Efforts to revitalize the E&N Railway continue. (Citizen file)

LETTER: There are enough bike paths; bring back the railroad

Dear editor,

Re. Economic value of a rail corridor cannot be overstated, March 15 letter:

Thank you, Scott, for your thoughtful comment on the issue of our railway.

I was recently viewing a television program about railways that have been returned to passenger service. The passenger service schedule was set to encourage local populations to use the service, but the project really came into its own in summer when they were run as tourist attractions, complete with period costumes for engineers and guards, and destination trips where the travellers were fed a great meal included in the ticket prices.

At the eating spot, again, all the personnel were in period dress, and the travellers were all hugely interested in the history of the line, how it served the community, and why it was built.

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to remember from high school history, that the E&N railway line was guaranteed by our federal government to run in perpetuity, as an enticement for British Columbia to join the Dominion of Canada? If I remember this correctly, what part of “in perpetuity” did I not understand? I always thought that it meant “forever.” I believe that if the schedule was run properly, to accommodate the customer, with multiple pick-up and drop-off points, that it is still a very good idea.

I, and a lot of others that I know, would happily use a train for trips up and down the Island, if only to avoid the massive traffic jams in summer, and terrible roads in winter.

So please, stop the ruddy dithering, and just get on with it. Restore the original stations, or build new ones, and advertise the service and schedule.

Multiple stops would enable all the municipalities to enjoy the benefits, and allay any fears of people, “just whizzing by them” on the way to somewhere else.

We have enough walking and cycling places in the province already.

Jean Morgan,

Courtenay

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