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ROTHENBURGER: CP Rail needs to be clear on its intentions for Kamloops

Downtown rail yard. (Image: Mel Rothenburger)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

CP RAIL NEEDS to come clean on its plans for expanded trackage in Kamloops.

The railway announced in a news release on its website a week and a half ago it will shut down the Jack Gregson Trail effective Nov. 9.

The reason, it said, is that an additional track is needed along the existing mainline. While the statement took pains to make clear the trail was “neither designed nor intended to be a public pathway,” it was vague about details on the track expansion.

It said just enough to raise fears that it might be intending to add another track through downtown Kamloops. Such a prospect is absurd.

The news release talked about trying to “minimize any inconvenience to the residents in the surrounding communities” during construction. Media have attempted to clarify the extent of the project, as have I.

Inquiries to CP Rail have been brushed off with a referral back to the press release, with no further explanation, or no reply at all.

That’s simply not good enough. If you visualize the existing rail lines west from the Gregson Trail, it’s clear that adding a new line all the way along Lorne Street past Pioneer Park to the existing downtown yard and terminal and on from there through town would be a monumentally disruptive — and near impossible — challenge.

And, I might add, totally unacceptable.

Heading east, adding a line through Valleyview would be almost as bad. The logical conclusion has to be that CP Rail is planning a siding rather than another line.

Why it refuses to share its intentions is hard to fathom. Railroads have been a major part of Kamloops history and economy since the beginning but that’s no excuse for treating the community with such utter disrespect.

Interestingly, a news release about a track extension in Field, published on the same web page, provides details of that plan complete with a map. Kamloops deserves the same courtesy.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7848 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on ROTHENBURGER: CP Rail needs to be clear on its intentions for Kamloops

  1. Perhaps it is part of the bigger picture involving the crossing at Lorne Street.
    https://armchairmayor.ca/2019/12/11/bepple-cns-new-coal-contract-presents-challenges-for-kamloops/

  2. Margaret L Morgan // October 19, 2020 at 9:01 PM // Reply

    Thank you for your comments on this issue. We live on East Lorne St. (just before the J. Gregson Trail starts) and the addition of another track was a complete surprise. The premise that this track is for usage by CN as a staging area for the coal trains just adds to the already congested CPR lines. The coal dust is very evident on our windowsills and we are obviously breathing in this dust along with the diesel emissions. The sad thing is that this does not just sit on our street but floats around everyone’s airspace. CPR is not a conscientious corporate citizen as it continually contravenes a lot of the City of Kamloops Good Neighbor bylaw (noise, pollution, not maintaining their property.

  3. Tony Brumell // October 19, 2020 at 11:02 AM // Reply

    Another way to look at it would be to understand what the need for more track is. Greater traffic ? Greater movement of resources like coal or oil.The risk of calamity increases with every extra tonne of rail traffic and the pressure on the biosphere also increases with resultant damage and reuction of quality of life. Greater movement through the valley means greater noise levels and greater chance of disaster. The railways have the power to force whatever they want on Kamloops .Just like the pipeline. We will all regret a third track and the railway won’t give a hoot.

  4. In Canada, busy railroads mean a healthy economy. A healthy national economy allows for grants and loans to City like Kamloops to build amenities for its citizenship. Since the citizenship is always looking for more, including an outdoor skating facility, the demand for grants and loans is always there…hence in a way let’s think where the money comes from to feed the insatiable demands of the never-content citizenry. That’s one way to look at it.

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