What about the Patullo Bridge? Updated

In light of today’s news that the Pattullo Bridge not only will collapse in a seismic event, it may topple in a wind storm.

Pattullo Bridge vulnerable during seismic or ‘high-wind’ events: Report

Zwei believes the old child’s song should be updated to:

Pattullo bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down

Pattullo Bridge is falling down…………………………………


I will repeat the Tuesday, February 16, 2016 post about the Pattullo Bridge.

Both the Pattullo and the Fraser River rail bridges have well past their “best by” dates

and desperately are in need of replacement.

In 1978, the GVRD were poised to install a three leg light rail system on the region and to cross the Fraser river a new bridge would have to be built.

Demonstrating the forward thinking of the era, so sorely lacking today,  GVRD planners conceived a multi-use bridge tp replace both the aging Patullo Bridge and the single track and down right decrepit Fraser River rail bridge, to service:

  1. Mainline railways (2 track lift span)
  2. LRT (two tracks)
  3.  Cyclists (two cycle paths)
  4. Vehicles (four lanes)

The envisioned bridge, including  a ‘fast’ lift span for the railway line, would have given ample capacity, including a Vancouver to Chilliwack rail service which was envisaged at the time.

It is now history, as the provincial government imposed SkyTrain on the region and a stand alone SkyTrain, Sky Bridge was built instead and a replacement for the badly aging Pattullo Bridge is about a decade away and a replacement for the absolutely decrepit Fraser River Rail Bridge is no where in sight.

Today, the provincial Liberal government is going to spend $3.5 billion or more on a single ten lane “vanity” bridge to replace the recently refurbished Massey Tunnel, while at the same time, the Patullo and Fraser River Rail bridges continue rot away.

Would it not be better to invest the $3.5 billion on a new tube to complement the existing Massey Tunnel and a new multi use bridge to replace the previous aging road and rail bridges, while at the same time bring transit improvements to South of the Fraser?

Maybe metro Vancouver should dust off the 1978 rail/road bridge and build it to replace both decaying bridges?

Maybe regional mayors should set aside their political allegiances and do what should be done?

I am not holding my breathe!

News From Ottawa

Our friend Haveacow is working on the Ottawa LRT and has reported that the Belfast Maintenance and Storage Facility Yard is now officially energized. Here are a few more pictures of the East Segments that will soon be powered up.

The OCS (Overhead Contact System) or the Catenary Wires are now on  in the Belfast Yard maintenance and Storage Facility. This is the first step to begin vehicle testing for the Confederation Line here in Ottawa. Over the next few weeks sections of the yard access track will be energized. After that, mainline sections will be activated leading west to Trembley Road Station and then in controlled phases heading east all the way to Blair Station. The stations on this section of the line will all be complete by January or February 2017. Many are ahead of schedule.

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SkyTrain Has Issues In Kuala Lumpur

The other SkyTrain is also having operational problems, including power issues, with system wide shutdowns.

Well, at least in Malaysia, when their transit system goes Ka-Put, the transit customers do get free rides. With TransLink it’s adios sucker, we know you will have to take SkyTrain whether you like it or not!


and Now…….Here is The Real Story

The reason the TransLink is making the change may prove rather interesting.

The story starts with the old Broadway-Lougheed rapid transit project which was planned for light rail operating from Arbutus and Broadway to Lougheed Mall and the Tri-Cities. This is the transit line that the NDP (under the leadership of Glen Clark and Joy McPhail) government of the day flipped flopped from LRT to the obsolete SkyTrain light-metro system.

It is obvious that the NDP of the day did not care about good transit or a user friendly transit system and by forcing an expensive SkyTrain solution which ensured only part of the original line could be built.

Thus was born the Evergreen Line, the bastard child of the Millennium Line.

Now engineers at the time did not want limit line operation and realizing that a seamless journey to downtown Vancouver would attract ridership, planned for a “Y” junction at Lougheed mall for future considerations, permitting Tri-City transit customers to take trains to Vancouver, via New West and the Expo Line, or customers taking transit via the Millennium Line and transferring to the Expo Line at Broadway.

Now, with visions of the $3 billion subway under Broadway to Arbutus, and cost overruns on the Evergreen Line, all thoughts of a “Y” junction at Lougheed Mall vanished. Now with no planned junction at all, transit customers from the Tri-Cities wishing to go to New West must transfer at Lougheed Mall and for customers wishing to go to Surrey, two transfers; one at Lougheed Mall and the other at Columbia Street Station.

