Traffic tie-ups in Banff prompt renewal of railway discussions
CTV Calgary Staff
Published Monday, February 15, 2016 7:44PM MST
Last Updated Monday, February 15, 2016 7:45PM MST
Thousands of Calgarians flocked to the Banff townsite on the Family Day long weekend bringing an influx of vehicles to the community. The holiday Monday was but the latest example of traffic snarls and parking headaches in the town during busy times and the reason the town’s council wants to reopen conversations on passenger train service between Banff and Calgary.
VIA Rail Canada once provided train service between the mountain park and the city but the service was subsidized by the government and its funding was removed during cost-cutting measures in 1990.
The Town of Banff has requested a $350,000 grant from the provincial government to study the idea which is expected to ease traffic congestion and reduce the impact on the environment.
Tessa Haigh of Mountain Chocolate is onboard with the idea.
“It would be a big benefit t actually,” said Haigh. “I was talking to a lady yesterday it took her a half an hour or 40 minutes just to get a park. That obviously affects us because if you can’t get a park , they don't come stuff like that. If people could just jump on a train and come straight it would be so much easier.”
Members of the Banff council admit the return of passenger train service may prove to be financially unrealistic and there are questions as to who would pay for the associated costs. If the cars return to the rails, council would like the project to include stops in Cochrane, Canmore and Lake Louise.
With files from CTV’s Chris Epp