Train delays will continue

Last week, Lakes District News attended a very interesting board meeting of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN).

Last week, Lakes District News attended a very interesting board meeting of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN).

A representative from the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) made a presentation to the RDBN board and answered questions about train safety and delays on passenger trains.

Although the passenger trains are run by Via Rail, they commonly have to wait for CN freight trains due to limited tracks, causing delays of up to six hours.

If you’ve ever been on a Via Rail train between Prince Rupert and Prince George, you would probably be thankful (as I was) that the RDBN board was asking some tough questions to CN.

I take the Via Rail train from Burns Lake to Prince George and to Smithers quite often. Although I love taking the train and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to enjoy the Northern B.C. scenery from the train, it can certainly be exhausting to wait for hours for a train that is late, or to be stuck on a train for several hours longer than you anticipated.

It seems outrageous that delays of up to six hours have become a common thing.

I’m sure these delays would be considered unacceptable by most transportation companies in most parts of the world.

Smithers councillor Gladys Atrill said the constant delays on passenger trains are a “huge detriment” to the region.

“Sometimes just a little desire to assist the passenger movement would go a long way,” she said.

When the train is late for four hours, Via Rail staff will offer you a free cup of coffee (which I certainly appreciate, but it is not enough to compensate a four-hour delay).

I’ve had plans ruined many times because the train was late for four or more hours.

The first time I took the train, I was hoping to do some shopping in Smithers. Since the train was four hours late, all the stores were closed by the time I got there (on the bright side, I saved up some money that day).

I was surprised when Via Rail did not notify me of the delay and that they did not compensate me for my ticket (and that everybody on the train acted as if the four-hour delay was normal).

Since then I’ve accepted that the train is simply going to be late, and so I prepare for the delay by not making any plans the day I take the train.

During the RDBN meeting, Mark Fisher, Director of Electoral Area A (Smithers Rural), said CN needs to recognize that Via Rail passengers are just as important as the goods that CN is transporting.

“It’s something that can be done,” said Fisher. “Recognizing that the people have the right to move.”

It seems obvious that the reason the delays keep happening is because CN would lose a lot more money with a late delivery of goods to its industrial customers than Via Rail would with a delay on a passenger train.

I get that, but one would think that people’s time and the money that they paid for a ticket would be given some importance.

According to the CN representative, this issue won’t be addressed any time soon.

 

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

lotto max logo
Are you the lucky winner?

A $1 million ticket was bought in Burns Lake for Friday’s Lotto… Continue reading

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on June 19. A walk around the LDSS track and a draw for the quilt made by Jenny Pirie was organized by Ronda Payne for her friend Barb Wilson. Wilson was diagnosed with ALS in 2016. The draw raised roughly $6,300 from all across Canada, with tickets being bought from as far as Ontario. Burns Lake local won Patti Dube won the draw and the quilt. The money raised will now go to the ALS Society which in turn will be going towards more ALS research and for ALS Societies to provide support to other individuals and families living with this disease. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: Walk to End ALS held in Burns Lake

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

Grad 2021 parade through the village. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: LDSS graduation 2021 parade in Burns Lake

Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) in Burns Lake had a graduation parade… Continue reading

First farmer's market Burns Lake 2021. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Community Market 2021 begins in Burns Lake

Burns Lake & District Chamber of Commerce’s community market, which has received… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Most Read