Castanet readers like commuter rail idea
Oct 25, 2013 / 2:01 pm
While a commuter rail line linking Vernon and Kelowna is not likely feasible - Castanet readers who responded to our poll this week like the idea.
When we asked if you would use a passenger rail service between Vernon and Kelowna, 2,157 of you responded with 73.7 per cent saying yes.
Further, many of you took the time to email us your thoughts.
Here is a sample of those comments.
I would love to see a bicycle path established on the old rail lines.
A commuter train seems a little unrealistic. Have you seen the condition of the of the railway ties? Most of them are rotten and falling apart. Hence why the train travelled so slowly. They would have to replace almost all of the ties so the train could move faster and be safe.
I can’t think of a better use for the rail line from Vernon to Kelowna than a conversion to a Rail Trail. Upon completion, this multi-use trail would become an instant hit and a tourist draw for the region. The views for cyclists and hikers along the shores of Kalamaka Lake alone would be spectacular. Businesses in Oyama that have been affected negatively by the Highway 97 extension would become natural stopping points for people on the lakeside trail. Hotels and restaurants in Kelowna and Vernon would benefit as well, especially if cycling events used the trail throughout the spring and summer months. The trail would be a lovely site for nordic skiers in the winter months. In other words, the conversion of this railway line to a multi-use rail trail would provide year-round benefit to local residents and visitors. The sooner this occurs, the better.
The abandoned rail line should be converted into a transport truck route so we can get these huge trucks off our main highway. This will make the highway safer and more enjoyable for passenger vehicles and the road surface would last longer without the heavy weight of these behemoths. No more dangerous logging trucks, fuel trucks, transport and any other industrial commercial vehicles would be permitted on the main highway unless it was doing a local delivery. The Ministry of highways commercial section could set up a check stops on this route to ensure truckers are following the rules.
It's a great idea to have a rail line between Kelowna and Vernon -especially between the Airport and those cities. The problem is that the transit networks in both cities are abysmal so passengers would get dumped in the cities and have no reasonable way to get around. People will continue to use their cars because of the convenience. They may, however, use a train that transports cars if the service is economical and runs frequently enough. A car train replacing the Coquihalla and Connector would also be great - much safer. Unless the cities take leadership and create transit networks that really permit freedom of movement within the cities, their transit ridership will remain low. I would love to take transit rather than drive, but it is simply not practical. It should be sheer misery to drive a car, and transit should be the more enjoyable option - only then will people give up their cars.
Finally, somebody is thinking. If this where to happen I think that it would make a huge difference to the number of cars on the road. But why stop in Vernon? I would try to take the Line as far north as you could. Armstrong just built a station for the old steam train from Kamloops, which doesn't stop there anymore, so why not have a rail station instead? would be great for people who have appointments in Kelowna and either can't drive or don't like driving so far, especially once the roads get bad in the winter. I wouldn't have a problem paying a little more in tax if it meant a reliable service and had a good time-table. Need to take a page from the Europeans and get with the trains.
I am certainly glad that other people in our great valley are thinking of the future. When I first heard that the rail line might be shutting down my thought was "what an opportunity". Here we have a transportation corridor that could lend itself to a world class cycling experience. Kamloops all the way to Kelowna, linking two major B.C. Interior communities, traveling through mountains, beside lakes, pst vineyards and right through Vernon. Best of all, not riding or walking on the side of highways. No competition for space, no breathing exhaust fumes........what an opportunity. Kamloops/Vernon may not be on the table at this time but it is my belief all level of governments should be coming together to ensure this opportunity is not missed. Multi-model transportation corridor, absolutely. Forget the train, even considering just the City of Kelowna it would link the waterfront all the way to UBCO/airport and beyond.
A group in the Okanagan has another idea for the rail path. Click here to learn more.
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