$4.4 million in federal funds committed to understanding permafrost under rail line to Churchill

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The federal government is committing $4.4 million in funding to study the permafrost conditions along the Hudson Bay Railway, which runs to Churchill, Manitoba.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra made the announcement in Winnipeg on Wednesday.

Shifting permafrost and flooding have been ongoing or recurring challenges for the rail line, reducing the potential for export shipments of Western Canadian crops via the Port of Churchill.

“The Hudson Bay Railway corridor is a critical transportation, supply, and tourism link for communities along the route, connecting Manitoba from North to South. It also strengthens local economies by connecting the Port of Churchill to producers across the Prairies, supplying the world with Canada’s agricultural products and other goods. This funding will help address the hazards and impacts of climate change along the railway, keeping Indigenous and northern communities in Manitoba connected and safe,” noted Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister for PrairiesCan, and Minister for CanNor.

The study will be led by researchers with the University of Calgary and will identify potential mitigation strategies and tools related to permafrost hazards.

Very little grain has moved via the rail line and Port of Churchill in recent years. Prior the end of the Canadian Wheat Board’s single desk in 2012, the CWB was the main non-passenger client of the railway and port, with annual grain export volumes through Churchill exceeding 400 thousand tonnes.

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