A Tale of Two Cities – The Utsunomiya LRT Versus The Shambles in Surrey

This article should give a good indication of the cost of modern light rail being built today.

The proposed Utsunomiya LRT, is of course narrow gaugeAi?? and will have somewhat narrower trams, with a reduced capacity than LRT built inAi?? Canada, but it is the cost of construction which is important.

The 14.6 km., 19 station LRT line, which operates mostly in a central reservation will cost an estimated USD $451 (CAD $594) to build.

Thus the Utsunomiya LRT will cost about CAD $41 million/km to build, within today’s cost range of between $25m/km to $45m/for new build LRT.

As well, two cities and three private companies are paying a large share of construction costs, which gives the public the assurance that the project is both well designed and a good investment.

Compare with Surrey’s proposed LRT, with construction costs now over $100 million/km and absolutely no private funding is forthcoming, including the City of Surrey which the project is to serve.

The “Shambles in Surrey” is an apt name for current transit planning (both SkyTrain and LRT) which is obviously being done by amateurs with absolutely no knowledge of modern light rail or modern public transit practice!

Japan approves Utsunomiya light rail project

Written byAi??

Japan approves Utsunomiya light rail projectKansai Explorer/ wikipedia CC by SA 3.0

JAPANai??i??s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MILT) announced on September 26 that it has approved plans for the construction of a 14.6km light rail line in Utsunomiya, the capital of Tochigi prefecture north of Tokyo.

Running largely on the central reservation of highways, the double-track east-west line will link the Honda research and development facility in the town of Haga with JR Eastai??i??s Utsunomiya station, which is served by the Tohoku Shinkansen, Tohoku Main Line and Nikko Line.

The line will have 19 stations, four of which will be located in Haga with the remainder in Utsunomiya. Passing loops will be constructed at two stations to enable express services to overtake all-stations local services. The journey time between the terminus stations will be 38 minutes for express services and 44 minutes for locals.

Services will be operated by a fleet of 17 30m-long, 2.65m-wide low-floor LRVs, each capable of accommodating up to 155 passengers. The 1067mm-gauge line will be electrified at 750V dc and trams will operate at up to 70km/h on segregated sections of the route.

The Yen 45.8bn ($US 451m) project is being funded by the city of Utsunomiya (40.8%), the town of Haga (10.8%), Tochigi Light Rail (22.8%), Kanto Auto Works (10%), and Tobu Railway Company (4%), with the remainder coming from other sources.

Completion is scheduled for December 2019.


One Response to “A Tale of Two Cities – The Utsunomiya LRT Versus The Shambles in Surrey”
  1. eric chris says:

    Thanks for the post. I quite like the picture of the LRT/tram way on grass along side the bike way car way.

    If Surrey isn’t paying for any of the capital cost of the LRT, something is terribly wrong. Honestly, public transit is a municipal cost. Something like the interurban from the public transit system in Chilliwack to the public transit system in Metro Vancouver is a provincial cost. High speed rail from Calgary to Vancouver, for instance, is a federal cost.

    For the federal government to commit to 50% of the public transit in Vancouver robs Canadians in the rest of the country. There is only so much money to go around and it just means that schools close and hospital waits get longer to fund the glorified monkeys at TransLink. They are pouring concrete and boring tunnels for their cronies hired to do it to cash-in on it.

    Here’s a surprise comment (until it was flagged and censored) from someone who I know well to the new COV head planner from San Francisco (apparently Gregor Robertson, our mayor, couldn’t find anyone local, just as TransLink had to go to the USA for its CEO and Australia for its s-train boss, to find “talent”):

    “Congratulations on your appointment Gil. As long as the COV keeps planning for subways where single family residential areas keep getting wiped out to build 40 story condo developments wiping out our affordable housing and rentals, how exactly are we going to turn things around to make Vancouver affordable, Gil? From my perspective, you’re an out of touch outsider who was brought here by our mayor to keep the money laundering which is financing our condo development juiced-up and the subway construction going. How about modest and city wide development which doesn’t inflate housing costs in concert with affordable trolleybus service for public transit?

    What we really need is the National Guard to crack heads and put an end to the organized crime and corruption which has gripped the Vancouver housing market and public transit system, if you ask me. Ostensibly, all the high rise condos are being built to tackle road congestion. Despite the absurdity of this claim given our record road congestion which is the worst in Canada, how does replacing surface “public parking” with far more underground “private parking” in high rise condo developments result in fewer cars on the roads? Don’t you have to build the high rise towers without parking to cut down on driving? You’re the expert. Explain it to me.”


    I’m sure that he has no explanation. He’s another cog in the wheel; another glib individual who’s gotten to the top by talking crap and spouting off the communist party line, good little Maoist “commie”, as it were. I hear that things are heating up with the federal government looking into the environmental “benefits” of the Broadway subway pumping out more CO2 than if everyone drives or fly-drives:


    I see trouble on the way. I know the end is coming soon…


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