Putting buses on rail line route near impossible, says developer Mariash -Times Colonist

Turning the E&N rail line into a bus route would be a near-impossible, expensive proposition, says developer Ken Mariash.
“All these quick simple solutions instead of the obvious are always good to talk about but the minute you kind of go into the detail it’s quite shocking how impossible some of these other alternatives might be,” said Mariash of Focus Equities, master developer of the Bayview site.
Premier John Horgan in an address to the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce Tuesday rejected the idea of running light rail on the derelict line.
But while rail isn’t in the cards, Horgan said, he is committed to using the corridor to move people.
Transportation Minister Claire Trevena later said that if trains are ruled out, the E&N corridor could be used for buses.
The news surprised several local politicians who said Horgan’s speech was the first they had heard that commuter rail was not in the cards for the E&N.
Mariash, who said he’s invested in the neighbourhood of $1 million investigating options for light rail for the stretch between Langford and Victoria, said he wasn’t consulted on the decision.
One has only to look at some of the rail bridges to realize that transit isn’t feasible on the corridor, said Mariash.
“Most of those bridges that go over top on the separated crossing are only wide enough for a 10-foot-wide train to go over top. So how do you build anything there? Then the rail bed is only wide enough for a 10-foot train or less. How do you put anything on that.
He said running buses on the corridor is not as simple as pulling up the tracks.
“You’ve got to basically rip everything up, including the bed and start all over again with the foundations and the layers that are required from the ground up to build a freeway.”
Mariash said he doesn’t know why he wasn’t consulted.
“To reach out and go that direction you’re talking another $20 million in reports and engineering and rights of way and much more difficult discussion with First Nations ”
Capital costs such as track repairs for rail would be about $10 million, he said.
Rolling stock would have to be bought or leased but there’s lots available — both new and used, he said.
Trevena stressed that the government has been working on the issue for a number of months with Esquimalt-Metchosin MLA Mitzi Dean leading talks with First Nations.
“There’s still a lot of consultation to do because we’ve also got the question of the Island Corridor Foundation,” she said.
“They own the line and we’ve got to make sure that they’re fully engaged in this because it is their property.”
— With files from Lindsay Kines
See the full article HERE

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