Alex Cooper – Revelstoke Review
CP Rail is looking at moving workers from Revelstoke to Golden in order to create an extended coal train run that would eliminate crew changes in Revelstoke.
“It is the company’s intent to operate coal trains in extended service runs (ESR) between Kamloops, B.C., and Golden, B.C., without the need to change crews at Revelstoke, B.C.,” wrote Chris Clark, the assistant director of labour relations for CP Rail in a letter to Teamsters Canada Rail Conference union leadership.
The move would involve establishing a new home terminal in Golden dedicated to running coal trains to and from Kamloops. It’s a 350 kilometre run.
The letter says the change would go into effect on June 20, 2016, though the exact start date could be pushed back if the Teamsters choose to fight the move.
It says no jobs would be lost, but does not say how many positions would be moved to Golden as a result of the change.
Greg Edwards, the Teamster’s general chairman for locomotive engineers in Western Canada, the union still has lots of questions about CP Rail’s proposal and he is still waiting for many details from CP as to what the changes might mean.
“This notice falls completely short of the requirements in our collective agreement provisions for making any type of material change in working conditions,” he told the Review, adding that the timelines set out by CP Rail are “unrealistic.”
He said they would be issuing a letter in response and that letter would be made public.
Sources tell the Review a trip from Golden to Kamloops would take at least 10 hours, however it can sometimes take that long just to make the journey through the mountains. Engineers and conductors are allowed to work up to 12 hours per shift.
The letter says the change is designed to eliminate a crew change point for coal trains, along with the associated expenses. Right now, coal trains travel from the Cranrbook area to Golden, where crews from Revelstoke take over the trains and drive them here. In Revelstoke, a new crew gets on and drives the trains onwards to Kamloops, where another crew change takes place.
The move would also speed up transit time through the mountain corridor, CP Rail says.
In January, Transport Canada reprimanded CP Rail for fatigue issues on extended service runs from Kamloops to Vancouver.
The Review has contacted both CP Rail to learn more about plan. We will update this story after we hear from the company.
You can read the letter from CP Rail to the union below: