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

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Golden Country: What caused the Hope Slide?

For many years, earthquakes were thought to be the cause. Were they?

New bus route from Merritt to Prince George will pick-up in Cache Creek, Clinton

Merritt Shuttle Bus Service will also run from Merritt to Langley via Spences Bridge

Fossil from Marble Canyon could become a provincial symbol

British Columbians can vote for a provincial fossil, with a local candidate in the running

Fire chiefs for the day have wonderful time

Two Ashcroft students got engine rides, a fire hall tour, and more

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

John Horgan shrugs off low turnout, change to referendum option

‘No’ proportional representation group says voting should be extended

Two more government pot shops to open in Kamloops

Two private applications are also in the queue to come before city council by the end of the year

2 B.C. men charged after allegedly stealing $1,400 worth of butter

The two men, ages 23 and 25, are facing charges of theft under $5,000, Coquitlam police said

Invasive fire ants join the tourist swarms at Hawaii Volcano National Park

Invasive species found at popular tourist destination

Ten-year sentence for man convicted of B.C. belt-strangling death

Shayne McGenn guilty of manslaughter in 2016 death of David Delaney, 63

Roy Clark, country singer, ‘Hee Haw’ star, has died

Guitar virtuoso died because of complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 85.

Lack of funding, culture on campus biggest barriers for Indigenous students: report

Report based on nearly 300 responses found lack of support at post-secondary schools a big concern

Tinder sex assault suspect charged; additional alleged victims sought

Vincent Noseworthy of Alberta is accused of aggravated sexual assault, unlawful confinement and more

Most Read