Here's a story about a petition to try to get VIA to sign an
agreement with the Island Corridor Foundation to restore passenger
service on the Esquimalt & Nanaimo.
"Andre Sullivan, past president of the Young Professionals of
Nanaimo ... says "it seems like the company [VIA] 'doesn't want
to be here,' ... they don't seem to have the appetite..."
It's easy to understand how he gets the impression that VIA
isn't much interested in the E&N route. It has been deleted
from the maps on the VIA web site and the paper timetable.
That's a different treatment from the Gaspé - New Carlisle
route, which is still on the map although train service has
been suspended for over a year, and is likely to remain so at
least for the rest of this year. Even The Pas - Pukatawagan
is still on the VIA map, though VIA no longer runs the trains
on that route. Reservia no longer recognizes the names of the
E&N stations when you type them into the "From:" and "To:"
text fields. Victoria and Courtenay have also been deleted
from the list of stations at
though, oddly, the intermediate stations are still there.
Given the dwindling government subsidy for VIA's operating
expenses, it's easy to believe that VIA doesn't want to take
on the E&N, unless somebody else pays all the costs.
I have my doubts that a petition is going to have much effect, so
I'm a little surprised to read that Graham Bruce, the head of the
Island Corridor Foundation, says "The petition will likely help
move things along by strengthening the case for passenger rail
and 'urgency' to get repairs started." I wonder if he really
believes that, or if he's just being polite to the petition
organizers. I'm also puzzled to read that "The head of ICF says
negotiations with VIA Rail could be faster, but there is no reason
the company won't end up participating in the agreement." I don't
see what reason he has to be so optimistic.
tbox at ncf dot ca
Port Hope, ON, Canada
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