Ottawa’s new LRV’s Are Arriving

News from Ottawa.

The picture is of the front end of the new 49 metre trams arriving in Ottawa.

 

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2 Responses to “Ottawa’s new LRV’s Are Arriving”
  1. George Corte says:

    I consider this to be the city’s most logical and important project since I moved here in 1971. It’s a pity that this wasn’t built in the 80′s and 90′s, instead of the bus transitways. The good thing is that the transitways were designed to accommodate a conversion to light rail. They say that the best way to lead is by example, and it’s good to see Ottawa doing just that.

  2. Graham Evan MacDonell says:

    I see that the transit / transportation amateurs / bloggers called ‘Rail for the Valley’ have been beating the drums lately and even getting a benignly ignorant Chilliwack resident hooked on the Fraser Valley tram-train / LRT line idea – an idea that will lead to a buffer stop at dead end trackage.
    RftV convert Barb Lock, a long-time supporter of these amateur transit / transportation bloggers, is convinced – unknowingly quite wrongly – that the BC Hydro-owned / Southern Railway-used rail line from New Westminster to Chilliwack would make a perfect tram-train line for commuters from the Fraser Valley into the Greater Vancouver area.
    The only thing is there is a great big, long set of trains blocking the tracks and the realization of this pipe-dream. And, of course, the other main element undermining this transit / transportation hallucination is ridership….the number of people who would want to travel for three hours on this near 50 mile-long meandering railway line that was designed to service emerging communities in the pre-WWI period and the topography of the Fraser Valley.
    Well, things have changed demographically and dramatically since 1910!!!
    Aldergrove was not on the line – it was served by the Great Northern’s Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway and Navigation Company between 1909 and 1929 – as was Murrayville, Otter, Aberdeen, Pinegrove (now called Sarel), north Clearbrook, and on to South Fraser Way (from Five Corners to Sumas) to Huntingdon.
    Once this old BCER / B.C. Hydro rail line is past Langley City, it doesn’t service another community of note until it reaches Abbotsford after wandering through the rural lands of north Langley Township past Trinity Western University and then the north western farmlands of Abbotsford including the Matsqui Prairie before crossing Sumas Prairie and whistling through to the tiny hamlet of Yarrow and to Sardis, a growing suburb and former village, before finally reaching the CN line, just south of the city core of Chilliwack – but no longer running all the way into the downtown core like it did between 1910 and 1950.
    Maximum speed, if my memory serves me right, is 35 miles per hour on the line in a number of places.
    Not exactly the way to go to get to Langley, Surrey or New Westminster…..if the tram-train were ever allowed to run – which it won’t.
    And it won’t because there is a 12 kilometre (7.5 mile) section from 232nd Street (Livingstone Junction, just north of the No. 1 Highway) to 180th Street (Pratt Junction, on the eastern edge of Cloverdale) that is used by CPR (which has primary running rights over Southern Railway) and the Canadian National Railway, to get and from Roberts Bank’s Coal Terminal, which may be expanded in the near future, increasing the number of trains (up to 200 cars or a mile and a half long) from 16 to 40 daily.
    Even Southern Railway’s regional freight train service that runs to Abbotsford and back is now and would be further impacted by these coal and other super-long trains which would have priority, thus causing any other user to sit waiting for up to half of an hour as those trains do not run on a schedule but when they need the tracks. Hardly the way to go on a run from or to Chilliwack that could take up to three hours.
    Letter writer Barb Lock goes on to lament the cost for commuters to use the West Coast Express from and to Mission on the CPR’s main line without addressing the hidden cost to the taxpayers when most commuters going to Vancouver from Mission only pay just under $25.00.
    Guess who pays that much again to subsidize their commute.
    So to gently correct Ms Lock, the rail line “on this side” (meaning the south side of the Fraser River) is owned by us and its mandate is passengers, is quite incorrect. It is owned by B.C. Hydro, a crown corporation – and that does not mean “us” or the public – but has leased running rights to Southern Railway of BC (which is owned by the Seattle-based Washington Group), CPR and CNR.
