E&N railway tracks are beyond redemption
Re: “Duncan mayor takes tour for first-hand look at condition of railway”, (Citizen, Oct. 16)
It is incredible how the Island Corridor Foundation continues to spin the fairy tale of a resurrected rail service along the E&N rail corridor. The recent tactic of offering tours to local mayors along selected stretches of track should be questioned. There are sections that can still support light and slow-moving vehicles as were used for the tours. A proper inspection of the complete corridor would provide a more realistic conclusion. Contrary to what the ICF CEO states, the tracks are falling apart.
The increasing uncertainty around funding, along with First Nations legal challenges, make it very unlikely that rail service will be restored. Maybe that is as it should be. Many fondly remember the whistles and clattering of the old Dayliners. A modern rail service might not be so benign. Faster trains would require substantial fencing and controlled crossings along much of the route. Those living near the tracks and drivers forced to wait at crossings would probably not welcome the necessary changes.
It is time to seriously challenge the ICF about the reality of their vision. Many think the corridor should be publicly owned and used as a trail. This would provide a reasonably level path over the Malahat to Victoria (as opposed to the recently completed, but prohibitively steep, sections of the Great Trail.)
Perhaps in a few decades, if the south Island continues to densify, some sort of commuter service along the corridor could be justified. Maybe, by then, it might be a raised monorail above the trail.