The Winnipeg–Churchill train (formerly known as the Hudson Bay and, before that, Northern Spirits) is a semiweekly passenger train operated by Via Rail between Winnipeg and Churchill, Manitoba. It is the only dry-land connection between Churchill and the rest of Canada.
The Winnipeg–Churchill train at Churchill in 1997
|Service type||Inter-city rail|
|Current operator(s)||Via Rail|
|Distance travelled||1,710 km (1,063 mi)|
|Average journey time||45 h 10 m|
|Service frequency||2 trains per week|
|Train number(s)||693 (northbound), |
|Class(es)||Economy and sleeper class|
|Seating arrangements||Stainless Steel Coach Seat|
|Sleeping arrangements||Stainless Steel Sleepers|
|Catering facilities||Stainless Steel Dining Car|
|Rolling stock||Stainless Steel Cars|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Track owner(s)||CN, HBRY|
The northbound train leaves Winnipeg at 12:05 on Tuesdays and Sundays and is scheduled to arrive in Churchill two days later at 09:00. The southbound service departs Churchill at 19:30 on Thursday and Saturday evenings and reaches Winnipeg at 16:45 two days later. An additional weekly service operates in each direction between The Pas (departure at 02:30 on Fridays) and Churchill (departure at 19:30 on Tuesdays).
The service, which runs through Manitoba and Saskatchewan, travels on the Canadian National Railway line north to The Pas, where it transfers to the Hudson Bay Railway, passing through Wabowden, Manitoba, with a spur from Thicket Portage to Thompson, and Gillam on its way to the Port of Churchill on Hudson Bay, taking approximately 45 hours each way. The train previously served Lynn Lake, but service was truncated to Pukatawagan in 2003 by the then track owners OmniTRAX citing a loss in freight traffic making the service unprofitable. Via still operates twice weekly service from The Pas to Pukatawagan on behalf of the Keewatin Railway which now owns the Sherridon Subdivision.
Service between Gillam and Churchill was suspended on May 23, 2017, when flooding heavily damaged the track bed and bridges. Repairs of the track began on September 8, 2018. By October 31, 2018 the track was repaired, and passenger services resumed with train 693 on December 2.
- "Hudson Bay Rail to end service from Lynn Lake, Man., to Pukatawagan reserve". Canadian Press. 8 December 2003.
- "Via Rail service between Churchill and Gillam suspended indefinitely due to closure of the railway infrastructure in northern Manitoba". VIA Rail Canada Inc. CNW. 2017-06-09. Retrieved 2017-06-10.
- "Company fixing Churchill rail line says repairs will be complete in 60 days | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
- "'We are free:' Churchill celebrates return of train service with prime minister". Edmonton Journal. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
- "'It's very exciting': First rail tourists in 560 days depart for Churchill, Man". CBC News. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-05.