Category Archives: Railway

Blockages causing port headaches.

ACL Cargo Vessel inbound

Recent rail blockages are beginning to severely effect the port of Halifax. Yesterday ACL announced they were no longer calling in Halifax as long as rail service is limited, routing traffic through New York instead. ACL has a contract with CERES until 2022, and calls twice a week with containers and RO-RO traffic.

Hapag-Lloyd, and the Alliance is still calling in Halifax, but is considering re-routing cargo, as is ZIM. Hapag-Lloyd released this statement Wednesday.

The blockades of key rail track and Port Infrastructure facilities throughout Canada continues and the Federal and Provincial Governments remain in dialogue as they seek a resolution with the Indigenous communities across the country.

There have been no material changes to the state of the blockades as communicated in our previous letter. CP Rail tracks remain comparatively clear.

Prince Rupert is now clear and the recovery is underway.

The blockade in Ontario remains in place, and CN’s Eastern Canadian network is more or less shutdown. A limited number of trains are operating in the Halifax/Montreal corridor. Various options to move /divert cargo out of Halifax are being explored.

It is not clear yet how long the protests could last and the disruption continues as the blockades enter their third week. There has been inevitable disruption to the Rail transportation of both domestic and International shipments for which we apologize.

This is a continuing situation and we will provide you with regular updates.

Hapag-lloyd Feb 19 Statement

Some trains working east of Montreal are moving, but as most cargo through Halifax is bound or from beyond the Belleville blockade, those services are affected. The port is stacking cargo bound for Toronto and points west.

Why are we here?

Coastal gas link is attempting to build a Natural Gas pipeline in BC. CGL have signed benefit agreements with several indigenous tribes along the pipeline route, and the project has broad support among elected councils and hereditary chiefs. 5 Hereditary Chiefs oppose the pipeline route across Wet’suwet’en Territory, and were blocking progress in Protest.

The supreme court ruled that the Wet’suwet’en territory is unceeded – it is not subject to a treaty, and the people were not conquered, therefore the Hereditary chiefs have legal title to the land.

Those 5 hereditary chiefs are not against the pipeline. they are against the current routing of the pipeline across their lands. The chiefs have proposed alternative routeing, which is actually in use by other pipelines currently. CGL rejected the proposed new routing, claiming it would delay the project by a year, and Cost 700 million more to build.

CGL went to court, and the BC Court granted an injunction ordering the protesters away. they refused, citing sovereignty over their territory. The RCMP then moved in and enforced the injuction. The Legality of the BC court injunction is likely to be challenged, however that will take time to work out.

In the Meantime, Mohawks have blocked the CN mainline near Belleville in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. An injunction has been issued against this blockade by an Ontario Court, however the OPP have yet to enforce this.

The above are the facts. they are not open to debate.

This protest is not anti-pipeline, its not about the environment, or moving oil. some have latched on to the protest to advocate for those ideas, however that is disrespecting the purpose of the protest- which is about respecting indigenous title to the land, which in this case clearly exists.

The OPP have likely chosen restraint in dealing with the Mohawks, frankly its likely the interruptions could become much more severe were they to forceably remove this blockade. The Mohawks were participants in the Oka Crisis which featured blockaded roads bobby-trapped with incendiary devices. as bad as the rail blockade is, shutting down the 401 would be much worse.

while the Trudeau liberals are rightly getting criticism for the handling of this issue, Calls for the prime minister to order the police to do something are wrong. Politicians do not and should not directly control the actions of the police. Support and calls for Vigilantes, or other citizens to take it upon themselves to intervene is also not a sound approach.

Fundamentally CGL chose to go to court rather then being a good neighbour. CGL, wanting to save time and money is now costing the Canadian Economy millions per day in losses, and several thousand people are out of work until this is resolved. the rest of the country is an externality to getting this pipeline built how CGL want it, and frankly more anger should be expressed to at CGL, and Corporate Canada should be demanding CGL apologize, and change the routing.

