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Canadian Railroads > B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations


Date: 12/28/08 08:52
B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: Riffian

I noticed on the Seaspan Coastal Intermodal website that they have two vessels (Princess Superior and Carrier Princess) which still have railcar capability. They do not mention offering rail service of any kind, however. Do they, or any other companies still provide rail barge or rail ferry service to Vancouver Island? Are there any other maritime rail services offered anywhere on the West Coast of Canada? Thanks for any information or enlightened speculation.



Date: 12/28/08 08:59
Re: B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: PHall

I believe the ferry service to Vancouver Island is run by one of the Washington Group companies.
The same bunch that runs Montana Rail Link and SRY.



Date: 12/28/08 09:22
Re: B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: phlone

Seaspan is a Washington Company.



Date: 12/28/08 09:56
Re: B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: britchie

Seaspan runs the rail barge to Nanaimo for E&N traffic, also they service the pulp mills that are still operating with chemical cars & occasionally you would see box cars. Elk Falls at Campbell River, Powell River, Port Alice & possibly Harmac in Nanaimo are some of the mills.
Rgds, Bob



Date: 12/28/08 10:13
Re: B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: eminence_grise

phlone Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Seaspan is a Washington Company.

Seaspan operates the railcar ferries and barges. Another Washington Group Company "Cates Towing" supplies the tugs.
The Cates fleet is visible from the public Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.

"Carrier Princess" is an ex-CP boat, as is "Princess Superior" from a brief foray into Lake Superior carfloats.

"Seaspan Greg" was the railcar ferry which served the CN operations on Vancouver Island. I'm not sure if "Greg" is still around.

The Washington Group also owns the North Vancouver Drydocks.

Denis Washington has a fishing lodge at Campbell River on Vancouver Island. I understand it is big enough to hold corporate retreats.



Date: 12/28/08 13:03
Re: B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: crashnational

Washington Co. also operates the old E&N Railway. Southern Railway of Vancouver Island has been operating the former E&N Railway since summer of 2006.




Date: 12/28/08 17:48
Re: B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: TopcoatSmith

The Princess Superior was formerly the Incan Superior and was used on the big lake of the same name.


TCS - carf loat



Date: 12/28/08 18:08
Re: B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: TCnR

crashnational Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Washington Co. also operates the old E&N Railway.
> Southern Railway of Vancouver Island has been
> operating the former E&N Railway since summer of
> 2006.


Looks like a car ferry of some sort in the background of the photo, past the road bridge.

Interesting topic, for me anyways. In the 60's the family traveled between Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver quite a bit. Always noticed the SeaSpan barges with wood chips and the RR cars on barges, which may have been the Milwaukee RR operation to the isolated branches and perhaps the PGE/BCR.
Here's a link to a website by an ex-Milwaukee Trainman with some info on the Milwaukee side of things:
http://www.mrcd.org/puget_sound_barges.html



Date: 12/28/08 21:01
Re: B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: crashnational

TCnR Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Looks like a car ferry of some sort in the
> background of the photo, past the road bridge.

That would be the barge that the yard crew was unloading.



Date: 12/29/08 12:35
Re: B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: trainman

The picture is Wellcox yard in Naniamo. The ship in the background is the Seaspan Doris. She has a 2 - deck capacity for truck trailers and railcars. Truck trailers get access to the upper deck via an on board elevator. Rail on the lower level. Note the barge idlers in the distance under the bridge above the cab of the 110.



Date: 12/30/08 12:03
Re: B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: Riffian

Thanks gentlemen, for your input. If the Seaspan website can be believed, the two previously mentioned vessels are the only rail-capable ships in their current fleet. Seaspan is a huge company with dozens of tugs and hundreds of barges. They only have four ro-ro ferries, however. I guess this service is tied in to the current rail operator on Vancouver Island, the Southern Railway of Vancouver Island, an arm of Washington's Southern Railway of British Coumbia. Has yet another new operator of this trackage had any more success than the previous operators and how much of the trackage on Vacouver Island is used for freight? Railamerica, I believe, was only operating the Nanaimo-Port Alberni segment.



Date: 12/31/08 17:30
Re: B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: crashnational

Riffian Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Has yet another new operator of this trackage had any more
> success than the previous operators and how much
> of the trackage on Vacouver Island is used for
> freight? Railamerica, I believe, was only
> operating the Nanaimo-Port Alberni segment.

They have had some success in attracting new freight customers, a pole yard near Courtenay, a bio-diesel transload in Nanaimo, and a cement transload in Nanaimo. They run regular freight service from Nanaimo as far south as Duncan, BC and north to Courtenay. Unfortunately they are not going after more traffic until they can secure funding to fix up the rail line. The line from Parksville-Port Alberni has been out of use since 2002, not abandoned, just not used.

RailAmerica owned the line from Nanaimo to Port Alberni, but leased the Wellcox yard, and the Victoria-Stockett and Parksville to Courtenay parts of the E&N from CP Rail. CP and RA are now gone, the railroad is owned by the Island Corridor Foundation and the Southern Railway of Vancouver Island is the contracted operator.



Date: 12/31/08 18:21
Re: B.C. Rail ferry/barge operations
Author: eminence_grise

Some more views of Wellcox yard Nanaimo early December.

A view looking south, showing the railyard in the background and the shop track area in the foreground

A close up view of the barge slip.

Wellcox yard is connected at the south end via a short spur to the SRVI main line.

The passenger station which suffered a fire in 2008 is several blocks uptown.






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