E&N Rail cars leaving Island for good

Rail cars loaded on barge in Nanaimo and sent back to Eastern Canada

First, they left Victoria’s roundhouse for storage in Nanaimo, and now the E&N Rail passenger rail cars are gone from Vancouver Island for good.

Via Rail loaded the cars onto a barge this morning to be returned to Eastern Canada.

Graham Bruce, executive director of the Island Corridor Foundation, said the move is no surprise, though he doesn’t know what Via plans to do with the cars. They have been in storage since the E&N Rail tracks were closed in March due to deterioration.

“They have told us that they have a new train set for us, a three-car train set, which is to come out here in the spring time,” said Bruce. Receipt of the cars, however, is dependent on improvements to the track.

The first step in those upgrades is underway.

Thanks to a $500,000 grant from the province, the ICF has hired Associated Engineering to assess the condition of the track’s 48 bridges and trestles.

“That audit is underway right now,” said Bruce. “They’re doing weight loading testing (until the end of the week). Yesterday, we had the engines up at the Niagara Trestle running them back and forth.”

Pending a positive result from the bridge audit, the province has committed another $7 million for track upgrades, on condition the federal government matches the grant.

“We’re really trying to get from the feds their answer,” said Bruce.

“We want to make sure this is all part of the process, being that they’re taking the cars, and in due course the announcement for the $7.5 million comes forward, we can get on with the work and the new train set will come out.”

The fear is that the cars are “quietly being removed from the Island and then nothing more materializes,” he added.

Bruce said the bridge audit is expected to be complete by February and will be made public.

To date, the field work has not flagged any significant problems, he said. “I don’t think yet there’s any show stoppers but we’ll know for sure … by February.”

Just Posted

‘The system has fallen apart:’ Victoria woman’s son died a day after being accepted to treatment centre

Victoria man’s body went undiscovered in Victoria parking lot for five days after overdose

Every situation is different, jurors hear at coroners inquest into Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Pediatrician says involuntary treatment necessary following overdose, opioid use

CRD tickets cyclists who ignore stop signs at Lochside trail, Saanich Road intersection

Many cyclists don’t heed the stop signs, use pedestrian-activated crosswalk light

Inaugural Sarah Beckett memorial Run raises $20,000 for law enforcement scholarship

Widow calls run, community playground fitting tributes to fallen mom and Mountie

VIDEO: Victoria airport guests see dinosaur surprise

Two boys dressed as raptors get a shock when their grandmother comes to greet them

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. Ferries vessel breaks down right before long weekend

Horseshoe Bay-Langdale route impacted most, revised schedule adds 4 a.m. sailings

Weather Canada issues thunderstorm alert for coastal Vancouver Island

Severe thunderstorm watch issued around 4:15 p.m. as storms developed over sections of the Island

Nanaimo man gets jail time for posting explicit photos of ex-girlfriends

Man’s name cannot be revealed to protect victims’ identities

North Island thrift store robbed at knifepoint, say RCMP

Suspect fled on bicycle following Tuesday stick-up

RCMP across Canada to soon unionize, according to B.C. mayor

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Most Read