Victoria council expresses support for commuter train

Victoria city council has expressed interest in looking at the viability of a commuter train on the E&N line between Langford and Victoria.

Victoria city council has expressed interest in looking at the viability of a commuter train on the E&N line between Langford and Victoria.

At a recent meeting, council endorsed the idea of having staff work with the Capital Regional District (CRD) to engage owners of the private lands along the railway corridor in Victoria West to complete the installation of the E&N Trail from Esquimalt Road to Victoria Harbour.

The motion also expressed council’s interest in exploring the idea of running a commuter train, potentially operated by B.C. Transit, along the corridor to serve residents in the Westshore and Victoria.

“There’s lots of elements in place, that with leadership from this city and the City of Langford, I think there’s no reason why we can’t have an interim pilot project, service in place,” said Coun. Ben Isitt. “Commuters should be viewed as the top priority in the region right now.”

Local mayors from Victoria, Esquimalt, Langford and View Royal and representatives from Bayview and Westhills developments have been meeting to discuss ways to alleviate traffic along Highway 1, between Langford and Victoria — traffic which is only expected to get worse with the development of the McKenzie interchange.

The E&N rail line, which is owned by the Island Corridor Foundation and runs between Victoria and Courtenay through Langford, has not been in use for the last five years since passenger rail service was halted in 2011 due to safety concerns from inadequate track upkeep.

“It’s very early, but what we’re looking for is an expression of support from our councils at this time to further explore this question,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Staff will work with the CRD on the topic and will report back to Victoria city council in the months to come.