$1B rail and barge network proposed for Island; would ease congestion at Vancouver terminals
VICTORIA — A new company is proposing a partnership with governments and First Nations to establish a $1-billion modern freight rail service between ports in Port Alberni and Nanaimo, supported by barges carrying cargo to the Lower Mainland.
“Contemporary rail provides a cost-effective and environmental means to move cargo, people and support tourism,” said Dave Hayden, president of Island Rail Corp., who was previously in senior management with Canadian Pacific Railway.
The goal is to provide “seamless rail transport” from Port Alberni, with its deep sea port, to Nanaimo and then by barge over to the Lower Mainland, where there is direct access to North American rail networks, Hayden said Thursday.
Cargo would come into Port Alberni and be loaded onto rail cars. From there, the freight would be carried by rail to Nanaimo, where 50 cars, with two stacked containers each, could go straight onto a barge to the mainland, Hayden said.
The service would help ease congestion at the busy port in Vancouver.
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