Editor John Harding asks in his editorial (The News, Oct. 12) whether the rails are economically viable.
I am excited that the rail service will resume next year, hopefully.
There is a vast number of retirees, plus others in Oceanside communities, who will be happy to ride the rails for a day in Victoria, rather than undertake the drive down Island.
Certainly I count myself amongst them and will use the train often if it is convenient. It is convenience to the riders that will support the rail line.
Catching the morning train in Nanaimo to travel south eliminates the participation of any mid-Island would-be rail passengers who haven’t a means of getting to Nanaimo’s terminal, as well as those with vehicles who do not wish the very early car drive to the terminal, or the parking fee there.
The train’s later Courtenay route at midday through Oceanside to Victoria does not provide time enough to spend in Victoria if the train does not arrive in downtown Victoria until at least mid-afternoon, and turns around again at 6 p.m.
The brief trip would not be worth the cost for most.
Following is my suggestion for a golden opportunity to service a much wider spectrum of potential rail passengers.
Originate the morning service to Victoria from Qualicum Beach, the centre of Oceanside. Qualicum’s terminal provides handy access to people living in communities immediately to the north such as Deep Bay and Bowser, as well as to folks across the highway in Coombs and Errington.
The train from Qualicum Beach would stop in Parksville, and Nanoose Bay. Already it may be full or half full before it even arrives in Nanaimo.
The train’s morning departure from Qualicum Beach could still accommodate the planned departure time from Nanaimo.
The Qualicum Beach terminal offers convenience for Oceanside travellers. The train will reach a much wider ridership than if it originates in Nanaimo, and The Island Corridor Foundation will be wise to consider this if economics are paramount.
If Oceanside readers concur, please contact www.islandrail.ca Friends of the Corridor, with your comments.