First Hungarian TramTrain Service Begins

Good news, the opening of the first TramTrain service in Hungary. What is largely of interest is that the TramTrain route is mainly single track with passing loops, using hybrid vehicles, built by Stadler and can operate either by electricity and diesel.There is a lot of scope for TramTrain to operate in the Fraser Valley, and if the provincial government is mindful of Global Warming, as it should be, it should immediately shelve plans for the $4 billion plus, 16 km Expo Line extension to Langley and instead build a $1.3 billion, 130 km Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain service.stadler tramtrain

First Hungarian Tram-train project

9 September 2021 |

In 2018, VAMAV Vasúti Berendezések Kft., a joint subsidiary of MÁV Hungarian State Railways Private Limited Company and voestalpine Railway Systems, was chosen as a turnout supplier of Hungary’s first tram-train project. In 2021, the construction work was completed and the operation is expected to start in September 2021.

The new tram-train line in Southern Hungary will connect Szeged and Hódmezővásárhely. The aim of this project is to create a transportation system using railway infrastructure that helps to maintain and improve the competitiveness of public transport, enables the reduction of road traffic and the environmental impact it causes, and ensures the connection between urban centres by connecting rail and tram transport.

Photo source: Nagy Mihály / magyarepitok.hu

The rail network

The tram-trains will run in Szeged on tram line 1 from Szeged railway terminal to Szeged-Rókus railway station, where the tram line and the Szeged – Békéscsaba railway line No. 135 will be connected for about 800 m. The connection of the tram line and the railway line was realized with grooved rail turnouts and a crossing manufactured by VAMAV Vasúti Berendezések Kft.

In order to reduce the journey time and increase the frequency of traffic, new second tracks and bypasses were built between the two cities, typically with simple turnouts and double slips with a radius of R=200 m and R=300 m, at a speed of 40 km/h in the diverging route. To speed up train crossings, some stations have been given high-radius turnouts with a radius of R=800 m and a speed of 80 km/h in the diverging route.

Photo source: Nagy Mihály / magyarepitok.hu

The vignoles rail turnouts are made of 60E2 rail profile and have concrete sleepers, state-of-the-art SPHEROLOCK locking devices, and HYDROLINK power transmission systems.

Between the Hódmezővásárhelyi Népkert railway station and Hódmezővásárhely railway terminal, a new 3,200 m long tram line was built within the city with two traffic bypasses and a two-track tram-train terminal. In order to maintain the urban character, grooved rail turnouts manufactured by VAMAV Vasúti Berendezések Kft. were installed here.

The project in general

This project also includes the purchase of hybrid vehicles that can run safely on both the urban tram and rail networks. The turnouts supplied by VAMAV Vasúti Berendezések Kft. are structurally and geometrically suitable to meet these special requirements. Following preliminary feasibility studies and design and authority approval, construction work began in 2018 and was completed in 2021. Tram-train vehicles are currently being tested and the operation is expected to start up in September 2021. It is a great success for both MÁV Hungarian State Railways Private Limited Company and voestalpine Railway Systems that all of the vignole (34 pcs) and grooved rail (7 pcs) turnouts for this project have been produced and delivered by VAMAV Vasúti Berendezések Kft.

The new tram-trains, built by Stadler, are able to operate in electric mode under 600 V DC overhead on the tram networks in Szeged and Hódmezővásárhely, and in diesel mode on the mainline connecting both cities. They feature two low-emissions diesel power packs rated at 390 kW. They are also able to negotiate narrow curves of 22m radius providing the benefit of being used in existing curved streets of city centers. Easy access for different platforms types, without modifying the current height of the platforms, is also ensured by doors located at different heights and the use of different type of sliding ramps.

Time To Put Freight Back On The Rails!

trucks_on_rails_04

A rolling motorway in Europe

The recent fiasco with our regional highways, due to the “Great Deluge” has again spot lighted the massive amount of freight traffic that is carried on the public highway system.

The trucking industry is highly subsidized by using the existing highways and the motor freight companies undercut the freight rates charged by the railways.

The trucking lobby is huge, well funded and ensure the hidden subsidies for freight carriers continue.

With the spectre of Global Warming and climate change now taking a front seat with our weather patterns, our dated highway system has proven unable to cope with with the challenges of severe weather.

Is it not time to put freight back onto trains and the reopening of abandoned short lines for better freight access?

Instead of the current blah, blah, blah from politicians action must be taken to reduce traffic volumes on the roads/highways and to do this they must provide an affordable alternative to driving. This must include regional passenger railways and a shifting freight back onto the train.

In Europe, this has been happening for decades, but now more strident measures are forcing commercial vehicles onto the trains and the same must happen in Canada.

Until this happens, politicians can say all they want about global warming, but do nothing to mitigate the damage already being done and being done to the environment.

So premier Horgan and Prime Minister Trudeau, stop your blah, blah, blah on the environment; stop your photo-ops feigning sympathy for flood victims and start positive actions to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Time To Put Freight Back On The Rails!

 km_tirol-rola_09.01.2018

Tyrol is working on strengthening its Rolling Highway

Trucks and Barges: “Here They Go Again”

Written by Frank N. Wilner, Capitol Hill Contributing Editor

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One needn’t possess a doctorate in economics to understand that when someone obtains something for nothing, another receives nothing for something—akin to parking in a metered space where there is time left on the previous occupant’s nickel.

Operators of pavement-pummeling heavy trucks and bulk-commodities hauling inland waterways barges have been mooching off the public purse for generations, while railroads themselves build, maintain and even police their 140,000 miles of privately owned rights-of-way on which they also pay property taxes. To turn a phrase on Ronald Reagan, “Here they go again”—the “they” being rail competitors poised to receive bundles of billions of dollars in benefits from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) bill signed into law this week by President Biden.

As a dining companion conveniently examines a restaurant’s ceiling tiles as the meal check arrives, these rail competitors are proving, yet again, their ability (we can’t resist the pun) to rob St. Petersburg taxpayers to pay St. Paul truck and barge operators. Yet there is no economic, environmental, moral or social rationale that fees paid government by for-profit corporations should not be proportionate to benefits received.

As more than 80% of rail freight is exempt from economic regulation and thus assumed by statute to be competitive, modal equity is of consequence—highway and waterways policy being rail policy and vice versa.

The facts speak loudly. But first, let’s dispose of a fatigued canard that railroads once feasted on federal land grants—endowments to be sold to finance construction of mid-19th century rail lines to connect the Atlantic with Pacific coasts and bridge what map makers then termed the Great American Desert. A 1944 congressionally ordered study concluded that the 130 million acres of federal land earlier granted railroads were paid for in full through an obligation that recipients carry all government freight and passengers at a 50% discount from published tariff rates. Actually, there was overpayment, as even non-land-grant railroads matched those lower rates to remain competitive.

