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Canadian Railroads > CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railway


Date: 08/08/19 23:35
CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railway
Author: Marcus

On July 4, 2019,
CN published its intention to discontinue 193.50 miles of the Takla Subdivision,
from Mile 79.80, a few miles north of Fort St. James, in northern British Columbia,
to Mile 273.30, the station name Minaret.

The Takla Subdivision is a remnant of the never completed Dease Lake Extension.

Is anyone aware of recent rail operations on this segment of track ?
Are there rails remaining north of Mile 274 ?

Link
Three-Year Rail Network Plan – Progress Report



Date: 08/09/19 01:15
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: railsmith

By 1977, rails had been laid north to Mile 309, Chipmunk, and grading and bridgework continued for another 100 miles or so, almost to Dease Lake. But all that came to an end with the recommendations of the McKenzie Royal Commission in 1978, which concluded the costs of the Dease Lake Extension could not be justified (never mind any further push to Alaska).

The line beyond Fort St. James was mothballed from 1983 to 1991, being reopened only when the B.C. government started issuing more tree farm licences in the region to feed the demand from sawmills. Some licences were acquired by Canfor, which persuaded BC Rail to resume operations as far as Minaret -- the 56 miles from Driftwood north to Minaret had never seen a revenue train before.

The above is from Dale Sanders' book "Northern Light", which is probably the best source of info and photos of operations north of Fort St. James.

I don't know what the current state of play is in the forests up there, but sawmills have been closing all over the place in B.C.
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/19 01:16 by railsmith.



Date: 08/09/19 05:14
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: joemvcnj

Was this the line once thought that could someday go to Alaska ?
I guess the current plan of connecting ALaska does not include this, hence the abandonment decsion. 



Date: 08/09/19 10:20
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: TCnR

Very much agree with this, I'm always on the search for info on this area and found quite a bit of info sitting right there in my bookshelf. I had not read through this book as it appeared to be too late for my interests, but it has quite a bit of info and a number of photos of the branch. Also realzed the branch goes under at least three commonly used names, Dease Lake, Takla Sub and Stuart Sub., of course all corrections from employees welcome.

Another interesting summary is 'BC Rail in the 90s: FORT ST. JAMES AND THE OMINECA DISTRICT'  by Eric L. Johnson, published in the January 1995 Issue of the Cariboo, which is archived online and easily found with a google Search. The info was apparently from conversations with the ex Terminal Supervisor at Fort St James.

http://www.cwrailway.ca/sites/default/files/Cariboo/Cariboo%20-%20Issue%2019.pdf

railsmith Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
...
>
> The above is from Dale Sanders' book "Northern
> Light", which is probably the best source of info
> and photos of operations north of Fort St. James.
>
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/19 10:30 by TCnR.



Date: 08/09/19 12:54
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: hoggerdoug

couple of my threads from a Geometry Train trip to the "end of steel" on the Takla sub.
Doug
https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?15,3834360,3834364#msg-3834364

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?15,3835653,3836758#msg-3836758



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/19 12:58 by hoggerdoug.



Date: 08/09/19 19:06
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: railsmith

TCnR Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Also realzed the branch goes under at least three
> commonly used names, Dease Lake, Takla Sub and
> Stuart Sub., of course all corrections from
> employees welcome.

Dease Lake Extension was simply the name used in public/political discussion.

For railway operating purposes, the Stuart Subdivision starts at Odell (Mile 0.0 and Mile 494.5 of Chetwynd Sub.) and continues to Fort St. James at Mile 72.7. There the line becomes the Takla Subdivision, but following standard BC Rail practice for continuous lines, the mileage of the Takla Sub. starts at 72.7. End of operated track is Mile 274.0, just beyond Minaret, and the long out-of-use track beyond there is mileposted to Chipmunk, Mile 309.5. The only timetable station between Minaret and Chipmunk is Mosque, Mile 289.7.
 



Date: 08/09/19 21:36
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: roustabout

Check out photos I posted of the Takla Sub near Fort St James last year:  https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?15,4561021,4561021#msg-4561021

The line was very overgrown then, sad to say.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/19 21:38 by roustabout.



Date: 08/09/19 23:33
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: TCnR

Noticed that you can use Google Streetview near Fort Saint James to check out a few road crossings, obviously no trains. The Dease Lake area shows up on Youtube quite a bit with RV adventures and other outdoorsey stuff. The cab ride on a log truck coming down a grade and crossing the tracks in th emiddle of winter is a classic.



Date: 08/12/19 19:04
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: inCHI

Thanks for the links to previous posts. In one of them I saw a comment that CN wasn't rate freindly towardsthe log traffic, which seems (from those posts) like it was the only traffic there was. I wonder why they held it for this long if they had chased the business away.



Date: 08/13/19 08:25
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: eminence_grise

When the Dease Lake extension was being built, the BC Government mentioned there were plentiful resources in the "Susstut Wilderness" area through which the line would pass.
Coal and natural gas was mentioned.

When the Tumbler Ridge line was built, the BC Government of the day overestimated the amount of coal available for the Quintette mine. Although there is lots of coal around Tumbler, the area around the Quintette mine only supplied coal for a dozen years.

Possibly, the natural resources are there near Dease Lake, but any development will take place with road access only.



Date: 08/13/19 11:21
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: TCnR

Another post observed the on-line Satellite images of the area, I did a quick vicarious tour of the area and noticed the Dease Lake RoW is very visible to a few miles past the town of Dease Lake, actually meets up with a Mine Access Road. I would think the existing road could be converted for off-road truck heavy haul use. The RoW appears to be far better than the local roads, which climb up and over hills in a much more direct route whereas the RR RoW is laid out to keep a decent grade, lots of cuts into hillsides and what appears to be bridges across small rivers and marsh drainage. But it is basically in the middle of nowhere.

The RoW runs alongside a number of lakes and rivers eventually connecting with BC Hiway 37. Looks like great RV access, there are a number of RV Adventure Videos of that area posted on YouTube but nothing about the RR property that I've seen. There is that one Video about a hiker encountering a log train in winter, but that appears to be closer to Fort St James.

eminence_grise Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
...
>
> Possibly, the natural resources are there near
> Dease Lake, but any development will take place
> with road access only.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/19 11:31 by TCnR.



Date: 08/13/19 20:03
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: shortlineboss

The ROW South of Iskut is used by heavy haul trucks now for mining.  The problem with the ROW is there are no bridges so it limits what trucks can do.  I have driven over part of the road until I got to a big river.  There are several copper mines in the area and the concentrate is trucked to the  Port at Stewart.

Mike Root
Chandler, AZ



Date: 08/13/19 20:40
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: TCnR

Haven't found info on Mining but did find info about Coalbed Methane extraction:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iskut

"...Of particular public interest has been Royal Dutch Shell's plans for coalbed methane extraction on the Klappan Plateau, the Tahltan people's traditional hunting and trapping territory."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klappan_Coalbed_Methane_Project

"...On December 13th, the government of British Columbia ended the prospect of natural gas development in the region as part of a tripartite agreement with the Tahltan and Shell"



Date: 08/18/19 15:56
Re: CN intends to abandon 200 miles of the British Columbia Railw
Author: greasemonkey

Excuse me for my ignorance, but I really don't know how this all works.  Since CN is technically leasing BC Rail, can they actually abandon parts of the system?  Or would they just be discontinuing use of them, and the BC Rail corporation would retain them?



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