Rail advocate group calls for government funding to revive the E & N Railway

A group advocating for revival of the E&N Railway is holding a news conference in Langford this (Fri) afternoon to make a public call for government funds.

The E & N Railway Roundtable -- or ENRR -- represents railway organizations on the Island.  It was established last summer to coordinate efforts aimed at  preserving and restoring the old railway line for trains and trail users.

The group, along with area policitians and supporters,  will use the back drop of the old Langford Train Station to launch the lobby effort, and make a case for revived rail service going between Langford and the Roundhouse in Victoria West.

They also want federal and provincial funds for the remaining portion of the E&N Railway from Langford to Courtenay, and Parksville to Port Alberni.

Chairman, Jack Peake, the former chair of the Island Corridor Foundation, argues restoring the E&N Railway can be done at a fraction of the cost of building and expanding highways. He says a professional rail contractor estimates rebuilding the railway can be done for about $1.4 million per 1.6 km (1 mile), and an investment of less $25 million is needed to bring the project to fruition between Langford and Vic West, and start the process of rebuilding the rest of the E&N.

Pete says everyone -- the ICF, Federal and Provincial governments, Regional Districts, First Nations, municipalities, and organizations, and organizations ssuch as bike path advocates -- need to be at the same table to finally move this project forward.

Langford Mayor Stew Young says the project needs to be in the hands of the province -- not a non-profit -- saying other efforts to make the project happen has so far failed.

Young says he wants to see action along the railway corridor soon, because as time passes,  factions who want the corridor broken up have a better chance of getting their way, and an important transportation opportunity will be lost.



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