to determine the cause of the derailment.

Sadly, one of our employees working on the locomotive has been confirmed by authorities as deceased. A second employee has sustained serious injuries and has been airlifted to hospital. The RCMP is in the process of notifying the families. The Arctic Gateway Group will be also be making direct contact with family members and all of our employees and communities in the coming days as we all attempt to cope with this tragedy.

The train that derailed had three locomotives and several dozen railcars, some of which were carrying liquefied petroleum. At this time, based on information we have received, we believe that none of these railcars has been compromised. The Arctic Gateway Group is monitoring this situation very closely, and we have been advised that at this time there does not appear to be any significant environmental danger to nearby areas resulting from the derailment.

The Arctic Gateway Group’s internal investigation into the circumstances of the derailment will run in parallel with the investigations of the RCMP and other relevant emergency services. Murad Al-Katib, the President and Chief Executive Officer of AGT Foods, one of the partners of the Arctic Gateway Group, will be on the ground today. “On behalf of the entire Arctic Gateway Group, and all of our employees, our hearts go out to the families of these dedicated employees”, said Mr. Al-Katib. “We have said repeatedly that we will not compromise speed for safety and this is a stark reminder for us as we repair the northern section of the rail line to Churchill.”

Senior members of AGT’s Mobil rail team have also been dispatched to the site of the derailment to join the Superintendent of the Hudson Bay Railway who has been present at the scene of the derailment since last night.

Murad Al-Katib will be meeting with the families of the individuals involved in this incident. He will also be meeting with municipal authorities in The Pas and Thompson, along with provincial and federal authorities, in order to coordinate an effective response. Grief counseling for all employees and their families is being made available in conjunction with our community and First Nations partners.

 

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those involved in the accident, and with our employees. We thank all of the first responders and emergency services workers that have assisted in the initial response to this incident, and we remain committed to cooperating with these emergency services teams and all other stakeholders to provide information and support in the wake of this tragic incident.

 

https://twitter.com/Arctic_Gateway

 

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Posted by greyhounds on Sunday, September 16, 2018 2:14 PM

As I understand it, the Canadian government has an absolute cap on the amount of money the CN and CP can make hauling prairie grain.  If that is so, and I believe it is, then there is no incentive for either railroad to try to compete with the lake boats.  They'd be doing it for nothing.  So they just haul it to Thunder Bay and let the lakers move it east.

Disclaimer:  I'm just making an observation.  Canadians can do whatever they want to do in their own country.  Nobody up north is asking my advice.

 

"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.

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