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Fraser Canyon mess

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Fraser Canyon mess
Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, November 15, 2021 12:35 PM

Heavy rains in southwestern British Columbia are wreaking havoc.  CN 730 (an empty coal train for Sparwood) hit a mudslide on the CP Cascade Sub 14 miles south (timetable west) of North Bend yesterday, the lead unit is on its side with a decent pile of cars behind but the crew is ok.  Then CP 199 derailed near Sumas Mountain on the CN Yale Sub last night, blocking both lines.  Nothing is moving right now, CN is starting to fill up yards and sidings as far east as central Alberta with staged trains. 

Both the Coquihalla and Trans-Canada Highways have been closed due to flooding and slides, and some towns are being evacuated.  

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, November 15, 2021 6:18 PM

Mother Nature - still Champion.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by lenzfamily on Monday, November 15, 2021 8:46 PM

BaltACD

Mother Nature - still Champion.

 Sure is. 127.3mm (5.01in) rain yesterday at Chilliwack. Another 50mm rain today. The worst of it is over for us now but honestly, I suspect this is the new normal  for us here. Rivers are at flood stage, basements flooded, some homes on riverbanks washed out or heavily damaged. No road travel possible out of the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley right now other than Hwy 99 south to Peace Arch and even that is subject to a detour at the moment.
The hot dry summer combined with these rains has made the bush really unstable and mudslides and debris flows are significant in the passes.
And so it goes.....
Charlie
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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Monday, November 15, 2021 9:09 PM
 

La Nina is kicking the West Coast butt pretty hard. Looks like this year will bring some pretty heavy precip. Hope all stay prepared for the unexpected.

 
 
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Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, November 15, 2021 9:24 PM

I've been keeping an eye on this all day but I've lost count of how many washouts and slides there have been, they are everywhere through the canyon.  

There has been a third derailment, a large washout underneath a grain train.  I think this one is near Cisco on the CN Ashcroft Sub, but information is still a bit sketchy.

Edit: This one was on CP at their North Bend yard, it is also the largest, several grain cars have fallen into the abyss.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, November 18, 2021 12:51 AM

VIA put the stranded Canadian to good use today, bring supplies out to Hope and taking people back to Vancouver.  It's been just creeping along so I suspect they are being walked over some trouble spots or recent repairs.  

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/evacuation-train-departs-hope-b-c-bound-for-vancouver-with-200-passengers-1.6253392

CN has started calling westbounds out of Boston Bar tonight, so it looks like the Yale Sub is about to reopen.

Also looks like CP's Sparwood coal trains are being diverted to Prince Rupert, this also happened during the wildfires this past summer.

No further word yet on the status of the former BC Rail line.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, November 18, 2021 6:24 PM

SD70Dude
No further word yet on the status of the former BC Rail line.

What was the last known status of former BC Rail?  Was anything running between Squamish and Williams Lake?

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Posted by kgbw49 on Thursday, November 18, 2021 7:18 PM

Any detours on to UP at Eastport?

Any detours on to BN further east?

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Thursday, November 18, 2021 8:17 PM
 

kgbw49

Any detours on to UP at Eastport?

Any detours on to BN further east?

 

CP will divert some traffic via Kingsgate B.C./Eastport, ID. The Blaine, WA gateway reopened yesterday. The Sumas, WA gateway is currently out of service. Vancouver is embargoed until further notice. CN will move traffic that was destined for Vancouver north to Prince Rupert. Not sure if anything will detour on BNSF.

 
 
 
 
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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, November 18, 2021 9:21 PM

MidlandMike
SD70Dude
No further word yet on the status of the former BC Rail line.

What was the last known status of former BC Rail?  Was anything running between Squamish and Williams Lake?

They tried running freight earlier this year during the Lytton wildfire disruption, but I think only one southbound freight made it through before this line was closed by a separate wildfire.  

Rocky Mountaineer ran their regular schedule on this route for most of the summer, but that has now ended.

