Mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode has stated elsewhere that while she agrees rail safety is a priority for cities across Canada, moving the tracks is not a decision "that can be made as an election promise… not one that we will have much direct impact on."
She deserves credit for not pandering to the electorate by promising us things we cannot afford. Any politician who promises to move the tracks must explain why the safety of residents of one South Surrey neighbourhood is $500 million more important than the safety of residents of other South Surrey neighbourhoods.
There’s already a rail speed limit along White Rock beach. Surrey should negotiate a 30 km/h speed limit with BNSF from the U.S. border all the way to the Nicomekl River bridge, because a derailment at that low speed is very unlikely to turn into a catastrophe.
What can be done when stopped trains block the road to Crescent Beach? A pedestrian overpass or tunnel should be constructed immediately at the Beecher Street crossing to give emergency crews foot access to the area. Also, basic firefighting and first-aid equipment, including ambulance stretchers, should be cached in a convenient place near the beach. Finally, a safe helicopter landing area should be designated at Blackie Spit in the event it is necessary to transport an urgent medical case.
As for the all the money this would save all levels of government, just send it to me because I could find better ways to spend it!