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Canadian Railroads > CN intends to discontinue Alberta Coal Branch lines


Date: 08/14/19 02:29
CN intends to discontinue Alberta Coal Branch lines
Author: railsmith

As can be seen from CN's Three-Year Network Plan as updated on July 4 (link below), CN had already listed the entirety of the former Alberta Coal Branch as intended for discontinuance.

That consists of the entire Foothills Subdivision (Mile 0 to 50.5) and the entire Mountain Park Subdivision (Mile 0 to 25.6). That trackage was added to the Network Plan in September last year, which sets the clock ticking on the discontinuation process.

As CN explains on its website:"Our network plan, which consists of a comprehensive list of all CN railway lines in Canada, indicates CN's intention for each portion of track within the next three years: retain (continue the operation of the line) or discontinue (total interruption of railway activity on the line). This option applies to lines whose potential for profitability is very weak. The law obliges railways, however, to offer this line to private interests for a period of at least 60 days for the purpose of continuing railway operations. If no interest is shown, or no agreement is concluded within six months, or if the transfer is not completed, the Company must offer to transfer to the relevant governments, transit authorities and municipal administrations all of its interest in the line in question for not more than its net salvage value."

To my knowledge, coal is still being shipped off the branch to Vancouver and Prince Rupert. Perhaps some TO members in Alberta can enlighten us as to what's going on here.

Three-Year Rail Network Plan – Progress Report
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/19 02:30 by railsmith.



Date: 08/14/19 08:10
Re: CN intends to discontinue Alberta Coal Branch lines
Author: eminence_grise

Recently, a new coal mine has been developed south of Edson AB., however the coal is delivered to a loading facility on the CN mainline by road. 

At least one of the mines on the coal branch has not operated since the 1960's, and although the CN tracks are still in place, several wooden trestles are washed out.
I think the reason for CN applying to abandon could be that the mine roads are a more efficient way to deliver coal.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/19 08:11 by eminence_grise.



Date: 08/14/19 08:45
Re: CN intends to discontinue Alberta Coal Branch lines
Author: Dick

I caught a 215 car loaded coal train headed west to Prince Rupert and a 212 car empty train to and from the branch when I videotaped between Edson and Hinton in May of 2018.
Dick Eisfeller
Big "E" Productions
www.trainvideos.com



Date: 08/14/19 12:56
Re: CN intends to discontinue Alberta Coal Branch lines
Author: Marcus

In the July/August 2019 issue of Branchline magazine,
John Riddell documents his 1968 visit to the area.
No trains, but 19 pictures, a map, and timetable document the physical plant;
bridges, tunnel, stations, etc.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/19 12:58 by Marcus.



Date: 08/14/19 15:26
Re: CN intends to discontinue Alberta Coal Branch lines
Author: railsmith

Marcus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In the July/August 2019 issue of Branchline
> magazine,
> John Riddell documents his 1968 visit to the
> area.
> No trains, but 19 pictures, a map, and timetable
> document the physical plant;
> bridges, tunnel, stations, etc.

That article treats the subject as though the Alberta Coal Branch was gone forever as of 1968. That's ironic, because there was a big upsurge soon after that, with unit train coal shipments from the Cardinal River mine at Luscar starting in early 1970 to the new Neptune Terminals export coal facility in North Vancouver.

Branchline should have added an editor's note about the revival.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/19 23:04 by railsmith.



Date: 08/14/19 17:53
Re: CN intends to discontinue Alberta Coal Branch lines
Author: greasemonkey

eminence_grise Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Recently, a new coal mine has been developed south
> of Edson AB., however the coal is delivered to a
> loading facility on the CN mainline by road. 
>
> At least one of the mines on the coal branch has
> not operated since the 1960's, and although the CN
> tracks are still in place, several wooden trestles
> are washed out.
> I think the reason for CN applying to abandon
> could be that the mine roads are a more efficient
> way to deliver coal.

The truck delivery to the storage dome is actually causing quite a bottleneck for them.

I wonder if they will rethink their finished product delivery method to something that is lower cost and capable of delivering enough coal to meet their needs.

The whole operation is suffering from growing too big, too fast from everything I have been told by those involved.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 08/14/19 21:43
Re: CN intends to discontinue Alberta Coal Branch lines
Author: Parkcar

Now that the originally posted question has been thoroughly hijacked and eviscerated, let's get back to the poster's question.  What is the frequency of trains down the coal branch; sulphur, lumber, coal etc.????
Cheers
Park



Date: 08/14/19 23:14
Re: CN intends to discontinue Alberta Coal Branch lines
Author: railsmith

I can now answer my own question in part.

The Cardinal River operation on the Luscar spur at the far end of the branch will be closing in the second half of 2020.  It's owned by Teck Resources, which has other coal mining operations, principally in southeastern B.C.

https://hintonvoice.com/2019/06/teck-closes-operations-in-2020/

There has also been a limestone quarrying operation at Cadomin at end-of-track of the Mountain Park Sub. for many years. Perhaps its fate, whatever that might be, is also a contributing factor to CN's decision.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/19 23:15 by railsmith.



Date: 08/15/19 04:16
Re: CN intends to discontinue Alberta Coal Branch lines
Author: tsokolan

railsmith Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I can now answer my own question in part.
>
> The Cardinal River operation on the Luscar spur at
> the far end of the branch will be closing in the
> second half of 2020.  It's owned by Teck
> Resources, which has other coal mining operations,
> principally in southeastern B.C.
>
> https://hintonvoice.com/2019/06/teck-closes-operat
> ions-in-2020/
>
> There has also been a limestone quarrying
> operation at Cadomin at end-of-track of the
> Mountain Park Sub. for many years. Perhaps its
> fate, whatever that might be, is also a
> contributing factor to CN's decision.

The limestone plant should contiune to run, the only industry I've heard that is slated to close is the Cardnel River Mine. There's also a sulphur loadout at the end of the 9.4Mile Bryan Spur that branches off of the Foothills Sub south of Robb.

-Trevor



Date: 08/18/19 23:38
Re: CN intends to discontinue Alberta Coal Branch lines
Author: xcnsnake

I had this 767 (Coal Valley-Ridley) out of Holloway to Jasper a couple of trips ago.

After we doubed over we departed with 218 buggies, 11,868 ft. and ~30,000 tons of black diamonds.

The trailing unit was dead so we were about 0.4 HpT with a 1x1x1 DP configuaration, making for slow going up the hill to Obed.




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