The former E&N Railway station in Langford has been touted in the past as a potential stop or terminus of a commuter rail system to downtow Victoria.

Market test needed for commuter rail

Saanich resident writes in response to a letter about commuter rail in Greater Victoria.

Re: Regional commuter rail system could pay for itself (Letters, Aug. 10)

Eric Neilson’s verbose letter has three notable points. The E&N track only serves a limited market, primarily CFB Esquimalt and associated dockyards, as Victoria eliminated tracks on the Johnson Street Bridge and commuters don’t want a long walk or another route transfer. It is worthwhile if the cost is low, but it seems late now to help the McKenzie interchange.

Neilson advocates user pay, a very good principle. But in competition with subsidized roads, the only attraction might be higher speed, which saves the one scarce resource – individual human time. It is, however, pie-in-the-sky at this point given the timing and the lack of a market test before Victoria abandoned the E&N on the new bridge.

What has been needed for decades is a modest market test of commuter rail using the E&N trackage. Recall that harbour ferries here were a dismal failure, but the airport leg of the Skytrain in Vancouver has been quite successful – all surprises. Without a test, advocates of rail transit are just theorizing.

Unfortunately Neilson throws in a gratuitous xenophobic scheme to force local manufacturing, a hypocritical approach given the trade of manufacturers here, and the amount of money coming here from taxpayers of B.C., tourists, and retirees. Manufacturers have to perform, government meddling instead results in failures like management of the E&N trackage.

Keith Sketchley


Just Posted

Number of adults living with parents has doubled since 1995

9 per cent of the adult population living with one or more parent

Victoria Guard Commander leads group of snowmen after ceremony cancelled

Lt.-Cmdr. Michael Irwin wasn’t going to let a bit of snow strip him of his duties

Beauty Day spreads ‘brightness’ at Our Place

Volunteer hairdressers, estheticians, even a tarot card reader took part in the Victoria event

Victoria saw more snowfall this month compared to other major cities

Victoria normally sees about 6 cm of snow in February

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Most Read