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Only land link to Churchill, Man. may be sold and revived: rail company

By Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press   


CHURCHILL, Man.—The company that owns a broken rail line to Churchill in northern Manitoba says talks to sell the line and restore it are back on.

Hudson Bay Railway says negotiations with a consortium of northern communities resumed on Monday — almost one week after talks broke down.

The company, owned by Denver-based Omnitrax, has been trying to unload the rail line, which was severely damaged by flooding more than a year ago.

Since then, goods and people have had to be flown in to the subarctic town on the coast of Hudson Bay at much higher cost.


A tentative deal to sell the railway was announced in May, although details such as how much government money could be involved have been kept secret.

Hudson Bay Railway has said the line has been losing money for years, and the necessary repairs would cost tens of millions of dollars.

“We are pleased to announce that our negotiations with the consortium resumed on Monday, and we are once again in active discussions to finalize the sale of the (line),” company president Sergio Sabatini said in a written statement Tuesday.

“We believe that an expeditious transfer of ownership of the line is best for all concerned, and we are making every effort to advance sale discussions.”

The company was recently ordered by federal regulators to start repairing the line. It says it plans to appeal that ruling, but has also taken initial steps toward doing the repairs.

Six interested contractors are to survey the line by helicopter later this week to help prepare bids, Hudson Bay Railway said in a written statement.

“Although the repair process has been initiated … the (company), as previously stated, is not in a position to fund completion of the repairs in the absence of a sale agreement or government funding.”


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