Rail numbers for Island service unrealistic

The recent aKd Report is “old news”. How’s that for an oxymoron?

The recent aKd Report is “old news”. How’s that for an oxymoron?

The Island Corridor Foundation’s determination not to reveal particularized info regarding its business operations is nothing more than a repeat of an ever-more-tiring mantra from its putative CEO, Granneke Management and Consulting Services (aka Graham Bruce, long time feeder at the public trough).

Why would Bruce reveal details of the actual state of affairs of the ICF when to do so would almost certainly bring a sudden end to his sinecure? Despite clearly being moribund, the ICF (courtesy of politicians dispensing tax dollars) continues to provide a considerable income to Bruce.

The ICF says that it only needs a $20 million injection to return a Southern Rail Vancouver Island  passenger service between Nanaimo and Victoria.

The provincial government, however, has determined that some $100 million plus will be required to bring the rail line up to minimal safety standards, and when have provincial government estimates not doubled when push comes to shove?

A more likely number is in the neighbourhood of $200 million as, not only is the railbed largely degraded beyond effective use, but the rails, ties, frogs, trestles, crossings, signals and all other features of an operational railroad need updating at best or replacing at worst.

Wow! All this to destroy the locally owned and operated businesses that have been providing the transportation and shipping services that have effectively replaced the services previously ineffectively provided by SRVI.

Worse yet, the proposed SRVI passenger rail service would leave Nanaimo before 7 a.m. and arrive in Victoria West, not Victoria, at shortly after 9 a.m. — just in time to make folks an hour or so late for work. But it gets better (oops, I mean: worse): the return trip leaves Victoria West (not Victoria) at 2:30 p.m. thus requiring most folks to book off sick in early afternoon. Really? This is a schedule realistically planned to meet the transportation needs of folk living between Nanaimo and Victoria — oops, again I mean Victoria West?

Suppose this planned schedule actually commences, let’s look at folks in centres down-Island from Nanaimo. Here they are, standing at their respective rail stations waiting for their train service, only to see it chug through without stopping as it is fully loaded by up-Island folk because, if the service is half as desirable as claimed, there ain’t gonna be any seats available after Duncan.

Forget the “what if” scenario cause it ain’t gonna happen. But let us not forget the utter waste of taxpayer dollars that our politicians have thrown, and continue to throw, at the ICF for a moribund rail service.

And perhaps lastly, let us not overlook the fact that our financially struggling ICF loaned $175,000 to SRVI, a subsidiary of multi-billionaire Dennis Washington’s hugely profitable business giant Southern Rail. This one truly boggles the mind!

This is not a jesting matter, but it is truly laughable.

 

Pat Mulcahy

Saltair

 

P.S. The ICF should be reconstituted as an LRT site for a time when the up-Island population hits a million-plus, perhaps with early development for service between Victoria and the Western Communities. Until then, the Corridor should be developed and maintained as a pedestrian and cycling trail, bringing much-needed tourist dollars up and down the Island.

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