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

CP RailCRDEsquimaltrailwayTransportation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cyclists see potential and pitfalls in Sooke infrastructure

Getting from Sooke Road to Galloping Goose Trail a challenge for bike riders

Sooke Fall Fair postponed until 2021

Organizers hope to still hold some form of competitions

UPDATED: Bear spotted walking on sidewalk near Uptown

Urban sightings prompt warnings from Saanich Police Department

University of Victoria parking lot hosts drive-in movies

The Breakfast Club, Hook and The Life Aquatic shown on a 40-foot screen

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Most Read