Highway Facts

Although a federal fuels tax of one-cent per gallon was imposed by Congress on highway users in 1932, it was used exclusively to reduce the federal deficit. Highways were constructed, maintained and renewed using general tax revenue until 1956, when a Highway Trust Fund was established, with user fees intended to provide federal aid for construction, resurfacing and reconstruction of some 900,000 miles of federally designated highways. Neither revenue from relatively few toll roads nor receipts from highway user fees ever matched the cost responsibility of rail-competitive heavy trucks.

While those heavy trucks currently pay a diesel fuel tax of 24.4 cents per gallon, it has not increased since 1993. Estimates vary, but agree that heavy trucks underpay significantly their cost responsibility.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that heavy trucks underpay by 20% the damage they cause to pavement and bridges. The Tax Foundation—an independent non-profit—estimates that the current 24.4 cents per gallon diesel fuel tax should be 46.3 cents per gallon simply to match intervening inflation—the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) estimating a 43% shaving of purchasing power since then. (Note that 2.86 cents per gallon of diesel and gasoline taxes are dedicated not to highways, but to publicly owned mass transit on the theory that mass transit reduces highway congestion and is thus beneficial to highway users.)

The Tax Foundation reported that Highway Trust Fund revenue trails highway expenditures by almost $40 billion annually. The Congressional Research Service reported in 2020 that since 2008, Congress transferred $143.6 billion from the general fund to the Highway Trust Fund to maintain its solvency. The new Infrastructure bill directs more than $50 billion annually in general tax revenue for highways without providing an even modest increase in user fees on those 18-wheelers causing most highway and bridge damage.

With most congressional Republicans pledged in writing to oppose any tax increase, an emerging alternative to increasing the fuels tax is a shift to a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) fee. It is nuance only Congress might embrace with a straight face to satisfy ignoring the “no new taxes” pledge.

In fact, the Infrastructure bill provides $125 million for a four-year pilot project to study a VMT. Yet while the proverbial can is kicked down the road, general taxpayers from St. Petersburg and elsewhere will continue subsidizing truckers from St. Paul and elsewhere—all to the detriment also of railroads, highway safety and the environment. The mismatch between heavy truck cost responsibility and user fees artificially shifts even more traffic from rails to the already congested and bruised highways and highway bridges.

VMT advocates calculate that such a fee more accurately matches the wear and tear cost responsibility of heavy trucks, and, as an alternative to a diesel fuel tax, would capture user fees from soon-to-be operating electric trucks. Moreover, the use of transponders would allow for greater accuracy and transparency in fee collection and facilitate congestion pricing.

Actually, a weight-distance fee would be even more equitable, as gross weight is the dominant factor in bridge damage, with the American Society of Civil Engineers finding 61,000 highway bridges already structurally deficient. Ahead of the VMT pilot project is an existing weight-distance pilot project financed by the Federal Highway Administration in six states (California, Colorado, Delaware, Missouri, Oregon and Washington).

Unlike a fuel tax—actually an excise tax that does not charge for the actual costs imposed—a weight-distance fee, as its name implies, more fully captures pavement and bridge damage caused by gross weight over each mile traveled.

Waterways Facts

The federal government has been subsidizing rail-competitive inland waterways transportation since 1918, when Congress created a Federal Barge Line to operate on the Mississippi River between St. Louis and New Orleans in competition with privately owned railroads. Not until 1953 was it privatized and renamed Federal Barge Lines (note the plural). Until 1978, the federal government subsidized all capital and maintenance costs of the system to the benefit of privately owned barge operators.

Beginning that year, Congress imposed a fuels tax of 4 cents per gallon on commercial barges operating on some 11,000 miles of the most heavily used segments of the domestic inland waterways—the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Although that fuels tax—paid into a Waterways Trust Fund (WTF)—was increased to 29 cents per gallon in 1997, where it remains today, the Congressional Research Service reported in 2018 that the recovery percentage was but 15% of federal outlays. Notably, while the WTF in 2020 provided some $131 million for inland waterways projects, general taxpayers provided a whopping almost 10-times more, or some $1.2 billion, reported the Congressional Research Service. In fact, there is no cost sharing for waterways dredging, lock maintenance or navigation aids.

Notwithstanding this mammoth underpayment of cost responsibility, the Infrastructure bill directs some $2.5 billion toward new inland waterways projects. This free ride for rail-competitive barge operators includes maintaining a nine-foot navigation channel on 750 miles of the Upper Mississippi River (a depth far exceeding what is needed for recreational boating), and the doubling in length of 600-foot locks near St. Louis on the Mississippi River and near Paducah, Ky., on the Ohio River. The result will vastly reduce—to the handicap of competing railroads—the costs of moving lengthy barge tows that currently must be broken in half for passage through the smaller-length locks.

What then-New York Central Railroad President Alfred E. Perlman asked in 1950 remains convincingly on point today: “How would you like to run a business if the government built one alongside you and made it tax free, and then turned it over to a competitor and helped him operate and maintain it?”

“If you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after 10 years, throw it away and start all over.” – Al Perlman

For those in Congress—on both sides of the aisle, whether the issue is avoiding socialism, trimming America’s federal budget imbalance or providing even more funding for truly public goods such as fighting climate change, expanding broadband access and removing lead water pipes—a demonstrably appropriate bipartisan starting point is to end corporate welfare, benefiting for-profit operators of rail-competitive heavy trucks and inland barges, and level the modal playing field.

A Renewed Call For Judicial Inquiry on TransLink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit

November 22, 2022The Hon. David Eby, Q.C. Attorney General, The Province of BC.Dear Sir,

A renewed call for a Judicial Inquiry on TransLink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit with the proposed SkyTrain Broadway subway and the SkyTrain extension in Surrey to Langley.

I am writing to you on the above matter.

The Broadway subway.

On January 28, 2019 I emailed you a letter with my concerns with TransLink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit, with questionable if not dishonest practices for the continued building of SkyTrain and the proposed Broadway subway.

On February 5, 2019 I received a reply from the Mayor’s Council and TransLink , which did nothing more than defend their bias for SkyTrain, with answers that were highly questionable.

It is now late 2021 and with growing environmental concerns, combined with escalating costs, TransLink remains morribound, doing little, except spending the taxpayer’s money with great abandon and achieving very little.

The same argument remains for the now over $3 billion, 5.8 km Broadway subway as there is not the ridership on Broadway to sustain a subway, especially a subway to nowhere!

