It’s time to invest in our island railway.
The E&N railway is approaching 130 years, and in that time, it has seen a fair amount of change. Depending on how you look at it, it has been both good and bad.
We need to think of funding this corridor as an investment in our transportation future, much like we consider investing in cycling, highways and airports as a positive thing. Although the latter two have huge negative environmental and social impacts.
It’s more than just a railway, it’s a transportation corridor that has huge potential to be the backbone of a green transportation system that incorporates transit, rail, car pooling, cycling and walking, etc.
Simply calling for the corridor to be converted into a trail adds nothing constructive to the transportation debate, since a trail is already being built along side.
People who aren’t able to use the bus, cycle or drive would have the ability to travel between urban areas independently if they choose. The trail and highway do not accommodate these people’s needs.
Imagine the jobs that can be created both directly and indirectly. From construction, maintenance, tourism, retail, green manufacturing, etc.
Stations in every community can be returned to as they once were, focal points of civic pride, public gathering places, sources of economic prosperity, etc. linked by transit, cycling and walking trails, supported by dense development and green spaces.
But for all of this to happen, a proper plan is needed that is formed by engaging the public, local businesses, local groups, First Nations and local governments, partnering with the private sector and provincial and federal governments.
It’s time to act.