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

Salmon Arm campus of Okanagan College to raise Secwepemcúl̓ecw flag

College to recognize campus sits on traditional and unceded territory

Survey: Salmon Arm houses cheaper to buy than many towns in B.C.

Only places with lower average price per square foot in study were northern communities

City’s only female firefighter feels at home with Salmon Arm crew

Apprentice machinist Kelsey Gorgichuk joined department to give back to community

Ogopogo and Shuswaggi aren’t the only lake monsters to have legendary status

While both have legend status in the Okanagan-Shuswap regions there are said to be more

Video: All ages rally in Salmon Arm to demand climate action

More than 150 people make their way from Ross Street Plaza to city hall for rousing speeches

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Okanagan hosts Mexico for soccer

The Okanagan Masters League won both matches against their Mexican counterparts

Epic overtime battle, big turnout for memorial night to late owner of Okanagan hockey team

The KIJHL’s Kelowna Chiefs hounoured Grant Sheridan with a win in the team’s home-opener

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read