The Proprietary Movia Automatic Light Metro

What we call SkyTrain, is the name of the regional light-metro system and not the actual trains used.

Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain light-metro system consists of two different railways; the Canada Line which is a conventional railway and the Expo and Millennium Lines, which are an unconventional railway. This correspondence concerns the Expo and Millennium Lines.

 The first trains used on the Expo Line were developed by the then Province of Ontario’s Crown Corporation, the Urban Transit Development Corporation or UTDC to mitigate the high cost of subway construction in Toronto. Called Intermediate Capacity Transportation System or ICTS, the proprietary railway used cast off technology, including the “attractive, Linear Induction Motors (LIM’s)” from the ill fated Krauss Maffei Transurban MAGLEV system. ICTS was designed to bridge the gap of what a Toronto streetcar could carry and the traffic flows that would demand a subway.

1 KraussKrauss Maffei’s ill-fated Transurban Maglev on a test track in Ontario.


The problem for ICTS was that modern light rail had just come onto the market and proved to have a higher capacity than ICTS at a much cheaper cost. Only two ICTS systems were built in Detroit and Toronto’s Scarborough Rapid Transit line or SRT. There were no other sales.

A political deal between the Province of BC and the Province of Ontario, saw the name changed from ICTS to Advanced Light Rail Transit or ALRT (to take advantage of the popularity of LRT) and the proprietary railway was forced on the Greater Vancouver Regional District and BC Transit for what became the Expo Line, by the former Social Credit government.

Obsolete before it opened, there was no international interest for the proprietary railway.

The UTDC and ALRT was sold to Lavalin, which went bankrupt trying to build the again rebranded Automatic Light Metro or ALM, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Bombardier purchased the remains of the UTDC and ALM and completely rebuilt the proprietary railway, using their Innovia body shells and marketed the proprietary railway as Advanced Rapid Transit or ART. Only four such systems were built, with two now involving Bombardier and SNC Lavalin (SNC amalgamated with the bankrupt Lavalin) in criminal proceedings, including bribery.

Bombardier again rebranded ART to Innovia Light Metro and again with no sales, finally rebranding the proprietary light metro as Movia Automatic Light Metro or MALM.

Despite TransLink’s claims to the contrary, both Bombardier and SNC Lavalin held patents for the proprietary railway. Alstom has now purchased Bombardier’s rail division including MALM (and patents).

The future’s looking bleak as Vancouver is the sole customer for MALM.

Alstom, is the only company with an existing functional design for the train’s propulsion system which they didn’t design as Alstom have two propulsion systems of their own light-metro systems that directly compete with the MALM’s existing LIM Propulsion system.

It now looks certain that Asltom will cease production of MALM in 2025 when Toronto’s SRT and Detroit’s ICTS close for good and that last paid orders for cars will be completed.

Despite misleading statements from TransLink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit, the Movia Automatic Light Metro is an unconventional proprietary railway that has only one supplier. No other company produces an “in production” or off the shelf compatible vehicle.

Translink redacts the names and bids of the underbidders for MALM cars and one wonders if there were competing bids or a proper bidding process took place?

 

ALRTA 1983 advertisement for ALRT, trying to capitalize on the success of classic LRT,

which fooled no one.Only seven such systems were built in total.

As ICTS, ALRT, ALM and ART were the same product, when did MALM cease to be a proprietary railway?

The answer, despite TransLink’s protestations, it did not cease to be a proprietary railway.

The problem with TransLink is that you can never believe what it says; TransLink never produces a report based on the same set of assumptions.”

Former West Vancouver Clr. Victor Durman, Chair of the GVRD (now METRO) Finance Committee.

The Broadway Subway

The North American standard for building a subway is having a transit route with traffic flows in excess of 15,000 pphpd. Current peak hour transit customer flows along Broadway are less than 4,000 pphpd, thus there is no justification for a subway.

In addition, the budgeted cost and funding of $2.83 billion for the subway may escalate past $3 billion as subways are notorious for cost overruns and are not good at attracting new ridership.

From the onset, the Broadway subway was being planned strictly for political prestige and civic pride; not to improve the regional public transit network.

The Expo Line Extension to Langley

There has been a change in scope for the Expo Line Extension Project to Langley, from 2 stages into a single stage project due to escalating costs.

The cost to go 7 km to Fleetwood was around $1.69 Billion to $1.72 Billion, exceeding the $1.63 Billion budget and why it is now combined into a single stage project.  According to the second stage of Translink’s 10 year funding plan and the Rapid Transit Funding Agreement for the Surrey LRT Line, roughly $165 Million of that $1.63 Billion was coming from some past but mostly future tax and fee revenues (2018-2028 period).

TransLink’s local fuel taxes, development charges, parking fees, property tax increases as well as targeted amounts of TransLink’s own passenger revenues were to help fund roughly 8.6% of the $7.3 Billion Second Stage of the 10 year funding plan, roughly $627.8 Million in total. This plan included the Broadway Millennium Line Extension to Arbutus, the Surrey LRT Line and many, many other smaller capital programs. So far, the TransLink funding for the Broadway extension is unaffected. However, because of the pandemic, TransLink is short $78.8 Million in planned revenues from 2019 and 2020 (their figures not mine), 2021 is not done yet and it may take years for TransLink revenues to return to pre-pandemic levels. So it’s not $1.63 Billion in existing rapid transit funding, it’s actually around $1.55 Billion and dropping.

A new business case and a new funding plan is needed for the Expo Line extension and it will take 2 to 3 years to redo this process: No business case, no funding plan. TransLink isn’t even involved in the project management anymore, as it is now a provincially run project.

Further; If TransLink does not have the new business plan and business case scenarios completely done by March 2022 at the absolute latest, then expect a 10%-25% cost increase across the board, over last July’s estimate!

 This is not good news for the Surrey Extension.

The UBC Millennium Line Extension

 TransLink must also begin serious final planning and engineering on the second stage of the Broadway Millennium Line extension from Arbutus to UBC by 2024, if construction is to begin in 2026.

The estimated cost of this extension project is between $4.98 to $5.12 Billion for the planned 7.3 km long tunnel and above grade structure into UBC, that’s right now, 2021.

The actual date of final bidding and procurement will determine its actual final cost, when that is complete the final total will be known. The cost of the Broadway Millennium Line extension from Arbutus to UBC is predicted to be between $4.98 and $5.12 Billion and the cost is growing between $158 to $164 Million every year due to the current estimate of inflation. August’s inflation rate was 4.1% and recent news reports have this figure climbing higher.

This does not include inflationary costs of construction materials, which is usually considerably higher than the basic inflation rate. Structural concrete prices increases alone, could add anywhere from $36 Million to $55 Million per year on top of just the basic inflation.

