Railroad repairs are taking years in British Columbia after flash floods

By Patti Turnbull, Special to CNN • Updated 9th April 2019

At least 15 locomotives are among the devastation in the aftermath of flooding in British Columbia.

Flooding in British Columbia left train tracks scattered in dozens of communities this week, cutting off access to grain, canola and wheat destined for other ports.

It also has delayed shipment of some petrochemical and renewable fuels like biodiesel, rendering waterways so dangerous the Canadian Coast Guard is suspending all operations.

“They’re in the rivers and bays so the water is so high that there’s no way you can do a training run on a broken track,” Paul Rollinson, the CEO of Canada’s Pacific Midstream Corporation, told CTV Vancouver in a local reporter’s report. “They need to be restored first.”

B.C. residents are bracing for more rain and have evacuated more than 20,000 residents — the largest evacuation in provincial history — as at least a 100-year flood threatens to wash out roads and farms.

Local railway track to Port Metro Vancouver, as well as tracks to the port, are submerged in water. There are more than 1,000 locations in B.C. that are dependent on rail shipments, and the water has cut off access to the railroads for 180,000 vehicles, The Globe and Mail reported

Grain has been stowed in the trunk lots of rail cars for months before it can be sent to the ocean, but water is rising at a rate that will quickly submerge the fields. The storm has also stalled barges on the river, disrupting rail movements.

“Barges are still sitting in port terminals which is disrupting food imports by rail,” said B.C. government spokesperson Jennie Langkilde to CTV Vancouver.

An emergency hotline for residents affected by the flooding has been established.

Last week’s tornado and flash flooding in Texas killed at least 11 people and damaged or destroyed more than 1,000 homes. That incident triggered a massive cleanup effort with at least 11 counties under mandatory evacuations. Some parts of Texas received more than 4 inches of rain in the last 36 hours, according to the National Weather Service.

Leave a Comment