Not good transit planning at all, especially when it has been proven over and over again that forced transfers deter ridership.

Sadly, the new CEO, Kevin Desmond, hasn’t a clue and why he is CEO of TransLink.

Changes are coming to the Expo and Millennium SkyTrain line

by Martin MacMahon

Posted Sep 19, 2016

Last Updated Sep 19, 2016

(Martin MacMahon, NEWS1130 Photo

The Expo SkyTrain line will soon have two routes

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – If you ever use SkyTrain you’ll want to know about this — changes are coming to the Expo and Millennium lines ahead of the Evergreen extension coming online in December.

The Expo line will have two routes, both will start at Waterfront but one will run to King George and the other will go to Production-Way University station.

The Millennium Line will no longer go to waterfront instead running between VCC-Clark and Lougheed Town Centre before eventually connecting with the Evergreen line.

“Mid-October we are going to be doing some testing to make sure that we can operate the whole system effectively and make sure that our staff are familiar with the Evergreen extensions, all the stations and how to drive trains in that area,” explains Ian Fisher with the BC Rapid Transit Company.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond calls this a milestone to celebrate, “we are focused on helping our customers make a smooth transition to the new operating pattern. By doing this well in advance of opening the Evergreen extension, we are giving our customers a chance to adjust and learn how the changes may affect how they travel on our system.”

The change kicks in on Oct 22nd.

TransLink’s Bad Day

Stalled train in the early morning and a stalled train in mid morning, does not bode well.


UPDATE: SkyTrain service resumes after second disruption of the day

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW |
Posted: September 21, 2016


TransLink says SkyTrain service has resumed.

Passengers are asked to allow a few extra minutes of travel time as they clear any congestion at the stations.

The stalled train was between Royal Oak and Edmonds and caused a delay to SkyTrain service at all stations on the Expo Line.

SkyTrain had said an attendant is heading to the affected train to manually drive it into the nearest station.

Other lines were unaffected, and were running normally.

Teething Troubles – TransLink Singing The Bombardier Blues

Bombardier’s rail division is a bit of an embarrassment with late deliveries of trams to Toronto and now something seems amiss with the new MK.3 cars, which are really MK.2 cars with fewer seats.

But what caught Zwei’s attention was this little quote”

Seven of the new Mark III cars have been budgeted at $91 million, with 28 in total expected over the next three years.

Now the questions I ask is: Do seven cars cost $91 million or do 28 cars cost $91 million?

Further, I thought Mk.3 came in 3 car sets, but seven is an odd number so another question I as is; “Are the MK.3 cars merely coaches, with no driving controls, gangwayed at both ends?”


SkyTrain car that broke down early Wednesday is one of the new trains: TransLink

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver’s News. Vancouver’s Talk
Posted: September 21, 2016

SkyTrain car that broke down early Wednesday is one of the new trains: TransLink

( A note from Zwei: This of course is a Canada Line Train and it seems the CKNW news department doesn’t have a clue of the difference)

TransLink has confirmed that the SkyTrain car that broke down early this morning was one of the new Mark III trains.

That stall putting a damper to commuters at 6 a.m. which saw the car with its emergency lights flashing at the end of the SkyBridge near Scott Road station.

Earlier today TransLink said a train lost power on the sky bridge and had to be manually removed.

The train was one of the new models that was launched earlier this year.

No word yet on a cause of the stall, TransLink says more information is coming.

Seven of the new Mark III cars have been budgeted at $91 million, with 28 in total expected over the next three years.

SkyTrain doesn’t Breakdown – Well Almost Never

The aging SkyTrain seems to be having a rough time lately, but it is to be expected as most proprietary transit systems age badly.

TransLink has a new word for its lexicon, “temporary” and lest us hope that the delays are not permanent.

The problem with SkyTrain breaking down is that there is no alternative service, no redundancy and is the hallmark of a very poorly planned transit system.

Now, if a Rail for the Valley TramTrain serviced Vancouver, at least there would be an alternative ‘rail’ service for customers to use.

What makes a transit system successful is good  customer service and TransLink’s management just cannot get their head around the term “user friendly“, which is a term not in their lexicon.

