E&N train station renovations near completion

The historic train station in Nanaimo is almost ready to reopen after a $2.4-million renovation made necessary by a 2007 fire. - Chris Bush/The News Bulletin
The historic train station in Nanaimo is almost ready to reopen after a $2.4-million renovation made necessary by a 2007 fire.
— image credit: Chris Bush/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo's historic train station is looking better than ever as two years of renovations near completion.

The $2.4-million project began in May 2010 and is the result of community involvement to re-establish the station after a fire almost destroyed it in 2007.

The Young Professionals of Nanaimo raised $410,000 and VIA Rail's insurance kicked in $869,000 to complete the first phase of renovations, which included lifting the building, excavating underneath, structural re-framing, brick repair and installation of windows.

Phase 2, which consisted of electrical and interior renovations, were funded through a mortgage.

With the finishing touches being completed, the station's key tenant, an Irish pub, is expected to open in June.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the Island Corridor Foundation will receive $15 million to repair the line and reinstate passenger service, likely next spring.

"As we're talking about rebuilding things, we now have this new heritage station that looks just fantastic," said Graham Bruce, Island Corridor Foundation executive director, calling the revitalized building the line's flagship station.

"It's very important to us. There's one thing in replacing the rail but you need some high profile things to go along with it. Taking photos of rail ties won't get you too far as far as public awareness goes but a beautiful heritage station is a very important piece for us."

VIA Rail will also occupy a portion of the building for passenger services.

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