I did find out that there was at least one washout near Pemberton, but it's fairly small compared to the stuff on both mainlines.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 12:39 PM

CP reopened their line early this morning and westbounds are slowly moving through the canyon.  CN is still working on the big washout at Falls Creek but expects the track to be passable later today or tomorrow morning.  

I'm amazed that CP managed to do this, from photos it appeared that they had suffered a lot worse damage than CN.  I'm particularly interested to see what they did to shore up the washed out Highway 1 underpass at Tank Hill (between Lytton and Spences Bridge).    

The former BC Rail line has not been used.  

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Bruce Kelly on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 2:13 PM

I'm told UP has not seen any CP detours through Eastport yet. That route is already clogged with the usual uptick in fall/winter grain exports and their empties, and not enough crews on hand to keep them moving. It's the off season for potash to Portland, though.

Meanwhile, a detouring CN train (empty coal, I believe) came down from Vancouver, BC, last night on BNSF, then east through Spokane this morning. It'll reenter Canada by way of Sweetgrass, MT.

 

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Posted by Gotrans on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 6:23 PM

Why does CN not use the BCR as much as the BCR formerly did? Does CN divert Vanocuver traffic from the north via Tete Jaune (Yellowhead Pass) to Vancouver?It seems like the Fraser Canyon route is quite a round about way to get to Prince George or Prince Rupert from Vancouver.  Is the reason for this, the grades, the curvatures or rail quality? Is the track profile not conducive to running long trains with DPU's in the manifest? If the Rocky Mountaineer used the route last summer, why doesn't Via use the route so that service from Toronto does not have to be truncated in Winnipeg?

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 9:46 PM

There is the grade over the mountains in Whistler, and then the long grade up to the Clinton area.  Also I would guess CN wants to save on maintaining the duplicate BCR line.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 10:04 PM

On the former BC Rail line almost all sidings are short (6000' or less), the route is full of tight curves and there are multiple 2% grades in both directions.  There is a reason that BC Rail (then Pacific Great Eastern) was among the first railroads to try DP/Locotrol operation, and they also used to have helpers based at Pemberton.  There are few employees left qualified to run there, and there are also several washouts along the mothballed section as a result of the recent storm.

BC Rail had operated several daily trains in both directions.  CN moved most of this traffic to the McBride-Blue River-Kamloops route and combined the rest into one daily train, until completely shuttering the route more recently.  The CN route is longer but follows rivers for most of its length, the ruling grades are 0.3% southbound and 0.6% northbound (the two sides of the Albreda summit between Blue River and Valemount).

For this past season RMR was overnighting in both Pemberton and Quesnel.  With VIA's current weekly schedule they have only missed two departures, and even if the former BC Rail line were open this route would add at least a day to an already long schedule, presuming you could convince CN to accept this and also repair the washouts on this route.

The current schedule sees the two Canadians meet just east of Edmonton on Tuesday night.  With one trainset trapped in Vancouver the schedule would have to be changed for one set of equipment to make the round trip, and I suspect VIA decided that it wasn't worth it for the few runs that have been missed. 

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 11:27 PM

The BC government must be really up set with the PGE fiasco going to CN.  Any way to claw back the line ?

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Posted by SD70Dude on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 12:29 AM

The Province still owns the track.  CN did not buy BC Rail outright, they purchased certain operating assets and leased the rest of the property.  This fairly recent trainorders thread contains an excellent analysis of the deal. 

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?15,4992802

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by SD70Dude on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 6:37 PM

A couple more updates from today.  

The CN Ashcroft Sub is still not open, but the former BC Rail line is.  A 100+ car freight is departing North Vancouver this evening with traffic for Prince George and points north.  It has a dark blue BC Rail Dash-9 for a tail end remote.  This is the first through freight on this route since this summer's fires, and those few diversions (I think only one made it through) were the first in over a year.

Things were at a standstill around North Bend for most of today, it seems that CP was a bit optimistic on how well they had repaired the washout there.  One of the curves on the shoofly was a bit too tight and they had a derailment after only one or two westbounds made it through.  Things are moving again and they have now started to run eastbounds on the CP line.  

