Vancouver Island rail service labelled ‘pipe dream,’ ‘bottomless money pit’

Robert Johnson questions whether or not legitimate demand exists to warrant renewed passenger rail service on Vancouver Island.


Build it and they will come.

Or will they?

There has been much talk about reestablishing the rail service on Vancouver Island. It has been said that such a service will help relieve commuter traffic problems by taking cars off the road. It has been said that it will promote tourism, and it has been said that it will be more environmentally friendly.

Will it?

Let’s look at the facts.

Have you ever taken the train?

If so, how many times?

If it was ever reinstated, would you use it?

And if so, how often?

It is most likely that you have never taken it, and that you are not going to.

This train service is a romantic pipe dream, something we think is a good idea but something we won’t use.

So, before you get on the bandwagon calling for the reestablishment of this unstable pipe dream that will cost taxpayers millions and millions of dollars in grants and subsidies — it was a bottomless money pit in the past and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future — ask yourself: “If they build it, who will come?”

And who will be stuck paying for it if “they” don’t come?

Robert Johnson