The question facing TransLink and the province is whether they pay $2.65 Billion, or more, for the Langley project or wait and fund $3.77 Billion for UBC extension, both will not be funded at the same time.

There has been no meaningful public input allowed by Translink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit and the public has all but been shut out of this growing transit debacle.

TransLink’s Anti-LRT Bias

TransLink continues to use the cunning method of manipulating analysis to justify SkyTrain in corridor after corridor, and thus succeeds in keeping its proprietary rail system expanding.
 
Gerlad Fox, retired TriMet (Portland Oregon) engineer
 
1L3
A modern tram operating as LRT in Paris France.
The ongoing anti LRT bias by Translink has cost taxpayers Billions of dollars more for a product that has crippled the region’s ability to provide a user friendly and affordable public transit system. This is extremely important; the continued building of  light-metro will greatly hamper the province’s ability to adhere to goals in reducing greenhouse gases in the current climate emergency we are now facing.
 
Contrary to the many false claims and man of straw arguments presented by TransLink, LRT costs much less to build, costs less to maintain, costs less to operate and has a higher capacity than the present SkyTrain light-metro system in Vancouver! This is the reason that MALM and its predecessors have failed to find a market and internationally the proprietary light metro has been deemed obsolete! Only seven such systems built since the early 1980’s, compares very poorly with the over two hundred new build light rail lines built during the same period.
 
The claim that LRT can only carry about 7,200 persons per hour per direction on Broadway is laughable, as it is dishonest. In Europe many city tram systems offer peak hour capacity in excess of 20,000 pphpd on portions of their lines. The claim of LRT’s limited capacity is false and because of this, many billions of dollars more is being spent on light-metro due to manufactured information by TransLink.
 
Comparing a surface LRT line with stations that have half the capacity and length of SkyTrain light-metro stations will not compare favorably. A surface BRT or LRT system that runs at lower frequency than SkyTrain light-metro in a tunnel will also not compare well.
 
As long as each technology is operated in a different right of way type at different operating frequencies means any result is biased. Unless TransLink actually studies both BRT and LRT running in the same environment and frequency as SkyTrain, those studies will be biased.

Both BRT and LRT do operate in tunnels and LRT can easily operate in any tunnel that SkyTrain operates in because the original body width design for the SkyTrain cars were based on easily available tram body frame and body shell widths. The power collection method of the SkyTrain, 3rd rail, can be easily put on any Light Rail Vehicle design and there have been electric buses operating from 3rd rail, although it’s only been done in a small number of prototype vehicles 3 or 4 decades ago. Modern electric bus technology makes this point meaningless. Both diesel hybrid and electric buses, including trolley buses, can operate in tunnels cheaply and easily.

Alstom, as mentioned above, may abandon MALM production altogether as soon as 2025.

A Judicial Inquiry Is Needed

TransLink quite happily lets people believe that Broadway was the “most heavily used transit route in Canada“, but after being caught out with this exaggeration, they quietly state “This is our region’s most overcrowded bus route.”

Also not mentioned, according to the Toronto Transit Commissions experience with subways; subways tend to “sanitize” businesses along its route, except at stations.

Overcrowding on the Broadway B-Line is a management issue, which has been cunningly manipulated to demand a subway on a transit route with a fraction of the ridership needed to justify building a subway.

It is certain that the Broadway subway to Arbutus will exceed the $2.83 billion budget and the real cost may now exceed $3 Billion.

Like the Canada Line subway going over budget, TransLink and the Mayors Council will have to abandon other transit projects; cannibalize the bus system; or reduce the scope of the project. To reduce the cost of the Broadway subway, cut-and-cover construction may be employed, to the detriment to adjacent businesses as what happened on Cambie Street.

 

cut & cover

Will escalating costs for the Broadway subway mean that cut and cover construction will be again employed?


The Expo line extension to Surrey is another example of political flim flam, where the current mayor of Surry claimed he could build the Expo Line to Langley for $1.65 billion. Despite major evidence to the contrary, Translink, the Mayor’s Council and silence from the government in Victoria, kow-towed to his wishes .

Today, the cost to extend the Expo Line to Langley has now surpassed $4 billion and has been delayed to 2028 or later.

Is the Langley extension now being planned strictly to meet political needs, due to the Premier’s political promise in the 2020 provincial election?

MALM is far too expensive to extend to Langley, as light-metro is a strictly urban transit system and not a suburban one. The light-metro’s operating costs will greatly escalate, while attracting very few new customers to transit.

By building both the $3 billion and counting Broadway subway, the $4 billion and counting Expo Line extension to Langley, and the never talked about but much needed $3 billion mid life rehab of the Expo and Millennium Lines, which much be done before the Langley extension can be completed, means the province and TransLink must source a minimum of $7.2 billion or 60% of the total cost to complete both projects and 100% of the cost for the much needed rehab.

This does not include any funding for the proposed $5 billion and counting UBC extension of the Millennium Line.

As mentioned above, the Langley extension may be deferred until after the much more politically prestigious Broadway subway is completed to UBC. With Alstom ceasing production of MALM, LRT will be the only choice to connect to Langley, twenty years after the present Mayor of Surrey cancelled the original LRT project!

Building more SkyTrain light-metro, will ensure the province does not meet the government’s lofty global warming targets and instead may force new road and highway construction, creating more congestion, more gridlock and more CO2 emissions!

A Judicial Inquiry of TransLink, the TransLink Board and the Mayor’s Council is needed now. A Judicial Inquiry is needed to bring honest planning and fiscal responsibility back to Metro Vancouver and to bring back public confidence in regional planning and the regional political process.The failure to do so will have dire political, economic, and environmental consequences lasting well into the next century.

 

SeaTrain – The Ongoing Columbia St. Station Fiasco

Yes, this is an ongoing problem but……………….

The flooding and closing of the strategic Columbia St. Station should have been dealt with ages ago, but no, not TransLink.

Always put off to tomorrow what should be done today and to hell with the customer!

I wonder if anyone at TransLink knows what a sump pump is?

skytrain-flooding-columbia-station-december-11-2018

SkyTrain Columbia Station reopens after flooding, regular service resumes

Nov 14 2021
Heavy rainfall throughout Sunday led to the flooding of SkyTrain’s Columbia Station tunnel in downtown New Westminster.
As a result, late this afternoon and into the early evening, Columbia Station was closed, and it forced the cancellation of all train service running through New Westminster, including the cancellation of all train services across the Fraser River to reach Surrey. Bus bridge shuttles were deployed.

As of 6:55 pm, the station reopened and regular service on the Expo Line resumed, but it will take some time for crowding to subside and for trains to return to their normal pacing. The Millennium Line was unaffected by the Expo Line’s issues.

