British Columbia

CN agrees to reopen Tumbler Ridge rail line to start shipping coal

CN Rail says its rail lines servicing Tumbler Ridge coal mines will restart later this year.

Mayor said community was being 'held hostage' waiting for repairs

CN Rail says the train line servicing the Wolverine coal mine in Tumbler Ridge will be repaired this year. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

CN Rail says its rail lines servicing Tumbler Ridge coal mines will restart later this year.

"We reached an agreement with the coal company this month and will be moving forward with improvements that we expect will allow the line to be put back in service later this year," said CN media relations manager Jonathan Abecassis.

"As you know, significant investments are needed to resume rail service."

The news came the same day Tumbler Ridge mayor Don McPherson told CBC he felt his community was being "held hostage" by CN Rail.

He said he'd been trying to get the rail line to restart since coal mining in northeast B.C., restarted last year after three mines were purchased by Conuma Coal.

Talks became more urgent as the company restarted the Wolverine mine, which utilizes the rail line to ship coal to market.

"Is the mine viable without a railway coming into town?" he asked, adding there were other mines that might not restart unless the line was repaired at a cost of $23 million.

CN confirmed the line had been decommissioned after Tumbler Ridge coal mining operations shut down in 2014 and 2015.

The exact date for the rail line to be repaired or the details of who will be paying for it have not been released.


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