Commuter train plan is off the rails

I wonder how many people have noticed our daily Via Rail passenger train has not been running lately and the reason why.

One look at the E&N track and it is a wonder a train is allowed to operate at all, let alone a passenger train.

The whole railway from Victoria to Courtney is a disgrace: rotten ties, loose track joints and loose spikes. As well, six steel bridges on the E&N need heavy maintenance.

Southern Railway-Vancouver Island who operate the railway have been undertaking some track maintenance but this is very small Band-Aid to what is required as a whole.

Further more, recent statements by Graham Bruce of the Island Corridor Foundation have indicated that we might possibly have a commuter train by September using double-decker cars.

No. 1: Double-decker cars or bi-levels as they are known, are 85 feet long and much higher than conventional passenger cars.

No. 2: Does Bruce know we have a tunnel on the E&N on a 12 degree curve, and that an 85 foot car of this type would take have the roof off it if tried to pass through the tunnel?

No. 3: Bi-level cars are far too heavy for the E&N especially over bridges such as Niagara canyon.

If we want to retain the E&N as a viable transportation corridor then we must start now and maintain it in a proper manner or we will loose it all together.

Patrick Hind

Transportation consultant

View Royal


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