Council endorses passenger rail service

A call for restoring passenger rail service between Prince George to North Vancouver is being supported by Williams Lake city council.

A call for restoring passenger rail service between Prince George to North Vancouver  is being supported by Williams Lake city council.

During its regular meeting Tuesday March 22, mayor and council endorsed a request from Mayor Marg Lampman, District of Lilloett, asking for their support of her community’s request to have the passenger service put back in place.

The city will write a letter of support.

Rural communities have been struggling to fill the void left when the passenger rail service was discontinued in October 2002 when the BC Rail line was leased to CN Rail, Lampman said in a letter she sent to council.

“It is now 2016 and it is almost universally accepted that rail transportation is a greener form of travel than by road.”

She also said immense pressure is being put on the highway systems, the environment and individual’s finances and creating a public hardship for the aging population, many of whom, can no longer drive long distances.

Mayor Walt Cobb said he was the region’s Liberal MLA when the passenger rail service was cancelled because it was uneconomical.

“Ridership was less than 20 per cent at the time,” Cobb recalled. “The government wasn’t prepared to subsidize it.”

Cobb said in the past he never used the service, but his wife Lynnette travelled by train on many school trips with their children.

The community of Lillooet is not presently serviced by Greyhound, Cobb said, noting  he appreciated their push for the passenger rail service.

“CN will have to do a feasibility study on whether it would be economical to start up the passenger train again,” Cobb said.