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

Sunday Highway 1 search for Shawnee Inyallie yields no results

Searchers came from Hope, Chilliwack and as far away as Port Coquitlam

Wide variety of art for sale at Art from the Heart show

Student art show runs Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Laidlaw racer nets first place in B.C. among A-Class mud racers

Cody Leach has poured his energy and his hard-earned dollars into the sport he loves

Blues group Angel Forrest Trio at Bozzini’s in Chilliwack

Award-winning band from Quebec performs Nov. 28

A look inside Hope’s 20-bed emergency shelter, just over a month since it opened

Manager Sharon Holburn and Gerry Dyble, executive director of HATS, answer questions about the shelter and homelessness in Hope

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read