Temporary system-wide SkyTrain delays

by NEWS 1130 Staff

Posted Sep 21, 2016

SkyTrain customers waiting at Scott Road Station in Surrey. (Photo via Twitter: @wetcoastlife)

Delays affected both Expo and Millennium Lines

TransLink investigating why a train broke down this morning

 NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – It took crews about half an hour to manually remove a train that was causing delays on the Expo and Millennium Lines this morning.

A train broke down on the Skybridge near Columbia Station in New Westminster just after 6 a.m. and immediately social media was being flooded with angry customers Tweeting their concerns.

Service was back up and running shortly after, although delays were still rippling throughout the system as things got back to normal. TransLink doesn’t know yet why the train broke down.

New Highways & Bridges Will Not Reduce Congestion – It will Increse It!

Bigger and wider bridges and adding new lanes to existing highways will not reduce congestion, but do the opposite, increase it! Yet this is the BC’s governments big transportation plan.

TransLink continues to plan for a “Toonerville Trolley” for Surrey, instead of building useful LRT that will serve transit customers and  a $3 billion subway under Broadway for the now obsolete SkyTrain light-metro. Both projects will not attract ridership and most likely deter ridership because of their ill design.

We are talking over $5 billion for two transit projects that will not reduce congestion, nor offer an attractive alternative to the car, so the province and MoT continue to try to blacktop our way out of congestion and gridlock.

Instead of planning for user friendly, easy to use and efficient transit for the Vancouver metro region, the taxpayer will be saddled with about $10 billion in debt for three vanity projects (Massey tunnel replacement, Vancouver subway and Surrey LRT) built to increase the electability of those in political office and not improve our miserable regional transit operation.

Until sane and realistic planning takes place in the metro Vancouver region, the taxpayer is being taken, blindfolded and gagged, on a long bumpy ride whether he/she like it or not.

The sad part is, congestion will only worsen!

After I-25 Was Widened, It Filled Back Up With Cars in Less Than 5 Years


Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 3.45.28 PMImage: SWEEP

Colorado spent $1.2 billion to widen I-25, and all it got was more traffic and no congestion relief. Why does Governor John Hickenlooper think that widening I-70 will be any different?

In this chart, you can see why spending billions to widen highways is a shortsighted, ineffective way to deal with people’s travel needs. About two years after the widening wrapped up, I-25 was just as congested as it was when construction started, and within five years it was more clogged than ever.

The term for this is “induced demand.” When cities make more room for cars, people drive more. Usually within a few years, any initial improvement in congestion levels has evaporated, and drivers start agitating for more lanes.

A stunning recent example comes from Houston, where Texas DOT spent nearly $3 billion to take the Katy Freeway from eight lanes to 23 in some sections. Traffic was as slow as ever six years later.

In I-25, Denver has it’s own (smaller) version of the Katy Freeway. Colorado DOT finished widening the highway by as many as four lanes in 2006 for the project known as T-REX. In a few years, congestion on I-25 through south Denver reached pre-construction levels, according to a report by the Southwestern Energy Efficiency Project and the Colorado Public Interest Research Group.

“The state spent $1.2 billion on this road widening, with no long-term benefit in lowered congestion,” the authors write.


Hickenlooper is ready to build a massive boondoggle of an expansion on I-70 even though he learned all about induced demand in 2004 at the Mayors Institute on City and Design.

With I-25, there’s proof right under his nose that highway widenings aren’t worth the expense. And yet, under Hickenlooper Colorado DOT keeps repeating the same mistakes.

Metro Mayors Bite The Bullet

Metro Mayors, with visions of federal cash dancing  in their heads approved a draft transit plan part of their so called ten year plan.

Like all other transit ten year or twenty year plans that have come and gone, this one was drafted, probably on orders of the premier who is afraid of any negative transit spillage in the coming election year.

One has to remember, TransLink is run by the Premier’s Office.

A new SeaBus sounds good, but they are going to mothball one of the originals?

New SkyTrain cars sounds good, but again they are to replace the venerable MK.1′s, which now have seen thirty plus years of service?

A 10% increase of bus service sounds good, but how much will be squandered on non productive routes which operate as a social service to make local politicians sound good?

There is no mention of hiring new bus drivers, though and buses do not yet drive themselves.

Again, “Road Pricing” is raising its ugly head and unfortunately, most politicians seem to be illiterate on the subject because they see it solely as a revenue generator to fund over priced vanity projects to suit political agendas and not sound transit planning and execution.

