Rail service can still return to the island, and the line from Parksville to Port Alberni is the crown jewel of tourist trains – that according to the Island Corridor Foundation’s new CEO Larry Stephenson.
He and other board members were in Port Alberni last week to talk trains, and he hasn’t given up on bringing rail service back to the west coast.
Stephenson said the restoration of rail service on the island would benefit Port Alberni more than other communities, as freighters queued up to get into Vancouver could be sent to our port, which could be the release valve for imports and exports.
Stevenson estimates it would cost $150 million to restore rail service on the island, and compared that to the $4 billion the government is about to spend on a 10-kilometre section of skytrain track in Surrey.
He told a crowd of 50 Alberni rail enthusiasts that a long-term plan is needed to restore rail service and develop a long term transportation plan.
Stevenson says the ICF has been buried under a pile of studies, and is suffering from analysis paralysis, and he wants the provincial government to commit to restoring rail service on the island and develop a long-tern transportation plan that involves rail.
Stevenson and the ICF plans to meet with BC Premier John Horgan on Monday.