Winnipeg–Churchill train

The Winnipeg–Churchill train (formerly known as the Hudson Bay and, before that, Northern Spirits)[2] 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.

Winnipeg–Churchill train
The Winnipeg–Churchill train at Churchill in 1997
Overview
Service typeInter-city rail
StatusOperating
LocaleManitoba, Canada
Current operator(s)Via Rail
Former operator(s)Canadian National Railway
Ridership192 weekly (FY 2019)[1]
Annual ridership21,129 (FY 2019)[1]
WebsiteWinnipeg - Churchill
Route
TerminiWinnipeg, Manitoba, The Pas, Manitoba
Churchill, Manitoba
Distance travelled1,710 km (1,063 mi)
Average journey time44 h 55 m to Churchill, 45 h 15 m to Winnipeg
Service frequency3 trains per week
Train number(s)693, 691 (northbound),
692, 690 (southbound)
On-board services
Class(es)Economy and sleeper class
Seating arrangementsStainless Steel Coach Seat
Sleeping arrangementsStainless Steel Sleepers
Catering facilitiesStainless Steel Dining Car
Technical
Rolling stockStainless Steel Cars
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Operating speed80 mph (128 km/h)
Track owner(s)CN, HBRY, KRC

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 Sipiwesk to Thompson, and Gillam on its way to the Port of Churchill on Hudson Bay.

Schedule edit

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 trip takes approximately 45 hours each way.

History edit

An unnamed mixed passenger train connecting with the Winnipeg–Churchill train at The Pas previously served Lynn Lake, but this 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.[2][3][4]

2017 flooding edit

Service between Gillam and Churchill was suspended on May 23, 2017, when flooding heavily damaged the track bed and bridges.[5] Because supplies had to be flown in by air when train service was suspended, prices skyrocketed in Churchill.[6]

Repairs of the track began on September 8, 2018.[7] By October 31, 2018, the track was repaired,[8] and passenger services resumed with train 693 on December 2.[9]

