'It's not if, it's when': Feasibility study has Banff train station leaseholder on edge of her seat

A forthcoming study on mass transit in and around the Bow Valley has the long-term leaseholder of the Banff train station on the edge of her seat.

But the roughly $700M project will be challenging and complicated, Jan Waterous says

A new feasibility study on mass transit in the Bow Valley, which could touch on passenger train service from Banff to Calgary, has the leaseholder of the Banff train station looking forward. (Google Maps)

A forthcoming study on mass transit in and around the Bow Valley has the long-term leaseholder of the Banff train station on the edge of her seat. 

Jan Waterous and her husband Adam are behind Liricon Capital, a financial holding company that is the multi-year leaseholder of the station and 30 acres that surround it. They also own the Mount Norquay ski resort.

Waterous says a mass transit feasibility study being released Wednesday in Banff is a step in the right direction for returning passenger train service between Calgary and the national park, which left the station almost three decades ago.

"It's not if, it's when," Waterous told CBC News.

"We believe so strongly that this would be good for all of the communities and all of our visitors to the national park. It's a very challenging and complicated project from a funding and administration perspective. Huge obstacles for CP Rail to even consider this. But we wouldn't be investing all of our time if we didn't think it was something that was very important for all of our communities, including Banff National Park."

She says that close to $700 million in funding, mostly private, is in place for the most part, but there is still lots of work to do.

The investors have to convince CP Rail to lease the corridor and government agree to subsidize the ticket prices. Then the track has to be twinned as currently it's commercial traffic only.

"We are grateful to the Alberta government for the work they've done. It's given a much clearer sense of what is involved in bringing back passenger rail," Waterous said.

"The study looks at where the track and stops would be. It requires the support of the municipalities, the mayors of Banff, Canmore and Cochrane. They've been working hard on this. It's a joint public-private project."

The mayor of Banff has called the project a game changer for the community.

With files from Radio-Canada's Tiphanie Roquette


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