Rail Movement In Manitoba To Resume As Flood Waters Recede
Source: Dowjones Business News
Published: May 20th 2009

Floodwaters on the Red River in Manitoba have receded enough that Canada's two national railway companies have resumed or will soon resume operations in the southern region of the province, officials said.

Service on the two railroads had been suspended since early April because of the flooding along the river in Manitoba and in northern Minnesota, disrupting shipments of canola oil.
Mike LoVecchio, senior manager of media relations with Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP.T), said the company resumed service on its subdivision, which runs from Winnipeg to Emerson and across the border into Noyes, Minn., and then down into the Minneapolis/St. Paul area on April 28.

"However, operations on the CP branch line that runs from Morris to Lariviere were not expected to resume until possibly this coming weekend," he said.

LoVecchio said once the Manitoba government gave the green light to resume service on its Emerson subdivision, the line was operational within 24 hours as there was very little work required to restore service other than replacing track panels.

CP's other branch line, however, suffered a fair amount of damage to the rail bed from wave-generated water erosion. "Those repairs are currently underway," LoVecchio said.
CP's two subdivisions had been shut down on Friday, April 3, because of the flooding in southern Manitoba.

CP also had to remove some track where the rail line passes through ring dikes made by towns along the subdivision. Track was removed from the dikes around Emerson; Dominion City, which is located just north of Emerson; and Morris, Manitoba, LoVecchio said.

Kevin Franchuk of Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR.T) said the company's Letellier, Manitoba, subdivision, which runs from Morris, Manitoba, to Emerson, resumed operations on Sunday, May 17. The line was originally closed due to the flooding on April 6.

"Regular operations on that line have now resumed," Franchuk said, noting that the line was found to be in good shape with only minor repairs to the roadbed and removal of washed-up debris needed.

"The closure of the rail lines certainly created problems in trying to move product," said James Loewen, manager of Bunge Ltd.'s (BG) Bunge Grain unit in Altona, Manitoba.

He said the frustration was having full rail cars of canola oil at the site and not being able to ship the product to customers.

"We tried some trucking but the preferred method remains rail," he said.

Loewen said that during the rail line closure by Canadian Pacific, the decision was made to close the crushing plant for its two week maintenance shut-down.