List of stations edit

Name Province Coordinates
Winnipeg MB 49°53′20.000″N 97°8′3.001″W / 49.88888889°N 97.13416694°W / 49.88888889; -97.13416694 (Winnipeg)
Portage la Prairie MB 49°58′37.9″N 98°17′17.2″W / 49.977194°N 98.288111°W / 49.977194; -98.288111 (Portage la Prairie)
Gladstone MB 50°13′31.1″N 98°56′53.9″W / 50.225306°N 98.948306°W / 50.225306; -98.948306 (Gladstone)
Plumas MB 50°23′4.6″N 99°5′22.9″W / 50.384611°N 99.089694°W / 50.384611; -99.089694 (Plumas)
Glenella MB 50°33′23.8″N 99°11′46.0″W / 50.556611°N 99.196111°W / 50.556611; -99.196111 (Glenella)
McCreary MB 50°46′24.6″N 99°29′22.9″W / 50.773500°N 99.489694°W / 50.773500; -99.489694 (McCreary)
Laurier MB 50°53′17.2″N 99°33′38.9″W / 50.888111°N 99.560806°W / 50.888111; -99.560806 (Laurier)
Ochre River MB 51°3′37.1″N 99°46′47.6″W / 51.060306°N 99.779889°W / 51.060306; -99.779889 (Ochre River)
Dauphin MB 51°9′2.2″N 100°3′6.5″W / 51.150611°N 100.051806°W / 51.150611; -100.051806 (Dauphin)
Gilbert Plains MB 51°8′52.1″N 100°29′13.2″W / 51.147806°N 100.487000°W / 51.147806; -100.487000 (Gilbert Plains)
Grandview MB 51°10′17.8″N 100°41′55.7″W / 51.171611°N 100.698806°W / 51.171611; -100.698806 (Grandview)
Roblin MB 51°13′48.4″N 101°21′7.9″W / 51.230111°N 101.352194°W / 51.230111; -101.352194 (Roblin)
Togo SK 51°24′26″N 101°35′25″W / 51.40722°N 101.59028°W / 51.40722; -101.59028 (Togo)
Kamsack SK 51°33′28″N 101°54′7″W / 51.55778°N 101.90194°W / 51.55778; -101.90194 (Kamsack)
Veregin SK 51°34′41.2″N 102°4′40.4″W / 51.578111°N 102.077889°W / 51.578111; -102.077889 (Veregin)
Mikado SK 51°36′31″N 102°16′16″W / 51.60861°N 102.27111°W / 51.60861; -102.27111 (Mikado)
Canora SK 51°38′15″N 102°26′13″W / 51.63750°N 102.43694°W / 51.63750; -102.43694 (Canora)
Sturgis SK 51°56′26″N 102°32′38″W / 51.94056°N 102.54389°W / 51.94056; -102.54389 (Sturgis)
Endeavour SK 52°9′38″N 102°39′29″W / 52.16056°N 102.65806°W / 52.16056; -102.65806 (Endeavour)
Reserve SK 52°28′0″N 102°39′4″W / 52.46667°N 102.65111°W / 52.46667; -102.65111 (Reserve)
Hudson Bay SK 52°51′46.80″N 102°23′48.05″W / 52.8630000°N 102.3966806°W / 52.8630000; -102.3966806 (Hudson Bay)
The Pas MB 53°49′26.4″N 101°14′51.0″W / 53.824000°N 101.247500°W / 53.824000; -101.247500 (The Pas)
Tremaudan MB 53°54′32.0″N 101°10′16.0″W / 53.908889°N 101.171111°W / 53.908889; -101.171111 (Tremaudan)
Orok MB 53°57′28.1″N 101°3′25.9″W / 53.957806°N 101.057194°W / 53.957806; -101.057194 (Orok)
Dering MB 54°15′15.1″N 100°31′59.9″W / 54.254194°N 100.533306°W / 54.254194; -100.533306 (Dering)
Finger MB 54°0′24.8″N 100°52′26.0″W / 54.006889°N 100.873889°W / 54.006889; -100.873889 (Finger)
Budd MB 54°2′55.7″N 100°48′18.4″W / 54.048806°N 100.805111°W / 54.048806; -100.805111 (Budd)
Halcrow MB 54°10′37.9″N 100°37′28.9″W / 54.177194°N 100.624694°W / 54.177194; -100.624694 (Halcrow)
Cormorant MB 54°13′26.0″N 100°36′1.1″W / 54.223889°N 100.600306°W / 54.223889; -100.600306 (Cormorant)
Dering MB 54°15′15.1″N 100°31′59.9″W / 54.254194°N 100.533306°W / 54.254194; -100.533306 (Dering)
Rawebb MB 54°18′25.9″N 100°19′12.0″W / 54.307194°N 100.320000°W / 54.307194; -100.320000 (Rawebb)
Dyce MB 54°22′3.0″N 100°9′24.1″W / 54.367500°N 100.156694°W / 54.367500; -100.156694 (Dyce)
Paterson MB 54°25′35.0″N 99°59′43.1″W / 54.426389°N 99.995306°W / 54.426389; -99.995306 (Paterson)
Wekusko MB 54°30′11.9″N 99°45′4.0″W / 54.503306°N 99.751111°W / 54.503306; -99.751111 (Wekusko)
Turnbull MB 54°33′58.0″N 99°28′36.8″W / 54.566111°N 99.476889°W / 54.566111; -99.476889 (Turnbull)
Ponton MB 54°38′35.9″N 99°9′32.0″W / 54.643306°N 99.158889°W / 54.643306; -99.158889 (Ponton)
Button MB 54°40′44.0″N 98°59′40.9″W / 54.678889°N 98.994694°W / 54.678889; -98.994694 (Button)
Dunlop MB 54°44′39.1″N 98°51′42.8″W / 54.744194°N 98.861889°W / 54.744194; -98.861889 (Dunlop)
Pipun MB 54°50′19.0″N 98°45′13.0″W / 54.838611°N 98.753611°W / 54.838611; -98.753611 (Pipun)
Wabowden MB 54°54′32.0″N 98°37′46.9″W / 54.908889°N 98.629694°W / 54.908889; -98.629694 (Wabowden)
Lyddal MB 55°1′45.8″N 98°24′52.9″W / 55.029389°N 98.414694°W / 55.029389; -98.414694 (Lyddal)
Odhill MB 55°6′27.0″N 98°13′30.0″W / 55.107500°N 98.225000°W / 55.107500; -98.225000 (Odhill)
