The people of Churchill have not heard the whistle of a train for 17 months…until Wednesday. The first train to reach Churchill in nearly a year and a half pulled into the station to the joyous yells and screams of townspeople running to greet the engines. This first train was just a small one with a couple of engines, flat car, and caboose. A test of tracks for longer passenger and cargo trains set to come by the end of November.
The first train complete with caboose arrived in Churchill on Wednesday. Rhonda Reid photo.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to Churchill to be a part of the celebration, acknowledge the suffering Churchillians have gone through and praise the groups and individuals that have bonded together to make this new beginning a reality for the northern communities.
The amazing transformation of the Hudson Bay rail line has taken a broken down system and repaired it in just over a month allowing the isolated towns of the north, including Churchill, to become part of the province infrastructure again. It truly is a historic time for Churchill and the other communities served by the railroad. Great things are just beginning to happen for this region!
Polar bear mom and cubs on the tundra. Jason Luoma photo.
Polar bear taking a look into the polar rover. Kry Walczak photo.
Two sparring male polar bears near the tundra lodge in Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Jason Luoma photo.
With snow already covering the tundra in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, polar bears have become more active and are up and about sparring and moving along the coastal region near the Tundra Lodge. Numbers of bears being spotted by Natural Habitat Adventures groups are close to 15 or more.
Here are two Natural Habitat Adventure guide reports from the past week in Churchill:
“Wildlife is OFF THE CHARTS. A true banner week for this early in the season. We had three diverse weather days and incredible wildlife sightings, including: eight polar bears with close encounters, Arctic fox, red fox (silver morph),gyrfalcon, harbor seal, snow bunting, snowy owl, semi-palmated plovers, semi-palmated sandpipers, glaucous gulls, herring gulls, willow ptarmigan, common raven and common eider!!”