Based on TransLink’s service disruption reports, a decision was made at approximately 5:30 pm to shut down Columbia Station and turn around trains.

But there were also flooding issues at this station earlier in the afternoon that affected train schedules. Regular Expo Line services resumed just before 5 pm, but only briefly, as flooding issues quickly returned.

Columbia Station’s tunnel is susceptible to flooding as the station’s tracks are exposed to the elements, allowing water to pool. As well, water funnels into the station from both ends of the sloping tunnel entrances.

This is not the first time there has been a major flood-related service disruption within the Columbia Station tunnel. On December 11, 2018, heavy rainfall flooding a segment of the tunnel led to hours-long service disruptions.

1 flood

A Repost – McCallum’s $2.9 Billion Question – From 2018 – Updated To 2021

From October 20, 2018; well its November 2022 and the cost for The Expo Line extension to Langley has now surpassed $4 billion and Zwei’s prediction has come true. SkyTrain construction is not to be started until 2028, if ever and transit for the Fraser Valley has been set back not 20 years, but 40 years!

What is sad, Rail for the Valley was almost alone condemning comments by Surrey Mayor, McCallum stating that SkyTrain would cost $1.65 billion to Langley, when in fact in 2021 the cost more than doubled to over $4 billion!

Sticker shock will soon be the order of the day because a little birdie tweeted in Zwei’s ear that the cost for the Surrey Expo Line extension to Langley will top $4.5 billion.

surrey-newton-guildford-lrt-may-2018-10

 

From the 2017 Steer Davis Gleave – HATCH report, the total cost for SkyTrain, including fifty-Five new cars is $2,914,798,721.00. As 2019 nears, the cost is rising.

Memo to Doug McCallum: we are not building SkyTrain to 1980’s cost of construction.

Memo to Gord Lovegrove: I think you need to join the Light Rail Transit Association and learn about LRT.

Memo to Steer Davis Gleave – HATCH: What we call SkyTrain is now known as ART or Advanced Rapid Transit, which patents are owned by SNC Lavalin and Bombardier Inc.. ALRT was repackaged as ALM the early 1990’s, when the UTDC patents for ALRT were sold to Lavalin, which promptly changed the name to Automated Light Metro. When Lavalin amalgamated with SNC to form SNC Lavalin, they retained the engineering patents and sold the technical patents to Bombardier Inc.

Question for Doug McCallum, how do you calculate that the ART Line to Langley will only cost $1.65 billion?

Let’s see your math sunshine or has that envelope been thrown in the incinerator?

Experts weigh in on the costs of SkyTrain vs. LRT in Surrey

Studies and past projects don’t seem to support mayor-elect’s SkyTrain cost estimates

 October 29, 2018

A decision to ditch light rail transit plans in Surrey in favour of a SkyTrain extension would give up on a vision to grow the city and come with a price tag that is ‘magnitudes higher,’ experts say.

Doug McCallum, that city’s mayor-elect, told Postmedia News this weekend that a SkyTrain extension from King George station to Langley City could be completed for $1.65 billion — the same price as a planned LRT system that would connect Surrey City Centre to Guildford and Newton.

But that figure is far lower than a $2.9 billion estimate engineering firm Steer Davies Gleave & Hatch provided to TransLink in a July 2017 study. That estimate, in 2022 dollars, covered an eight-station, grade-separated, 16-kilometre rail line that would run cars consistent with those designed for the Expo and Millennium Lines.

McCallum has previously stated the project could be done for far less than that $2.9 billion if about half the SkyTrain line was at grade. It is unclear if McCallum’s $1.65 billion SkyTrain figure is supported by any reports, but he cited the roughly $1.4 billion spent on the 11-kilometre Evergreen Line in reaching that number. McCallum did not return a request for comment Monday.

Gord Lovegrove, an associate professor at the University of B.C.’s School of Engineering, said the last time he checked, each kilometre of SkyTrain line could be expected to cost around $150 million to build.

His per-kilometre estimate is not far off the 2011 dollar costs of the Evergreen line once they are adjusted for inflation. It is also consistent with an estimate in 2016 dollars that Steer Davies Gleave & Hatch provided for the Surrey to Langley SkyTrain extension.

“You have order of magnitude differences in costs” between LRT and SkyTrain systems, Lovegrove said.

He said the problem North Americans tend to have with light rail, which is relatively new on the continent, is that “we want to have our own exclusive right-of-way. We’re not willing to take the risk safety-wise, timetable-wise or schedule-wise to have it run with traffic.”

But Lovegrove said exclusive right-of-ways need not be the case any longer, citing Hamburg’s system as proving you can run at grade in traffic.

“I would just recommend maybe take a second longer look. Otherwise, if you’re spending an order of magnitude more, then you’re just not able to do as much with that same taxpayer dollar.”

Anthony Perl, a professor of urban studies and political science at Simon Fraser University with a focus on transportation, said that in every category he could think of, SkyTrain “costs more and does less.” Among other things, the automated system demands separated infrastructure, he said.

For Perl, part of the problem with SkyTrain is that it creates “development deserts” between stations. In contrast, the LRT system would have encouraged more density, he said.

“If the City of Surrey goes ahead and cancels the LRT plan, it’s going to set public transit back by 20 years south of the Fraser River,” Perl said.

Peter Hall, an associate professor in SFU’s Urban Studies Program, said swapping LRT through Surrey for SkyTrain to Langley was not just a change in transportation technology.

“It seemed to me that light rail was an attempt to give something to Newton as a node and give something to Guildford as a node, while at the same time building up the central area,” he said.

“You’re giving up on a vision on how you want to build Surrey as a place with a strong core and a set of well-developed successful sub-centres. I don’t get it. I don’t get why they’re so keen to turn their back on this.”

 

FROM THE LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT ASSOCIATION – TRAMS ARE SYMBOLS OF CITIES

From the LRTA, the modern tram, workhorse of today’s public transit systems in over 600 cities around the world, yet noticeably missing in Metro Vancouver. Indeed, the modern tram is absent in soulless Vancouver and it is time to change this. Let’s put some soul into Vancouver; let’s plan for trams!

For the Fraser Valley Folk, only a Karlsruhe type TramTrain, can be affordably built to meet Fraser Valley transportation needs for today and the future.

 

TRAMS, SYMBOLS OF CITIES

and so much more . . . 

Screenshot 2021-11-08 at 07-02-12 Trams enhance the image of City's - dmalcolmjohnston gmail com - GmailBlending in with scrumptious things,

trams promote exports for the whole of

Portugal, and represent the charms of

Lisbon too.

