The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure released an assessment of the Island Rail Corridor’s condition and says the corridor is in poor to fair condition. (Black Press Media file photo)

Island Rail Corridor needs $700 million in upgrades to get back on track

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure assessment says rail is in poor to fair condition

More than $700 million in upgrades and maintenance would be needed to get the Island Rail Corridor – formerly the E&N Rail – up and running again and even more to implement commuter service.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) released an assessment of the rail corridor on April 28. The entire length of the track was assessed to provide information for use by the government on future potential investment on the route owned by the Island Corridor Foundation.

According to a summary report, overall results show that the railway corridor is in poor to fair condition, with the Victoria section in the poor to fair range and the Port Alberni section in the poor range. Main issues include uncontrolled vegetation in and near the rail corridor and the number of decayed ties exceeding regulations set out by Transport Canada.

READ ALSO: Island Corridor Foundation joins partnership pursuing rail

The report says single shoulder plates and angle joint bars used on the corridor are also considered “older technology” and negatively impact track performance.

Bridges are anywhere between poor to good condition depending on the age, location and type of bridge. At-grade crossings are in a fair condition but in some cases, are overgrown with vegetation or require improved warning systems.

Improvements have been recommended based on a phased approach which was developed as part of the MoTI study. It entails three phases.

The first phase includes costs to upgrade infrastructure to re-establish freight and passenger service of about two to four passenger trains per day and two to four freight trains per day. This phase is estimated to cost $326,448,391.

READ ALSO: Island Corridor Foundation ‘cautiously optimistic’ about rail line reactivation

The second phase would further upgrade infrastructure and accommodate increased freight and passenger volumes at higher speeds. There would be four to eight passenger trains per day and four freight trains per day with up to 4 million tonnes in weight per year or 133 cars per day total. This phase, combined with the initial phase, is estimated to cost $552,023,932.

The third phase would support even higher freight and passenger volumes and is optimal for the implementation of a commuter rail service, which has its own costs. This phase, including the costs of the two previous phases, would bring the total to $728,778,304.

Implementing commuter rail service would add an additional estimated $595,029,867. It would involve work such as signalling upgrades, land acquisition, a maintenance facility and phased improvements on the Victoria to Langford corridor.

MoTI is currently developing a South Island Transportation Strategy, focusing on the efficient movement of people and goods. The strategy will look at all modes of transportation across southern Vancouver Island, including rail, and is expected to be released in June.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

railwayTransportation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Campbell River RCMP describe violent incident as ‘disturbing event’

Skatepark incident described by RCMP as ‘violence for violence[’s] sake’

North Island area timber supply under review

Review will inform annual cut for the next ten years

Campbell River homelessness groups prepare for winter in a pandemic

Winter presents unique challenges to people experiencing homelessness this year

The secret life of tadpoles

Vancouver Island photographer Maxwel Hohn’s documentary traces the ‘big little migration’ of western toad tadpoles

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Long-term care need pressuring acute care in Comox Valley, Strathcona

Region could use a couple of large facilities for seniors on the north part of the Island

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

Most Read