During last week’s Council meeting the City of Lacombe Council approved a letter of support for an Alberta Regional Rail System. Alberta Regional Rail Inc. is working to establish a passenger rail service in the Calgary—Edmonton Corridor.
“What we did is we sent just a letter in principle saying that we support the idea of this this this rail line and what it could mean. I think there is many, many, many hurdles to overcome by this this fledgling company to do this. I mean kudos to them if they can pull it off, but why not? I think if we had to stop here in Lacombe with the link to Red Deer, Edmonton, or wherever that if people can just hop on the train, that would be tremendous,” said Councillor, Reuben Konnik who currently Acting as Deputy Mayor.
Konnik said the letter was just in support of the principle but that the City is not committing any sort of funding. The idea of the regional rail system is still in its early stages.
Alberta Regional Rail intends to utilize the existing railroad system with Canadian pacific and invest further money into the existing railway system.
“I think one of the biggest hurdles is just trying to get use of those rails. That's a whole to deal with a major National Railway. We've had our own hurdles that we have to overcome dealing with them, and I can't imagine another rail company saying ‘hey, we want to use your rails too.’ There's lots of hurdles to overcome, but hey, good for them for trying to look into it and see what they can do for sure,” said Konnik.
He believes another issue will be gauging what ridership will be like for the system.
“Everyone would say, ‘oh, that's a cool idea,’ and then they build it in and nobody rides it like the BOLT bus. Everyone wanted to have the BOLT bus and when we had it, the ridership wasn't there to support it,” he explained.
However, despite the hurdles involved, Konnik does believe the system could have its benefits to the Lacombe area and those who commute to and from Lacombe and other neighbouring communities.
“With the demise of greyhound that we've seen in the last few years now, I think it would be something just in terms of commuter traffic. If there's a train you could catch to go into Red Deer to do some shopping or take home, I think that would be something. I think there might be some opportunities, even with people working outside of Lacombe, catching the train to come work in Lacombe,” said Konnik.