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CP Rail Washout – Mile 78.3 Laggan Subdivision

In the early hours of Sunday June 23, not long after the 2013 Alberta flood began, CP Rail’s Brent Szafron, contacted Stantec’s Rail Sector Lead Richard Lanyi with a plea for help. A large release of water from the Lake Minnewanka Dam had flooded the TransAlta Hydro Power Plant just upstream of the Trans-Canada Highway and CPR’s mainline track between Calgary and Vancouver. The water found a side channel which eventually led to the CPR track just east of Banff, Alberta where the existing single culvert couldn’t handle the flow. The mainline track was completely washed out, shutting down traffic on CPR’s busiest corridor.

Personnel at CPR immediately began planning and construction activities to install an additional culvert to handle the heightened flows, and rebuild the washed out grade. As CPR’s preferred engineering services provider for Western Canada, Stantec was called in to advise on next steps.

Rick Carnduff, an accomplished stormwater management specialist in our Community Development group, was immediately dispatched to conduct an urgent assessment of the proposed dual culvert crossing under the mainline, and provide technical guidance regarding further release of water from Lake Minnewanka. Richard Lanyi also responded to establish backup plans in case of larger flows than anticipated, including additional ditching from the washout location, back towards the main channel from Lake Minnewanka.

Thanks to a quick response and sound technical guidance, CP Rail mainline operations were back on track within 48 hours.

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