Is rail service such a great idea?

Re: ‘Something just may happen in next 30 years’ (Editorial, PQB News, Aug. 29)

Your recent editorial about ICF was right on.

ICF appears not to have a business plan and has in all reality not given us taxpayers any idea on the real cost of redoing the rail line. A recent article in another paper, stated that on the mainland, the cost of resurrecting the interurban between Surrey and Chilliwack, a 99-kilometre distance, was going to run in the neighbourhood of more than a billion dollars.

So, what would the cost be to get the E&N up and running to modern standards and cover a distance considerably longer than 99 kilometres?

There a lot of people here on the Island that think it would be great to see passenger rail service again between Courtenay and Victoria. I’ve overheard people say it would be great to zip down to Nanaimo or Victoria on the train, and it probably would be.

But what kind of service to they expect? How often do they think the train will come by? The ICF has never mentioned how often would this service be. Once a day, twice a day or…?

They have also, to the best of my knowledge, never mentioned how many freight trains one could expect to see using this same line. Keep in mind that freight, not passenger service is the money-maker for rail companies.

I’m sure there are many communities that would not be too pleased having freight trains rumbling through their area at all hours of the day. If getting this line back up and running is such a great, profitable idea, why are neither the CNR, CPR or whomever doing this?

No, instead it’s easier to ask the government (the taxpayers) to foot the bill to build it and then for said taxpayers to watch it lose money every year.

Graham Shortreed


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