Both railways have had to get creative to get deadheads and relief crews where they need to go as many roads are still closed, 'Planes, Trains and Automotives' comes to mind, and CN has also been using helicopters.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 7:49 PM

SD70Dude
For this past season RMR was overnighting in both Pemberton and Quesnel. 

I thought I remembered reading that RMR overnighted in Whistler.  Was Pemberton new this year?

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Posted by SD70Dude on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 8:35 PM

MidlandMike
SD70Dude
For this past season RMR was overnighting in both Pemberton and Quesnel. 

I thought I remembered reading that RMR overnighted in Whistler.  Was Pemberton new this year?

I guess it's probably the same location, our bulletins are just using a different name than RMR's schedules.  

Upon reading the fine print, RMR's website states that the train stops at the Pemberton platform, and passengers are transferred from there to a hotel in Whistler, presumably by bus.  

I suspect that train crew arrangements have also changed somewhat, seeing as we no longer have employees home terminaled in Squamish or Lillooet.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, November 25, 2021 1:12 AM

Glad to hear BCR is usable.  Hope they won't mothball it again!

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, November 25, 2021 6:53 PM

SD70Dude
Upon reading the fine print, RMR's website states that the train stops at the Pemberton platform, and passengers are transferred from there to a hotel in Whistler, presumably by bus.  

I wonder why they detrain 20 miles away.  I remember seeing a video of a freight going thru Whistler, and it seemed it was taken from a station area.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, November 27, 2021 1:28 PM

CN has reopened the Ashcroft Sub as of this morning, and trains are starting to run westbound on our line again.  

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by selector on Saturday, November 27, 2021 3:40 PM

At this time of posting, we have had another 20mm of rain from the second of three predicted 'rivers' on eastern Vancouver Island.  It's still very dull and grey, and rain is falling heavily.  We get a break on Sunday and Monday, but the worst of the three is still to come on Tuesday.  I think we're in for a world of hurt.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, November 27, 2021 3:48 PM

selector
At this time of posting, we have had another 20mm of rain from the second of three predicted 'rivers' on eastern Vancouver Island.  It's still very dull and grey, and rain is falling heavily.  We get a break on Sunday and Monday, but the worst of the three is still to come on Tuesday.  I think we're in for a world of hurt.

Guess there won't be too many forest fires in your area in the near future.

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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, November 27, 2021 4:44 PM

BaltACD
Guess there won't be too many forest fires in your area in the near future.

In the end, it may make things worse if the underbrush takes advantage of the rain and sprouts big-time...

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, November 28, 2021 12:59 AM

The rain is causing problems but trains are still moving as of right now. 

A VIA special (two F40s and a single coach) is deadheading freight crews from Vancouver to Boston Bar tonight, running against the current of traffic on the CN Yale Sub.  

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, November 28, 2021 11:17 AM

Forget what I wrote last night, as of this morning both the CN Yale and CP Cascade Subs are closed due to flooding.  

The deadhead VIA special never made it to Boston Bar, they reversed direction at some point and are currently at Chilliwack on their way back to Vancouver.

A shame they didn't take a couple sleepers, those freight crews were ordered for 1700-1800 yesterday.  On duty for 16+ hours on a deadhead that never even made it to the destination.......

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, November 28, 2021 11:32 AM

SD70Dude
...

A shame they didn't take a couple sleepers, those freight crews were ordered for 1700-1800 yesterday.  On duty for 16+ hours on a deadhead that never even made it to the destination.......

Are the DH crews being paid on Time or just the rate for the Trip?

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Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, November 28, 2021 12:16 PM

BaltACD
SD70Dude
...

A shame they didn't take a couple sleepers, those freight crews were ordered for 1700-1800 yesterday.  On duty for 16+ hours on a deadhead that never even made it to the destination.......

Are the DH crews being paid on Time or just the rate for the Trip?

Under our contracts deadheads get paid by the mile, just like any other road service.  I believe there is a provision for overtime to be paid if you average less than 12.5 miles per hour.  

Greetings from Alberta

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