It seems the regional mayors just do not come close in understanding transit and how a successful transit system works, instead throw more and more money at it, ever hoping for different results.

The problem the mayors have not even come close in dealing with is TranLink itself. The public hate TransLink and demonstrated that a year ago with a resounding NO vote in the 2015 plebiscite.

Until there are real reforms at TransLink and a new direction, the regional mayors will find themselves at the wrong end of a ballot come election time.

The present approved draft is a caretakers draft of what is needed to keep TransLink functional and to get federal cash flowing West and nothing more.

TransLink is claiming higher ridership, but could it be a flood of U-Pass post secondary students

commuting to university because they cannot afford local rents?

“This poses the question: Is TransLink losing money through the U-Pass program, even though ridership is claimed to be increasing?”


Metro Mayors approve transit improvement draft

by Martin MacMahon

Posted Sep 16, 2016

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – Metro Vancouver mayors have approved a draft plan outlining what transit improvements could be coming to our region.

The plan calls for increased bus, SeaBus and SkyTrain service.

Assuming the final plan is approved in November, bus service will see a 10 per cent increase beginning next year. The SkyTrain lines will get an extra 50 cars and another SeaBus will be added.

“We would be able to put out additional SkyTrain service, additional SeaBus service, probably as soon as January. The Canada line will probably lag a little bit as we work with the Canada line operator,” says TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond.

As far as funding goes, you’ll see fares go up by three per cent, each year for three years, and a property tax increase that averages $3 a year.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation says mayors have to make adjustments

Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation believes mayors need to do something if property taxes do rise.

“City mayors should commit to reducing their own property tax increases in their own cities by the same amount. That way the taxpayers aren’t out any money. Cities can reprioritize their spending. It’s a good way to protect taxpayers.”

Road pricing could be in the works, too, in about three years.

“Road pricing must be voted on by the public before it can go forward, because it would be a new form of taxation and frankly a very bad form for most people. We already have a form of road pricing, and it’s called gas taxes,” says Bateman.

“The problem with TransLink is that you can never believe what it says…………”

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.

Old habits die hard and with TransLink, old habits never die, they just hire a new manager to reinvent them.

Has anyone at TransLink been directed to investigate improving cost efficiency on heavily used bus routes?


Why not?

Well that would involve modern light rail or variants of modern light rail and that just not agrees with the narrative of being cash strapped that TransLink and its spin doctors want the public and politicians to believe. TransLink just does not plan for cost effective transit solutions.

The cost to provide one hour of service varies, but runs at about $100 for a conventional bus and $959 for SeaBus. On rail, it costs $111 for the Expo and Millennium lines, $563 for the Canada Line — which includes payments to the operator of the system — and $512 for West Coast Express. (Van. Sun)

The preceding shows the cost per hour per mode, but one important calculation is not there and that is for light-rail. As LRT’s operating costs are about half of a bus on a transit route, it would be safe to assume that the cost per hour for light rail would be cheaper than a bus, but TransLink doesn’t operate LRT and the LRT it is planning has construction costs rivaling  that of SkyTrain. It will be safe to assume there will be no benefit of cheaper operating costs with TransLink’s designed LRT!

Route performance is based on the cost of operating the buses, rail, SeaBus or West Coast Express per passenger. A higher number of people getting on and off transit makes a route more productive. In Vancouver, for instance, the median cost per boarded passenger is $1.05, compared with $1.30 for Burnaby/New Westminster, $2.72 for South Delta and $2.48 for Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows. In the Northeast sector, which includes Coquitlam, the cost is $1.98 per passenger. (Van. Sun)

The preceding regional median calculation is a dishonest calculation used by TransLink to not just confuse the politicians, but to manufacture the case for getting more tax money. Every route should have a cost benefit analysis, including the number of passengers carried and the cost per passenger on the route. This gives transit managers a very good idea on which services are being used, over used or not used. TransLink used to do this sort of calculation annually, but stopped a couple of years before the Canada line opened. Now it does cost by region calculations which do not give any instructive statistics at all, except to bleat poverty.

Since the 2015 plebiscite, which TransLink and the regional mayors soundly lost, there has been no real change at TransLink and it is business as usual.

I am sorry to say, I believe we have now past the point of no return with transit and transportation in the region and now it is going to be a free for all, with billion dollar vanity projects taking the place of good transportation policy.

In BC it has been ever thus.