Happy New Year!
The following is a Rail for the Valley media release to kick off 2010.
All aboard – 2010 the 100th anniversary of the Interurban
This new year is a particularly special one for advocates of passenger rail for the Fraser Valley. 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the initial Interurban rail service that used to connect communities from Chilliwack to Vancouver. So far, the anniversary is being commemorated by the Chilliwack Museum with a special year-long Interurban exhibit. The Rail for the Valley campaign is hoping for much more.
“100 years later, we are waiting for light rail service to re-commence,” said Rail for the Valley founder John Buker, “and we have reason to be optimistic about the future, as the movement for passenger rail continues to grow and politicians begin to climb aboard. Looking back at the past year, we’ve made some large strides towards our goal.”
-On April 11 2009, ahead of the provincial elections, Rail for the Valley supporters organized a ‘historic’ Day of Action, holding up banners in support of passenger rail atop Highway 1 overpasses all the way from Chilliwack to Vancouver, on more than 20 overpasses in all – a feat never before accomplished, thus illustrating the deep and widespread public support for the cause.
[ Coverage and pictures of that event here: https://railforthevalley.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/highway-1-day-of-action-a-soaking-success/
Link to a CTV news article at the time: http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090411/BC_fraser_valley_rail_090411/20090411/?hub=BritishColumbiaHome ]
-During the following election campaign, the BC Liberals announced, through a Rail for the Valley pre-election Questionnaire, support in principle for a demonstration service along the Interurban corridor. (Link here: see page 11/11, BC Liberal response to Q.3.)
-Later in 2009, the South of Fraser Community Rail Task Force, headed by Langley Township Mayor Rick Green, was established to help Fraser Valley communities lobby senior levels of government for such a service in a unified way.
Buker‘s message to the public this new year is simple: “100 years ago, the first Chilliwack-Vancouver Interurban rail service began, and it fundamentally shaped the growth of the Fraser Valley. Today, we can rapidly build a new, modern light rail network for the entire Lower Mainland, starting inexpensively with track that already exists, giving the public a real alternative to the automobile. All we need is the political will.“
Rail for the Valley‘s latest online petition for passenger rail service, viewable on http://www.railforthevalley.com, has garnered more than 800 signatures so far, including hundreds of thoughtful comments posted in support.
“We must hold our politicians to account on this, or there will be backsliding. Any shift away from the status quo is naturally resisted by political inertia, and we have to be on the highest guard for it. As we pull out of this recession, the price of gasoline will likely jump dramatically again. With the way the Fraser Valley is growing and the rest of the world is changing, we absolutely must see a fundamental shift in priorities away from incremental and exorbitantly expensive Skytrain expansion, and endless highway expansion, towards beginning right now, today, to build light rail infrastructure for the Lower Mainland, for today and for the future,” declared Buker.
The Rail for the Valley Campaign would like to wish the public and all of our supporters a very Happy New Year, and all the best for 2010.