Years after the last trains rumbled down the railway through Vancouver's West Side, the tracks are finally being removed to make way for a new greenway.

CP Rail crews have moved in their equipment and will begin removing tracks this week along the former transport corridor, which runs nine kilometres through the city's West Side from False Creek to Marpole.

The city says work will start at the Kitsilano end and continue south at a rate of about one kilometre per week, until all of the rails, ties and rail bed material is gone by the end of this year.

The transformation of the former railway right-of-way comes after the city reached a deal earlier this year with CP to buy the land for $55 million.

The deal ended a bitter dispute between CP and the city.

Arbutus greenway

An artist's rendering shows the city's plan to replace the unused railway route with a greenway. (City of Vancouver)

Residents remain unsettled

During the height of the dispute, CP warned residents it would use the vacant tracks for train traffic again, and tore down a number of community gardens.

Sarah Miyambo lives at the south end of the corridor and says CP Rail staff tore up her garden in 2014. Now she's worried construction of the greenway could cause the same problems.

"I'm worried I won't be able to go back and do the garden," she said.

The city has said in the short term there will be no changes impacting the 320 community gardens near the existing rail line, but that permitted gardens must be maintained within their existing footprint as CP removes rail ties.


 

With files from Kamil Karamali