Flooding In Southwest Leads To Rail Service Disruptions

Ice jams and backed-up streams due to the spring thaw led to at least two confirmed railway service interruptions in the southwest corner of the province.

Late April 12, tracks of the CPR main line near Chater, just east of Brandon, were left “dangling in midair,” according to witnesses at the scene after nearby Willow Creek backed up due to an ice jam.

Mike LoVecchio, a media spokesman for CP Rail speaking from Vancouver, said the main line was back in operation by early April 15.

LoVecchio would not comment on reported delays in grain movements in recent weeks, noting that he was “up to his eyeballs” with “issues related to the flooding.”

In Hartney on April 10, a washed-out rail bridge resulted in a minor train derailment just northeast of the town. LoVecchio said that the line was back in service.

Local sources allege that CP Rail service to the southwest has been “terrible,” with very little grain moving out even in winter when roads were good, and the recent spate of rail line washouts has made matters worse.

Souris was placed under a boil water advisory April 12 after overland flooding threatened the local water treatment facility.

Many residents were erecting sandbag barriers around their property to fend off the rising Souris River. Earlier last week, it was reported that a piling that supports the famous swinging bridge had been damaged by fast-moving ice.

Scott Day, a MAFRI diversification specialist based in Melita who also farms near Deloraine, said that overland flooding was also causing erosion damage in fields.

“I took a little spin around last night, and I’m not sure we’re going to be able to farm them unless we get a grader in or something,” said Day, on Thursday.

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