Learn rail lessons from rest of the world – Cowichan Valley Citizen

I would like to refer to the letter from B. Bolton making the derogatory remark “a few bricks short of a load”.
Regardless of what one’s opinion may be, no one has the right to make a remark of that nature. It is disrespectful and uncalled for. All of us have opinions on many different subjects and basically to call someone “stupid” because of a different idea or opinion is unacceptable.
Now to address Mr. Bolton and Mr. Butler on the view of the use of the E&N rail corridor. First of all, we as Canadians, with our governments taking the lead, have lost sight of the value of railway services. Our country and our area continues to grow in leaps and bounds and lessons can and should be learned from the rest of the world. If we want to reduce environmental damage, air pollution and provide alternatives to our love of the car. Rail services are the only way to go. We have an opportunity here to provide a form of commuter services, intercity passenger services, freight services and tourist services. How about getting some trucks off the Malahat and saving some lives? These opportunities are available on the line as a whole or on certain sections. At a reasonable cost, particularly if the system is prioritized and work begun where the opportunity is greatest. There are even private investors out there interesting in contributing to a good portion of the cost. I have just returned from a lengthy trip to Great Britain and Europe and experienced rail services in both congested areas and lightly populated areas. One such area is in Ireland between Cobh and Cork. Not a lot of people but a very efficient rail service.
If we fail to take advantage of this opportunity we will regret it forever.
As to costs. Twenty-five million dollars will provide passenger/commuter services between Langford and Victoria. Which will also address an opportunity to provide tourist trains to satisfy the cruise ship passengers arriving in Victoria by the thousands. This is not rocket science but simply common sense and it can be done. The situation in Lac Megantic is completely different than Vancouver Island. Don’t compare apples to oranges. We in Canada have lost site of the value of existing infrastructure and need to put our thinking caps on, work cooperatively with all levels of government and the private sector and make it happen. By the way, to put buses on the corridor would require much more effort and money than either of the gentlemen have guesstimated. The time is now. Do it right. Do it with rail.
Jack Peake
Duncan
Link to full article here.

One thought on “Learn rail lessons from rest of the world – Cowichan Valley Citizen

  1. Many people including myself have contributed letters from politicians and newspaper articles to the Island Corridor Foundation to help them advance the early stages of a new concept of passenger rail on Vancouver Island. The E&N push to center was done just after Premier Clark resigned. At the time the West Coast Express was running as a B.C, funded commuter service. The Lower Mainland Commuter Rail Consortium proposal of running to Mission was past in an All Mayors rally in Port Moody in 1989. As President a lobby group was formed and it attracted standing room only crowds as it went up and down the valley. In 1993 I was awarded a Queen’s Medal for exemplary work in transportation. I retired from VIA in 2004 after 34 years with both CN and VIA but continued on joining other rail groups. The Consortium left behind the West Coast Express extension to Vancouver Island not by choice but by politics. At the time those thousands of people who turned out at rallies put on by community groups to support the proposal were left very bitter when Clark was acquitted of any wrong doing. In 2008 after the Fraser Valley meetings Campbell finally made a deal with Southern Rail to work the E&N on Vancouver Island and gave Translink the go ahead to extend Skytrain to Langley. Both railways are close cousins in New Westminster and Southern may reach a deal yet with Translink to expand commuter rail to the Island. The latest election were great results to push forward with past plans. Housing was the main issue, however with the proper planned extension the affordable housing for many here is the Island. We need the extension as a commuter run connecting all the transportation at Canada Place to Chemainus as a huge walk on ferry connecting trains and buses and drop off car lots. It looks expensive—well save money by leaving your car, save money on housing costs that are out of reach for the majority in greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.buyer’s. Those are the major expenses of most families. The normal rush hour is 4hours return in the Lower Mainland and it’s a constant complaint echoed by traffic reports on the radio and tweeters. So maybe the health would improve if the was less accidents and help ICBC reduce insurance. With these reasons I believe the passenger rail service on Vancouver Island will be a huge success and a popular weekend trip, a commuter run and room for a tourist train. The profit is in the savings to the public.

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