Freight could backstop commuter train

Re: Bring E&N back to freight standards, Letters, April 27, 2011.

A couple of comments on transportation issues. On commuter traffic by rail, John Goudy hit the nail dead centre in a letter to the Goldstream News Gazette.

He noted correctly that passenger rail traffic can readily become economical in conjunction with rail freight transport.

Rail freight can absorb easier the high cost of upgrading and upkeeping tracks and bridges because rail freight is so much more efficient per unit of weight.

A good combination of passenger and freight rail transport would keep the ticket prices cheap enough to make riding the rails very attractive. It should be our first priority to get the E&N going in this economical combination.

Light rail transit is a little bit further off, but not that much. This is because of our region’s unique topography.

Hemmed between Thetis Lake park, Portage Inlet and Esquimalt Harbour are three possible road connections and two possible rail connections: Trans-Canada Highway, Island Highway, Burnside Road, the E&N rail line and the Galloping Goose corridor.

In this bottleneck, these are the only five possible links between the region’s two major areas (the West Shore and the core).

This unique bottleneck makes LRT much more imminently economical even with a lower than usual population base.

It can easily replace all bus transit on the Trans-Canada Highway in the bottleneck. LRT can initially link up tracks with the E&N near the Colwood overpass to serve the bottleneck via the Goose corridor, then slowly develop from there.

Axel Brock-Miller



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