Earchman MB 55°9′24.1″N 98°6′31.0″W / 55.156694°N 98.108611°W / 55.156694; -98.108611 (Earchman)
La Perouse MB 56°24′34.9″N 94°31′49.1″W / 56.409694°N 94.530306°W / 56.409694; -94.530306 (La Perouse)
Hockin MB 55°16′35.0″N 97°49′50.2″W / 55.276389°N 97.830611°W / 55.276389; -97.830611 (Hockin)
Thicket Portage MB 55°19′5.2″N 97°41′12.8″W / 55.318111°N 97.686889°W / 55.318111; -97.686889 (Thicket Portage)
Leven MB 55°22′50.9″N 97°32′31.9″W / 55.380806°N 97.542194°W / 55.380806; -97.542194 (Leven)
Thompson MB 55°44′26.2″N 97°49′47.3″W / 55.740611°N 97.829806°W / 55.740611; -97.829806 (Thompson)
Sipiwesk MB 55°27′20.2″N 97°24′25.9″W / 55.455611°N 97.407194°W / 55.455611; -97.407194 (Sipiwesk)
Pikwitonei MB 55°35′16.1″N 97°9′20.2″W / 55.587806°N 97.155611°W / 55.587806; -97.155611 (Pikwitonei)
Bridgar MB 55°38′12.8″N 97°3′42.1″W / 55.636889°N 97.061694°W / 55.636889; -97.061694 (Bridgar)
Wilde MB 55°43′35.0″N 96°48′46.1″W / 55.726389°N 96.812806°W / 55.726389; -96.812806 (Wilde)
Arnot MB 55°46′1.9″N 96°41′4.9″W / 55.767194°N 96.684694°W / 55.767194; -96.684694 (Arnot)
Boyd MB 55°52′40.1″N 96°28′21.0″W / 55.877806°N 96.472500°W / 55.877806; -96.472500 (Boyd)
Pit Siding MB 55°54′33.8″N 96°19′3.0″W / 55.909389°N 96.317500°W / 55.909389; -96.317500 (Pit Siding)
Munk MB 55°58′44.0″N 95°59′34.1″W / 55.978889°N 95.992806°W / 55.978889; -95.992806 (Munk)
Ilford MB 56°3′52.9″N 95°36′24.8″W / 56.064694°N 95.606889°W / 56.064694; -95.606889 (Ilford)
Nonsuch MB 56°7′35.0″N 95°22′37.9″W / 56.126389°N 95.377194°W / 56.126389; -95.377194 (Nonsuch)
Wivenhoe MB 56°10′35.0″N 95°12′46.1″W / 56.176389°N 95.212806°W / 56.176389; -95.212806 (Wivenhoe)
Luke MB 56°17′44.9″N 94°51′16.9″W / 56.295806°N 94.854694°W / 56.295806; -94.854694 (Luke)
Gillam MB 56°20′49.9″N 94°42′28.1″W / 56.347194°N 94.707806°W / 56.347194; -94.707806 (Gillam)
Bird MB 56°30′13.0″N 94°12′38.2″W / 56.503611°N 94.210611°W / 56.503611; -94.210611 (Bird)
Amery MB 56°33′54.0″N 94°3′45.0″W / 56.565000°N 94.062500°W / 56.565000; -94.062500 (Amery)
Weir River MB 56°49′4.1″N 94°5′33.0″W / 56.817806°N 94.092500°W / 56.817806; -94.092500 (Weir River)
Thibaudeau MB 57°4′26.0″N 94°8′40.9″W / 57.073889°N 94.144694°W / 57.073889; -94.144694 (Thibaudeau)
Herchmer MB 57°22′18.8″N 94°11′13.9″W / 57.371889°N 94.187194°W / 57.371889; -94.187194 (Herchmer)
O'Day MB 57°34′39.0″N 94°12′14.0″W / 57.577500°N 94.203889°W / 57.577500; -94.203889 (O'Day)
M'Clintock MB 57°48′6.1″N 94°12′49.0″W / 57.801694°N 94.213611°W / 57.801694; -94.213611 (M'Clintock)
Tidal MB 58°39′47.2″N 94°7′13.1″W / 58.663111°N 94.120306°W / 58.663111; -94.120306 (Tidal)
Churchill MB 58°46′4.1″N 94°10′27.5″W / 58.767806°N 94.174306°W / 58.767806; -94.174306 (Churchill)
 
VIA Winnipeg-Churchill (interactive map)

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Annual Report 2019" (PDF). viarail.ca. Via Rail Canada. p. 9. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b "VIA Rail Canada - Northern Trains". Archived from the original on 2000-10-17.
  3. ^ "Hudson Bay Rail to end service from Lynn Lake, Man., to Pukatawagan reserve". Canadian Press. 8 December 2003.
  4. ^ "The Adventure Routes".
  5. ^ "Via Rail service between Churchill and Gillam suspended indefinitely due to closure of the railway infrastructure in northern Manitoba". VIA Rail Canada Inc. (Press release). CNW. 2017-06-09. Retrieved 2017-06-10.
  6. ^ Hoye, Bryce (January 18, 2019). "Return of train to Churchill raised spirits — but mayor says fuel, food costs remain high". CBC News.
  7. ^ "Company fixing Churchill rail line says repairs will be complete in 60 days | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  8. ^ "'We are free:' Churchill celebrates return of train service with prime minister". Edmonton Journal. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  9. ^ "'It's very exciting': First rail tourists in 560 days depart for Churchill, Man". CBC News. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-05.

External links edit

External videos
  "48hrs on VIA Rail's Most Northern Train in Canada" on YouTube, DownieLive, 2020-11-28