Monday, December 7, 2009

No train and no real news

Yesterday people starting talking about the rumours that something had happened in Moose River Crossing. Moose River is a small settlement where the Ontario Northland Railway crosses the Moose River on its way from Moosonee to Cochrane. Everyone in Moosonee could tell you that it is at mileage 142 north of Cochrane; Moosonee is mileage 186.2.
In the "old days" there were a fair number of people living there, a school and a church. Lots of men worked for the railroad out of Moose River to maintain the tracks.
Now, fewer people live there and there are some empty buildings. The church is gone and the school is used by the railroad. In the last couple of years there have been a lot of workes there handling repairs to the bridge.
People heard that someone had started fires or tried to burn the bridge down. This sounds very scarey when it happens in a really isolated place wthere are no emergency or medical facilities.
Some of the rumours turned out to be true. There was damage to the bridge. A person tried to set fire to part of it and some of the wooden ties that carry the tracks were damaged.
This means no train for a few days at least.
Almost everyone who comes to Moosonee comes by train and so does almost everything. Groceries, mail and fuel. Everything will be held back for a while. People are stuck out in Cochrane, other people who are in Moosonee cannot make it out. Vacations and work are disrupted.
I have been over the bridge at Moose River many times. It is the longest bridge on the Ontario Northland at 1800 feet. However, I have never gotten off the train in Moose River so I do not have a picture of the whole bridge. My shots of it have been taken out of moving trains and do not necessarily show what a massive and important structure it is. A couple of years ago I shot a video from the train as we passed through.

What happened is sad, perhaps tragic but also a major inconvenience. Another part of the price for living in a community that does not have a road to the rest of the world. Still, I think it is worth putting up with the occasional interruption of service to live here.


  1. Not only was the bridge burned, but my family's cabin and 4 buildings which used to be Wilderness Bible Camp. The man in custody has a history of arson and burned buildings once before at Moose River.

  2. I just finished watching the news - CTV - and nothing, nada, nix, no mention of this at all. It's like Moosonee is a figment of the northern imagination - doesn't really exist - and it's kind of a concern. What about food? This is a good thing to happen, because it highlights just how vulnerable an entire community can be. The only reason I know about this is from Facebook, from friends, and I'm thinking - are the prices going to be jacked up if everything has to go in by air? I hope it all gets resolved very soon, and more pressure is applied to have another route go in.