July 27, 2009 · Print This Article

Here’s an update on  Via Rail’s  labour dispute with its locomotive engineers.

Via Rail says its passenger rail service should be back to normal on Monday after a two-day Canada-wide strike, offering discounts of 60 per cent on tickets to all destinations to woo back customers.

To take advantage of the discount, travellers must buy their tickets by midnight Pacific time on Wednesday, and must take their trips by Dec. 14.

As a result, train service between Winnipeg and Churchill is set to  resume and not a moment to soon for the residents of Churchill for whom the railway is their only land link to southern Canada.  In the spirit of public service, here’s what would-be travellers are missing.

Last August, we journeyed from Winnipeg in southern Manitoba to the town of Churchill on the shores of Hudson Bay aboard VIA Rail’s Hudson Bay.

Louise took the opportunity to test the video capability of her Leica C-Lux 2 camera. The results have been edited to dreamy effect, an accurate reflection of a journey originally scheduled at 36 hours.

Owing to a heat wave which softened the permafrost landscape and created “sun kinks” in the rails, the trip lasted 50 hours, the final 100 miles of which were covered at a speed of 10 mph. Check out scenes from the observation dome car where you can actually see the cars rising and falling over the curved rails.

Featured in the video are fellow members of the Society of American Travel Writer’s Canadian chapter. Near the conclusion of the 8-minute video we’ve included tantalizing clips of what awaited us – beluga whales and polar bears – which figured prominently in Jack’s dreams as he snoozed through the aptly-named Barrens.

For an extensive display of related still photographs, check out the Churchill file posted are posted here.



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