I challenge Island Corridor Foundation executive director Graham Bruce to justify his fancy position for a railway track that sits rotting and rusting, having been neglected to the point where it was not safe to run trains fast enough to provide a passenger service.
Certainly the federal government and the City of Victoria are complicit, for the delay in getting Via Rail ready for commuter service and replacing rolling stock, and deliberately omitting tracks from the new Johnson Street bridge.
There seems to be an expectation that people will walk much further to get to their workplace in downtown Victoria, or take the time and risk to make a transfer to buses after having had a bus, ParkNRide, or KissNRide transfer at their origin.
Surveys elsewhere indicate commuters have limited tolerance for transfers. Among their reasons are likely the risk of a missed transfer or full bus, thus having to allow extra time to get to work.
Without large numbers of people travelling into downtown Victoria, the only potential business is from CFB Esquimalt and the Dockyard, whose gates the track passes close to. But many base employees chose not to use the cross-harbour ferry service, so it ceased – how many would actually use the E&N?
Because the track and bridges etc. were allowed to deteriorate, there has not been a market test, which is essential.
The E&N track should be considered a dead asset for rail service, to stop bleeding money on administration and unrealistic plans, perhaps able to be necessitated by someone who can actually get things done – which isn’t the ICF.