A passenger train to Banff, Alberta?

January 28, 2016

By Cathy Ellis, Rocky Mountain Outlook

The feasibility of reinstating passenger rail between Calgary and Lake Louise hasn’t gone off the rails.

In fact, the Town of Banff has reached out to Canmore, Lake Louise, Cochrane and Calgary to see if there’s an interest in working together to obtain funding for a study to examine reinstating regular passenger rail on the existing tracks between Calgary and Lake Louise.Website Insert Passenger Trains Very Well copy

Officials say a meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 3 with various municipalities.

“For us, (William Cornelius) Van Horne seemed like he had the right idea when passenger rail started tourism in Western Canada,” said Adrian Field, the Town of Banff’s point man on long-term transportation initiatives.

“Tourism to this area is growing and we are looking at the concept of regional rail as a sustainable transportation alternative to private vehicles. The return of passenger rail would also be a visitor experience.”

If tourist service resumes in the long-term, train stops could include Calgary, Cochrane, Canmore, Banff and Lake Louise. Passenger train service to Banff ended in the early 1980s.

The Town of Banff believes reinstating passenger rail on the existing tracks would provide sustainable transportation options for the region, improve safety on the Trans-Canada Highway and provide opportunities for economic growth through tourism.

For Banff’s part, tourism continues to grow every year to 3.6 million visitors last year, and the number of private vehicles coming to the national park townsite is increasing as a result, with about 5.5 million vehicles coming in and out of town last year.

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