Let us make a comparison.

In B.C., we are spending $4.6 billion to extend the Expo and Millennium Line’s a mere 12.8 km, while in the UK, £1.2 billion (CAD $2.04 billion) is being spent t0 reopen four rail lines (this means completely rehabbing and re signalling the lines); upgrading three rail lines for improved passenger service; and double tracking a main line for improved passenger service.

In the UK, $2.04 billion will buy you almost 100 km of reinstated or new line; almost 100 km of upgrading of line for improved service; and 135 km of double tracking existing mainline. This adds up to around 335 km of passenger rail improvements!

For $4.6 billion, BC gets 12.8 km of an obsolete light metro system designed not to improve transit, rather to act as a driver for high rise and “tower” construction.

For less than half the money allocated, passenger rail services are getting a massive boost, while in metro Vancouver, $4.6 billion literally buys you nothing but political prestige and hopefully votes at election time.

Brentor Station, soon to see a passenger service after more than 50 years, on the Okehampton Tavistock route.

£1.2bn rail upgrade proposed for southwest Britain

Jul 20, 2020
Written byDavid Briginshaw

RAIL expert Lord Tony Berkeley and Mr Michael Byng, a chartered quantity surveyor and construction cost consultant, have published a £1.2bn plan to reopen lines and double-track existing lines in southwest Britain.


Network Rail is currently upgrading seawall at Dawlish to make the existing Exeter – Plymouth main line more resilient to storm damage.

The Great South West plan, which will be promoted to the government, Local Enterprise Boards, local authorities, Network Rail (NR) and train operators, is aimed at increasing the capacity of the southwestern rail network, providing more resilience to flooding and storm damage, plugging gaps in the network, stimulating growth and reducing carbon emissions by encouraging a switch from road to rail.

The authors say this is the first plan to be costed using NR’s new “rail method of measurement,” which is designed to improve cost certainty, and each scheme meets the “five case model” requirements set out by the British Treasury which cover the strategic, economic, commercial, financial and management dimensions for projects.

The plan is designed so that large schemes can be broken down into smaller elements which can be delivered quickly and at low risk. The authors say one sponsor and specification should be agreed at the outset and design and construct contractors should be used who can respond to specifications without having to go through multiple checks and approvals.

The schemes in the plan comprise:

  • reinstatement of double track between Exeter, Yeovil and Salisbury (£382.3m) - approx. 135 km.
  • reopening the railway between Okehampton, Tavistock and Bere Alston and upgrading existing sections to create an alternative to the storm-damage-prone Exeter – Plymouth main line (£426.5m) – approx. 40 km
  • upgrading the Exeter – Barnstable line (£17.25m) – approx. 60 km
  • reopening the Bodmin – Padstow line (£31.8m) – approx. 20 km
  • reopening the Lostwithiel – Fowey freight line to passenger trains (£5.25m) – approx. 8km.
  • reopening the direct link between Newquay and St Austell (£181.5m),  – approx. 24 km
  • upgrading the Taunton – Minehead West Somerset Railway heritage line (£11.8m). – approx. 36 km.

“These schemes are ready to deliver and will provide many much-needed work opportunities in the southwest, providing immediate help to local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the design and construction sectors, creating a pool of skills to support future long-term development in region,” Byng says.

Passengers once again?


5 Responses to “Comparisons”
  1. Nathan Davidowicz says:

    You can look at Alberta. Two new rail lines Calgary to Banff and A to A railway to Alaska.

  2. Haveacow says:

    I love the last one, upgrading a tourist railway line. I have been on the West Somerset Railway, “upgrading” means relaying track across the entire line so they are able to move faster than the current 5-10 km/h speed limit, on certain stretches of track. Considering the large number of tourists and locals that use it, it’s probably a good investment. The line is actually more convenient than the local bus route, between Taunton and Minehead anyway. The bus runs once every 2 hours with a hourly service during the morning and afternoon peak periods.

  3. Rob says:

    “These schemes are ready to deliver and will provide many much-needed work opportunities in the southwest, providing immediate help to local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the design and construction sectors, creating a pool of skills to support future long-term development in region,” Byng says.

    Not only better public transit but re-localized economies and so many other spin-off benefits.

  4. Major Hoople says:

    I tend to be gobsmacked with the amount of money spent in BC, so much for so little.

    I am also gobsmacked by the political desire to spend large amounts of money on transit projects give so little in return.

    I keep hearing the over and over political refrain that investing in transit is good., Well not if it does not work or beggars the taxpayer.

    The failure not to use existing infrastructure will always bedevil your transportation planning and the future taxpayer.

    I do know of two plans, in your province that were presented, by qualified planners who have a very good knowledge of your local to your government and were rejected out of hand. Both were reinstating abandoned routes, both very economic both in construction and operation, yet rejected in favour of much more expensive projects that will give you a lot less “bang” for your buck.

    So, as our government is gearing up for modest investments, your government want to spend large amounts of money on what we can only see and what you call prestige projects.

  5. Haveacow says:

    The one stop subway project ended in, when the Conservatives under Doug Ford were elected. The new project which is fully funded and has almost finished its EA process and engineering work, it is expected to start construction in 2024-2025 and be open around 2029-2030. The extension is now 7.8 km to Sheppard and McCowan Ave. and has 3 stations. This is from one of the Metrolinx Reports.

    Scarborough (Bloor-Danforth/Line#2) Subway Extension
    The Scarborough subway extension will finally deliver the three-stop subway connectivity that residents of Scarborough deserve.

    Runs From: Kennedy station to Sheppard/McCowan
    Length: 7.8 km
    Stations: 3
    Cost: $4.8 Billion – $5.5 Billion

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