Your thoughts on the E&N train corridor

What Westshore readers had to say

Thanks for opportunity to comment. I have followed this subject with interest for quite a while. I have concluded that the most efficient use of the corridor for transportation in my opinion would be to utilize regular buses that are outfitted to be able to jump on and off the tracks.

This would allow several advantages, especially that the bus could take commuters from the Westshore to downtown without having to change modes unlike a train. The flexibility of such a system also allows gradual expansion over time as needed, at minimal cost.

— Bryon Penner, Langford B.C.

I am saddened by the lack of will to do anything to resurrect the railway corridor. I envisioned light rail from Langford to Victoria, with a more traditional rail connecting to Duncan, or a later extension of light rail to Duncan. But governments then and now simply are not interested.

Instead they limited two lanes on Douglas Street to bus only. I thought it was a massive mistake that has had only minimal effect on bus verses car transportation. I don’t use the bus and will not so long as buses are running on the same roads as cars.

There was all sorts of negative discussion about the expense of the sky train and a perceived lack of potential use in Vancouver, then of the extensions to the airport and Surrey. But skytrain is frequent, fast and efficient, it does so without competing with vehicles. Yes, it would be expensive to build, but I am saddened that building a similar system for Greater Victoria and the Peninsula is beyond the vision of those with the power to decide.

Paddy Bradley

I am hopeful that rational and logical minds will avoid playing politics and instead preserve the corridor for the future. The South Island section specifically offers a unique opportunity to provide a long-term solution to our commuter traffic woes. To have an already existing corridor like this is something most cities would clamour for and revel in. Yet we are on the precipice of squandering it due to political inaction and siloed thinking.

We need innovative thinking in this region from a new regional transportation commission. I've been intrigued at a bus-rail hybrid for years after recalling a journey to a remote forestry site, where an F-250 left the road, lowered rail wheels, and carried on down the tracks for over 100km. Imagine a bus that joins the tracks from a central station in Langford, picks up/drops passengers in View Royal and Esquimalt, then exits in Vic West to drive over the bridge and complete a circuitous route through downtown Victoria!

The time has come for provincial and federal politicians to stop dithering and step up for our region. We have one chance to save this lifeline and get people moving, but it will take a willingness to get off the proverbial fence and make a tough decision. Let's get people moving the right way: using a rail corridor that likely once gone can never be revived.

Ian Ward, Colwood

We want the railroad upgraded and useable for both passengers and cargo. Getting huge 18-wheelers and other big trucks off our few highways would be a big benefit. It would be far more cost effective than trying to build another highway through mountainous terrain.

As seniors, we two would love to see the island north of Parksville as we've never been there. The train would give us a safe way of enjoying the scenery safely as a drive that far is beyond our skills now. We could also get to stay over for a couple of days to get to know some of the communities to our north thus contributing to their economies.

Tricia Mancuso

The future needs rail. We need to keep that corridor for all Islanders. Only a government can make it work. I was born here, and rode the old train when possible—which wasn’t often because it went the opposite direction to commuters. It was shut down before Langford really expanded, as well.

Once gone, that corridor will never happen. The cost is seen as high now, but it’s priceless for the future.

Noreen Sundstrom

PS I just wrote in on the above subject, then the next story in your newsletter is the big surplus going to municipalities, but rail is too expensive. OMG!

I think we should pave it and run buses on it. They could run around a community like Langford, or View Royal, then hop on that corridor as an express route. The single direction going with the demand. Inbound in the morning, outbound in the afternoon. This makes use of it, and saves it for a future date when the population warrants a track again.

Dave Howe

We were fortunate enough to take the train up to Chemainus not long before it stopped running. It was an incredibly beautiful ride and I wish we had done it more often. Ever since the train stopped running I have been hoping they would do something to bring it back and expand the railway.

As Greater Victoria and other communities like Duncan are growing at such a rapid rate, we will need options for getting around. And, as we learned when the Malahat stretch was washed out, we need ways to transport goods and people in such emergency situations. I also think it could be a great way for tourists to see more of our beautiful island and with shuttle connections and planning for connecting with buses it could bring more tourists to communities all over the island.

B. Macdonald

I can’t see that the small amount of land each First Nation would get back would add much value to each of them in the big picture. However if the railway was brought back from Courtenay to Victoria it would solve not only transportation bottlenecks and help with air pollution, but therefore global warming as well. I am therefore wholeheartedly in favour of restoring the railway. If we miss this chance to do so we may not get the opportunity to do it at a later date!

Sheila Markham

Thanks for asking. I think that this corridor is far too valuable to let go. If the route needs to be changed slightly for respect of some First Nations then I’m all for it. This was our past transportation route and it should have always been used as a main route. But especially now that we’re trying to get away from burning fossil fuels this should be a great future route for trains. Just imagine how many fuel trucks have to travel between Nanaimo and Victoria, and imagine these being transported by train. It’s also a beautiful scenic route for people too. Steel wheels on steel rails is the most efficient mode of travel other than ships. Let’s hope that our Governments see this potential and do the right things.

Ralph Hutchings, Langford

I really really want the trains to start running again.


I am mortified that the government is even contemplating this grievous action. A train that might transport one or two, maybe even three trains in a day may be one thing. They are talking about inundating our tranquil Island with EIGHT trains a day to make this financially feasible. Have they not thought what that will do to the wildlife, peace and beauty of our much treasured environment up and down the island?

Kim Creally

Yes, yes... we need that rail. I actually do not know very many people who would not support this rail line. We need to support this!

Deirdre Hunter