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City applies to Canadian Transportation Agency for orders to respect the Arbutus Corridor

August 12 2015

Railroad crossing

On Friday August 7, 2015, the City of Vancouver applied to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) for two orders in respect of the Arbutus Corridor.

The City’s perspective is that by abandoning rail operations on the corridor in 2001, CPR has fundamentally breached the Canadian Transportation Act, which outlines the mandatory steps required for discontinuing a railway.

Under Section 145 of the Canadian Transportation Act, CPR was required to offer the corridor to governments for purchase at its net salvage value, which it did not do.

We asked the CTA to order CPR to discontinue the railway and make an offer for its 2004 value

The City's two orders to the CTA are:

  1. An order that would have the effect of cancelling CPR’s April 14, 2014 amendment of its Three-Year Plan, where they removed the Arbutus Corridor from the list of lines they intended to discontinue; and
  2. An order requiring CPR to make an offer for the corridor at the 2004 net salvage value, which was the year in which the CTA mandated CPR to make an offer, something which CPR did not do.

Read our application to the CTA (PDF, 3 MB)

Resuming rail operations on the corridor has safety risks

The City does not support the reactivation of cargo trains along the Arbutus Corridor. Resuming rail operations on the corridor has numerous inherent safety risks that include:

  • Deteriorated rail infrastructure
  • 50 public crossings at grade, 18 of which have outdated crossing lights and signals
  • Lack of fencing along the corridor
  • 15 years of extensive public use without any risk of rail operations

We asked CPR to better protect public safety and minimize disruption

City officials requested information from CPR to allow the City to better understand their operating plan given there has been no commercial service requirements on the spur for at least 15 years.

The plan involves storage of rail cars along the line and the City has requested a number of issues to be addressed by CPR to allow steps to be taken to better protect the public and minimize disruption to residents, first responders, and other vehicles using the multiple east-west arterials that will be significantly impacted by train movements.


Our vision for the corridor


The corridor is zoned for transportation and is a unique, green, and sustainable transportation route running from False Creek to the Fraser River, crossing several residential neighbourhoods.

The longstanding Council vision is to maintain it as transportation greenway for residents of Vancouver and a viable option for future rail transit use.