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This 8mm film footage shows Vancouver Island’s Esquimalt & Nanaimo railroad in the 1950s, shortly after the introduction of diesel. As we consider the future of rail on the island in the 21st century, I urge my fellow Victoria City Councillors to exercise foresight and plan for the future — by ensuring that the new Johnson Street Bridge is strong enough to accommodate rail.
While this would entail a modest increase in design and material costs today, it would remove the need to build a second bridge (for $35-million) to accommodate rail at some point in the future. Moreover, building a rail-capable bridge today will maintain continuity of this vital, historic link on Vancouver Island.
Guided by the hopeful principle, “If we build it, they will come,” Victoria can join with the Island Corridor Foundation and citizens and public-office holders from across the Capital Region and communities up-island to build a strong, sustainable alternative for inter-city and commuter transport.
Here, you can listen to my interview on CBC Radio’s On the Island with Gregor Craigie, where I discuss the benefits of a rail-capable Johnson Street Bridge as well as potential cost savings from a simpler, more functional design:
Link to CBC Radio interview, February 9, 2012
Download CBC radio Podcast
Freight Train – Joan Baez
Download Joan Baez’s “Freight Train” Podcast