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Save Rail on the Johnson Street Bridge – Email Petition

Blue Bridge, Train and Bike. Photo by Patrick Lawson

Photo credit: Patrick Lawson

For 122 years, the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway has connected downtown Victoria to up-Island communities. But that link may be severed on February 4, if Victoria’s mayor and council don’t include the railway on the new Johnson Street Bridge.

Victoria’s council has said it will only include rail if “alternate sources of funding [are] identified or secured” for the $12-million cost of adding it to the bridge. (Read the background here.) As yet, no other governments have offered any funding. The City has applied for $6.5 million of federal gas-tax money, but won’t hear the result of its application until May. Instead, Victoria’s council is making its decision this week.

The Island Corridor Foundation (the nonprofit that owns the tracks) is getting ready to operate commuter rail from up-Island and Westshore communities into Victoria, providing a green alternative to automobile congestion on the Trans-Canada Highway. But that service – and the future of rail on Vancouver Island – is threatened if the E&N doesn’t reach downtown Victoria.

The Email Action Campaign has completed.

More than 130 citizens used this page to submit their concerns, and support for rail, to municipal, regional, and provincial officials. On February 4, Victoria councillors – citing the huge number of emails they received – decided to postpone their decision about including rail until the Capital Regional District hears an application for $5.5 million on February 16. (News story here.)

Thank you!

11 comments to Save Rail on the Johnson Street Bridge – Email Petition

  • Dennis Robinson

    I do not understand the panic to have a quickly approaching “drop dead date” to include, or to sever the rail link for the new bridge. Why not extend the timeline for that decision until all of the various sources of financing can be pulled together.

    The tragedy in all of this that the soon to be condemed Johnson Street Bridge still has a fully functioning rail span. Why not delay the demolition of this span for a year or so until all the information is in.

    When you are planning for a 100 Year Bridge, this is not the time for a hasty decision.

  • Carmel Thomson

    Despite frustrations and divisiveness jurisdictions may have experienced on other issues, when it comes to rail, Island constituents from Victoria to Nanaimo appear united. They have a shared vision for the E&N Railway and they also appear to understand that its success is a shared responsibility.

    It is my hope that inclusive and harmonious decision-making amongst all levels of government will take place. I call upon all Island politicians to help secure the various sources of funding needed from all levels of government in order to continue to bring rail into downtown Victoria.

  • Gary L Cline

    Please do not delte rail service from the Johnson St Bridge. That would be driving another nail in the coffin towards the death of rail service on Vancouver Island.

  • Jordan Ellis - no affiliation

    Please do what is necesry to create the raillink to best use the West Shores > Victoria proposed routes and later, up island to Nanaimo & Courtenay.

    Rail is the best way to go… most environmental and cost efficient.

  • Stan Baric

    I would simply like to state that a railway connection to downtown Victoria be retained with rail over the bridge in perpetuity. Rail is still the most effective method of public transportation and is vital to the City, now and in the long term future. One will never be able to add trackage at a later date without building a new bridge which bridge is NOW currently planned. Eventually one will see a commuter rail line throughout the Island.

  • Colleen Melville

    You idiots, the E&N hasn’t always end crossing the bridge. In the past the only cars that crossed the bridge was the cargo cars as the track didn’t end there but progressed down Store st. to the end of the road. The passenger cars use to finish at the roundabout at the end of Catherine st. I know this because when I was a kid for years we used to travel up to my Nana’s in Courtenay and that’s were we caught it, we NEVER caught it were it stops now.

    I think that it’s better to stop there instead of the ridiculous place on the Victoria side. Why? Because it easier to access, more room for vehicles to drop off and pick up people, where you bought you tickets was bigger than a closet like the current one is, and a hell of more accessible by transit so people don’t need someone to pick them up! Think about that when the tracks are used by the commuter train that people are wanting.

    You guys are obsessive on something you don’t much about the history about. Not many people are happy where the train stops now.

    • Thanks for your kind words. Read our post at http://johnsonstreetbridge.org/?p=1914 and you’ll see that we discuss the history of where the train has stopped in some detail.

      If the passenger train remains a Dayliner, then it’s probably OK to have it end in Vic West. But if the track is to have any potential for commuter rail, it has to come across the bridge into downtown. Victoria mayor Dean Fortin and the Island Corridor Foundation agree on this point.

  • Jim Black

    Although the current plan will need some refining to accomplish it becoming a commuter train I applaud the concept and with thousands of others wonder why it took so long to realize that turning the train around and making it rider friendly will garner many more riders than currently use the service. One only has to drive to Victoria from Shawnigan Lake, Mill Bay or Cobble Hill to see how many hundreds [ if not thousands] of people live in the Cowichan Valley and work in Victoria. I think this plan is long overdue and I am hoping our elected representatives can get behind it and make it happen. How about throwing the Island a bone once in a while?

  • Andrew Eckers

    Keep the rail access into downtown Victoria! That’s where most travellers want to go. If the downtown railway station is lost now it will be hard to reinstate it in the future.