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

Escaped Metchosin inmate sentenced to additional year tacked on to 14-year sentence

Man escaped from William Head Institution arrested days later in Esquimalt

New, feature-length documentary on missing woman Emma Fillipoff comes out next year

The film follows Fillipoff’s disappearance and the ongoing investigation

Harbour authority to honour Victoria sailor Jeanne Socrates with naming ceremony

In September Socrates became the oldest person to sail around the world in a solo, unassisted trip

VIDEO: The sticky truth about winter moths and how Greater Victoria arborists fight them

Winter moths have ‘killed a lot of trees’ across the region, says Oak Bay arborist

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

B.C. pushes for greater industry ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

EDITORIAL: It’s time to face the truth on drug use

The homeless don’t own the drug epidemic

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Most Read