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Island Rail Redefined.

Connecting Communities,

Cultures, and Commerce.

Island Rail Redefined.

Connecting Communities,

Cultures, and Commerce.

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Island Rail Corporation

Island Rail Corp (IRC) is a privately held corporation at the forefront of bringing together a consortium of local, national, and international companies that can support Vancouver Island’s vision to rebuild the Island Rail Corridor for future generations; all within the framework of Reconciliation with the First Peoples as its Partners. Our team, working closely with Island Rail stakeholders, has undertaken the research and data acquisition of private sector interest in the return of specifically freight-rail service to Vancouver Island; passenger-rail service being a byproduct of the former revenue producer. The IRC team has aligned with a number of key businesses and organizations along the Island Rail Corridor, including beyond Vancouver Island, that will benefit directly from a new and enhanced Island freight-rail service.

With identified partnerships and collaboration, IRC proposes a new vision for Island Rail operating heavy freight-rail service from Port to Ports (P2P) between the West and East coast ports of Vancouver Island; Port of Alberni, and Port in Nanaimo, respectively, connecting with the Lower Mainland. Bidirectional rail traffic at Nanaimo terminals will connect with mainland Class 1 railway interchanges and the North American rail network via an enhanced high-capacity rail marine service. Expanding terminals at Port Alberni to handle an influx in domestic and international freight with the P2P corridor providing the needed rail capacity while alleviating congestion at Vancouver terminals. IRC also proposes regional freight-rail service to local businesses along the Island Rail Corridor that can benefit from direct rail service. Additionally, as a byproduct of revenue-generating heavy freight service, IRC supports an intercity passenger service between Nanaimo, Victoria, and Courtenay as well as a higher frequency passenger rail service between Duncan, Langford, and Victoria. IRC envisions operating seasonal revenue-generating tourist trains as well between strategic tourism-centric Island Corridor points of interest.

The vision is strong and our collaborations stronger. Island freight-rail service and an enhanced Island Rail network and system will return; stronger, more dynamic, diversified, and capable than Island Rail has been historically without the IRC vision.​​

First Nations

IRC recognizes the value and importance of First Nations involvement in the future success of the Island and its railway. As such, IRC has a strong desire and commitment to partner with the local First Peoples and Indigenous Leaders. IRC also understands and supports the need to have the sections of unceded corridor lands returned to these First Peoples and for all of these Indigenous Partners to share in the success and importance the Island Rail Corridor will have for the people of Vancouver Island over the next century and beyond. Working in partnership with Island Rail Corp, First Nations can participate in a superior modern rail network operating to its full potential, an Island Rail Corridor that will provide a GREEN Transportation System serving Vancouver Island and markets beyond; an Island Rail System that not only meets but exceeds the social and economic objectives of a sustainable future for generations to come. This is an inclusive and substantial opportunity for all.

Indigenous Peoples along the Island Rail Corridor that is presently the Island Corridor Foundation need to have the unceded territory resolved. Island Rail Corp supports this need and is pleased to lend our support to its resolution. It is our expressed hope that the rebuilding of contemporary rail will assist Indigenous Peoples along the corridor in achieving their goals for a socio-economic and environmental future for them and all of Vancouver Island.


Our Mandate

  • To facilitate restoration, revitalization, and enhancement of all rail infrastructure on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, as the core infrastructure of a future transportation system to move Port to Port freight, people (public and tourists alike), and enhance intermodal and transload operations in support of rail-freight services moving bidirectional local, national, and international bound and originating freight commodities;

  • To foster a broad coalition of partners, including both government and non-government groups including the private sector and First Nations, who will aid in achieving these purposes;

  • To ensure such projects are undertaken in an environmentally friendly and socially beneficial manner, with a goal of reducing Island greenhouse gas emissions while also reducing Island highway congestion and simultaneously improving freight transportation efficiency;

  • To develop broad private sector, indigenous, and political support; and

  • To promote integration with ALL other forms of transportation; on and off the Island, including trucks, ferries and airports.​​


Port Alberni Deepwater Terminals

Island Rail Corp has identified a variety of freight traffic, nearly exclusive to Port Alberni industries and port terminal expansion facilitating the birth of a modern western port. This freight rail traffic helps significantly reduce and keep excess heavy commercial vehicle traffic off of capacity-limited and already congested Island highways, particularly highways 4 and 19 between Port Alberni and Duke Point. Unlike highway transport, this freight shifted to rail will remain moving reliably in any and all extreme weather conditions, be economically and environmentally preferred, eliminate excess product handling (damage/loss), and pass on safety benefits to other road users. A western port in Port Alberni has the ability to handle Canadian, US, and global market supply chain goods and the additional existing western port freight overflow due to current supply chain congestion. IRC has an opportunity to move these goods arriving at a Port Alberni deepwater port and connecting these goods to their end destination via mainland Class 1 railway interchanges.


