CHURCHILL, MANITOBA IV

12/21/2021   

Upon entering the town called Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan on the northern edge of the Canadian plains, the tracks made a 90° turn and headed northeast. From here, it entered the boreal forest that took it to: The Pas, Thompson, Gillam, and then, up to Churchill. The highway stops at Gillam and gives truck access to mines and huge hydroelectric dams that tap power off the Nelson River and diverts the Churchill River flow as a reservoir for additional power. Around 4,000 Megawatts are generated now with another thousand in the future. This keeps the mines and the smelters going, with enough electricity to sell to the USA for millions of useless video gamers. As the train traveled north into the tundra, the speed was reduced considerably due to lack of maintenance on sections disrupted by melting permafrost. The wheels gave a distinct ‘click, click’ at every rail splice and, after a while, all the passengers moved their heads in unison to the sounds. It made for humorous antics to alleviate the boredom. At 15 MPH, it takes10 hours to go 150 miles; kinda like rush hour in L.A. With time to visit other travelers on the dining car, BB ran into Mildred and Mary. The grandmother, Mildred, and her granddaughter, Mary, decided to go see Churchill where a family member had once lived. He died years ago, and they took this trip out of respect for him. With limited funds, they sat in coach for 2 full days 1 way but endured the uncomfortable ride with many others. Finally, the journey was over as the train pulled into the station and unloaded its smiling cargo and their sad sack luggage. Waiting were a half dozen passenger vans to take these customers to their accommodations and dinner. After that, some had signed up for a rubber Zodiac boat ride up the wide Churchill River to view Beluga whales chasing capelin for dinner. Sitting 12″ off the 38°F saltwater and watching 3,000lb. mammals fighting for food, it reminded BB of an All-You-Can-Eat-Seafood Buffet in America. 

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