CP reopening rail link to Vancouver

by Emily Atkins

Canadian Pacific said on Monday that it will reopen its railway between Kamloops, B.C. and Vancouver by mid-day Tuesday, Nov. 23.

Railway crews have worked around the clock after the Nov. 14 atmospheric river rain storm in British Columbia, where nearly 200 millimetres of rain fell over two days in some locations.

Repair work underway at Tank Hill near Lytton, B.C. CP is facilitating the reconstruction of the grade for the railway infrastructure and also the Trans Canada Highway at this location. (BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

Thirty locations across CP’s Thompson and Cascade subdivisions were damaged with 20 resulting in significant loss of infrastructure.

“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.”

The railway said it will closely coordinate with customers and terminals to clear the 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,” CP said in a statement.

To repair the railway infrastructure, CP crews:

  • Moved 150,000 cubic yards of material to rebuild the damaged areas, equivalent to 10,000 tandem dump truck loads or 30,000 one-ton dump truck loads of earth, riprap (rock) and other construction material
  • Utilized more than 80 pieces of heavy work equipment
  • Mobilized hundreds of CP employees and contractors from across the network.

Critical supplies

While the railroad may have reopened, there remains a difficult road ahead for B.C. residents and businesses impacted by this event. CP continues to work closely with local and B.C. authorities and Indigenous communities in the Fraser Canyon to coordinate the delivery of critical materials, equipment, food and fuel.

CP teams arranged food delivery to the Spuzzum First Nation, secured 10 portable generators to be delivered to the Cooks Ferry First Nation and arranged meals, milk and baby formula for the Boston Bar Food Bank.

Throughout this crisis, CP has closely coordinated and partnered with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. CP, for example, is facilitating the reconstruction of the grade for the railway infrastructure and also the Trans Canada Highway at Tank Hill west of Spences Bridge. That partnership has fostered the ability to efficiently redirect Ministry equipment to other recovery sites to support highway repairs.

Critical infrastructure designation helped accelerate CP’s recovery as equipment was positioned during the storm then deployed immediately following.

“The force and impact of this event were extensive and evolved from hour to hour,” added Creel.

“CP worked in lock-step in partnership with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Transport Canada and contractors to identify damage and priority locations to get highways and our network reopened. We are committed to continuing to support the recovery with our experience, expertise and resources as we do our part to resume critical transportation services for Canadians and the North American economy.”