Lillooet mayor asks for rail service to return to Vancouver-Prince George route

Trains along the route were discontinued by the B.C. government in 2002

The mayor of small B.C. town along the Fraser River is asking the province to look at bringing back rail service between Vancouver and Prince George.

Lillooet Mayor Marg Lampman has been working on increasing rail service in the region for years but said the issue became much more pressing once Greyhound announced it would be pulling out of B.C. this fall.

“It’s leaving a lot of communities with no options for public transport,” said Lampman.

She said that Lillooet, a community located 240 kilometres north along a rail line from Vancouver, has never had bus service.

READ MORE: Greyhound to end bus service in B.C., Alberta

READ MORE: Should government pay for rural buses to replace Greyhound?

Lampman is bringing her call for rail service along the Vancouver to Prince George corridor to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention next weekend.

There, she wants the province’s other cities to band together and ask the government for a feasibility study on bringing back rail service.

“I am not a whiz on rail costs or anything and that is why you need a study to determine if that is going to be a good initiative,” said Lampman.

The route between Vancouver and Prince George hasn’t seen regular rail service in 16 years, despite Lampman having lobbied the government for it in 2016.

Although rail service was heavily cut by the former Liberal government in 2002, Lampman said it’s time for it to come back.

“When that was shut down in 2002 that put real pressures on the community,” said Lampman.

“We have people who cannot afford a vehicle and we have seniors who can no longer drive who need to go to medical appointment [in Vancouver].”

Lampman isn’t insistent on it being a cheap form of travel, but just an alternative to driving.

“If you compare what it costs you to drive from Prince George to Vancouver,” she said, “the price of gas, insurance, time and compare that to what a ticket would cost.”

Lampman said she’s been in touch with VIA Rail, but is looking to the province to act.

She said the federal government has failed to provide rail service that B.C., with its spread out, rural population, desperately needs.

“[The feds] do it east of Manitoba but yet nothing has been done west of that. It’s time to sit down with the federal govt for their participation,” she said.

Although she is open to the province lending a helping hand to make the rail service financially viable, Lampman believes it could be a great tourist opportunity,

“It would be used buy international tour companies to sell tours,” she said.

“I can imagine a tour group going by rail to Prince George, then to Prince Rupert and then catching a ferry along the coast. It would be one of the best tours in the world.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

150 spoons and counting

Langley Fine Arts teacher Panagiotis Peter Sarganis showcases wooden utensil artwork at Fort Gallery

Fort Langley residents launch passionate debate over demolishing buildings

More than 40 people spoke at a meeting Monday evening

VIDEO: Langley car wash fights cancer

Non-profit Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society reports record single donation from Langley

VIDEO: Hazmat incident closes down Langley City street

One person is believed to be dead, police said

Langley chamber of commerce upset about lack of funding for SkyTrain

An uncertain future for the extension to Langley is due to the budget

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Weather Network’s anti-meat video ‘doesn’t reflect true story’: cattle ranchers

At issue is the video’s suggestion that cutting back on meat consumption could help save the planet

Northern B.C. First Nation clan sues pipeline company

Wet’suwet’en clan seeks damages and costs from Coastal Gaslink over destruction of access point camp

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Wrestling legend finds his wedding dance groove in B.C.

Professional wrestler Chris Jericho posted on social media that he was in Penticton recently

Vancouver Public Library banned from Pride parade after allowing controversial speaker

Vancouver Public Library allowed Meghan Murphy to book space for an event at the library in January

Man arrested after allegedly attacking people with syringe in Burnaby mall

Police say that no one has yet to come forward with injuries consistent with needle stab wounds

Limited-stop RapidBus service to roll out in Metro Vancouver starting January 2020

TransLink announced five routes that connect 11 communities

Most Read