CP Buys Central Maine and Quebec Railway.

CP announced today that it purchased the Central Maine and Quebec Railway. What makes this buy so weird, is that the track once belonged to CP.

in 1994, CP sold off all its trackage east of Montreal. those assets were owned by Iron Road, which want bankrupt. the Montreal Maine and Atlantic was formed out of a portion of those assets, itself went bankrupt in 2014 after the Lac Megantic disaster.

Other assets in the area were sold to Irving, and operate as the NBSR. CP maintained rights over those lines until 1993.

since CP is re-acquiring the track, it will now have direct access to Saint John. this suggests they have business. Oil by Rail is certainly a possibility, however that has already been occurring form North Dakota. Alberta oil is to heavy to be processed by the saint john refinery, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity to load crude tankers with Alberta oil on a second leg voyage. is that play big enough? good question.

what if MSC shipping were to pull out of Montreal – even Partially? MSC currently calls on Montreal and Saint John. Montreal is out of the way, and delays in recent years due to ice, and North Atlantic Right Whale speed reductions likely cause grief to the MSC Schedule. A suitable rail partner could get the containers inland just as fast, and save days of sailing.

Saint John terminal operator DP World is already listing connections to CP via the NBSR on its website, previously that connection was only possible via PanAm Railways, into New York state.

Snow Fighting

Snow is an ever present obstacle to railway operations. A Jet Blower is stationed in Halifax (and one in Dartmouth), and is used to clear snow from turnouts. A jet engine is mounted on a self propelled unit, and has a controllable nozzle, directing the hot air used to melt and blow snow from turnouts.

Hi-rail loader mounted Jet Blower.
this truck mounted blower was used in Dartmouth for a time.

I am slowly moving rail content from a tumblr I had to here. The train posts can be found at https://blog.halifaxshippingnews.ca/category/railway. Most will be placed in there historic dates, But some will be combined into new content like this.

This Week in the Herald

This week i talk about CN’s proposed acquisition of Halterm and why its a good fit with what the company is doing on the west coast.

RTG in use to unload rail cars at Fairview Cove

I Suggested that Doubling the number of tracks at Halterm from 4 to 8 would actually allow an entire train to be made up in the terminal. Right now, there are 2000′ of track at Pier 36, and 6000′ parallel to Pier 41/42. If those double tracks were doubled, and the equipment changed from Toplifts to RTG’s then there would be more then enough room to accommodate the increased capacity.

unloading railcars with a toplift.

we covered Halifax Area Rail Operations in ShipSpotting 101 as well as how a container terminal works.


CN makes offer to buy Halterm

CN Rail’s CEO told the financial post on Wednesday that it made an offer to buy Halterm from Macquarie Infrastructure. Macquarie Infrastructure bought the terminal in 2007 for 173 million.

CN wants to tern Halterm into the Prince Rupert of the east coast, and attempt to lure traffic from New York. CN’s rail network reaches extensively into the US, and has port access in the Gulf of Mexico.

this is the best possible terminal operator for halifax, is they want to fill their trains, and have the ability to market the terminal and lure new customers here.

Loram Rail Grinder

Bad weekend for Via Rail

it was a bad weekend for train operations in Nova Scotia.

Sunday, the VIA rail train that arrived on Saturday was being turned around, when it derailed. the train was unoccupied at the time, and the equipment was removed Sunday night. As this incident blocked all access to Halterm, its possible some delyas in container movements happened.

Friday afternoon, a Via Employee was stepping off train 15 (the Halifax to Montreal Ocean)  as it slowly pulled into the station at Truro when he got caught, fell and was struck by the train. a 63 year old man was taken to Hospital in Halifax , with serious injuries.

An earlier news report said he had a severed leg. though the veracity of that is unknown.

we post train content at http://hfxrail.tumblr.com/

 

CitiRail Lease at front of CN121

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