Port Alberni Rail Advantages

  • Rail from Port Alberni eliminates excess product handling (product loss, risk of damage);

  • Rail from Port Alberni accommodates 2-4 times more product moved per rail carload;

  • Rail from Port Alberni offers and allows for transit reliability in all weather conditions;

  • Rail from Port Alberni eliminates extended Vancouver Harbour vessel dwell time;​​

  • Rail from Port Alberni offers significant savings for ocean vessel turnaround time;

  • Rail from Port Alberni avoids West Coast Short Sea Shipping navigational challenges;

  • Rail from Port Alberni delivers and connects carloads direct to Class 1 railway networks;

  • Rail from Port Alberni provides capacity and growth within a designated Foreign Trade Zone;

  • Rail from Port Alberni significantly reduces commercial vehicle traffic on congested Island highways, passing on road safety and maintenance benefits to other users and Island taxpayers;

  • Rail from Port Alberni significantly reduces emissions by significantly increasing transit efficiency, moving 2-4 times more product while using 3-4 times less fuel, removing an excess of inefficient commercial vehicles from the road, and minimizing ocean vessel turnaround and port dwell time.


Vancouver Island's Foreign Trade Zone​

Did you know Vancouver Island is a Foreign Trade Zone? Local, Provincial, National, and International shippers can benefit directly from associated trade zone advantages by utilizing Vancouver Island port facilities to move their products and goods. A direct Island Rail Corp rail link between Vancouver Island and North American rail networks will play a crucial role in maximizing this trade zone status by providing seamless end-to-end benefits to shippers both on and off Vancouver Island, importing, exporting, and moving their products anywhere. IRC is a member of Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) and you can view our profile at viea.ca/author/islandrail

Click Here For More Vancouver Island Foreign Trade Zone Information


Island Rail Stakeholders Being Explored

The private sector companies and organizations Island Rail Corp is meeting with each bring their own valuable industry experience and benefit to the table. Each can provide and gain tremendous social-economic and environmental benefits that will result from a rebuilt rail operation serving their business. All those we have and are meeting with have expressed support to the mandate of the Island Corridor Foundation, which is to preserve and protect the corridor for its continued use with rail; and all recognize the lands that make up the Island Corridor are unceded territory, an issue that must be addressed as a condition of the Island Rail Corridor meeting the needs of Vancouver Island for the next millennium and beyond.

Indigenous Peoples along the Island Rail Corridor that is presently the Island Corridor Foundation need to have the unceded territory resolved. Island Rail Corp supports this need and is pleased to lend our support to its resolution. It is our expressed hope that the rebuilding of contemporary rail will assist Indigenous Peoples along the corridor in achieving their goals for a socio-economic and environmental future for them and all of Vancouver Island.


Photo of Alstom Tour attendees in Quebec City does not reflect the support of or by any parties shown

Alstom Passenger Pilot Project Invitation

Island Rail Corporation, along with representatives from Translink, Nanaimo Airport Commission, and Stewart Group Consulting had the pleasure and opportunity of accepting an invitation from Alstom to be introduced to their “State of the Art” technology and hydrogen-powered passenger pilot project in Quebec. A number of Island Mayors and additional representatives from Island First Nations were invited to accompany IRC but unfortunately due to scheduling were unable to attend. IRC also extended an invite to the ICF to attend but IRC did not receive a response. Experiencing and witnessing the application of this type of service knowing it is within the grasp of all Vancouver Island residents, along with opening the door to Tourism, was compelling. Although the scenic route taken through the heart of Quebec was exceptional, what Vancouver Island has to offer with this type of application opens the door to the benefit of everything from Environmental, Tourism, Transportation, and so much more. The door is open as we continue to work with all stakeholders on the re-establishment of Island Rail to the benefit of ALL residents on Vancouver Island.

IRC sees the immediate benefit of operating an Alstom hydrogen-powered passenger rail service on sections of the existing southern half of the Island Rail Corridor between Victoria and Parksville. With consent of the Indigenous Communities, and support from member Municipal/Regional Governments supporting passenger rail, the private sector is willing and able to step in, invest, and assist with its operations. Realizing this can be achieved within 2024, the larger and more important issue is the need for Senior Governments to work with all fourteen Indigenous Communities on which the railway exists to cede back their lands, complete with appropriate compensation.

Should you want to know more about IRC's vision for rail on Vancouver Island and the benefits we can offer Indigenous Communities and all Peoples of our growing Island community, please contact the IRC team at islandrailcorp.com/contact or [email protected]

Video courtesy of Alstom North America

Frequently Asked Questions​

There has been much confusion and misinformation associated with the Island Rail Corridor over the years and we're here to answer some of these questions and/or clarify any misconceptions while also making clear where Island Rail Corp stands as a company.

What is the Island Rail Corridor?

The Island Rail Corridor, as the railway corridor on Vancouver Island is known, runs from Victoria to Courtenay and from Parksville to Port Alberni. The railway on Vancouver Island was previously known as the Esquimalt & Nanaimo (E&N) Railway, owned and operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) until the end of the 20th century. In the early 21st century, ownership and management of the railway and lands were transferred to the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF). The ICF is not a railway company but solely a landlord for the Island Rail Corridor. The railway operation itself is privately operated by an independent rail operator under contract with the ICF.

What does the Island Corridor Foundation do?
What is Island Rail Corp?
How are First Nations involved?
What will run on the Island Railway?
How active will the Island Railway be?
Is the Island Corridor private property?
Is the railway publicly or privately funded?
How and when can I take the train?

Interested in aligning with or contacting IRC?​

To contact the IRC team, email [email protected]

Prefer the phone? Please email us to schedule a callback.

We welcome the support of all interested stakeholders in coming ‘On Board’!​​