The devastating floods in Nova Scotia have taken out the Canadian National Railway train line that connects the port of Halifax to the rest of the country, disrupting services in the region with no word on when they will resume.
A Transport Canada spokesperson confirmed to Motorcycle accident toronto today Monday that the sole rail line, which connects the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, has been affected by heavy flooding. The spokesperson added that short-term goods movement can take place through road.
“Transport Canada is aware that a section of the rail line connecting Nova Scotia to New Brunswick has been heavily damaged, and we are working collaboratively with the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) to ensure the issue is addressed as soon as possible. While the impacted track is the sole rail link between the Port of Halifax to the rest of the country, short term cargo movements from the port can continue via road transport,” the spokesperson said.
That comes as the fallout continues after a storm system swept through the region over the weekend, destroying homes and infrastructure and leaving four people missing. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault also addressed the damage during a press conference on Monday.
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“Clearly, action is urgently needed. Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency this weekend after extreme rainfall caused that caused catastrophic, catastrophic flooding. And our hearts go out to families who are missing, loved ones,” he said.
“This cannot become the new normal.”
CN issued a statement saying it had “pre-emptively closed a section of its track near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Friday evening in response to Flash Flood Weather Warnings.”
“CN crews have already restored much of the damaged infrastructure, but some repairs will be delayed until the floodwaters recede. As our crews complete their work, the track is inspected to ensure the safe movement of rail traffic. As of Monday morning, all CN tracks are passable in Nova Scotia except for a significant washout that occurred just south of Truro,” a statement said.
Truro, just half an hour outside of Halifax, saw heavy flooding. The Transport Canada spokesperson added, “Railway companies are responsible to be in compliance with the acts, regulations, rules and standards which apply to track maintenance that are enforced by Transport Canada under the provisions of the Railway Safety Act. Transport Canada is actively monitoring the situation in Nova Scotia for any other impacts on the transportation system caused by the extensive rainfall and heavy flooding, and will continue to provide speciality advice or assistance to other organizations as required.”
A VIA Rail spokesperson told Motorcycle accident toronto today that VIA’s Ocean route was disrupted by the floods, with no information available yet on a return to service.
“Floods, washouts and damage to CN’s tracks following the weather events in the Atlantic region generated operational complications beyond VIA Rail’s control. As such, VIA Rail’s Ocean route, between Montréal and Halifax, cannot operate east of Moncton until further notice,” VIA said in a statement.
“No alternative transportation will be provided and impacted passengers are being contacted directly to inform them of the situation.
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“We are waiting on CN to provide an estimation as to when tracks will be passable.”
VIA Rail also issued an advisory for travellers, warning them that it would not be serving any stops between Moncton, N.B., and Halifax.
Motorcycle accident toronto today has reached out to the federal transport minister’s office for any further information on the impact of the damage on supply shipments by rail into Eastern Canada, as well as when the rail line could be restored.
Municipal offices across Halifax were closed Monday as emergency crews worked to repair damage caused by extensive rainfalls over the weekend. The Halifax Regional Municipality said many areas remain inaccessible, leading to safety concerns for local residents.
Rescue efforts are also continuing at a flooded Nova Scotia field where four people, including two children, were lost after rushing water swamped the vehicles they were travelling in.
RCMP Cpl. Guillaume Tremblay said efforts were continuing in the area of West Hants, a largely rural municipality northwest of Halifax where the people were reported missing in separate incidents Saturday.
Massive floods triggered by widespread rainstorms over the weekend dumped more than 200 millimetres of rain in the Hammonds Plains, Bedford and Lower Sackville areas.
While the floodwater had largely receded by Sunday, it left behind a network of destroyed roads and bridges in the province.
A provincewide state of emergency declared on Saturday will remain in effect until Aug. 5, and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair approved a request from the province for continued federal assistance on Sunday.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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