Two rail crossings in Kamloops are set to get a refresh. In the provisional budget, the city plans for $200,000 to be spent on the Third Avenue and Singh Street rail crossings.
The budget notes both CN Rail (Singh Street in Brocklehurst) and CP Rail (Third Avenue downtown) will be refurbishing the crossings, which requires work from the municipality.
City of Kamloops engineering manager Deven Matkowski said the city will cover work related to the road surface at the rail crossings.
“The concrete and the panels between the rails,” he said. “We have agreements with the railroads for all those upgraded crossings and, then, when stuff needs maintenance, it’s laid out who shares what costs. Rule of thumb is we’re responsible for the road surface.”
Matkowski said nothing will change at the crossings, noting the work is a refresh.
“This is just fixing the surface,” he said.
In the provisional budget, the city plans to fund the one-time request from reserves.
The work comes as both CP and CN prepare for increased train traffic through Kamloops, beginning next year, as part of a long-term deal announced last December between Canadian National Railway and Teck Resources to transport steelmaking coal to Teck’s expanded Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver.
That agreement runs from April 2021 through the end of 2026.
Work has been ongoing at CN’s yard on the Tk’emlups reservation, where crews have been putting into place five more 12,000-foot tracks that should allow the trains to be yarded.
Steelmaking coal has previously been transported by CP from eastern B.C., through Kamloops to the Lower Mainland.
The change to CN’s contract in 2021 is expected to create additional train traffic in downtown Kamloops, especially across the Lorne Street crossing connecting CP and CN lines, a section of track that has typically not been very busy.
According to company statistics, Teck’s annual production of coal that moves from East Kootenays to Vancouver is approximately 26-million tonnes. The trains are 152 cars long (about 2.4 kilometres in length). Each train moves about 18,000 tonnes of coal.