 

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Like a respected actor stepping down off the stage and mingling with the audience,  this tram brings rail services right into the heart of the community in a village near  Basel, with no smell, no noise, and no pollution – just supreme accessibility.

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With style and a positive image, trams de-stigmatise public transport and persuade people to leave their cars at home in this residential Antwerp street.

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Selling office space, and helping to fill it with skilled workers, trams appear on  television to present a positive image of their cities.

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Steel, granite and copper deliver a reassuring air of permanence at this major hub in  Prague, where multi-accessible trams beat other traffic into submission.

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Trams constructively assert their place in the scheme of things in Zurich, calming the  less sustainable traffic.

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Ecologically impeccable, this Antwerp tram blends in cleanly with its surroundings and can draw its energy from environmentally-sound sources.

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This tram in Brussels is so smooth-riding that a young artist can spend the journey  busily at work with her sketch-pad.

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In cities like Zurich where the unique appeal of trams is understood and celebrated,  vintage trams are operated amongst more modern ones.

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Trams blend in perfectly with tourist attractions, pedestrians, cyclists and the  occasional car in this historic Ghent square, delivering a positive image and affordable  mass transit for everyone.

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Civic pride in the trams of Brussels was on display at an event celebrating the 150th anniversary of the city’s trams.

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Trams blend in well with their surroundings, and they can shift large crowds to and  from sporting venues.

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Trams need to be on the surface to showcase their positive image. Putting them  underground hides them away, and impairs their accessibility.

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Trams operate efficiently and accessibly amongst other traffic in this Brussels suburb.

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Without any fuss, trams welcome everyone aboard, promoting inclusivity and  harmony.

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Connectivity in Karlsruhe, where trams spread their positive image all over the  conurbation – to outlying villages, busy main line railway stations, former suburban  stations, and into the street. Transit presence and flexibility par excellence.

David Holt 5th November 2021

REM

The following article also aptly describes metro Vancouver’s transit planning, which is mostly dictated by the premier’s office and camouflaged in layers of bureaucracy. The result is very expensive, politically inspired rapid transit lines that soon become financial anchors.

Canada-Rail-213-e1408298065365

As a final note, the then Gordon Campbell BC government rejected LRT from the start, dropping both Siemens and Alstom from the project because both companies wanted to use light rail vehicles instead of light metro cars. The final result was a heavy rail metro, built as a light metro, having less capacity than a modern tram costing a fraction to build.

1-REM-Project-Image

Montreal’s controversial REM train east is a product of Quebec’s top-down political culture

For Montrealers old enough to remember the ’60s and ’70s, the prospect of yet another massive infrastructure project of questionable value and dubious execution will come as something of a déjà vu.

The REM de l’Est (or Réseau Express Métropolitain), announced by the Legault government and Quebec’s pension fund last December, has all the makings of a classic boondoggle.

The proposed electric train would roll through the city’s downtown core on a series of raised pylons, linking historically underserved east end neighbourhoods with Central Station at a cost of $10 billion. Twenty-three stations are planned over 32 kms, and it will join western portions of the REM already under construction (and over budget).

While everyone agrees on the need for more public transit, the rushed, take-it-or-leave-it way in which developer CDPQ Infra has rammed the project through has shocked many citizens.

“The special law that created CDPQ Infra in 2015 gave them extraordinary powers,” says Gérard Beaudet, professor of urban planning at the Université de Montréal. “It put them above all the normal consultation procedures for the development of public transit in the Greater Montreal area.”

Questions of esthetic design, the necessity of building above ground and possible alternative routes have all been suppressed by the “political and financial authoritarianism” of the project, he says.

“Instead of responding to the needs of the population, this is about profit. There has been a complete lack of transparency on their behalf, and so we can’t even know why they’re making these decisions.”

Where to begin?

You could start with the fact the government’s awarding of a for-profit, no-bid contract to a branch of its own pension fund looks suspiciously like someone paying their right hand with their left.

Subcontracts go to the usual suspects, including SNC-Lavalin, who were until very recently banned from bidding on World Bank projects due to their own dodgy track record.

CDPQ Infra initially stated that tunnelling beneath the downtown core would be impossible, and could possibly result in the collapse of some skyscrapers. But they didn’t provide any studies to back up these claims, which have since been contested by independent engineers.

After a public outcry, they changed their tune and agreed to build a 500 metre tunnel near the end of the train’s route, thus sparing a central part of downtown from disfigurement. This casual change of tack created a glaring credibility gap for the company.

In Vancouver, by comparison, a proposal to prolong the SkyTrain into the downtown studied some 200 scenarios over many years. The aerial option was overwhelmingly rejected, as officials said it would be disastrous in such a densely populated area.

Total number of CDPQ Infra studies: Two.

In February, two Montreal architecture firms quit the project, saying it was so ugly and problematic they didn’t want to be associated with it.

“CDPQ is making it all up as they go along,” says Beaudet. “There’s no proof that we actually need this train, and no coordination with existing lines in the suburbs. It will render many of those obsolete.”

In a city still healing from such poorly constructed, space-age white elephants as the Turcot interchange, the first Champlain bridge (retired after 57 years), and the Ville-Marie expressway — which razed large swathes of historic buildings — locals are understandably skeptical about the wisdom of erecting another concrete behemoth downtown.

No list of Montreal construction follies would be complete without mentioning the Olympic Stadium and more recently, the LSD-inspired ziggurat that is the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) — the biggest construction fraud in Canada’s history.

What these projects have in common are the provincial and municipal politicians who put them in motion and let them spin out of control — the likes of bullish ’60s mayor Jean Drapeau, Maurice Duplessis and now François Legault.

It’s big man style of top-down governance that brooks no dissent, doesn’t like consultations, and places the ends above the means.

And it’s especially disheartening when considering that the trend in most major cities — from New York to Sydney and Toronto — is toward a recuperation of urban space for green or public purposes.

Construction on the REM de l’Est is slated to begin in 2023.

Alexander Hackett is a freelance writer from Montreal.

The North Shore’s “Hobson’s Choice”.

