Victoria–Courtenay train

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Victoria–Courtenay train
Qualicum Beach Station 3.jpg
The Victoria – Courtenay train used Rail Diesel Cars, seen here at Qualicum Beach.
Service typeInter-city rail
StatusIndefinitely suspended
LocaleVancouver Island
Last serviceMarch 19, 2011
Former operator(s)Via Rail
Distance travelled225 kilometres (140 mi)
Average journey time4 hours 45 minutes
Service frequencyDaily
Rolling stockBudd Rail Diesel Cars
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Track owner(s)Island Corridor Foundation

The Victoria–Courtenay train (formerly the Malahat), commonly known as the Dayliner,[1] was a passenger train service operated by Via Rail between Victoria, Nanaimo, and Courtenay on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The service operated on a rail line owned by the Island Corridor Foundation who also contracts out freight operations to the Southern Railway of Vancouver Island (formerly known as the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway).[2] Service is indefinitely suspended pending repairs of the track – service had been projected to resume in 2015, however as of June 2018 repairs to the track had not commenced.[3]


The train was formerly operated with one or two Budd Rail Diesel Cars.[2] Via Rail began operating the passenger train in 1979.[4] Although the service had been threatened with discontinuation several times, it was suspended indefinitely on March 19, 2011, due to track replacement work.[5][6] Prior to further inspection of the track, service along the segment between Nanaimo and Victoria was originally planned to resume on April 8,[7] but lack of funding prevented any of the work from taking place leaving the service out of operation for three years. A temporary bus replacement was brought in for the service after the closure, but dropping passenger numbers of less than ten per day caused the service to be discontinued on August 7.[8] On May 10, nearly two months after suspension, the old Budd cars were moved from the roundhouse in Victoria to a secure yard in Nanaimo, in future hopes of starting commuter service from there.[9] On November 5, they were taken off the island to be returned to central Canada; they will be replaced by a new three-car train stock if service resumes.[10] However, in February 2012, the very short stretch of track from Harbour Road to downtown Victoria was taken out of service due to the pending removal of the railway bridge as the start of the Johnson Street Bridge replacement projecct. The Johnson Street Bridge has been replaced with a new bridge that sits on the site of the former railway bridge, and there are no current plans to replace the railway bridge.

In July 2014, following successful securing of funds from the local, federal and provincial governments to replace trackage and repair bridges along the line, Via Rail reached an agreement with Southern Railway of Vancouver Island and the Island Corridor Foundation to resume island passenger rail operations. Service between Victoria and Nanaimo was expected to resume in May 2015 with service between Nanaimo and Courtenay beginning later in summer 2015.[11] But, as of April 2015 repairs to the track had not commenced,[3] and there will be no resumption of passenger (or freight) service on the line before 2016–17 at the earliest.[12]


Until 2011, the train operated one daily round trip, departing Victoria in the morning, and returning from Courtenay in the evening. The 225-mile (362 km) trip took 4 hours and 45 minutes each way.[13] Proposals of operating a commuter service as far as Nanaimo,[6] or Cowichan[5] have now shifted to focus on running a Westshore commuter service along the first 15 kilometres of track between Victoria and Langford.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cleverley, Bill (October 29, 2009), "'Wrong way' rail may be righted", Times-Colonist, Victoria, BC CAN: Canwest, archived from the original on August 9, 2014, retrieved January 25, 2010
  2. ^ a b Johnston, Bob (May 2008), "British Columbia's backcountry locals", Trains, Waukesha, WI USA: Kalmbach Publishing, 68 (5), pp. 50–55, ISSN 0041-0934
  3. ^ a b Kines, Lindsay (April 7, 2015). "Island's E&N rail repairs on hold during provincial review". Times Colonist. Glacier Community Media. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  4. ^ "Chronological City History". Victoria Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  5. ^ a b "Island's Dayliner train parked indefinitely due to track problems". Times Colonist. Glacier Community Media. April 7, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2011.[dead link]
  6. ^ a b "E&N rail service doomed without huge injection of government cash says operators". April 26, 2011. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  7. ^ "VIA prepares to reinstitute partial train service April 8". Via Rail. March 29, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
  8. ^ "Travel Advisory - Temporary Bus Replacing VIA's Victoria to Courtenay Train Service To Make Last Trip August 7". July 7, 2011. Archived from the original on October 9, 2012. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  9. ^ "Dayliner leaves today for safekeeping in Nanaimo". Times Colonist. Glacier Community Media. May 10, 2011. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  10. ^ "E&N Rail cars leaving Island for good". VicNews. November 5, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  11. ^ "Deal signed to resume E&N rail service; boards need to ratify". July 11, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  12. ^ Stanfield, Scott (November 4, 2015). "Train service could return next year". Comox Valley Record. Black Press, Inc. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  13. ^ "Victoria-Courtenay train - Schedules". Via Rail. Archived from the original on June 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-16.
  14. ^ ""Developer wants commuter rail service up and running in one year"". VictoriaNews. December 8, 2016. Retrieved December 25, 2016.

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