BYD wants to convert abandoned rail line on Vancouver Island for use with electric buses

E&N rail

Chinese electric bus maker BYD is asking the British Columbia provincial government to consider converting an abandoned rail line to a much greener use.

The E&N rail corridor stretches from Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, all the way up to Courtenay, some 225km (139 miles) away. Passenger service along the line was halted in 2011 due to the deteriorating condition of the tracks.

The years of neglect since have only made the problem worse, with recent estimates to repair the line and bring back passenger and freight service costing as much as $1.3 billion.

Instead, BYD is proposing an alternative use for the part of the line that goes from Victoria to Langford that would cost much less.

Related: Edmonton Transit welcomes 21 electric buses to its fleet

The proposal, brought forward by BYD Canada vice president Ted Dowling, suggests using their electric buses on a guided system using existing right of ways and infrastructure. The route could also be used for emergency services, and could incorporate bikes and walking trails as well.

BYD already has a significant footprint in Canada. In 2019, they opened its first facility in the country, a 45,000-square-foot factory in Ontario. From that factory, they delivered their first 10 electric buses to the Toronto Transit Commission earlier this year.

BYD electric bus

h/t [Times Colonist]

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