Blaine train station

Support for Blaine train station picks up steam

Surrey business group adds to Canadian groundswell of support

The international campaign to reopen the historic train station in Blaine, Wash. gathered a little more momentum in recent days.

First, Blaine city council last week formally endorsed a passenger train stop for their community, then the Surrey Board of Trade followed suit.

Then, this week, the Surrey Board of Trade announced it has passed a resolution of support for a “minimum stop” by the Amtrak Cascades just south of the U.S. border.

The support follows votes by city councils of both White Rock and Surrey earlier this year backing the proposal.

Blaine council members voted June 25 to support the establishment of an Amtrak passenger rail stop there and to send a letter to Washington State Gov. Chris Gregoire and B.C. premier Christy Clark.

The resolution also calls for a third, mid-day passenger train service between Vancouver and Seattle to complement the current morning and evening runs.

The council vote endorses preservation of the boarded-up 100-year-old train station in Blaine, but makes it clear that is not the only option for the city.

“If it is determined that (preserving the station) cannot be accomplished, Blaine would explore other alternatives,” the written motion states.

Blaine council member Ken Oplinger told Peace Arch News Tuesday that the primary goal for the city is getting a passenger stop, something he says will benefit the Canadian communities nearest the border like White Rock, Surrey and Langley.

“This station is really going to serve a population of 750,000,” Oplinger says, because it will save people in the Canadian  communities from driving to downtown Vancouver rail station to catch the train to Seattle.

On Tuesday, the Surrey Board of Trade announced its support.

“The requirement to use the downtown (Vancouver) terminal is a major impediment for travelers from the Fraser Valley, and the South Fraser region in particular, adding many additional hours to the trip,” the board statement notes.

The board backed the proposal to refurbish the disused BNSF station, noting there is “plenty of parking in the area, which could be made secure, and it is easily accessible by passengers arriving by car, bus and even on foot.”

The 3,600-member Surrey Board of Trade represents 1,500 businesses with more than 30,000 employees.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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