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Manitoba train derailment affects passenger service

Hudson Bay Railway unavailable for comment.

WINNIPEG – Via Rail says another derailment on a troubled northern Manitoba railway line has forced an interruption of passenger services between Thompson and The Pas until further notice.

According to a Via news release, it was a Hudson Bay Railway freight train that derailed, although it was not immediately clear when the derailment happened.

Mylene Belanger, a spokeswoman for Via, says she doesn’t have any details about the derailment and Hudson Bay Railway officials could not be reached for comment.

Via said passengers scheduled to travel on the affected routes will be offered alternate transportation, adding that trains will continue to operate between Churchill and Thompson, and The Pas and Winnipeg.

There was a derailment on the Omnitrax Canada rail line on June 3, forcing the suspension of passenger trains between Gillam and Churchill until mid-July.

The Manitoba government said at that time that it might be open to providing more public money to Omnitrax in the future, adding any discussions would also have to involve the federal government.

The rail line has a long history of delays and service interruptions due to the remote boggy terrain it covers.

In 2007, the federal and Manitoba governments put up $20 million each under a five-year deal to help Omnitrax with repairs.

Omnitrax, which operates the port of Churchill, agreed to put up $20 million of its own over 10 years, along with another $2 million to $3 million annually on track maintenance.

Omnitrax Canada has said this year’s problems stem from a harsh winter and unusual weather that has caused ground movement.

Omnitrax has planned to conduct test runs of crude oil shipments along the line, although the plan has met with strong opposition from environmental groups and others who fear a spill would be disastrous for the environment.