The Canadian Railway’s plans to build a new railway from Victoria to the coast of British Columbia are at risk after the company learned that China has begun building an electric railway.
The railway company says it is working with the BC Greenways Network, an environmental group, to make sure that the project can proceed.
The Canadian Electric Railway Company is also conducting a study on the project and will report back to the company in the next few weeks, says an email sent by the Canadian Railway.
“We hope to hear back by June or July,” it says.
The Chinese government is also developing an electric rail network in the province of Guangdong, and plans to double its capacity from the existing 400-kilometre line to 500 kilometres by 2035, according to Xinhua.
It will also start to expand its railway network and connect to other cities and provinces in China.
“If we go down the road of electrification in China, we will see some very big changes in the railways,” said the Chinese government’s minister for energy and environment, Zhou Yongkang.
“The railway will be much more extensive, it will be more modern and it will have better environmental control, better maintenance and safety standards.”
The Canadian Railways has a history of taking on environmental challenges.
In 2012, the company began construction on the Trans-Canada Highway in B.C. and its second line from Victoria was completed in 2013.
Last year, the railway company started construction on a railway from Calgary to Edmonton.
In 2015, the project was delayed after a major fire destroyed a section of the line.
It was later approved for an extension in 2021 and the second line has since been completed.
With files from CBC’s Laura Wainwright and The Canadian Press