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Archive for February 9th, 2009

Amtrak tries to increase service to B.C.

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The Seattle Times has a brief summary of why the second Cascades train is not running yet.

This has already been covered here – but it comes down to the intransigence of the Canadian Border Services Agency. They decided that a second train on an existing servcie was the same as a new service – and thus demand $1500 a day. Amtark is refusing to pay. The Times does not say why but it is simple. These charges are not levied if an airline adds an additional flight btween Seattle and Vancouver. Or if a bus service runs an extra bus.

Appallingly this has been allowed to drag on for months – since last July in fact. The train has a number of benefits that the Canadian government should be willing to pay for. For a start every passenger who switches to the train from driving reduces their greenhouse gas emissions – something the federal government has notably failed to achieve in most of its programs so far. It would also reduce delays at the border crossings – cutting federal expenditures BSA services there. There’s also the considerable reduction in traffic on the freeways too but they are not federal concerns.

The province and local agencies wanting to encourage tourism are also stymied since the BSA does not report to BC – only to Ottawa. I suspect that if there were to be a similar fuss over the Amtrak services to Montreal – or even Toronto – something would have happened by now. And it is not as if there not conservative  MPs in ridings impacted by this decision – from whom we have heard precisely nothing.

Amtrak Cascades crossing Mud Bay

Amtrak Cascades crossing Mud Bay

Written by Stephen Rees

February 9, 2009 at 9:04 am

Posted in Railway