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Tourist train contract awarded to Great Canadian Railtour

Whistler Railtours loses bid but pledges to work with proponent



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The company had committed to create jobs for First Nations as well as provide job training in the hospitality sector in their rail proposal to CN.

In addition, they had made a deal to buy tens of thousands of tickets to the First Nations Cultural Centre in Whistler, which they could include in their package deals.

Haibeck still envisions upwards of 200,000 people riding the rails from the cruise ship industry alone, and the economic spin-off from that will be enormous in Whistler and throughout the province.

"Why would we want to throw all that away because we lost?" he asked.

"It’s better to jump in there and say ‘hey, let’s help make this better, let’s make it stronger’"

Gilley said the cruise ship business will certainly be a part of GCRC’s plan but the company won’t be solely focusing on the cruise ship passengers.

"It’s definitely part of our plan," he said.

"We’re not putting all of our emphasis on that particular segment but it’s certainly a piece of the puzzle, there’s no question."

Another valuable segment to market this new product to will be the 650,000 customers who have already taken a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer.

"We expect to have a tremendous response from those who are familiar with Rocky Mountaineer," said Gilley.

The decision on the passenger rail proponent is the culmination of long months of waiting as CN tried to reach a consent agreement with Canada’s Competition Bureau regarding its long-term lease of the BC Rail line and facilities.

By mid-July they had closed the $1 billion transaction.

In the meantime the passenger rail proponents had been narrowed down to the two companies, GCRC and Whistler Railtours.

Both worked extensively with the communities along the rail lines to convey their business plans.

100 Mile House Mayor Barnett said there were merits to both proposals.

"If they could both work together, we’d probably have the best railway system in the world," she said.

For more information on the new train service to Whistler go to