Calgary’s LRT Expands

The Calgary C-Train will almost double in size after the Federal Government’s gift to pay one third the cost of construction. The 60 km network will expand to 110 km with the 50 km Green Line.

The large cost for the new LRT line will be, in part I believe, is due to a subway built under Calgary’s downtown and the high cost of land expropriation, though I wonder if last year’s floods might have changed some minds about the need of subway construction.

We also must remember that Calgary’s LRT was built more along the lines of a German S-Bahn than modern European style LRT, with long stretches of dedicated rights-of-ways with on street operation in the downtown, with articulated high floor cars.


Calgary gets $1.5 billion from federal government for construction of C-Train Green Line

By , Calgary Sun First posted: Friday, July 24, 2015

Calgary’s LRT system will double over the next decade thanks to $1.53 billion in federal funding announced Friday for the proposed Green Line.

The money represents one-third of the total cost of building the Green Line — slated to run from Country Hills Blvd. in the north to Seton in the southeast.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the current plan is for construction to begin in 2017 with completion slated for 2024.

Calgary Southeast MP Jason Kenney,Ai?? regional minister for Southern Alberta, minister of national defence and minister for multiculturalism, called it the single largest federal infrastructure investment ever in Alberta.


7 Responses to “Calgary’s LRT Expands”
  1. r says:

    Hmmm election in october and pm is from alberta?

  2. eric chris says:

    Is this line costing $4.5 billion (just to build) and is SNC Lavalin involved? If so, it is the same as giving every one of the 56,127 people (112,254 passenger trips daily or 41 million passenger trips annually) taking the line daily: $1,600 annually for the next 50 years.

    Hey, I could use the extra $1,600 annually for the next 50 years, sign me up. Who pays, the tooth fairy? Oh, I forgot, I pay and it just comes out of my taxes for SNC “scumbag” Lavalin to bribe crooked dirt bags to make money. What a deal.

    At $90 million per kilometer to build (operation is extra), I guess that you could say that it is saving taxpayers about $90 million per kilometer (to build) by not going with s-train. But then, only retards build s-train lines, and there are too many good engineers in Alberta to go the s-train route.

    I’m waiting for the day when bribed federal, provincial and municipal government employees go to jail for inflating the cost of transit to award pricey contracts to SNC Lavalin or whatever other engineering firm bought the job. This line is too expensive and the stations at ~ two kilometres apart are too far apart.

    There is no way that the “Green” Line is going to statistically cut 34 minutes (daily, monthly or annually as the time period was not stated) from the driver’s commute. According to Statistics Canada, transit statistically doubles commuting times compared to driving.

    Yup, hub to hub transit stinks. Don’t shoot the messenger. “What jumps out from this study is the terrible public transit time…”

    I’m all for LRT as long as the cost isn’t ridiculous. It rankles me when false claims are made about hub to hub transit saving time compared to point to point driving. Where are the calculations to show us the ASS-umptions made to come up with the time saved by transit? Calgary has lots of freeways; I don’t see many people giving up their car to wait at the bus stop to ride the bus to the distant LRT stop in freezing weather. Does anyone else?

    Going with LRT allows you to have close spacing for stops in the city (tram mode). Really, tram mode for inexpensive rail routes minimizes the commuting time for “most” transit users. Like I said, the cost of the Green Line and spacing of its stops have me shaking my head.

  3. Haveacow says:

    The PM was actually born in Toronto but his riding is definitely in Alberta. The interesting thing about Calgary’s Green Line is that it contains a short downtown tunnel section of about a kilometer or so.

    Edmonton got more money this week as well to complete the first section of the Valley LRT Line from Mill Woods to downtown by 2020, the next section of the line will head west to the West Edmonton Mall.

    Yes @r is correct, it is election season because the Conservatives also promised $1 Billion for the 1/3 federal portion of Ottawa’s O-Train phase 2 LRT expansion program on Tuesday. What was funny was how quickly the other parties reacted saying that they would also be giving the city of Ottawa the federal share of the project’s transit money if they are elected, realizing they had just been scooped by the Conservatives. Toronto has been promised big money as well. The pressure is now on Ontario’s Premier Wynne to respond with her portion of the cash however, she has about 2 years before it becomes critical for the project’s timing. Construction of phase 2 is set to begin in September-October of 2018 as soon as phase 1 opens.

  4. Haveacow says:

    Oh yes, the rumor is that, next week the PM will promise cash for a commuter rail line and bridge over the Welland Canal (a federal responsibility) so that Niagara Region, a Tory stronghold, can have all day GO Trains.