The following was sent to all North Shore mayor and councils.
1 RftV
PLEASE DELIVER TO MAYOR AND COUNCIL AND FIRST NATION COUNCILS
 
From: Rail for the Valley
For the past 14 years, Rail for the Valley has advocated for the “return of the interurban” for the former Vancouver to Chilliwack BC Electric interurban line that still connects Vancouver to Chilliwack, via Surrey/Cloverdale; Langley; Abbotsford and Vedder/Sardis. Rail for the Valley, do to the soundness of the plan, secured Leewood Projects (UK) to do a study on the viability of such a service, with the result, the Leewood Study done for Rail for the Valley, released in 2010.
The Leewood Study is unique, in that it is a fully independent study, free of political and bureaucratic meddling.
Rail for the Valley, through its blog, tries to present viable and affordable transportation options-and being advised by real transportation experts and engineers who have “hands on experience” with transit projects, not only in Canada, but the USA, the UK and Europe. Having professionals who live outside the Metro Vancouver bubble advising on transit issues, gives a more realistic look at Metro Vancouver’s transit and transportation issues.
In 2010, the Leewood Study concluded that a full build, 138 km electric rail service, using modern articulated railcars, from Vancouver to Chilliwack would cost $998,519,424.00 or $7,235,648.00 per km. Accounting for inflation and updated to 2021 dollars, this would amount to $1.221 billion or $8.85 million/km to install.
In comparison, the current cost of the proposed Expo Line extension to Langley is now over $250 million per km. and the Broadway Subway is now said to surpas $500 million/km. The cost of the combined Expo Line extension and the Broadway subway is now over $7 billion for a mere 21.8 km of light metro and does not include a further $5 billion to complete the Broadway Subway to UBC, nor the much needed $3 billion rehab of the Expo and Millennium Lines, nor the yet unsourced $1 billion still needed to fund the Expo Line extension to Langley
VICTORIA, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
 
A short recap.
 
Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain light-metro system operates two very different railways: the Canada Line which is a conventional railway, built as a light metro and the Expo and Millennium Lines which operate the proprietary and now called Movia Automatic Light Metro (MALM) system, the sixth rebranding of this obsolete mini-metro. Only seven MALM systems have been built in over 40 years, with Alstom now being the fourth owner of the proprietary railway. Previous owners were Bombardier, Lavalin and the Urban Transportation Development Corporation.
 
Canada Line operation is incompatible with the Expo and Millennium Lines and vice versa.
 
Only Vancouver continues to build with MALM.
Today, MALM is considered obsolete as it lacks capacity, costs more to operate and maintain than comparative light rail systems and lacks flexibility which is very important in the 21st century.
The $2.4 billion Canada line was the BC Liberals foray into transportation Private Public Partnership or P-3. The Canada Line a capacity-constrained heavy rail metro, built as a light-metro, costing much more to build than a modern tram, with less capacity. Internationally, the Canada line is considered a classic transit “White Elephant”.
The cost to have the Canada Line rehabbed to match the present maximum legal capacity of 15,000 persons per hour per direction (as stated in Transport Canada’s Operating Certificate) for the Expo and Millennium Lines, is now between $1.5 to $2 billion dollars.
This must be done before any extension to the Canada Line can be considered.
BC Transit Rail
 
A big problem for TransLink is rumblings from Alstom indicate that production of MALM cars may cease when the last production orders have been filled in 2025, which also marks the end of service for the Detroit and Toronto MALM systems. No sales for the past 15 years may speed up the decision to abandon the proprietary railway, which would both drive up the cost of new vehicles as no other company makes MALM compatible cars and the cost of replacement parts.
The cost for light metro, especially MALM extensions, is rapidly increasing, quickly making such extensions not cost effective.
There may be no further extension to the MALM Lines after the completed Broadway subway to Arbutus! Talk of extending rapid transit to the North Shore is nothing more than political posturing, for photo-ops and sound bytes at election time.

The problem with TransLink is that you can never believe what it says; TransLink never produces a report based on the same set of assumptions.”

Former West Vancouver Clr. Victor Durman, Chair of the GVRD (now METRO) Finance Committee.

DARK CLOUDS

There has been a  change in scope for the Expo Line Extension Project to Langley, from 2 stages into a single stage project due to escalating costs.

The cost to go 7 km to Fleetwood was around $1.69 Billion to $1.72 Billion, exceeding the $1.63 Billion budget and why it is now combined into a single stage project.  According to the second stage of Translink’s 10 year funding plan and the Rapid Transit Funding Agreement for the Surrey LRT Line, roughly $165 Million of that $1.63 Billion was coming from some past but mostly future tax and fee revenues (2018-2028 period).

Translink’s local fuel taxes, development charges, parking fees, property tax increases as well as targeted amounts of Translink’s own passenger revenues were to help fund roughly 8.6% of the $7.3 Billion Second Stage of the 10 year funding plan, roughly $627.8 Million in total. This plan included the Broadway Millennium Line Extension to Arbutus, the Surrey LRT Line and many, many other smaller capital programs.So far, the Translink funding for the Broadway extension is unaffected. However, because of the pandemic, Translink is short $78.8 Million in planned revenues from 2019 and 2020 (their figures not mine), 2021 is not done yet and it may take years for Translink revenues to return to pre-pandemic levels. So it’s not $1.63 Billion in existing rapid transit funding, it’s actually around $1.55 Billion and dropping.

A new business case and a new funding plan is needed for the Expo Line extension and it will take 2 to 3 years to redo this process: No business case, no funding plan. Translink isn’t even involved in the project management anymore, as it is now a provincially run project. Translink may not be capable of being a full financial partner in this project or any other large capital project for some time, due to its current budget issues. This is not good news for the Surrey Extension and even worse news for the North Shore.

A dark financial cloud on the horizon is beginning to appear larger. Translink had to begin serious final planning and engineering on the second stage of the Broadway Millennium Line extension from Arbutus to UBC by 2024, if construction is to begin in 2026.

They estimate this extension project to cost between $4.98 to $5.12 Billion for the planned 7.3 km long tunnel and above grade structure into UBC, that’s right now, 2021.

The actual date of final bidding and procurement will determine its actual final cost, when that is complete the final total will be known. The cost of the Broadway Millennium Line extension from Arbutus to UBC is predicted to be between $4.98 and $5.12 Billion and the cost is growing between $158 to $164 Million every year due to the current estimate of inflation. August’s inflation rate was 4.1% and recent news reports have this figure climbing higher.

This does not include inflationary costs of construction materials, which is usually considerably higher than the basic inflation rate. Structural concrete prices increases alone, could add anywhere from $36 Million to $55 Million per year on top of just the basic inflation.

The question for TransLink and the province is whether they pay $2.65 Billion for the Langley project or wait and fund $3.77 Billion for UBC extension, both will not be funded at the same time.

Unless something drastically changes soon, the current Langley Skytrain extension project in its present form is dying and may be put off, well into the next decade.

This bodes ill for any SkyTrain light metro connection to the North Shore.

RAIL FOR THE VALLEY’S SOLUTION

It is widely accepted that only a rail solution will attract the motorist from the car; buses have proven disappointing in operation, as they get stuck in traffic and true Bus Rapid Transit costs only a little less to build than LRT with none of the operating or capacity benefits. Only politicians think buses can be rapid transit, yet sadly for the transit customer, a bus is a bus, is a bus.

