Winnipeg–Churchill train

Winnipeg–Churchill train
Churchill station (248124662).jpg
The Winnipeg–Churchill train at Churchill in 1997
Service typeInter-city rail
LocaleManitoba, Canada
Current operator(s)Via Rail
Former operator(s)Canadian National Railway
Ridership192 weekly (FY 2019)[1]
Annual ridership21,129 (FY 2019)[1]
WebsiteWinnipeg - Churchill
TerminiWinnipeg, Manitoba, The Pas, Manitoba
Churchill, Manitoba
Distance travelled1,710 km (1,063 mi)
Average journey time45 h 10 m
Service frequency3 trains per week
Train number(s)693, 691 (northbound),
692, 690 (southbound)
On-board services
Class(es)Economy and sleeper class
Seating arrangementsStainless Steel Coach Seat
Sleeping arrangementsStainless Steel Sleepers
Catering facilitiesStainless Steel Dining Car
Rolling stockStainless Steel Cars
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Track owner(s)CN, HBRY, KRC

The Winnipeg–Churchill train (formerly known as the Hudson Bay and, before that, Northern Spirits)[2] is a semiweekly passenger train operated by Via Rail between Winnipeg and Churchill, Manitoba. It is the only dry-land connection between Churchill and the rest of Canada.

The service, which runs through Manitoba and Saskatchewan, travels on the Canadian National Railway line north to The Pas, where it transfers to the Hudson Bay Railway, passing through Wabowden, Manitoba, with a spur from Thicket Portage to Thompson, and Gillam on its way to the Port of Churchill on Hudson Bay.


The northbound train leaves Winnipeg at 12:05 on Tuesdays and Sundays and is scheduled to arrive in Churchill two days later at 09:00. The southbound service departs Churchill at 19:30 on Thursday and Saturday evenings and reaches Winnipeg at 16:45 two days later. An additional weekly service operates in each direction between The Pas (departure at 02:30 on Fridays) and Churchill (departure at 19:30 on Tuesdays). The trip takes approximately 45 hours each way.


An unnamed mixed passenger train connecting with the Winnipeg–Churchill train at The Pas previously served Lynn Lake, but this service was truncated to Pukatawagan in 2003 by the then track owners OmniTRAX citing a loss in freight traffic making the service unprofitable. Via still operates twice weekly service from The Pas to Pukatawagan on behalf of the Keewatin Railway which now owns the Sherridon Subdivision.[2][3][4]

2017 flooding

Service between Gillam and Churchill was suspended on May 23, 2017, when flooding heavily damaged the track bed and bridges.[5] Because supplies had to be flown in by air when train service was suspended, prices skyrocketed in Churchill.[6]

Repairs of the track began on September 8, 2018.[7] By October 31, 2018, the track was repaired,[8] and passenger services resumed with train 693 on December 2.[9]

VIA Winnipeg-Churchill (interactive map)


  1. ^ a b "Annual Report 2019" (PDF). Via Rail Canada. p. 9. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b "VIA Rail Canada - Northern Trains". Archived from the original on 2000-10-17.
  3. ^ "Hudson Bay Rail to end service from Lynn Lake, Man., to Pukatawagan reserve". Canadian Press. 8 December 2003.
  4. ^ "The Adventure Routes".
  5. ^ "Via Rail service between Churchill and Gillam suspended indefinitely due to closure of the railway infrastructure in northern Manitoba". VIA Rail Canada Inc. (Press release). CNW. 2017-06-09. Retrieved 2017-06-10.
  6. ^ Hoye, Bryce (January 18, 2019). "Return of train to Churchill raised spirits — but mayor says fuel, food costs remain high". CBC News.
  7. ^ "Company fixing Churchill rail line says repairs will be complete in 60 days | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  8. ^ "'We are free:' Churchill celebrates return of train service with prime minister". Edmonton Journal. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  9. ^ "'It's very exciting': First rail tourists in 560 days depart for Churchill, Man". CBC News. 2 December 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-05.

External links

  • Media related to Winnipeg – Churchill train at Wikimedia Commons
  • Winnipeg-Churchill train at Via Rail Canada
External video
video icon "48hrs on VIA Rail's Most Northern Train in Canada" on YouTube, DownieLive, 2020-11-28
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