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Federal, Manitoba governments offer more money on northern railway and port

The Canadian Press
Federal, Manitoba governments offer more money on northern railway and port

CHURCHILL, MAN. – The federal and Manitoba governments are putting another $60 million into a railway and a port in the province’s north.

The money is to be used to finish work on the Hudson Bay Railway and to continue redevelopment of the Port of Churchill.

The rail line was shut down after flooding in 2017 by its then-owners, U.S.-based OmniTrax.

The decision left Churchill without a land link to the south, and residents faced higher costs as goods had to be flown in for more than a year.

Arctic Gateway Group, a consortium of northern and First Nation communities, took over ownership of the railway and the port in 2018 and relaunched service.

Dan Vandal, the federal minister for northern affairs, says the new money will help make transportation in the region more reliable and open up more trade through the port.

“The rail line is essential for northern supply chains, for local food security and for small businesses and tourism operators,” Vandal said at a news conference attended by delegates from several countries in northern Europe.

More than $300 million in government support has been offered since 2018 for the railway and the port. The rail line was prone to disruptions due to the vast and remote boggy terrain it runs through and had been severely damaged by flooding.

Grain is shipped to Europe through the rail line and the port, as are supplies to some communities in Nunavut. A deal was recently reached to start shipping critical minerals through the port as well, and Churchill Mayor Mike Spence said more expansion is expected soon.

“We’re turning the corner. We’ll see this port grow, prosper,” Spence said.

The rail line is also used by tourists from around the world as one way to get to Churchill, a town of 900 people on the coast of Hudson Bay, known for its polar bears and beluga whales.


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