News / Halifax

Halifax regional council votes to take commuter rail to the next stop

On Tuesday night, council voted to direct staff to begin negotiations with Via Rail for a commuter rail service between Windsor Junction and downtown Halifax.

A VIA Rail train is shown in Halifax in this file photo.

Jeff Harper / Metro Order this photo

A VIA Rail train is shown in Halifax in this file photo.

Halifax Regional Municipality is on track to commuter rail.

On Tuesday night, Halifax regional council voted unanimously to direct staff to begin negotiations with Via Rail for a commuter rail service between Windsor Junction and downtown Halifax.

“Staff is now allowed to go back and ask questions and negotiate and explore the unsolicited pre-proposal or expression of interest that we received regarding commuter rail,” said Coun. Tim Outhit after the meeting.

Outhit believes the discussions will take a couple months, and if an agreement can be found between the two parties, a service could be on the rails within a year.

“Our gut feeling is Via is probably more ready than we are,” said Coun. Barry Dalrymple after the meeting, adding that the municipality would have to build platforms and Park and Ride lots.

Outhit said the service Via has pitched would be exactly the same as the one detailed in a CPCS study last year that said commuter rail wasn’t feasible in the municipality due to its cost.

“The public knows what the service is because it’s public from the CPCS study,” he said.

The difference this time, he said, is that Via Rail says it can make it happen for less money.

At the time of that CPCS study, Dalrymple wanted the service to extend to Enfield, but said Tuesday he can live with the fact that this proposal wouldn’t do that.

“It can be expanded distance-wise, it can be expanded the amount of runs, all of those kind of things,” he said. “But we’ll never know if we don’t at least get it started.”

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