BNSF notes it is in the middle of $20 million in planned upgrades to its waterfront route around the Peninsula.

BNSF notes ‘difficulty’ in moving waterfront rail route

Rail company addresses civic leaders' efforts to relocate White Rock/South Surrey train tracks inland.

While moving BNSF’s tracks from the White Rock and South Surrey waterfront to an inland route was a frequently raised local issue during the recent federal election – and remains the subject of ongoing discussion between White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner – the jury is still out on whether it is a practical option, according to BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas.

He reiterated the long-time official position of the U.S.-based railway to Peace Arch News on Friday.

“BNSF is willing to review any officially sanctioned plan to move the line,” he said.

But, he warned, Semiahmoo Peninsula residents should not expect any steps to be taken soon.

“Realistically, it would be a very difficult undertaking,” he said. “We’re talking about moving an active rail line that is essential, that plays a critical role in the Canadian economy in moving goods as well as providing passenger service.”

And Melonas noted the company has made significant recent investment in upgrading infrastructure in the existing corridor.

That includes $5-10 million spent in the last three years alone, among it a $1.5-million upgrade of the Little Campbell River bridge.

Ongoing improvements to trestles in the Mud Bay area will amount to $15 million, he added.

“And we’re beginning construction plans to replace another trestle which will be completed next year, for another $5 million.”

Moving the tracks from the current alignment, he said, is “easier said than done.”

“It would be extremely expensive and the big question is where you’d be moving it to.”

A staff report to Surrey council estimates that a technical study of moving the tracks would cost at least $700,000.

The same report, supported by council – which has asked staff to investigate cost sharing for a feasibility study with the province and White Rock – estimates that actually moving the tracks could cost $350-450 million, and much more if the new route involved underground construction.

South Surrey-White Rock MP-elect Dianne Watts – an advocate, as Surrey mayor, for moving the route – has suggested plans for anticipated high-speed service between Seattle and Vancouver may force the issue of realigning the route.

Melonas declined to discuss that possibility, however, deferring to Amtrak to comment on the status of high-speed service between the two cities.

Official comment from Amtrak was not forthcoming at press time.

 

Just Posted

South Surrey mom adds festive touch to late son’s Spirit Garden tree

Christmas twinkle adds ‘a little bit of joy at a difficult time’

The ‘Upside Down’ is coming to Surrey with ‘One Man Stranger Things’ parody

Charles Ross one-man act based on first two seasons of hit Netflix show

Surrey councillor wants the policing transition process to ‘immediately stop’

Brenda Locke to make motion at Dec. 16 meeting to reconsider current plan

City of Surrey says pension benefits ‘guaranteed’ for police recruits

A National Police Federation representative says it may not be enough incentive

Surrey-area teens will have a ball at Christmas, thanks to collection effort

Realty company’s Bring on the Balls campaign now in its third year

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2017 Stanley Park stabbing

Lubomir Kunik was found by a man out walking his dog on the beach late on Feb. 1, 2017

Vancouver homeless camp brings community, safety, home, says resident

Encampment in the city’s Downtown Eastside is one of many that have sprung up in B.C.

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Most Read

l -->