Rail line upgrades proceed

The resumption of rail service in the North Okanagan is right on track

The resumption of rail service in the North Okanagan is right on track.

As part of a decision to take over the Kelowna-Pacific line, Canadian National is investing in capital improvements to infrastructure between Lumby and Kamloops.

“This work is underway and includes track upgrades and rail tie replacement,” said Emily Hamer, CN regional manager of public affairs.

“Operations on the 97 miles of the network running from  Campbell Creek to Lumby will resume as soon as possible.”

While improvements to the North Okanagan line continue, uncertainty over the future of the track from Coldstream to Kelowna remains.

On Oct. 2, CN issued a notice of discontinuance for the line along Kalamalka and Wood lakes.

“The discontinuance process falls under the Canada Transportation Act and we are following the process as prescribed,” said Hamer.

“This legislated process is designed to give any interested party who believes that they can keep a line operating to do so.”

Presently, parties interested in acquiring the line for railway operations have until Dec. 2 to make their intentions.

If there is no interest from the private sector, the federal and provincial governments will be asked if they want the property. If that doesn’t occur, local government will have between March 5 and April 4 to state if there is interest in acquiring the track.

If rail service does not resume, a citizens’ campaign has been launched to turn the track into a recreational corridor.

“We will not comment on discussions held with individual interested parties,” said Hamer.