A freight train makes its way over the Black Bridge in Duncan, back when rail was still running on the E&N corridor. A new survey from Island Corridor Foundation found that there is still a large amount of support for getting trains up and running again. (Citizen file)

A freight train makes its way over the Black Bridge in Duncan, back when rail was still running on the E&N corridor. A new survey from Island Corridor Foundation found that there is still a large amount of support for getting trains up and running again. (Citizen file)

Big support for rail on Vancouver Island, survey finds

80 per cent of survey respondents believe a modern and revitalized rail system should be funded

The Island Corridor Foundation released the results of a recent survey they conducted to collect input from the residents of Vancouver Island regarding rail service on Vancouver Island.

The information gathered reinforces the vital importance of the rail corridor as a part of the transportation infrastructure, said Larry Stevenson, Island Corridor Foundation CEO, in a press release.

While support is strongest in the two major population centres, Victoria and Nanaimo, there is a high level of support across the Island for the restoration of rail service, the survey found. Overall, 80 per cent of survey respondents believe that federal and provincial governments should fund a modern and revitalized rail system for Vancouver Island and 81 per cent of respondents believe rail should receive a subsidy to support ongoing operations.

“We appreciate the time Islanders took to provide their views on the restoration of rail service,” Stevenson said. “The tremendous response underscores the importance of this issue for our communities. The results should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that the people of Vancouver Island want to see rail service restored.”

Leonard Krog, Mayor of Nanaimo, agreed, saying, “The people of Vancouver Island have spoken loud and clear. They want the province to get on board with all of us who want our railway restored.”

The survey was conducted by third-party contractor Webstation Global Systems Inc. and ran from Sept. 18 to Sept. 26. It received 3,533 responses, and of those 2,979 responses gave a valid postal code for Vancouver Island regions adjacent to the rail corridor. Those responses were used to formulate the results.

Full survey results can be found here: https://www.islandrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/ICF_Survey_Results_2020FINAL.pdf

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