A new group has formed to advocate for the revival of the E&N Railway line for both trains and trails. (File photo)

Group wants movement on restoring Island’s railway

E&N Railway Roundtable say restored railway cheaper than new highway

A group advocating for the revival of the E&N Railway wants to brings its expertise to bear to help restore and invigorate the railway on Vancouver Island.

Jack Peake, chairman of the E&N Railway Roundtable, said the group is prepared to assist the province and the Island Corridor Foundation in fleshing out any proposals to get the E&N Railway up and running again.

He said that with a combined total of over 150 years of experience in railroading within the ENRR, it is felt the group can bring all the expertise to the table in order to “provide environmental and economic stability to Vancouver Island while meeting the needs of the future.”

“Gas prices for automobiles has reached a staggering amount and Canada is looking at ways to reduce greenhouse gases to improve the quality of the air both here on the Island, and the world in general,” Peake said.

“What a better way to do that, than to bring back the E&N rail corridor to provide many and various kinds of passenger and freight services, thus eliminating fossil fuel burning vehicles off our highways?”

The ENRR, which represents railway organizations on the Island, was formed last year with the goal of coordinating efforts throughout the Island to help preserve and revive the deteriorating rail line for both trains and trails.

It’s the first time a group had been formed that represents both the advocates of the trail systems along the railway corridor and the railway itself.

RELATED: New group forms to advocate for railway revival

Peake said invigorating the railway line would save taxpayers’ dollars by not expanding highways that cost millions of dollars in a small given area, where the E&N Railway could be rebuilt for the cost of six MacKenzie and Trans Canada Highway improvements for the whole Island.

“We feel a total rebuild of the railway is necessary to bring it up to modern day standards for the future, and the old rail can be salvaged for scrap price or resold,” he said.

“In order to accomplish this, it will require the cooperation of the Island Corridor Foundation, the federal and provincial governments, regional districts, First Nations, municipalities, and organizations like the ENRR as well as other interested parties like the bike-path proponents.”

Peake said the ENRR would like to hear those who wish to ship by rail or have suggestions on rail services. Anyone with suggestions is asked to e-mail enroundtablegroup@gmail.com.

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