People in Churchill cheer on arrival of first passenger train in 18 months

Days after departing from Winnipeg, the first passenger train to travel to Churchill since a devastating rail washout arrived Tuesday to jubilant noise from town members who had lined up to greet it.

The Town of Churchill invited people to welcome the train passengers, who travelled 1,700 km since leaving Winnipeg Sunday just before 2 p.m.

The town streamed the train’s arrival live on Facebook in a video showing people bundled up for winter weather, sounding noisemakers along the tracks as the train pulls in.

In May of 2017, rail service to Churchill was suspended after flooding washed out portions of the track.

With a vital transportation link to the community severed, those who lived there were forced to cope with rising costs for food and fuel, as well as isolation. Some moved away.

A celebration is planned to mark Tuesday’s train arrival. From 4 to 6:30 p.m., people will gather in a gymnasium for games, fiddlers and snacks.

Fireworks will go off before the train leaves Tuesday evening.

VIA Rail trains are now scheduled to leave from Winnipeg to Churchill twice a week.

Some in Churchill have also taken the celebration to social media.