BOWDEN — Town council is supportive of a proposed new passenger railway service, Town of Bowden Mayor Robb Stuart says.
During its December meeting, council received a news release from Airdrie-based Alberta Regional Rail Inc. (ARRI) urging it to write a letter of support of the concept to an ARRI official.
The company's website indicates it envisions linking Edmonton and Calgary as well as communities as far afield as Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge.
The news release indicated it could link smaller communities with those larger cities through a combination of bus transportation and the rail system.
The release said the system could be up and running in about three years, funded through a public-private partnership and utilizing “off the shelf” technology available right now.
“A travel system integrating regional rail and local bus service enables residents to live in Penhold and work in Ponoka, continue education in agriculture at Olds College and sprinkle in arts courses as electives from Red Deer College, attend medical specialist appointments, visit family and friends, go to a game, or just get out and about to enjoy the cultural and historic areas of the (Calgary-Edmonton) corridor without the stress of driving on the QE2, especially in winter,” the release said.
“Building a passenger rail system incorporating passenger rail removes cars and congestion along the QE2 freeway.
“Environmental benefits include reduced emissions, not just from the reduced number of vehicles, but also from the motive power of the trains that may use hydrogen fuel cells and battery technology."
During a year-end interview, Stuart said Bowden town council “more or less” agreed to write a letter supporting the project.
“If we can get a train running back and forth like there used to be in the old days (that would be great),” Stuart said.
“Actually, they sent a little brochure here and I was kind of surprised. It would stop at almost every little town – if you’d booked in advance.”