BC Rail Movement to Resume Today as Weather Threatens Again

More rain may be on the way for storm-drenched British Columbia, but rail movement into the Port of Vancouver is expected to resume Tuesday.

After initially estimating that its rail line would reopen around the middle of this week, CP Rail said Monday it expected to have its line between Kamloops and Vancouver operational by mid-day today. That section of line was badly damaged by last week’s flooding, cutting off the flow of grain from the Prairie interior to the west coast for export.

As CP resumes operations and moves from ‘restoration to recovery,’ the railway said it will closely coordinate with customers and terminals to clear freight backlogs as quickly and efficiently as possible. Success will require collaboration across the supply chain with urgent weekend work and flexible schedules at customer and terminal locations to help get freight moving efficiently again, the railway added.

"I am extremely proud of the CP team. Their extraordinary dedication, grit and perseverance in the face of extremely challenging conditions are the reasons we are able to restore our vital rail network in only eight days," said Keith Creel, CP President and CEO. "The following 10 days will be critical. As we move from response to recovery to full service resumption, our focus will be on working with customers to get the supply chain back in sync."

CN Rail has not said when it expects to resume service through BC, but an update from the BC government on Monday indicated both CN and CP were cautiously optimistic about restarting operations at some point today.

The storms, which battered parts of BC last Sunday and Monday (Nov. 14-15), dumped nearly 200 mm of rain in some locations, triggering mudslides and washing out portions of rail lines. At least four fatalities have also been attributed to the flooding. Up to 200,000 tonnes of Prairie grain enroute to the coast when the storm hit was reportedly stranded on rail cars as well.

Meanwhile, more heavy precipitation is in the forecast. According to Environment Canada, up to 80mm of rain could fall in already flood-hit areas on Thursday. More rain is then expected Saturday. While the amounts will be less than what caused the initial flooding, there are fears more moisture on top of saturated ground could trigger additional mudslides. Further, up to 30cm of snow was expected today between Hope and Merritt, BC.

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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