Transport Action BC

2014, May 9

Victoria National Dream Renewed Town Hall Meeting

Fri May 9
7:00 to 9:00 PM
Town Hall meeting:
Ambrosia Centre
638 Fisgard St.
Victoria, BC
(250) 475-1948

Co-sponsors: Elizabeth May MP, Green Party of Canada
Dr. Judith Sayers, Island Corridor Foundation.

Location of Victoria NDR town hall meeting.

Location of Victoria NDR town hall meeting.


2014, April 25

The National Dream Renewed – Western Town Halls – May 2014


The National Dream Renewed – Le Rêve national renouvelé
Tapping the Potential of Canada’s rail passenger service
Western tour: May 2014 – Consultant/Conférencier Dr. Harry Gow

Vancouver  (May 8 – 07:00 to 09:00 PM):
Town Hall meeting: Brix Studio, 102-211 Columbia St. (Gastown), Buzzer #102 for entry.

Organiser: Transport Action BC. RSVP to


Victoria (May 9 – 06:00 to 10:00 PM):
Town Hall meeting: Ambrosia Centre, 638 Fisgard St.

Co-sponsors: Elizabeth  May MP, Green Party of Canada; Dr. Judith Sayers, Island Corridor Foundatioon.

Read Ms. May’s blog post  on the crisis in Canada’s passenger rail system here.


Melville, SK (May 11 – 07:30 PM):
Town Hall meeting: Community Works, 800 Prince Edward St.

Organiser: Ron Haskell, Melville; Transport Action Prairie


Winnipeg (May 13 – 06:30 PM) :
Town Hall meeting: Carol Shields Auditorum, Millenium Centre Winnipeg Central Library

Organiser Peter Lacey, Winnipeg;  Transport Action Prairie

Dr. Harry Gow:

Harry Gow was born February 3rd, 1939 and raised at Invermere, British Columbia and Banff, Alberta inter alia.

He was Founding President of Transport Action Canada (formerly Transport 2000 Canada, from 1976) and is now its Past President and Newsletter Editor.

After serving in the Army in Calgary, Wainright and Camp Borden, Gow went on to five years with the Canadian Pacific Railway in engineering support roles. After graduation from Carleton University, Gow had a career in corrections and social work, which he began as Probation Officer, then Corrections Administrator.

After obtaining a Master’s degree from McGill University, he was a Health and Social services Director and then international consultant and teacher (York U., UQAM institutes). During all this time Gow maintained contact with the railways and found time to organise Transport 2000 (Action) Canada, as a passenger advocacy group. He led a seminar at Carleton University on economic and environmental aspects of transport for Honours engineering and geography students.

Gow was Field Placement Coordinator at the University of Ottawa Department of Criminology and taught intervention methods and seminars for practicum integration and other intervention, before retirement in 2001, when he became leader of a research action project for Health Canada on the effects of provision of rural transit to deprived populations.

Gow is now a consultant in rural community transit and rail and urban transit. He was a member of the Ottawa Mayor’s Task Force on Transportation which recommended the $2 billion Light Rail project now underway, and a member of a group consulting in the field of short line railways and commuter services. He is currently consultant to les Transports adaptés et collectifs des Collines, and for Transport Action Canada on a national speaking tour.

Gow brings a unique perspective on transportation with a blend of engineering, social and environmental knowledge and insights. He is often invited by media to comment on transportation safety issues and passenger concerns.

Previous posts are here and here.

2011, May 9

More items on Vancouver Island Rail

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Matthew @ 6:09 am

The following piece was submitted to the Nanaimo News Bulletin by Transport Action member Ian Gartshore.  Originally published Apr 16, 2011.

The familiar whistle of the VIA Rail passenger train has become silent.

The deteriorating state of the tracks that had been neglected under the former owners has finally caught up to this now publically-owned railway. If an investment of $15 million is not initiated this spring, the railway will be gone for good.

Critics say that if the railway can’t pay its own way, then it should die. Strange thinking when all other modes of travel are heavily subsidised by various governments.

Why are railways alone not considered to be an ‘investment’ like roads, airports, and cruise ship or ferry terminals?

Perhaps this is because rail travel is seen by most to be a ‘thing of the past.’

Only in Canada. All other industrialized countries in the world (and many developing nations as well) are heavily investing in their rail infrastructure.

Not here. Ours are disappearing.

This is occurring at a time of rapidly rising fuel prices, increasing concerns about air quality and greenhouse gases, unstable economics due (in part) to rising energy costs, and the much higher costs of providing adequate infrastructure for trucks, buses and cars.

