Kelowna Rail Closure

Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby Cumungala » Jul 8th, 2013, 12:11 pm

http://www.castanet.net/edition/news-st ... .htm#94757

Well this sucks. It looks like the Kelowna Pacific Railway is bankrupt. KPR is a short line operator which operates tracks between Kelowna and Kamloops on behalf of CN Rail. Last time I checked, it was a very profitable company with up to 20,000 rail cars being handled per year. CN used to operate its Okanagan rail line until 2001 when KPR took over as a shortline operator. CP Rail also owns tracks in the Okanagan but their shortline operator Okanagan Valley Railway went broke a few years back, and now their line is dormant. Kelowna probably provides 75% of the rail traffic that KPR handles and the operation of the sawmill here depends on rail service. I'm not sure what the future holds for trains in the Okanagan, but what I do know is that those tracks MUST remain in place, and that's that. It would be absolutely ludicrous for a city as large as Kelowna to lose its rail connection. The best scenario would be for CN and CP to sell (not lease) all of their tracks in the Okanagan to a new shortline operator.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby grammafreddy » Jul 8th, 2013, 12:17 pm

When CP decided to abandon its Boundary subdivision, the industries who were the heaviest users of the railway got together and formed a new company and bought the rail subdivision from CP and continue to operate it to serve their needs. This may be an option for Tolko and others in Kelowna?
Last edited by grammafreddy on Jul 8th, 2013, 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby Glacier » Jul 8th, 2013, 12:21 pm

If I were the Government, I'd buy the railway, and build a line from Lumby down to Grand Forks via the Christian Valley. That way we'd have a good shipping route between Spokane and the Port of Prince Rupert. This would be an amazing boon for BC and the Okanagan in particular because there would be a means of shipping lumber and such down into the States from our area. It would also have the added benefit of less trucks on the road.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby grammafreddy » Jul 8th, 2013, 12:23 pm

NIMBY, Glacier :D

Actually, the GF railway reloads onto US rail (BNR) at a reload centre at the Canada/US border at Christina Lake.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby bob vernon » Jul 8th, 2013, 12:37 pm

(off-topic comment removed - fluffy)
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby LoneWolf_53 » Jul 8th, 2013, 12:44 pm

(response to off-topic comment removed - fluffy)

It's hardly the governments fault when a business goes bankrupt, often due to poor management practices.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby Rwede » Jul 8th, 2013, 12:56 pm

Well, that sucks. Another unionized operation gone kaput. High wages for unskilled labour and the associated low productivity of unionized workers claim another victim.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby cocainekilleddisco » Jul 8th, 2013, 1:14 pm

Now we can be like most other cities in Canada and rip up the tracks in our downtown. I've been saying for years that those tracks gotta go. The city should be buying up that land and build a decent bypass through the city.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby GordonH » Jul 8th, 2013, 1:24 pm

Rail is the most cost effective way to transporting goods (beside crude oil, pipeline works better). It would be a shame if replacement is not found to take over for current company.
Since it would mean a hell of lot more big trucks in & out of the north-end Kelowna moving product for both Sun-Rye & Tolko.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby Cumungala » Jul 8th, 2013, 2:35 pm

Grand Forks also faced a rail closure a few years back because their sawmill shut down. The railway company was VERY close to abandoning the line when the sawmill reopened, and now they seem to be doing great. What would have happened if the tracks were gone before the mill reopened? There's no way they would have been put back into place for that. This is why railway tracks should NEVER be ripped out just because traffic has decreased at that particular time. The same goes for Kelowna. If CN can't find an alternative, they will more than likely just rip the line out so they can make money on the sale of the rails. CN is already a multi million dollar corporation as it is, so making money from rails shouldn't even be necessary. It would be like Bill Gates picking up a penny.

Also, I found out that KPR actually owns the tracks from Vernon to Kelowna. The rest of the network from Vernon to Kamloops and Vernon to Lumby is leased to them by CN.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby Catri » Jul 8th, 2013, 4:00 pm

Between this, the packing house closure and Jimmy Pattison taking SunRype private (and possibly out of the valley?) it will be interesting to see what happens along that downtown stretch of rail line over the next few years.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby LoneWolf_53 » Jul 8th, 2013, 4:27 pm

Rwede wrote:Well, that sucks. Another unionized operation gone kaput. High wages for unskilled labour and the associated low productivity of unionized workers claim another victim.


I have to wonder if that fatality they had at Tolka a while back played any part in their financial woes?

I imagine insurance would have covered that, but you never know.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby bob vernon » Jul 8th, 2013, 4:47 pm

One more reason for keeping the line open is because of the emergency electrical generation capacity that has been put into Vernon. There has been a bunch of diesel generators installed in Vernon and all those rail cars parked in the north end of the city are maintained full of diesel to be used if a major disaster shuts down the big transmission lines around the province. The tank cars are kept until shortly before the expiry date of the diesel. The cars are then taken away and replaced with fresh ones and the older diesel is shipped to market. There are a lot tankers there.

Hydro spent a lot of money putting this emergency capacity in place in Vernon and closing the rail line permanently would be very bad for them. They'd likely have to move the capacity out of Vernon. I just can't see the line closing.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby Cumungala » Jul 8th, 2013, 5:19 pm

KPR stores strings of rail cars on their sidings for CN and CP as a huge source of income. Most of them are tanker cars and some probably have the generators stored in them for BC Hydro. They also store grain cars and intermodal cars for container shipping. I remember going to Kamloops once and had to stop for a 187 car train passing through with grain empties they got from CN. The tracks from Armstrong to Kamloops are only limited to 10 miles per hour so the train took quite a while to pass. A typical round trip to Kamloops takes more than 12 hours.

187 cars on a train is huge even for CN, but for KPR its insane. The most number of cars I've ever seen on a train at the Kelowna end of the line is 63, with 3 locomotives. Most of the time its only 15-20 cars per train.
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Re: Kelowna Rail Closure

Postby 36Drew » Jul 8th, 2013, 5:30 pm

*try again without the personal attacks/Jo*
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