Al Nichol’s letter ‘Seniors want trains’ (The NEWS, May 20) is one of several representing a wish for a practical rail service, particularly for seniors.
I agree that this would be of great benefit, were it a realistic proposition. Leaving his negative comments regarding the value that a trail would bring to all communities aside for now, let’s take a step back and look at what rail entails.
First, nobody is talking about how many freight cars will be rolling through the Parksville Qualicum Beach area to pay for the tracks. Secondly, resources are unlikely to be driven far on road to a rail line, so expect mines, clear cuts and who knows what other resource extraction industries to be forced on communities along the corridor (remember, you asked for rail, so to give you what you want, we need to bring in these projects).
Third, what kind of passenger service are we talking about? For around a single per cent of the $140 to $200 million dollars an infrastructure reinstatement would cost, we could subsidize bus services that would offer the flexibility to go into the communities that need them at times that they will be of use.
Compare this with the proposed weekday rail service, heading south from Nanaimo at 5:30 a.m.. Finally (for now), please recognize that there is no way to remove the thousands of road and driveway crossings that have been put in place since the railway was first established. Those proponents of rail citing its efficiency are comparing apples with oranges, similar to comparing fuel efficiency between urban and highway driving.
Those who think they are in favour of rail need to demand those who represent them to clarify exactly what the impacts will be on our communities, and how a passenger service will compare with the cozy, pie-in-the-sky perception most people currently hold. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee before you’re waking up to the sound of this beautiful area being destroyed.