LETTER: Rail-relocation debate reaches New Jersey

The Editor,

Regarding White Rock’s formal request to the feds for rail relocation: I used to live in White Rock and accepted the railway. After all, the trains have been there long before most of the community. But the increased coal train traffic that is now isolating Crescent Beach, severe weather as a result of climate change and the need to make passenger train service more attractive have changed my mind.

The traditional gentle and frequent West Coast rains have been supplanted by infrequent but major winter storms that threaten to weaken the slopes above the tracks. Delta areas like Mud Bay are also prone to damage. This last point was brought home to me two months after I moved to Belmar, New Jersey, on the shore, when Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy struck. The storm ripped apart our New Jersey Transit railway line where it paralleled Raritan Bay and it tossed boats and containers onto the trackbed. This vulnerability to future disasters has led to talk about plans for an inland and also controversial rail route.

The White Rock proposal would enable high-speed rail, especially if it is coupled with track upgrades and replacing the aging New Westminster Rail Bridge, in accordance with the cross-border rail pacts signed by the province. Washington State wants to see faster speeds in Canada before it considers the proposed Blaine, WA station and adding trains. The plan should also include relocating Amtrak, VIA and buses from Vancouver’s Pacific Central station to Waterfront station. This would give better access to the downtown, the cruise ship terminal and to the Canada Line and SeaBus. The planned False Creek Flats redevelopment could help finance it, as rail line and terminal removal would help make that multibillion-dollar project possible.

The White Rock proposal could also make commuter rail from Waterfront to South Surrey feasible with new transit-oriented development stations, like at the South Surrey Park-and-Ride, 32nd Avenue/152nd St., 24th and 8th Avenues. The Waterfront terminal could also serve a long-needed commuter rail to Newton, Cloverdale, Langley and Abbotsford over the Interurban. Both lines could be operated with efficient low-emissions diesel multiple units.

Federal and possibly False Creek Flats money will only pay part of the price of any rail-relocation project. The province will have to pay its share. After all, if the province is willing to finance new bridges and highways, it should also help to pay for new rail lines that are part of the climate-change solution.

Brendan B. Read,

Belmar, New Jersey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

OBITUARY: Sherrold Haddad brought giant Canadian flag to Surrey car dealership, built community

‘An amazing man, business person and community leader,’ friend Bruce Hayne posted to Facebook

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

MARCH 28: Delta council passes bylaw to fine people who don’t socially distance

White Rock council members stand by decision to close pier

Minimal push-back over closure to minimize chance of spreading COVID-19 virus

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Blue ribbons popping up along streets in Abbotsford in praise of B.C. healthcare workers

Healthcare worker’s family starts local trend of morale support

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

Most Read