A reserection of the E&N rail line has been called for by all 13 of the Greater Victoria region’s mayors, and the Island Corridor Foundation is feeling optimistic. (Black Pres File Photo)

Island Corridor Foundation ‘cautiously optimistic’ about rail line reactivation

The province is currently completing its rail assessment

The Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) is feeling optimistic about the chances of rail lines being reactivated in the Capital Region.

In an Esquimalt council meeting on Monday, ICF CEO Larry Stevenson addressed council with an update as the province completes its ongoing assessment. The ICF is a non-profit organization which owns and manages the former E&N Railway line, which stretches approximately 290 km. It is not in charge or participating in the provincial assessment.

Stevenson added that when the province first committed to an assessment in February he was skeptical, but after watching surveyors come in his opinion changed.

ALSO READ: Province commits to six-month investigation of E&N corridor

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised when they were bringing in people to do the assessment; these are CP [Canadian Pacific Rail] people, these are people who have worked in rail for 40 years.”

The E&N line, which officially shut down on the Island in 2011, has had 12 studies done on it over the years.

“I’m convinced this is the most researched track in North America,” Stevenson said. “There’s so many number in these reports, it causes confusion.”

Stevenson thinks the large amount of data gives the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure “analysis paralysis” from information surplus.

Regardless, public input from across the Island has been in support of the railway line; in February, all 13 mayors from the CRD penned a letter to Premier John Horgan and Transportation Minister Claire Trevena asking the province to commit funding to rail service in the Capital Region.

READ MORE:All 13 CRD mayors call for province to fund E&N rail segment

Shortly after, the province announced it would commit to a six-month study into the corridor to determine costs, safety requirements, seismic risk assessments and rock fall review.

“The assessment will encompass a high-level identification of infrastructure requirements and cost upgrades needed to allow the operation of a commuter rail from Langford to Victoria,” said the province in a statement in February.

The study is set to be complete by the end of the year.

“We’re hopeful that we’re not just kicking the can down the road,” Stevenson said. ” We believe rail must play a key role in any integrated transportation systems on the Island… this has to be a rail, transit and ferry solution.”

Stevenson believes the costs associated with reactivating the rail system would fall well below what’s being paid in Surrey to create a new 10 km stretch of light rail line, which is facing a nearly $2 billion bill. One of the more costly expenses in the Capital Region would be crafting a new station at the Victoria end of the infrastructure in Vic West.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Just Posted

Talks continue over new aquatic centre for Alberni Valley

Joint ACRD, City of Port Alberni committee asks for staff report on next steps

BCHL: Bulldogs’ win streak snapped by Powell River Kings

Josh Zary had the lone goal for Port Alberni

Alberni vet heading to Africa with Veterinarians Without Borders

Dr. Roberta Templeton and her vet husband will help dairy farmers in Uganda

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Sail Past lights up Alberni Inlet

Annual Sail Past took place at Harbour Quay

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Most Read