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

Langford theft investigation leads to national crime ring

More than $250,000 in stolen goods recovered, $67,000 in cash seized

VicPD uses non-lethal rounds to remove woman barricaded in stranger’s basement

The woman is believed to have broken into a dealership, attempting to steal a vehicle earlier in the evening

Victoria woman to sell masks on wheels after garage stand shut down

Mama’s Masks stand accompanied Moss Street Market

Deal Street artist to host front yard art show this weekend

Ojibwe artist inspired by West Coast features and landscapes

Vancouver Island MLA says too much on shoulders of RCMP

Reformed Police Act could look at spreading responsibility to other responders

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Devil’s Hand Poker Run in Campbell River to face RCMP scrutiny

The Campbell River RCMP will be keeping a close eye on the… Continue reading

B.C.’s fuel suppliers to publish prices to provide accountability: minister

Bruce Ralston says move will ensure industry publicly accountable for unexplained prices increases

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Man suffers serious injuries in bear attack in remote area near Lillooet

It was deemed a defensive attack, no efforts were made to locate the animal

Missed rent payments because of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

Most Read