Fact Sheet – The Operator
Southern Railway of Vancouver Island Limited
ICF chose Southern Railway of Vancouver Island (SVI) to operate the Island railway on Vancouver Island following ICF’s acquisition of that property. Formerly the railway was owned by Rail America and Canadian Pacific Railway.
SVI provides rail freight services to customers along the railway. It also operates daily intercity passenger service from Victoria to Courtenay by arrangements with VIA Rail Canada. .
SVI employs 22 people and has a wage bill of $1.25 million a year as well as spending another $1 million for rail operations as part of the Island economy.
SVI is a division of Southern Railway of British Columbia Limited (SRY) a major short-line operator in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley areas. SRY is an affiliate of the privately held Washington Group of Companies.
SVI utilizes sister company Seaspan to provide the marine rail connection between the Island and the Lower Mainland thereby providing Island businesses with neutral connections to four Class One railways – CP, CN, Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) and Union Pacific (UP).
At the Lower Mainland operations, almost one-half of the traffic handled by SRY originates or terminates on Annacis Island where major automobile and forest product distribution facilities are located.
SRY customers include more than 150 shippers of forest, building, agricultural, automotive, chemical, consumer and steel products.
SRY maintains its own fleet of 32 locomotives and its locomotive and car shops provide repair services to both Canadian and U.S. customers. SRY provides specialty railcars to customers and currently has more than 2,200 cars in its fleet.
With 177 employees, SRY handles close to 73,000 carloads annually. It owns more than 125 miles of track of which 62 miles are mainline and interchanges with the four North American Class One railways at six locations.
All of these services and facilities are offered to SVI customers on the Vancouver Island line.
SVI serves freight customers involved in agricultural, forest product, propane, concrete, animal feed and fuel products. Significant increases in business with Vancouver Island customers shipping goods on and off the Island have already been made. In the future SVI anticipates further increased business with its existing customers plus additional new opportunities for shipping forest products, aggregates, coal and general merchandise.
SVI also sees additional opportunities to grow the passenger business by working with VIA Rail Canada and others to increase the scheduled passenger, tourist excursion and community passenger rail business.