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E&N Railway: Study says millions needed for bridge and trestle repairs

Apr 16 2012

On top of a $15-million investment from the provincial and federal governments to keep the E&N Railway operating for another 10 years, the line’s owner needs an additional $5.4 million for bridge and trestle repairs.

These latest figures come from an engineering study conducted by Associated Engineering, which outlines maintenance and capital costs for the 48 structures between Victoria and Courtenay.

The Island Corridor Foundation, which owns and manages the line, calls the comprehensive report an “essential” component to the track’s future. It gives cost estimates for upgrades stretched over the next 10, 20 and 30 years.

A total of $34 million is required to keep the bridges and trestles in a safe condition over the next three decades, money which the foundation says it will cover through its own revenue once the line is running again.

Ottawa announced last week its commitment to providing $7.5 million, which matches the amount given by the provincial government, to pay for the replacement of the line’s decaying ballast and joints, and a quarter of the rail ties.

The investment will return passenger service as early as next spring, and freight loads are expected to increase as the line improves.