Councillor Petrina Arnason said the new federal regulations and increased rail traffic are a “perfect storm” that’s hitting Langley Township financially. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

Rail upgrades will cost Langley Township $6 million

The council may borrow money to fund the federally-mandated upgrades.

Langley Township is looking at borrowing to deal with approximately $6.3 million in extra rail crossing upgrades it will need over the next several years.

At a Monday afternoon budget meeting, Township councillors heard that there will need to be upgrades to rail crossings under federal rules.

Rural Langley has numerous rail crossings, many of them unsecured. A Township consultant has been working to design the new infrastructure, but now it must be built, by 2021 at the latest.

There are 30 crossings affected in the Township.

“It does create an extra financial burden,” said Councillor Petrina Arnason.

She noted that the Township is facing a “perfect storm” as the new safety rules are coming as rail traffic through Langley increases thanks to the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor project.

“The problem was more manageable,” Arnason said. “We had shorter trains and fewer of them.”

If the council votes to borrow the money in the 2018 budget, the upgrades will likely be finished sooner than 2021, said Ramin Seifi, the Township’s general manager of engineering and community development.

The upgrades could include gates, flashing lights and other measures. Private rail crossings in rural areas will not be affected.

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