Nanaimo – Counting on VIA Rail to provide any kind of passenger service here on the Island is like trying to hitch up some dinosaurs to a plow.
Never again will we be able to make a good business case for heavy rail transport on the Island; as to passenger service the idea of using the “Bud Cars” is unworkable, they are too old and too expensive to maintain and so will be broken down most of the time.
VIA Rail is not able to move far enough from their “train train” thinking to even consider the idea of the light rapid transit needed to make passenger service possible and economically feasible.
We need to move people quickly, efficiently and on schedules that will make sense. Couple that with the addition of courier services and light freight and the passenger portion of the business becomes the gravy after the expenses are met.
Technology has come a long way in the last decade; we can have solar powered pop-up LED crossing barriers that won’t be damaged even if driven over, cameras at crossings that activate when the train is a halfkilometre out so the driver can see what’s up ahead, buses that are able to pull off of the track and proceed to more convenient stations where parking is available.
All of this must be considered in order to have a speedy, efficient and useful service. I don’t think VIA Rail can do it.