Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway

Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway
The Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway is a private Canadian regional railway that stretches 414 kilometres (257 mi) through the wilderness of northeastern Quebec and western Labrador. It connects Labrador City, Labrador, with the port of Sept-Îles, Quebec, on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. QNS&L is owned by Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), and is a common carrier.
When it was built between 1951 and 1954, the QNS&L connected the port of Sept-Îles on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River with the northern terminus at IOC's mining community of Schefferville, Quebec, a distance of 359 miles (578 km). In 1958, the Wabush ore body near Labrador City was opened by IOC and the Wabush Mining Company. QNS&L built a 36-mile (58 km) line to serve these mines, running west from the Sept-Îles-Schefferville main line at Emeril Junction, Labrador, to Carol Lake, Labrador, near Wabush. Service on this branch began in 1960.
At the same time, Wabush Mining Company built the relatively short Wabush Lake Railway from its mines at Labrador City to the QNS&L connection at Wabush. QNS&L hauls its own traffic from Carol Lake to IOC port facilities at Sept-Îles. QNSX also hauls Wabush Lake Railway traffic from the interchange at Wabush to Arnaud Jct., Quebec, near Sept-Îles, where it interchanges to the Arnaud Railway, which then completes the journey around Sept-Îles Harbour to Wabush Mining Co. port facilities at Pointe Noire, Quebec.
In the 1980s, the Schefferville mining operations were closed in favour of iron ore deposits located further to the south near Wabush, and most residents relocated to Labrador City. QNS&L maintained subsidized passenger and freight service for local First Nations communities along this portion of its system, known as the Menihek Subdivision, until December 1, 2005, when it sold the Emeril Junction-Schefferville rail line to Tshiuetin Rail Transportation (TSH) for the sum of $1 CAD. QNS&L still provides freight services, transporting employee automobiles, various bulk mine materials, large equipment, and everyday supplies for Labrador City and the various maintenance of way camps.
This railway, along with the TSH line, Chemin de fer Arnaud (ARND), Wabush Lake Railway (WABL), and Bloom Lake Railway (BLRC), form an isolated railway network, as it does not interchange with any other rail lines on the North American network.
Some time after 1997, the QNS&L was permitted by Transport Canada to employ only one engineer on its routes. In 2013 after the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, Transport Canada issued 12 guideline regulations. Since August 20, 2013 the QNS&L has been the only remaining freight railway in Canada to use Single Person Train Operation (SPTO).
On Thursday, November 6, 2014, a freight train consisting of three locomotives and 240 railcars derailed 20 km north of Sept-Îles, because of a landslide over the rail tracks. The locomotives and several railcars ended up in the Moisie River. The engineer of the locomotive died and was found by divers two days later.
More traffic
In 2010, Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines opened the Bloom Lake Mine, just west of Labrador City, Newfoundland. As part of this new operation, Genesee & Wyoming was contracted to operate the Bloom Lake Railway to transport iron ore from the mine to a connection with the Wabush Lake Railway. The Wabush Lake Railway began acting as a middle man, taking the Bloom Lake Railway trains, and transporting them to Wabush Junction for the QNS&L to transport to the Chemin de fer Arnaud just as they would Wabush trains. The Arnaud then takes the trains to the Consolidated Thompson's dock at Pointe-Noire, Quebec.
In popular culture
The construction of the QNSX forms the backdrop for English author Hammond Innes' 1958 adventure novel about Labrador, The Land God gave to Cain. Innes spent a period of time with the crews building the railway during his research.
In the early 1970s, a country-Western band from Newfoundland called the Newfoundland Showband recorded a song about the railway, sung to the tune of "Wabash Cannonball".
Locomotive roster
  • Three GE C40-8M diesel locomotives
  • QNSX rosters seven types of locomotives. Most of these engines have many extra features and modifications, such as windshield fluid.
           Model     Maker Numbers     Build     Date      Remarks
  • SD40-2 EMD 310-322 1994-1995 One is reported to be an SD40-3
  • C40-8M GE 401-403 1994 Sold to the Andersons (AEX)
  • C44-9W GE 404-414 1998
  • AC4400CW GE 415-426 2005-2006
  • SD70ACe EMD 501-523 2009, 2011, 2012
  • GP38M EMD 9501-9503 1967
  • Yard slug 9511-9512 1995 No longer used
  • QNS&L uses the SD40-3s mainly on mixed freight and work trains.
  • The C40-8Ms often serve in mid-train position on 240 car trains.
  • The newer C44-9Ws, AC4400CWs, and SD70ACes will handle the unit iron ore trains
Wacouna and Northernland Subdivisions
Rail Legend
 260.8 Carol Lake(Labrador City)
260.2 Bloom Jct to WLRS
260.1 Wabush Lake Jct to WABL
246.5 Opocopa
234.5 Menistouc
226.7 Ross Bay Jct West
225.3 Emeril Jct to TRTS
225.0 Ross Bay Jct Yard
224.0 Ross Bay Jct South
215.0 Ross Bay
204.7 Ashuanipi
186.6 Oreway
177.8 Pitaga Spur
166.4 Dolliver
155.2 Seahorse
148.3 Little
138.0 Eric
128.1 Mai
120.5 Dufresne Lake
110.8 Chico
101.1 Waco
90.3 Canatiche
79.6 Premio
73.0 Bybee
62.1 Dorée
56.6 Tika
45.3 Nipisso Spur
35.1 Nicman
27.4 Saumon Spur
17.1 Enrick-Gagnon
8.3 Arnaud 
 6.8 Kemat Jct to ARND
6.4 Kemat
3.5 Sept-Iles
0.0 Ore unloader
Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway
Headquarters:  Sept-Îles, Quebec
Reporting mark:  QNSL
Locale:  Labrador / Quebec
Dates of operation: 1954–present
Track gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge
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