Nfld. & Labrador

Snowmobilers rejoice: parts of T'Railway reopening

The provincial government says most of the closed-off sections of the T’Railway will reopen to snowmobilers this winter, though it will only be a temporary fix.
This wash-out is between Appleton and Gander and will likely cost more than 75 thousand dollars to fix in the spring. (Submitted)

The provincial government says most of the closed-off sections of the T'Railway will reopen to snowmobilers this winter, but it will only be a temporary fix.

"None of what I'm talking about right now would be a long term solution," said Perry Trimper, the minister of environment and climate change.

"But we've got a beautiful winter season, we've got a lot of interest, a lot of people, a lot of festivals ... so we want to have the facility back in action, as much as possible."

We want to have the facility back in action, as much as possible.- Perry Trimper

The government closed about 180 kilometres of the trans-provincial trail this fall due to water damage from the remnants of Hurricane Matthew.

There are about 85 different locations where the storm washed out the trail and the provincial government spent two months assessing the damage. This week it met with snowmobile clubs and other affected parties to talk about how to temporarily fix the problems.

The plan is to pack down snow to patch up some of the wash-outs. In other cases, the trail will be re-routed along old logging roads.

Snowmobilers eager to hit the trail

Percy Hunt is with the Gander and Area Snowmobile Association Club and attended the T'Railway meeting. In his area not many people are buying the T'Railway pass because it's been closed.

"We're trying to get everything up and running, best way we can," Hunt told the Central Morning Show.

"People need to be patient. This is an ongoing issue, so this needs to be worked out, step by step, in order for everyone to benefit from it." 
Some of the damage to the T'Railway at Transmitter Hill, but there are larger washouts that aren't easy to repair. (Submitted)

There is one area along the T'Railway that won't be easy to temporarily patch up. There's a deep washout on Transmitter Hill near Gander and the alternate route is too narrow for the groomer to pass. The provincial government is currently trying to find another solution and will update snowmobilers on whether it will reopen.

Construction starts this spring

The provincial government announced it will cost about $700,000 to permanently fix all the damage.

It is looking for money from the federal government through the disaster relief fund and will be calling for tenders in the spring. 
The locations in red highlight where the most damage was done to the trail and where it'll cost the most money to fix. (Julia Cook/CBC)

"As that snow starts to melt ... we will be going back with our closures and advising the public," said Trimper.

The government is publishing a map to show which areas are open and closed while it repairs the damage.

About the Author

Julia Cook

Journalist

Julia Cook reports from CBC's bureau in Gander, primarily for the Central Morning Show.

With files from the Central Morning Show

now