Province to review commuter rail options for Victoria area

Province to review commuter rail options for Victoria area

The province is taking a closer look at options to bring commuter rail service back in the Victoria area, but Transportation Minister Todd Stone has stopped short of making a commitment to restore train service.

Instead Stone said a working group will be formed to complete a business case for commuter rail on the old E&N Rail corridor between Vic West and Langford. Municipal governments, and B.C. Transit will also provide input.

"We think this idea has merit. We think that this idea could add transit capacity," Stone said at the announcement Thursday morning at an old E&N Rail stop at Admirals Road and Colville Road.

Trains stopped running on the E&N corridor in 2011 because of issues with the tracks.

Mayors in the capital region have been pushing for transit service on the 15-kilometre stretch between Westhills in Langford and Vic West to help ease growing traffic snarls on Highway 1.

"The province is aware that Langford, Sooke and the western communities have been growing quickly and are projected to continue to grow significantly," Stone said.

The E&N rail line is owned by the Island Corridor Foundation, which has been working for several years to resume passenger rail service.

Victoria council endorsed a motion in the fall of 2016 to look at the viability of a commuter train on the line.

A developer has also come up with a proposal for commuter train service along the rail corridor from Langford to Vic West.