A Canadian Pacific Railway spokesman says while the company is willing to look at a proposal from a group hoping to restore passenger train service between Procter and Nelson, they’re not interested in operating it.
“We’re a freight railway, not a passenger railway,” Kevin Hrysak said this week. “We do run some commuter trains, but that’s in major urban areas with private operators.”
For example, he says the Rocky Mountaineer, which runs in B.C. and Alberta, pays a flat fee for track use, regardless of their passenger numbers, while Via Rail is government subsidized.
“Without government involvement, that train wouldn’t run from sheer passenger numbers.”
CP does operate a luxury passenger train, but it is primarily used internally.
“We would rather run freight trains. That’s our business,” Hrysak says. “The last thing we want is a passenger train taking a freight slot from us.”
He adds the Procter group has not formally approached CP with a proposal.
“By all means, they can, but at this point it’s pure speculation whether this will happen. We’re not looking to entertain any offers for us to be the operator.”
Kevin Sheppard, one of the driving forces behind the initiative, said in the Star last week that in addition to using the existing CP track through the community, he envisioned the carriage being operated by trained CP crews.