A reserection of the E&N rail line has been called for by all 13 of the Greater Victoria region’s mayors, and the Island Corridor Foundation is feeling optimistic. (Black Pres File Photo)

A reserection of the E&N rail line has been called for by all 13 of the Greater Victoria region’s mayors, and the Island Corridor Foundation is feeling optimistic. (Black Pres File Photo)

Island Corridor Foundation ‘cautiously optimistic’ about rail line reactivation

The province is currently completing its rail assessment

The Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) is feeling optimistic about the chances of rail lines being reactivated in the Capital Region.

In an Esquimalt council meeting on Monday, ICF CEO Larry Stevenson addressed council with an update as the province completes its ongoing assessment. The ICF is a non-profit organization which owns and manages the former E&N Railway line, which stretches approximately 290 km. It is not in charge or participating in the provincial assessment.

Stevenson added that when the province first committed to an assessment in February he was skeptical, but after watching surveyors come in his opinion changed.

ALSO READ: Province commits to six-month investigation of E&N corridor

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised when they were bringing in people to do the assessment; these are CP [Canadian Pacific Rail] people, these are people who have worked in rail for 40 years.”

The E&N line, which officially shut down on the Island in 2011, has had 12 studies done on it over the years.

“I’m convinced this is the most researched track in North America,” Stevenson said. “There’s so many number in these reports, it causes confusion.”

Stevenson thinks the large amount of data gives the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure “analysis paralysis” from information surplus.

Regardless, public input from across the Island has been in support of the railway line; in February, all 13 mayors from the CRD penned a letter to Premier John Horgan and Transportation Minister Claire Trevena asking the province to commit funding to rail service in the Capital Region.

READ MORE:All 13 CRD mayors call for province to fund E&N rail segment

Shortly after, the province announced it would commit to a six-month study into the corridor to determine costs, safety requirements, seismic risk assessments and rock fall review.

“The assessment will encompass a high-level identification of infrastructure requirements and cost upgrades needed to allow the operation of a commuter rail from Langford to Victoria,” said the province in a statement in February.

The study is set to be complete by the end of the year.

“We’re hopeful that we’re not just kicking the can down the road,” Stevenson said. ” We believe rail must play a key role in any integrated transportation systems on the Island… this has to be a rail, transit and ferry solution.”

Stevenson believes the costs associated with reactivating the rail system would fall well below what’s being paid in Surrey to create a new 10 km stretch of light rail line, which is facing a nearly $2 billion bill. One of the more costly expenses in the Capital Region would be crafting a new station at the Victoria end of the infrastructure in Vic West.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

CP RailCRDEsquimaltrailwayTransportation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach resident Harold MacDougall won $75,000 off a Casino Royale II Scratch & Win ticket, purchased the ticket at Qualicum Foods on Memorial Avenue. (BCLC photo)
Qualicum Beach man $75K richer thanks to scratch-and-win ticket windfall

MacDougall plans on trips to Cape Breton and Scotland

The property at 113 and 161 Island Highway is currently being dismantled as the developer attempts to salvage ‘usable’ lumber for their development application to the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Development application delayed for high-profile Parksville property

Council refers application to staff for further improvements

(File photo)
RCMP warn of counterfeit bill use in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Police have received four calls in November regarding bogus bills

The COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on film production on central and north Vancouver Island, says Vancouver Island North Film Commission. Pictured here, production of TV series Resident Alien in Ladysmith earlier this year. (Black Press file)
Film commissioner says COVID-19 cost central Island $6 million in economic activity

Jurassic World: Dominion, Chesapeake Shores among productions halted due to pandemic, says INFilm

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Most Read