Letter: Rail the best use of our corridor

No need to tear up very valuable infrastructure when there already is complimentary “Rail WITH Trail”

Rail the best use of our corridor

I would like to take this opportunity to correct statements made by Ian Andersen in your Aug. 18 edition. His comment about use of the E&N rail corridor without rails is completely wrong.

If this railway were to be deemed shut down, which it’s not, there would be no opportunity to use it for anything else. The corridor would be broken up into many segments which would remove it completely from any other uses. Its best use is as an operating railway, with a variety of passenger trains on it plus freight for revenue.

No passenger service in the world operates without some government subsidy. For the Langford to Victoria portion, that would primarily operate as a commuter service. Courtney to Victoria would be intercity passenger feeding into the Langford hub which, of course, services Qualicum, Parksville, Nanaimo, Nanaimo airport, Ladysmith, Duncan and all points in between to Victoria and back. Freight opportunities are many and varied, which would produce a good revenue stream over and above passenger revenues and subsidies. Likely reducing the subsidies substantially.

In addition, for the benefit of the Mr. Andersens of the world, the corridor already has a large number of kilometres of paths alongside the rails and more to come. No need to tear up the very valuable infrastructure when there already is complimentary “Rail WITH Trail” along the corridor. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water when both are important. I realize there are folks who like to bike and hike along trails. Here is an opportunity for all of that and accommodate the rest of us who neither bike nor hike but need transportation other than the car. The rest of the world uses rail extensively, why not Canada? By the way, Rail also addresses many of the environmental issues.

Jack Peake