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Letter: E&N Railway Rebirth — 21 Comments

    • Yes, when you look at Shawnigan Lake, Mill Bay, Duncan and other commuter points. You have to also look at what the Go Train did for for bedroom communities to the East of Toronto.
      Affordable housing with a fast connection to downtown Toronto!

  1. Victoria to langford, even up to duncan and Nanaimo eventually, need some sort of rapid transit. We live on an island, there can only be so many roads. Small communities in Japan manage to maintain light rail service, I don’t see why we can’t start one here, especially when we already have the right of way. A steel and tie gang could upgrade the twelve miles between Langford and Victoria in a season if someone actually bit the bullet and put in the millions. Plus, I’d love to work at home for a change.

  2. It needs to come back! For the very simple reason of there is only 2 ways to travel to Victoria from neighbouring municipalities, on foot or by vehicle. If we continue on trying to just relying on bike lanes and extra buses. Then our transportation issues are only going to get worse.

  3. The skytrain in Vancouver works because one rolls through ANY station every 5 minutes. If they’re going to run a train from Shawnigan or Duncan to Victoria, or even Langford to Victoria, and a passenger has to wait 30 minutes between them, sorry, people wont buy into it and wait. This is why the Mill Bay ferry is a poor alternative. 40 cars every hour? yeah, if I miss the ferry in Mill Bay I can damn near drive to Brentwood before it gets there. The same will happen with a train unless they’re willing to invest to make the schedule so massively convenient that people will take notice; otherwise it’s just a waste of time and money.

    • Jason: Your comments regarding a massively convenient system and how it would relate to usage is correct, and relates the the old adage about what comes first – The chicken or the egg.
      That has always been a puzzle that makes decisions like the E&N reintroduction difficult. The solution in this case would be most palatable if the system grew more convenient as ridership increased. Keep development costs as low as possible, and suffer the critical comments while the system grows as more and more commuters are able to appreciate the convenience. The cries from the naysayers would hit a fever pitch if any new leg of the E&N started off on a grand scale.

      • @ Ed: Connecting to the ferry terminals will energize the ENR along its entire length. I am dismayed this idea hasn’t been widely floated before, even when there were three historic commuter rail lines doing just that on the Saanich Peninsula early last century.

  4. No, we need an underground service from Sooke to Victoria. If Langford pays for it they can have a stop too.

    Does not stop in Mechosin, sorry.

  5. Put pavement on the E&N railroad and run buses on it. Dedicated bus line between Langford and Victoria, with limited on/off for bus. Since the rail bed is not wide enough for 2 buses in the morning buses go to Victoria, in the afternoon buses head back to Langford. Ottawa has dedicated bus roads and it works great. Outside peak hours people take normal bus routes.

    • Sidings solve 2 way traffic until demand and improvements find their way into the system

  6. Am I correct in recalling that land was taken from Indigenous bands along that line with the provision that if it ever became disused it would revert back to the Natives? I have always thought that E&N just barely keep it operating so as to not lose the real estate. Was there ever a treaty or settlement otherwise?
    Rapid transit would be good, starting in Sooke.

    • Is there a treaty? Not aware of one.
      Do the first nations want dibs on the corridor real estate? Yes they have so stated, but they would benefit form the line the same as any other island resident.

  7. Bring it back if it’s primary function is AFFORDABLE daily commuting from malahat and up communities. Leave it dead if it’s converted to bike/pedestrian use. BUT USE THE BLOODY CORRIDOR!

  8. Here’s my prediction – a train will never again travel on the E&N route from Victoria to Courtney. It just makes no economic sense to maintain a rail bed, bridges and trestles when there is a perfect good highway that parallels the tracks.

    Langford Mayor Young has the right idea with a dedicated bus line from Langford to downtown. Even then, a dedicated bus line will cause disruptions with other traffic because of all the level crossings in Esquimalt and Vic West.

  9. Too many lament the “high cost” of decent commuter rail service, let alone the egregiously neglected service on the ideally-situated ENR corridor. I challenge those individuals to calculate the total cost of the only other meaningful modes of transportation on the Island for the past 3/4 of a century: the ferry and highway system. It’s billions. And billions.

    The critics of poor ridership on the ENR need to consider its future potential, not its history subsumed by the Age of the Automobile and asphalt politics. If the ENR was connected to the Island’s three main ferry terminals it would instantly tap into a passenger market of almost 6 million people a year. That’s a pretty solid start.

    Now consider the sunk cost of the $333 million corridor. That land, if retained, will not be paid for again. Obliterating the corridor only to force future generations to rebuild it on new land when price volatility in fossil fuels rattles the economy, and climate change impacts really start to get heavy, will be astronomical.

    Then you’ve got all the per capita benefits of rail (cost, emissions, transport efficiency …) and the corresponding human-scaled urban development near a corridor that already joins the heart of every major Island town and city together, except for Campbell River.

    These are reasons enough to make incremental investments in a Vancouver Island Railway in accordance with a long-term plan to fight climate change by making our cities better in part through clean 21st Century transportation.