B.C. government shelves study on restoring Langford-Victoria rail line
An overgrown section of the old E&N rail line between Langford and Victoria is shown. Oct. 14, 2016. (CTV Vancouver Island)
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, November 23, 2017 5:13PM PST
The reset button has been hit on a study looking into reviving a rail line that would connect the West Shore with Victoria.
The NDP-led B.C. government has cancelled all consultations on rejuvenating the E & N Rail Line, which has gone unused for the last six years.
In March when the Liberals were still in power, they announced a new "vision" for the rail line with the goal of reopening a commuter rail service between Langford and Victoria.
But that vision appears to have been derailed by the new government which says it wants its own study.
"The previous government decided to have a review just before the last election, after having 16 years of doing nothing in the corridor," said Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena. "When I became minister I looked at that, realized it hadn't been inclusive, it had not included First Nations. We want to make sure we're dealing with this thoroughly."
Trevena said the government will consult with stakeholders including local First Nations before moving forward with any other plans.
"It's not going to happen overnight but we're working on it," she said.
Last year, a local developer who had already paid to have a thorough report produced pledged a train would be running on the tracks by this December.
Ken Mariash has since revised his prediction, saying he thinks a line could be up and running two years from now.
"When you only have to spend a few dollars to fix the ties and we can get the trains for nothing, what are we waiting for?" he said, adding trains used for the railway that were put aside are still operational.
If the two-year goal isn't reached, Mariash says it would mean only one thing: "Failure, by everybody."
Langford Mayor Stew Young called it "frustrating" that the restored route has been teased for years, but no plans have ever come to fruition.
"This is an important corridor obviously, and we want to make sure that something is up and running here to move people instead of the plugged, overcrowded highway that we have right now," said Young.