No word from VIA on future of Island Rail

No word from Via on future of Island rail


AUGUST 7, 2013
Via Rail operated passenger service on the Island E&N line, from Victoria to Courtenay, until March 2011.
Via Rail has gone silent on the future of passenger rail service on Vancouver Island, abruptly cancelling an interview and refusing to comment on allegations it is negotiating in bad faith with local rail proponents.
Via, the federal Crown corporation responsible for Canadian rail service, cancelled without explanation an interview with the Times Colonist on Wednesday, the same day the Island Corridor Foundation slammed the corporation for its “colonial” mentality in ignoring Islanders.
“An interview will not be possible,” Via said in a statement.
The company referred back to a statement at its annual general meeting, more than two months ago, unrelated to the questions asked being asked about negotiations by the Island Corridor Foundation today.
The Island Corridor Foundation says Via hasn’t replied to a service proposal submitted by its private contractor, Southern Railway of B.C., in April.
That proposal would limit Via’s annual losses, propose an early-morning run from Nanaimo to Victoria, take over control of local train schedules and increase passenger rail traffic by 50 per cent.
Via stopped passenger train service on the Island’s E&N line in 2011, after safety concerns about the deteriorating rail track.
Since then, the Island Corridor Foundation has cobbled together more than $18 million in regional, provincial and federal funding to fix the track. But the money is contingent on a new passenger rail contract with Via.
The Island Corridor Foundation has set an end-of-August deadline for negotiations.
The foundation increased its public war of words with Via on Wednesday, calling the federal silence “a slap for Islanders” and encouraging the public to write the prime minister, premier, Via Rail and the provincial and federal transportation ministers.
© Copyright 2013

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *