Trains are a thing of the past
I recently saw an article in the Cowichan Valley Citizen by a group called E&N Roundtable and this is my reply to them and to your recent article concerning the E&N.
This issue has concerned me for years in our area and I’m finally frustrated enough to say something.
I think revitalization of the E&N is a complete waste of time and money. The only thing I might support is a high speed dayliner between the Cowichan Valley and Victoria. However, I don’t even see that option as feasible because of the terrain, all the crossings, and the huge amount of money needed for infrastructure repair, rebuild and maintenance. Also: the train can’t even go to downtown Victoria anymore because they didn’t put a rail line on the new bridge!
I use the Cowichan multi-use, former rail trails all the time along with thousands of others. They are fantastic! So many people use them and they are even handicap accessible allowing the less fortunate to get out and enjoy nature. In Victoria, the Galloping Goose has become a bike commuters dream with thousands of people using it.
There is a very good BUS system that goes back and forth from Cowichan to Victoria every day with ride share parking. This is a very good system which will take commuters safely to downtown Victoria for a fraction of the price of driving. What would a train ride cost to recover the costs of repairs to the rail system? A hundred dollars per trip?
In addition: we don’t move logs anymore by rail. Commercial uses are very limited. I only rode the train once in all the years of the E&N when it was running. It was a summer tourist novelty at best, that the locals didn’t even use. Why put all this money into something islanders didn’t even use?
Furthermore, why not finish widening/twinning the #1 Highway of Canada and finally make it safe for all to drive over the Malahat instead of pouring millions into a rail line very few will use? Or, how about a floating bridge from Mill Bay to Pat Bay?
Let’s be realistic here. Trains are things of the past here on the Island and not feasible! Electric transportation and buses are the way of the future.
Please stop the insanity and turn the rail lines into multi-use trails for the use and benefit of all of us in our communities!
I have sent this letter to all the North Cowichan coucillors and all the CVRD directors. Hopefully common sense will prevail and the E&N will NOT be resurrected!