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HomeNewsSkeena-Bulkley Valley MP on the right track following train trip across Canada

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP on the right track following train trip across Canada

The MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley Taylor Bachrach put his Christmas celebration on the line to experience the current state of passenger rail across the country.

The trip began December 17th, after the federal parliament was dismissed for the holiday season.

“At one time, passenger rail was a mainstream transportation option for millions of Canadians, and today it’s really a shadow of its former self,” said Bachrach.

This was his first time traveling long distance via the rail network and he wanted to learn what the experience was like.

“I wanted to ride the train from Toronto to Smithers to experience the reality of passenger rail and have the chance to talk to passengers and people in communities about a vision of improved passenger rail in Canada,” he said.

Before departing, Bachrach helped to table Bill C-371 with the hope to give passenger trains priority on shared stretches of rail to help cut down on transportation time and delays.

“That’s a big part of the challenge because the passenger train has to pull over a lot for freight trains and that makes it difficult for VIA Rail to maintain a reliable schedule for passengers.”

He added another issue for rail transport is the age of locomotives currently in use for many of VIA’s routes.

“Right now, trains like the one that runs through Smithers, were put into service in the 1950s. They’re reaching their end of life,” said Bachrach.

“The federal government needs to kick off the percurrent process and make sure that before they hit their end of life, we have trains ready to replace them.”

His train was scheduled to arrive in Smithers on December 23rd, and Bachrach wasn’t too late getting his holidays started.

“I wasn’t too concerned about making it home for Christmas. We arrived in Smithers only about 20 minutes behind schedule.”

This year, he’s hoping to continue working on setting up the Red Dress Alert system proposed early in 2023 and help the Town of Smithers receive funding to upgrade its wastewater system.

“That’s a vital thing because the affluent from that system goes into the Bulkley River. We want to make sure that it is as clean as possible and that we’re meeting all the federal regulations,” said Bachrach.

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