Skip to content

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bringing back passenger rail wouldn’t cut emissions much

Buses a better option than passenger rail for highway decongestion, says letter writer
29700786_web1_220706-NBU-letters-rail-emissions-1_1
Recent studies contradict claimed or implied greenhouse gas reductions of passenger rail in the Island Corridor Foundation business case, says letter writer. (News Bulletin file photo)

To the editor,

Re: Capital Regional District continues push to get trains moving again on Vancouver Island, June 22.

Recent studies contradict claimed or implied greenhouse gas reductions of passenger rail in the Island Corridor Foundation business case.

The 2020 Delphi group study ‘Modal optimization as a contributor to reducing GHG emissions in Canada’ shows that overall, inter-city passenger rail in Canada pollutes similarly to motor vehicles. Inter-city buses are cleaner than every other mode. This report echoes research reporting from the University of Ottawa. Passenger rail efficiency only shines in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor, which carries 92 per cent of VIA Rail passengers. In that corridor, rail cars tend to be full while other locations in the country have emptier, and therefore less-efficient trains.

A south Island transportation strategy showed low rail passenger use in Vic West and Langford – no reduction in greenhouse gases would be achieved. In the Malahat corridor, passenger rail would not relieve congestion. The Victoria Transportation Institute study ‘Rethinking Malahat solutions’ shows the potential of buses over passenger rail for highway decongestion.

The hefty price for rail on Vancouver Island points to the need for alternative options, including on the rail corridor. The provincial strategy of introducing bus lanes on heavily travelled corridors has high benefits at lower costs. On the rail bed, bus lanes east of Langford and trails further north would secure much of the corridor and provide relatively immediate benefits without heavily burdening taxpayers.

Graeme Lamson, Qualicum Beach


The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

Letters policy: Letters should be no longer than 250 words and will be edited. Preference is given to letters expressing an opinion on issues of local relevance or responding to items published in the News Bulletin. Include your address (it won’t be published) and a first name or two initials, and a surname. Unsigned letters will not be published.

Mail: Letters, Nanaimo News Bulletin, 777 Poplar St., Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 2H7

Fax: 250-753-0788

E-mail: editor@nanaimobulletin.com





Pop-up banner image