The letter to the editor by Bob Lundine (The NEWS, June 11) is exactly what should be done with the rail right of way.
I agree that it is economically impossible for the rail operation to be restored with any semblance of being cost effective. Additionally, it will never ever be profitable, nor even come close to break even.
We hear numbers like $20 million just to get things started. Likely it will take half of that just to do a comprehensive inspection of every inch of every rail, then figure in the tens of thousands of ties and spikes to be replaced and the numbers grow.
How much just to build a new Parksville station to national standards? Try something like $200,000. How many stations need to be built, how many totally refurbished or upgraded, never mind replaced?
How about parking? Every road crossing will have to be overhauled and upgraded. On top of that, how many extremely high-paid union workers will be on full-time payroll, 200 or 300? Any idea how many bridges to be replaced at what, a million each? I bet $20 million won’t even get things started.
Rip up the rails and install utilities. Water up and down the Island, possibly even tied to a pipeline from the mainland. Bury the power lines where feasible saving millions in yearly maintenance costs, install natural gas lines. A prime and natural utility corridor. Way way more beneficial than an expensive bottomless pit of a rail line.
Top it all off with a good walking/biking path three meters wide, possibly even allowing small scooters for us to pop over to the next town. Covered rest stops, toilets, benches, water fountains, decent lighting, parking where possible. All kinds of possibilities. Forget a railway. It’s a bad idea. Noise and diesel fumes — ugh.
Parksville/Nanaimo could even throw in a bunch of money now slated for the Englishman River waterworks. Leave the river water for the salmon.
That will bring tourists, not a dumb, noisy, dirty train that will be halted by every windstorm or even an earthquake.