Northeast B.C. mining restarts stall because CN Rail hasn’t maintained tracks for shipping coal – by Andrew Kurjata (CBC News British Columbia – February 06, 2017)

Tumbler Ridge mayor says community is being ‘held hostage’ by CN

Coal mines are restarting in Tumbler Ridge, but companies can’t ship to market because train lines maintained by CN Rail have fallen into disrepair. Mayor Don McPherson says it appears the railway stopped looking after the track sometime in 2015 after the community’s last coal mine shut down.

“I guess the board of directors for CN Rail decided that they didn’t need to maintain the rail line,” he said. “It came as a surprise to me.” The discovery comes as there is renewed interest in coal from the northeast B.C. community.

Last year, Conuma Coal purchased three of the mines and announced plans to rehire many of the 700 people who lost their jobs two years ago.The Brûlé mine, which ships coal by truck to a nearby rail facility, is already operational.

The second to start up is the Wolverine mine, which is much closer to Tumbler Ridge than Brûlé. It comes with its own rail facility for direct shipment out of the community.

That can’t be done, however, without $23 million worth of repairs to the CN Rail lines leading out of the community.

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