Hudson Bay Railway

The Hudson Bay Railway services northern Manitoba. It operates from The Pas to Churchill, with connections to Flin Flon (and the Keewatin Railway) and Thompson. VIA Rail operates the VIA 692/693 (formerly known as the Hudson Bay) passenger train over HBRY’s main line.

History

In the early days of western Canadian railroading, the Canadian Pacific Railway was the only option for farmers to ship their grain to the Great Lakes for export. After several false starts, the Canadian Northern Railway started building progressively northward toward Port Nelson and access to Hudson Bay.

Construction reached present day Gillam, but World War I interrupted progress, and the Canadian Northern went bankrupt and was taken over by the Canadian federal government and became part of Canadian National Railways.

Port Nelson proved unsuitable as a port due to heavy silting, so the terminus was switched to Churchill and the railway finally reached Churchill in March 1929 and the line was fully open by September 10, 1929.

The line never had the traffic that the promoters hoped for, with the exception of a surge during World War II.

The Hudson Bay Railway was purchased in 1997 by Denver-based Omnitrax. who also owned the Port of Churchill. After a disastrous washout in late May 2017, no rail service was possible north of Gillam.

In late summer 2018, the railway and port were sold to a consortium of First Nations, Fairfax Financial Holdings and AGT Limited Partnership called “Arctic Gateway“. They immediately set to repairing the railway, and the first freight train in more than a year reached Churchill on November 1, 2018.

Hudson Bay Railway 2506 in Winnipeg

Subdivisions

See Also

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