Winnipeg-Churchill Train

As the title simply states, this is a train that connects Winnipeg to the great white north. It is one of the trains on my to-ride list and this 36 hour journey over 1 000 miles into the subarctic looks it will be absolutely amazing. The train is previously known as the Hudson Bay and Northern Spirits. After rounds of modern cuts in service and abandonment of Canadian railroad heritage, this train is simply referred to as the twice weekly Winnipeg-Churchill train by Via Rail Canada, a ghost in limbo of a passenger rail operator of its former self as the passenger division of the former National Rail, or as Train 692/3 (however, the blame cannot be on Via Rail, it is merely the voters' will that we no longer need railroad passenger service, political rant of the day...). Fortunately, this train is the only mean of land transport between Churchill and the south, thus the reason she has not been replaced by a bus of some sort like Ontario Northland's Northlander has.

Old photograph of this train in Churchill
Like all northern services, most of the stops this train serves are flag stops. This Winnipeg-Churchill train traverses the vast back country of Manitoba, snaking along the tracks towards the north. A 45 minute stop is scheduled at The Pas, where connection can be made to another train (which I will write about another day) to Pukatawagan. Trackage is provided by Canadian National from Winnipeg and The Pas then the Hudson Bay Railway (ex-CN trackage sold after privatisation) all the way beyond. Equipment on the train is, of course, classic 1950s ex-CPR streamlined stainless steel cars built by the Budd Company.

Not the Winnipeg-Churchill train, but same stainless steel cars at Winnipeg Union Station
This train is the way to go to see those big, cute, but probably pretty dangerous animals and definitely a fascinating adventure to the north. Official page of this train is linked here.

Comments

Eric said…
Definitely a run I'd like to ride some day. Before the road network improved, much head-end traffic was carried in an interesting assortment of boxcars, reefers and baggage cars.

Now all stainless, it's still a ride to a distant frontier. Thanks for sharing,
Eric

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