Hudson Bay Railway repairs could start by September as long as some else pays for them, owner says

Hudson Bay Railway (HBR) president Sergio Sabatini told the Canadian Transportation Agency Aug. 1 that his company has begun soliciting bids to repair the section of the line between Gillam and Churchill but doesn’t have the money to pay for the repairs itself.

The report to the Canadian Transportation agency (CTA), which ordered HBR to begin repairs by July 3, said that the process began with an inspection of the track June 11 and June 12 by AECOM, which was retained by HBR to prepare a request for proposals (RFP). The RFP was issued June 28 to six pre-screened contractors with the necessary experience to perform the repairs and four of those contractors sent representatives to a mandatory site visit July 12 and 13. Over the course of July, AECOM responded to technical questions form the contractors, with final answers provided July 31. Bids were due Aug. 3 and AECOM said it was “confident there will be multiple bids and methodologies to consider."

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HBR says it believes a substantial amount of the work to repair the line can be done this year and the rest by mid-2019. Its goal is to restore limited service sometime this winter and full services after the repairs are complete.

However, the report took pains to spell out HBR’s position that it doesn’t have money to fund the work, which AECOM estimates could start by the first day of September.

“As the agency is aware HBR does not have the financial capability to undertake the full repairs of the damage to the railway caused by the spring 2017 flood,” Sabatini wrote. “HBR and its shareholders have been in discussion with the federal government and a potential buyer with the objective of ensuring that the necessary funds are in place to fully repair the Gillam to Churchill line and resume operations as expeditiously as possible."

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