    B.C. Hydro has a clause in the use of the line that it reserves the right for passenger purposes use but that will never happen except for the part used by the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society. FVHRS has realized after a fifteen year attempt to run restored B.C. Electric Railway interurbans from Brownsville to Chilliwack that it will never reach its goal of running all the way to Chilliwack. Its mission statement, developed in 2001, still stands: To restore and to operate heritage interurban cars on the original BC Electric Railway Route through Surrey and the Fraser Valley to link heritage tourism destinations.
    Today, the FVHRS has rebranded itself as “Surrey’s Heritage Rail” running from a new City of Surrey-funded car barn in Cloverdale and a recreated BCER Cloverdale Station to a recreated BCER Sullivan Station at 152nd Street and 64th Avenue (Johnson and Bose Roads) and back….a grand total of just over four miles (eight miles return) for about 15 minutes each way for an adult fare of $15.00, $10.00 for seniors and $5.00 for children with wee ones being free.
    Not quite what the FVHRS envisaged for a project that has cost over $8.5 million with more than half of that coming from the City of Surrey.
    Not quite the run to Scott Road or Brownsville and certainly not east of Cloverdale.
    It has not quite realized its dream….and probably never will.
    But then it has three lovely century-old BCER interurbans – 1225, the Sockeye Special that used to run to Steveston, fully restored and operating; 1304, the Connaught Car that ran on the Fraser Valley line and was rebuilt in 1946, still being restored and operational, it is hoped, by 2017; and 1207, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Byron Cole, who have co-owned it for decades and who had leased it to the now defunct Downtown Historic Railway that ran along the south side of False Creek from Granville Island to Science World in Vancouver between 1999 and 2010.
    That, of course, come to an end as a result of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, which saw the south eastern shore of False Creek completely re-urbanized and the termination of financial support by the City of Vancouver to the poorly-run group called TRAMS, whose volunteers operated it beset by continuous problems.
    But the FVHRS has a number of other pieces of rolling stock including the 70-year-old BCER electric engine 961 that ended up in Edmonton for decades but has now been acquired by the Surrey-based group, basically as a museum piece.
    Again, Ms. Lock states that there would be no rental fee – for use of the B.C. Hydro line. I’m not quite sure that B.C. Hydro would totally agree with her.
    The insurance alone for recreational trains is one of the reasons why the Royal Hudson is not running from North Vancouver to Squamish and back besides the cost of overhauling it every few years at $2,000,000.00 a pop. And Surrey’s Heritage Rail have to pay insurance, too, that they won’t tell you how much they have to pay.
    She ends her uninformed rant wondering why every Mayor and Council from Chilliwack to Surrey is not supportive or fighting for the return to use of this line (for passenger service).
    She asked Mayor Sharon Gaetz if she could explain why the south shore communities have not pushed for this idea above and beyond complimenting the success of the FVX 66 Bus run from Chilliwack to the Carvolth bus depot in north Langley.
    Pointing out the growth in the Valley and the potential for growth what with rising housing costs, Ms. Lock is puzzled why people are spending three or more hours on the road every day commuting to Surrey and beyond.
    Well, Ms. Lock, I hope that I have explained it to you and your fellow pipe-dreamers and the ‘Rail for the Valley’ bloggers who are also in dreamland or would the term “neverland” be more precise. If you would like a more detailed explanation of why there is not an LRT on the south shore using the B.C. Hydro rail line or a tram-train that RftV purports would be the be all and end all of Valley transportation, I could give it to you in 30,000 words and more – or even a book, if you would like.
    Why switch from spending three or more hours on the road to spending three or more hours on the rails?
    Maybe moving jobs to Abbotsford and Chilliwack would be a better idea.

    Zwei replies: Your long lasting hate of the Rail for the Valley group is well understood.

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