Railway or Trailway? Are you kidding?

E&N a ‘fantastic opportunity’ for tourism and Island commuters

Editor:

Railway or Trailway? Are you kidding me? Cover the rails with gravel and call it a beautiful corridor for bikers and hikers? Aside from questioning who would cycle on gravel how many would walk from community to community. The whole notion is ludicrous. The cost of the gravel alone would go a long way to fixing the rails.

Vancouver Island has a fantastic opportunity to develop a major tourist attraction and island commuter service all in one fell swoop – a lucrative asset that will benefit generations of islanders for the sake of a pittance compared to other public investments (VIU’s budget is around $140 million. The cost of upgrading our rail system would be about 1% of that. Get this into perspective!) The long term benefits far outweigh the investment. Not only would a train link the communities as an alternative transportation mode but the many businesses that would spring up around this service would provide employment and an ever widening tax base for all the communities the railway serves.

I read about one idea for refitting retro train coaches into luxury first class seating for a scenic island rail trip, similar to the famous Rocky Mountaineer. Sign me up! I recently booked a trip on the Alberta Prairie Steam Tour..for the second time! It’s a wonderful old fashioned train trip worth every penny of the $100 per person fare – and so popular you need reservations to get on. That trip is much shorter than an island trip would be…and far less scenic. Oh the possibilities! Train travel is booming. We have this fabulous opportunity that others can only dream about…and some want to cover it with gravel? Take off the blinders and look at the future. All aboard folks. Let your MP know you want a train ride!

Sylvia HoltChemainus, B.C.

PS: Further to my letter about Railway or Trailway, if you’ve received the summer edition of Westworld (BCAA) you will see a whole feature on scenic railway rides in B.C., and also a feature on Vancouver Island.

Someday Vancouver Island will have both to brag about – some of the world’s most beautiful scenery and a wonderful train ride to let you enjoy it hands free!

I will be at the front of the ticket line, and it will be a very long line. Scenic tours in the summer – perhaps ski tours out of Victoria in the winter. I could go on and on.