Maintaining the hundreds of kilometres of roadways in Nanaimo alone costs us property owners nearly 40 per cent of our annual tax bite. Fully half of this year’s increase in taxes is due to the widening of Bowen Road (and associated infrastructure).

The billions of dollars being spent on overpasses in the greater Victoria area to only briefly alleviate the ‘Colwood crawl’, as well as to build the new bridge and widen the Trans Canada highway east of Vancouver so that shipping companies can move goods from the port of Vancouver into the rest of North America is being paid for by you and me.

Yet improving the rail infrastructure would save us a huge chunk of this investment, reduce traffic congestion, improve road safety, reduce pollution and greenhouse gases, improve local economies and create more jobs.

Former provincial transportation minister Kevin Falcon recently indicated that he now thought our railway was worth investing in (something he blocked while being the minister in charge).

Only the province is balking at investing in this vital corridor, as the federal government has promised funds if the province would match them.

When will Canada join the 21st century?

Only when we taxpayers have said “enough”. Only when we have decided that becoming sustainable is not only better for our pocketbooks, it is simply wise.

Ian Gartshore is the President of the non-profit Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island.

2011, April 17

Another reason to keep Vancouver Island Railway

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Matthew @ 9:25 pm

Interesting that the Malahat was closed for much of today due to an accident with a tanker truck.
CBC News story: Tanker spill closes Hwy 1 at Goldstream

A fuel tanker crashed and overturned near Goldstream Provincial Park Saturday evening, spilling 30,000 litres of fuel and closing the Trans-Canada Highway into Sunday.

There is no other viable road linking Greater Victoria with the rest of Vancouver Island, so the parallel railway gives another option to travellers if the highway is closed for an extended period.

2011, April 6

Vancouver Island railway in dilapidated state

Filed under: Inter-city rail — Tags: , , , — Matthew @ 10:42 pm

The VIA Rail dayliner on Vancouver island between Victoria and Courtenay has been cancelled until further notice. The dilapidated nature of the track has finally been noticed by the authorities. In the meantime, the train service is being replaced by bus, and there’s no word on when the train service will come back.

According to VIA’s press release:

“An inspection of the tracks and structures between Victoria and Nanaimo was conducted jointly over the last two days by Southern Railway of Vancouver Island (SRVI), the BC Safety Authority, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and VIA.  Following that inspection, SRVI informed VIA of its decision that significant infrastructure improvement will be required before passenger rail service can resume on this route.”

The problem has been years of neglect and systematic under-investment in our transportation system for years, except for highways, which are lavished with funding.  The provincial government needs to immediately follow the recommendations of the Island Corridor Foundation which calls for $30 million dollars in funding for urgent repair of ties, rails, and ballast. This will also enable the re-jigging of the passenger schedule to doulble the service and enable a commuter service to be added to the existing Victoria-Courtenay-Victoria daily round-trip.

What you can do is contact the powers that be at the Island Corridor Foundation’s You can help make a new passenger rail service a reality page to help get funding to repair this vital transportation link.

VIA Rail Canada press release

Island’s Dayliner train parked indefinitely due to track problems – by Sandra McCulloch, Times Colonist

Island Corridor Foundation – the owner of the railway corridor

Vancouver Island Railway

Corridor somewhere between Courtenay and Qualicum Beach Aug-2008

2011, February 17

Hopes for improved Vancouver Island Rail

Filed under: Inter-city rail — Tags: , , , — Matthew @ 12:30 am

The  Island Corridor Foundation which owns the former Esquimalt and Nanaimo railway on Vancouver Island has put forth a new plan to rehabilitate the track between Nanaimo and Victoria, switch the terminus from Victoria to Nanaimo and add additional VIA service to the line.

You can read more about the service plan on their page. This is  a less ambitious plan than a few years ago, but it would be a vital first step to revitalising the railway and increase the patronage on the trains. The plan would introduce an early morning run from Nanaimo in the morning appealing to commuters before the traditional departure from Nanaimo, up island to Courtenay. In the afternoon the train would arrive back in Victoria in time for take the Victoria commuters back to Langford, Duncan and as far as Nanaimo. They are asking for the federal and provincial governments to put in $15 million each. They point out that there has already been $30 million in investment around and along the corridor including $4 million in ties, signals, and ballast, a new bus exchange at the Langford station, new Admirals Road crossing, 2 new rail and bike bridges, and a rebuilt Nanaimo train station.

Transport Action BC supports this plan and encourages members and the public to show their support by contacting the BC Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Transport, and politicians in charge. The Island Corridor Foundation has put together a list of people to contact.


Courtenay Station



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