To the Editor,
RE: Alberni Pacific Railway shuts down in 2019 and 2020
It has not been much of a surprise for anyone watching the ongoing escalating costs of running this tourist attraction. It is time now for the city (owner of all the equipment) to put out a tender call looking for an operator willing to pay to use this service and get the city money back on the investment they made over the years.
This operation has given lip service about extending the run to Loon Lake and creating a dinner train but nothing concrete ever played out. The run, under a qualified and knowledgeable operator, would make money but the per ride charge would be much higher than that charged by the amateurs linked to the operation of the train and the mill.
If the line over to Parksville could be reopened to freight then an ongoing tourist run from Port Alberni to Parksville could be started and would enhance the profits made by the hired operator. This in turn would be beneficial to both the City of Port Alberni (equipment owners) and the ICF/SVI partnership.
I would think the existing equipment would be used to maintain the status quo for the mill operation and the hired operator would bring in their own equipment to run the dinner train or tour train over to Parksville.
With the present push to renew rail operations on Vancouver Island it could be a very fortuitous move for the city leaders to start the tourism recovery needed for the city.