South of Fraser communities have demonstrated their support of an interurban passenger rail service and it's time to reactive the corridor.
That’s what Rick Green, president of the South Fraser Community Rail Society, told Delta council in a recent letter asking the city to help renew calls to the province to create an interurban corridor using existing train tracks.
Green, a former Delta councillor and Township of Langley Mayor, points out past Delta support for the proposal, notes only the track freight rights were sold to CP and that the interurban corridor is still owned by the people of B.C.
His group is advocating interurban passenger rail by re-activating an old interurban line, a 99-km corridor that would run all the way from the Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack.
Green noted the ground-level passenger rail service would provide quick, effective and affordable inter-regional transit for the south of Fraser region, servicing 1.2 million residents.
“Communities South of the Fraser have received provincial approval for the New Deas Tunnel Crossing, the widening of Highway 1 (construction underway to 264th only), and the SkyTrain extension to Langley City. While these are necessary improvements, they do extraordinarily little to assist about 80 per cent of the population South of Fraser for Interregional Transit. The improvements that have been proposed are at best a decade away. Based on current and projected growth predictions, Highway 1 as an example will be worse than it is today, when widening is completed,” wrote Green.
A Delta staff response to the letter notes that previous assessments conducted by TransLink determined that the interurban line does not advance regional objectives as well as other options, but TransLink has indicated a possible review through the Transport 2050 process.