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CP Rail aims to restore service in B.C. next week after devastating mudslides

The track outages have snarled movement of goods to and from the country’s largest port in Vancouver

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. says it plans to restore service on washed-out tracks in southern British Columbia by midweek after torrential rain and mudslides ground train traffic to a standstill.

The railroad operator says crews are working around the clock to repair damaged infrastructure on the CP corridor between Vancouver and Kamloops, with about 20 sections of track cleared or repaired so far.

Canadian National Railway Co. said it expects repair work to continue “at least into next week.”

Since Sunday, the track outages have snarled movement of goods to and from the country’s largest port in Vancouver, at the same time as crimped global supply chains prompt ongoing shortages.

The Vancouver Fraser Port authority said this week no rail traffic is currently able to flow between Vancouver and Kamloops, including on Canadian National Railway Co. lines.

However, the port in Prince Rupert has said it is not affected by the weather event, which saw landslides and flooding sweep away sections of highway and submerge parts of Abbotsford and other cities.

CP says it is working with provincial authorities to co-ordinate delivery of critical materials, equipment, food and fuel, including efforts to restore washed-out highways in collaboration with the Transportation Ministry.

The mudslides triggered by the “atmospheric river” that descended on B.C. last weekend tossed aside CP railcars and at least one locomotive in the Fraser Canyon near Hope, leaving the 100-plus-tonne conveyances partly buried under tree trunks and dirt.

“Work will continue through the weekend and, barring any unforeseen issues, we currently estimate service will be restored midweek,” CP spokeswoman Salem Woodrow said in an emailed statement.

CN said it is working with customers and the Port of Prince Rupert to use available capacity.

“Traffic through southern B.C., northbound and eastbound traffic from Vancouver, as well as inbound traffic to Vancouver from east/north of Kamloops are still affected by the situation,” spokesman Matthieu Gaudreault said in an email.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CP)

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

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