If we get rid of our train tracks now, we will never get them back. (Citizen file)

Editorial: Trains can have successful future

One thing is absolutely clear: if we give up the track now, we will never get it back.

It’s been so long since we’ve heard anything substantial about the Island Corridor Foundation’s plans to revitalize the track that we were beginning to think the whole thing had been consigned to the dustbin of history, as so many railways have been across our country over the years.

That’s why we were excited last week to hear that not only have they not given up on the tracks (to put a trail in their place or not), they’ve got an even more ambitious plan in mind now.

Many questioned whether the previous plan, which required a mere $7.5 million from each of the federal and provincial governments (practically pocket change for these levels of government), and about $5 million from local municipal governments, would even be able to achieve the stated goal of reopening the railway, which has been shut down due to disrepair on the line since 2011.

People were concerned that the amount of work needed to get the trains running again would far exceed the modest budget, with little reward at the end, even if they could reopen the rail line.

There’s a new plan now. It’s ambitious.

The new bill is $42.7 million, with a focus on major track upgrades between Nanaimo and Victoria, commuter passenger service between Victoria and Langford, a tourist excursion train between the Nanaimo cruise ship terminal and Chemainus and freight service expansion. These are all practical suggestions that we think can succeed.

Naysayers will argue that you’ll never get people out of their cars to use a train, but they said the same thing about the commuter buses to Victoria, which have proven wildly successful.

One thing is absolutely clear: if we give up the track now, we will never get it back.

And that would be a shame.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Water in Lake Cowichan just fine, says acting mayor

Tim McGonigle said there is no truth to rumours of water advisories

Cowichan Caps help BCHL score commitment record

The BCHL saw 172 players commit to post-secondary institutions this past season

Murray Hatfield and Teresa present evening of magic and comedy streaming live May 29

The Duncan Volunteer Fire Department is inviting you to an evening of magic and comedy

Chemainus animal sanctuary needs your vote in nationwide contest

RASTA is up for $5,000 from Nutram; contest runs until May 31

Woman charged in fatal accident back in court on June 2

Sara Rosetta Thomas faces six charges in 2018 incident

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read