The E&N Railway Roundtable has recently been formed to revive the Vancouver Island passenger railway system.
Why not work toward having the track line refurbished into a paved two-way bus route? Most of the towns and cities along the line are central to their communities. This would still be a tourist attraction, away from the Malahat and inland highways, cars and trucks. If necessary, buses would be able to move into the communities, whereas trains cannot. Bicycle and hiking trails could be incorporated as well.
The future of tourism: – imagine a combined bus, bicycle and hiking trail traveling through the wonderful scenery away from heavy traffic, and yet close to the businesses along the way.
We can look to the future with lighter and more frequent buses using the old rail line. Buses weigh much less than trains and almost all the tracks and many of the bridges need to be rebuilt to support the weight of trains which can only perform one or two trips up and down the island. In an emergency, police, fire trucks, and ambulances could also travel on this bus route during rush hour traffic.
One only has to look at the Greater Vancouver population of over 2.4 million, and how many people use the train systems there. From Jan 1 to June 30, 2017, there were 1.2M boardings on the West Coast Express line and 74M boardings on the Sky Train. This doesn’t include other public transportation systems. We do not have the population to sustain train travel, nostalgic as it may be.
And while I’m on the subject of buses; why do we have large transit buses traveling through our communities with one or two people on them? Another newspaper article mentioned the purchase of new buses. Please consider using smaller buses which will have less of an impact on residential streets. Heck, for the cost of the our current transit system, we could even have dial-a-bus direct to our doors.