This video by CTV News signals the announcement of the Port of Churchill and the Hudson Bay Rail Line is truly official. Churchill residents are ecstatic over the news and repairs to the rail line are already underway with hopes of finishing before the winter freeze-up hits! What amazing news for the town and everyone involved!
Check out this 10-year-old video of what the train from The Pas to Churchill used to look like. It seems like it’s been that long since the train last ran even though it has been only over a year at this point. The suffering in Churchill has been tremendous and loss of employment and relocation has dampened spirits in the frontier outpost on the Hudson Bay. Hopes are high an agreement can be made soon to rebuild the damaged track along the Hudson Bay Line and get the lifeline restored.
Conservation officers in Churchill are always on alert when keeping the town safe from polar bears approaching the isolated village on the Hudson Bay coast. This video highlights the process once the polar bear is captured. Polar bear monitoring is a complicated and measured skill taken very seriously in the high north. Communities rely on conservation officers in order to live a safe and somewhat stress free daily life.
Arnaud Maldague made this epic bicycle journey along the tracks of the Hudson Bay Line from Churchill to Gillam to bring awareness to the plight of Churchill, Nunavut and communities affected by the loss of rail service. For over a year the tracks have been unusable and no train is able to reach the northern terminus of Churchill. With a new deal for a local group and financial investor to buy the port in place, hopes are high that the isolation will end soon. Below is Arnaud’s account of the situation:
“After skiing the Arctic for 100 days, I arrived in Churchill, Canada, only to discover the city had no more functioning railroad. The rails were flooded on 23 may 2017 after a huge winter storm hit the region earlier this winter. The damaged rails suffered some washouts, which cut the city only ground supply and communication mean. Private owner Omnitrax, whom is legally bind to maintain the tracks, refused to repair the line, pretexting exaggerated costs and financial failure. The government refused to funnel money to the company, resulting in a political drama and no repairs. Churchill’s citizen are stuck with high prices, jobs cuts and a bitter feeling of being abandoned. The situation also impacted the whole Kivalliq region, Nunavut, which relied on Churchill rail supply line. One year later, nothing had changed… Since the rails were part of my itinerary and “The Manneken Trip” expedition, I decided to shoot this video while cycling the rails down towards Gillam and later Winnipeg. The idea was to generate some awareness and report on the state of the rails. As expected, the damages aren’t that bad, and could easily be repaired. It was a horrible ride with its lot of nice surprises! Nature was super beautiful however : the taiga, the boreal forest and lots of birds. Three days after finishing the trip, 41 communities joined together with private company Fairfax and AGT in order to buy the Hudson Bay Railroad and port. It’s an historic move from these community which retransfer ownership into local hands! However, no date has been set for the repairs yet… Due to intensive and long winters, repairs can only take place during the few summer months. If repairs don’t start soon, Churchill might have to face another winter without train.”