Rail for the Valley’s Leewood Study provides an affordable alternative, operating a regional passenger service using existing railways. As there is a railway connection from Vancouver to the North Shore, Squamish and beyond to Whistler, a passenger rail service must be considered.

Modern articulated rail cars can travel at higher speeds on curving track, giving realistic travel times and properly signalled with passing loops (double track), trains could operate up to three times an hour per direction.

This is not fanciful thinking, rather it’s what is currently happening in Europe where the huge cost of new metro and highway construction has forced planners to use existing railways for a regional rail service that people will use! In Europe and now even in the USA, disused railways are being refurbished and abandoned railways are being rebuilt as a much cheaper alternative than stand alone metro lines or new highways.

The modern articulated railcar, powered by clean diesel or electricity from by fuel cell or by overhead wires, can obtain commercial speeds acceptable by customers on even the most difficult routes. The modern articulated railcar can contain amenities such as a WC and or a ‘bistro’ offering light refreshments for the longer trips. The modern articulated railcar can also operate in multiple units, thus capacity can be increased when needed.

 

55f3744612f3af3c31c4c16bbff0a7db59bf71aa

The modern articulated railcar can also increase vehicle capacity by adding additional modules at a much cheaper cost than buying a new vehicle.
Based on the Leewood Study and taking into consideration that the track is in excellent condition, the cost for the approximately 80km Vancouver to Squamish regional passenger railway, using the Canadian National Railway and the former BC Railway right-of-way, with a maximum of three trains per hour per direction would be in the neighbourhood of $1 billion.
The new regional railway would have stations at the Squamish, Britannia Beach, Lions Bay, Horseshoe Bay, Caulfield, West Bay, Ambleside, Capilano, Lonsdale, Lynn Creek, and Vancouver, Pacific Central Station.
The province and region are now in a climate emergency, combined with worsening regional traffic congestion. The current transit planning based on light metro and the hub and spoke philosophy of transit (where buses bring customers to transit hubs) is failing as pre covid, regional mode share for transit is dropping. Planning and building more SkyTrain light metro lines is akin to doing the same thing over and over again ever hoping for different results.
Mode share 2017
Metro Vancouver must plan cheaper, user-friendly transit options in order to attract the motorist from the car, as the present light metro system has failed to do so and despite an over $15 billion taxpayer investment.
For less than the cost of a now $3 billion, 5.8 km Broadway subway or just over half the cost of the over $4 billion, 16 km Expo Line extension to Langley, we could build two regional railways, connecting Vancouver to Chilliwack and Vancouver to Squamish, with a possibility of a 210 km regional rail service, with through service from Squamish to Chilliwack, via Vancouver.
There are many obstacles to overcome and all levels of government must be on board but….. the time has come to stop transit planning for politically prestigious projects and plan for the region’s future and the future is an affordable and user friendly transportation network, which the present transit system is definitely not.
North Shore Connects faces a Hobson’s Choice for transit planning, either advocate for what could be affordably built or advocate for ‘pie in the sky’ rapid transit solutions that will not be built.

Building Back Better

1 Nottingham2

In BC, we do the same thing over again hoping for different results.

While in the UK the modern tram or light rail or supertram is now seen as one of the proven remedies for urban congestion.

Planning Fallacy

TransLink cartoon

 

From Norman Farrell’s In-sights blog, commenting on the NDP’s continuation with the Site “C” dam project despite the fact that Site “C” is a risky $16↑billion energy project that will cause massive ecological damage and produce electricity at 4x the cost of alternative sources..

The same is true with the now $3 billion Broadway subway (BS Line) and the now $4 billion Expo Line extension to Langley. Bot transit projects are hugely expensive for what they can do with little or no benefit for the transit customer.

  • The planning fallacy stems from an overall bias towards optimism, because people are oriented towards positivity. Politicians are more likely to be biased this way than others.

In Metro Vancouver, local politicians are wonderfully ignorant of transit, transit mode and more, yet they perceive themselves to be transit experts and refuse to consider any alternative, except their own. This leads to extremely expensive, yet questionable transit developments.

  • We have a tendency to discount pessimistic views or data that challenge our optimistic outlook. This is the flipside of our positivity bias: our preference for affirmative information also makes us reluctant to consider the downsides.

Again, in Metro Vancouver negative news about TransLink and transit is censored. The mainstream media is reluctant to report dissenting news, thus the public remain ignorant of real problems.

  • When organizations plan projects, too often they focus on imagined successful outcomes not potential pitfalls. They are likely to overestimate their capability of achieving project goals. The result is financial disaster, something that governments will almost never admit.

Local rapid transit projects are expressed in arcane terms like car-trips or the cost of commute time. Most of it is just invented.

  • Anchoring is the tendency to rely too heavily on early information when making decisions. After the initial plan for a project, managers are biased to continue thinking in terms of initial goals, methods, deadlines, budgets, etc.

This happens with our rapid transit planning, which bases the future operation of light-metro, with very dated statistics about light rail, sometimes 40 years out of date!

  • Anchoring is especially problematic if original plans were unrealistically optimistic. Even if expectations were massively inaccurate, people feel tethered to original plans and make insufficient adjustments, preferring to make minor tweaks rather than major changes.

The same is true with the SkyTrain light-metro, despite the fact the system is seen as obsolete internationally, it is still perceived as high-tech and world class locally.

  • Project planners tend to discount pessimistic views or data that challenges their optimistic outlook. Preference for affirmative information also makes organizations reluctant to consider the downsides.

In Metro Vancouver, negative news about SkyTrain is just not printed. Politicians completely ignore problems and pretend they do not exist.

  • Executives often remain focused on ways of doing business they are most familiar with and fail to embrace new technology or anticipate changing methods proven by others to be successful. As a result, they underestimate project risks.

Local planners are so in-bedded with the obsolete light metro, they absolutely refuse to consider cheaper and just effective transit solutions, such as light-rail.

  • Managers tend to ascribe positive outcomes to their talents and hard work, but attribute negative outcomes to factors beyond control. They are convinced that external factors leading to failure were unforeseeable.

Much of our transit ills have been predicted decades ago, yet today, managers claim that the problems were unforeseen.

  • Workplace cultures are competitive and there may be costs for individuals who voice less enthusiastic opinions about a project. Executives favour the most overly optimistic predictions over others, giving individuals an incentive to engage in inaccurate, intuition-based planning.

BC Transit and TransLink effectively fired or had removed anyone supporting light rail, thus TransLink’s planning for LRT is so dated and biased, it is not worth the paper it was printed on.

Fast Fery cartoon