Canadian Pacific Rail was forced to shut down freight service on Wednesday after two separate mudslides toppled their railcars just as they reached Vancouver.
In a Thursday afternoon conference call with investors, Canadian Pacific CEO Keith Creel detailed that hundreds of railcars were destroyed, while hundreds more damaged. Over 200 emergency workers were sent to the site to clear the debris.
(Check out the CP Railway video presentation here)
“Everyone’s hearts go out to the families in the area,” said Creel. “There’s no question, this is the biggest natural disaster in Canadian Pacific history.”
Canadian Pacific announced it will attempt to restart some of their rail operations in British Columbia next week, with hopes of returning to full service on Saturday.
One locomotive required one entire day to recover, and after that, it is unclear as to whether the missing railcars can be recovered or salvaged. Creel said that they have yet to receive approval from the city to resume train operations.
Over the course of the rainy season, railways have seen massive mudslides. Just last month, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway and CSX Corp. experienced similar mudslides in their operations in northern Maine.
The derailment of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe railcar caused massive flooding in B.C. earlier this year.
Via Rail North America is under a snowpack emergency until further notice, and is advising of travel advisories due to closed trails and travel restrictions in B.C. and Alberta. The weather service estimates up to 90 mm of snow by the weekend.
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