Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Vancouver Island Rail

Vancouver Island’s historical E & N Railway provided and still provides limited passenger and freight rail service between Victoria, Port Alberni, and Courtenay.

Under-investment and neglect of the line by Canadian Pacific Railway over the years has left the track in a degraded state. In 2006, the non-profit Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) received ownership of the line and it wants to bring back full passenger and freight services. Since it has taken ownership of the line, ICF has been ramping up service, (ICF contracted railway operations out to Southern Rail who are the same people that operate freight service on our Interurban line,) though much needs to be done.

The ICF has released a study called Our Corridor to request $103.8 million from the government to upgrade the 289km line to current standards. This would allow for
  • Improved Freight Service
  • Improved Passenger Service up the Island
  • Local Passenger Service Between Langford and Victoria
As their report states:
These investments will fund overdue rail bed and track improvement – critical improvements if the Island Corridor is to fulfill its potential as a green transportation corridor. Improvements will support existing and new resource and goods-producing industries and make them more competitive. Rail improvements will also encourage business expansion to the Island. These upgrades will also lay the foundation for a green public transit system that will connect communities up and down the Island.
80% of the population on Vancouver Island is within 5km of the line.

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