  5. Haveacow says:

    Eric you have to realize prices have gone up. You know the official inflation rate is about 2.2% a year. Which means in reality, the real inflation rate is probably between anywhere from 3.5-5% a year. Well that means with a average of 4% real inflation, prices double about every 17.5 years. So 50 km of LRT in the year 2000 might have cost around $42-45 million/ km which includes 1-1.5 km of tunnel in downtown Calgary. Well thanks to inflation, its now $90 million or more a kilometer in 2017 when construction begins.

    Having had conversations with Calgary LRT officials before I can tell you that, if their original LRT line was being built today on the surface on 7th Ave in downtown Calgary, it would not be happening. Today land costs in successful downtowns, the regulatory, commercial and modern political environments in Calgary would make it impossible to build, end of story. The planners and engineers I have spoken with, who were here in Ottawa when our LRT system was being debated said that, times have changed, its just really difficult although not impossible, to build on the surface in the middle of a busy and crowded successful downtown street space without having enormous backlash from building owner and the public at large. Most fear that a surface LRT line would cause a severe loss of value in their properties because the surface travelling trains would lead to a massive downgrade of access to their buildings by service and supply vehicles and the public at certain times of the day. The regulatory/safety hoops that Transport Canada would make you jump through are severe given the built environment of downtown Calgary. On top of that, they have to cross a major navigable river, the Bow River and that is a major cost in of itself. Plus, the present transit surface right of way on 7th Ave is full and no one in that city wants to loose another major downtown street to an LRT line that will be running 3 and 4 car LRT trains every 4-5 minutes at peak. We tried running LRT vehicles on the surface on Albert and Slater Streets here in downtown Ottawa with the old North-South LRT proposal, which was later cancelled. Most of the public hated it and the local business and hotel owners threatened to sue over it. I can only imagine what the Calgary teem had to go through when they proposed surface running of trains for the Green line.

    Eric, you can’t just consider the construction cost you have to consider the “ink cost” when the press gets hold of it and spins it in a negative way. Then there are real legal and litigation costs which, thanks to our virtually wide open “let’s sue them” legal environment, are on the increase. Those legal costs are real and have to be budgeted for. This is one of the ways Europe avoids higher construction cost by saying no, past this point you can’t sue, you can’t complain and if you don’t like it too bad! Its not very democratic and their system would brake several Canadian and American anti competition laws. Their system favors a short list of contractors and sub contractors that forever make money while other companies are ignored. Does their system make it cheaper to build LRT lines there, yes it does, but there is a tax cost. Remember they subsidize project building costs through tax incentives. That means, they give your taxes away to private companies, even if they are not presently working on a government infrastructure project so that, they will use that money to make sure building materials costs do not dramatically increase during the time when they do get a government contract, all because they are on the short list. You think SNC Lavlin is bad just try 40 medium and large SNC Lavlin siblings, forever making money across the Eurozone at tax payers expense.

  6. eric chris says:

    @Haveacow, I appreciate the insight into the Calgary LRT. Honestly, unless public transit becomes more lean and mean, it isn’t going to survive. Ridership on public transit is plummeting as transit users abandon transit to rideshare in cars, especially hip younger ones.

    TransLink can’t continue to pay $150 million per year in overhead to idiots doing nothing all day if the ridership falls to 150,000 or fewer transit user as it appears to be heading in 10 years. Smart cars are beginning to make public transit obsolete and hub to hub transit is going the way of the dinosaur.

    If the dedicated ROW in Calgary is costing $90 million/km, then something else has to happen. I’m guessing that running trams or streetcars on the roads (mixed traffic like buses) in downtown Calgary might cost $20 million/km to $40 million/km if designed by good engineers.

    In Vancouver along Broadway, the dummies that be want to spend $400 million/km for the proposed subway to UBC. Yet, we have trolleybus infrastructure making the cost of the tram line as low as $10 million/km to run on grass much of the way or in traffic with cars like the buses do.

    Transit in big city Canada is looking more and more like a racket of criminal activity to me. It is being used to funnel money from taxpayers to the firms making money from subway and s-train lines and to pay for deadbeat and overpaid money sucking TransLink employees in Vancouver. That’s the ugly and mostly censored truth, but it won’t last much longer.

  7. zweisystem says:

    We are decades behind Europe in public transit philosophy and unless we can overcome the auto bias, most major transit projects will be hugely expensive “vanity projects”.