British Columbia·Updated

CP Rail says Arbutus Corridor trains will roll in 'coming weeks'

CP Rail has sent a letter to residents living near the Arbutus Corridor on Vancouver's west side, telling them to expect trains to start rolling on contentious railway soon.

Trains haven't run along the tracks on Vancouver's west side in nearly 15 years

CP Rail has told residents in a letter that it plans to begin running trains along the contentious Arbutus corridor in coming weeks. (Panoramio.com)

CP Rail has sent a letter to residents living near the Arbutus Corridor on Vancouver's West Side, telling them to expect trains rolling along the contentious railway soon.

Several Arbutus Street residents told CBC they tossed the notice in their trash -- describing it as "obnoxious" and  "arrogant."

Others, like Valerie Mcintosh, were less upset, but understood that the notice would set off emotions: "It will be a shame... but I think people will have to adjust."

McIntosh says bike and other traffic has increased considerably since there were trains to watch out for.

She hopes that CPR will give residents — many whose property values have tripled since trains last ran — more information about what the trains will carry and how often they will run.

"We will commence transporting and storing rail cars on the tracks in the coming weeks," the letter states.

The letter, on CP letterhead, tells residents not to walk, drive or cycle on or alongside the railway line — which hasn't been used for trains in about 15 years.

"Should you need to cross the tracks, do so only at marked crossings," reads the letter signed by CP's government affairs west director Mike LoVecchio.

Vancouver and CP Rail in long dispute

The City of Vancouver and CPR have been fighting over the future of the corridor, which runs through pricey residential neighbourhoods, for more than a decade.

Vancouver has offered to buy the land off CP Rail, which has owned it for nearly 130 years, but the two sides failed to come to an agreement on the price last year.

After negotiations broke down, CP Rail warned residents last year it intended to use the vacant tracks for train traffic again and began ripping out community gardens along the right of way.

The company admitted at that time the dispute with the city was behind the efforts to reactivate the line.

In January a B.C. Supreme Court Justice sided with CP, ruling that the city had no rights over the property, owned by the rail line. CPR agreed to temporarily stop work in November after the city applied for injunction in an effort to stop the railway from bulldozing community gardens.

CP Rail asserts that the nine-kilometre-long Arbutus corridor's potential value as a development could top $400-million, and in the past has offered to sell to the city for $100-million. The city countered at $20 million.

DOCUMENT: Read CP's letter to residents

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With files from Dan Burritt

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