Vancouver seeks Transportation Agency clout in railway battle with CP

VANCOUVER – The City of Vancouver is fighting back as it battles plans by Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) to resurrect train traffic on a rail spur cutting through some of the city’s priciest neighbourhoods.

In a release, Vancouver calls on the Canadian Transportation Agency to issue an order overruling CPR’s removal of the Arbutus Corridor from a list of lines due to be mothballed.

Vancouver also wants the agency to order the railway to make an offer to sell the 11-kilometre corridor at its 2004 net salvage value, which is the after-tax value of the land, minus clean-up costs.

Vancouver and CPR have been arguing over the future of the land since trains stopped running on the tracks 15 years ago.

Mayor Gregor Robertson has accused the railway of bullying, alleging the company rejected the city’s fair market offer to buy the land before tearing up community gardens planted beside the rails, and it’s now proceeding with plans to reactivate cargo trains.

In January, a B.C. Supreme Court judge dismissed Vancouver’s application for an injunction halting CPR’s removal of the gardens, but also found the city has raised legitimate questions about whether the railway has abandoned the land.