Mary River Project Rail Infrastructure

Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation | Canada | 2011–2012

28,000 tonnes
shipped in
2 months

Over 500 people
housed on site

700 jobs

800,000 manhours
with 0 LTIs


  • Located 500 km north of Canada’s Arctic Circle, severe climate and conditions posed significant technical and logistical challenges.
  • The southern third of the railway corridor was in severe rock topography, raising significant rock-fall concerns.
  • Ice-rich soils and deep permafrost along the railway corridor required critical and innovative geotechnical solutions to construct rail embankments.
  • Frozen ocean conditions limited bulk resupply and shipments to a 70-day window in late summer. All other transport was by aircraft from local communities and southern Canada.


  • Completed optimization study of preliminary railway-infrastructure-design elements done by others to identify cost-saving innovations and measures.
  • Executed detailed design of the main-railway-corridor civil works, including bridges and culverts; design of both yard-terminal tracks, sidings, and railway communication systems; and associated foundation.


  • Conducted two railway risk workshops.
  • As part of the preliminary design, a Monte Carlo simulation modeled the project’s delivery based on 300 potential risks identified by stakeholder specialists.
  • Conducted a second risk assessment within the project design team prior to beginning detailed design. Resulting mitigation measures were incorporated.

Project numbers

290 km of tracks
30 bridges
200 culverts
57 switches