Expo Line Extension To Langley Bafflegab. Has The Cost Risen To $5 Billion?

The Daily Hive has become TransLink’s official mouthpiece and sadly the Daily Hive, knows very little about transit and even less about SkyTrain light metro.


It is my belief that this article, in part, is in response to this letter to the editor which appeared in the Langley Advance Times.

Screenshot 2022-04-21 at 12-42-03 Langley Advance Times - eEditionsThe article below is unbelievably inconsistent and lacking in basic information.


First the province of B.C. says that, the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension is a two stage or two part project, that was combined into a single stage (the entire 16 km length built all at once) for an approximate price of $3.95 Billion.

The mayor of Surrey said in 2018 that the whole thing could be built for only $1.63 Billion, remember that whopper.

At the end of the article the writer reports that the OMC#5 (the 5th SkyTrain storage and maintenance yard) is going to be separated from the project an built separately for a cost range of $500 Million to $1 Billion.


So it’s now a two stage project that has to be tendered separately. Ironically, the OMC#5 will have to start the tendering process later this year, an entire year earlier than the actual line so they both finish around the same time? My too many years of planning transportation projects knowledge understands that, if the line and yard are being tendered on two separate tendering schedules, you have a two stage project.

So one or two stages what is it?

Now The Important Part

If the yard (OMC#5) is to cost around $500 Million – $1 Billion has the cost of the actual line dropped at all?

The article’s writer or the province of B.C.  doesn’t mention this at all. If the line is still going to cost around $3.95 Billion, that means the total cost for the single stage project has gone up to somewhere between $4.45 Billion -$4.95 Billion.

That’s a 12.3% -25.6% cost increase in 1 year!

The article says by 2050 the extension will be moving 80,000 passengers a day but that’s 28 years from now, 22 years after it opens. What’s it going to be carrying in 2028, when the line is planned to be open?

No one, not the province or TransLink wants to tell you, why?

So, let’s get this straight. Surrey and Langley will have a SkyTrain line extension that will cost at a minimum $4 Billion ($3.95 Billion) but could increase up to $4.95 Billion or (essentially $5 Billion) and that extension might move only 80,000 people a day, 22 years after it’s expected opening day.

What amazes, is that, the line is completely above grade, with a yard, no tunnels and it is expected to cost between $4 Billion and $5 Billion!

All for an 8 station, 16 km long extension that, will force many downtown bound passengers from Langley on a trip that will take over an hour, that’s without the need for transferring somewhere else.

This is not a short distance regional VIA Rail train where the seats are comfortable, where they have luggage racks and offer food and beverages, this is supposed to be rapid transit. Still nobody knows the actual planned capital cost or how many passengers this line will carry on its opening day.

This project sounds worse and worse the closer to construction it gets.

I would like to thank Mr. Cow for bringing this issue to me in such clarity.


Screenshot 2022-05-13 at 13-23-31 New renderings hint at how future Surrey-Langley SkyTrain line could look - BC Globalnews.ca

BC government seeking public input on Surrey-Langley SkyTrain design

May 12 2022

The provincial government has revealed its conceptual design approach for the entire 16-km-long Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project for public consultation.

A total of eight additional stations are planned for the Expo Line along Fraser Highway between the existing terminus at King George Station to Langley City Centre.

Seven stations will have side platforms, while the Expo Line’s new easternmost terminus of 203 Street Station will have a centre platform.

The entire extension will be elevated, with the alignment running down the centre of Fraser Highway through Green Timbers Urban Forest to 152 Street Station, on the north side between 152 Street and 166 Street stations, on the south side through the Serpentine River and Agricultural Land Reserve, and returning to the north side for the final stretch before the Surrey-Langley City municipal border.

For the final approach within Langley City to 203 Street Station, the elevated guideway will be on the south side of Industrial Avenue.

Three station-serving bus exchanges are planned, including for 166 Street Station, 196 Street Station, and 203 Street Station. The latter of these stations, as the terminus, will have a particularly larger bus exchange to enable bus connections to communities in eastern Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

A four-lane roadway standard will be maintained for the reconfigured Fraser Highway to accommodate the elevated guideway. As well, project planners intend to take advantage of the SkyTrain project to create an active transportation corridor following the elevated guideway, with wide sidewalks and protected bi-directional bike lanes.

Additionally, the consultation emphasizes on the approach of spurring high-density, transit-oriented development to enable both more housing options and affordable housing, retail and services, employment spaces, recreation and entertainment uses, and educational facilities near the SkyTrain stations. As stipulated by both the provincial government and TransLink in exchange for the major transit investment, both the City of Surrey and Langley City are engaged in various planning processes of creating new area plans that densify areas around stations.

By 2050, it is anticipated 100,000 people will be living within 800 metres of the new stations, and over 20,000 new jobs will be accessible by SkyTrain. The combined population of Surrey, Langley City, and Langley Township will also rise by 420,000 people, and the overall workforce will grow by 147,000 new local jobs.

Furthermore, by 2050, ridership on the Surrey-Langley extension of the Expo Line will reach an average of 80,000 passengers per weekday.

The travel time is projected to be 22 minutes between King George Station and the new terminus of 203 Street Station in Langley City Centre, and 65 minutes on a one-train ride between Waterfront Station and 203 Street Station.

As of 2021, the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain had an estimated construction cost of $3.95 billion for the entire project — built as a single phase reaching Langley, instead of the previously contemplated two phases. This project is confirmed, with the federal government committing $1.3 billion for its share.

Similar to how the Millennium Line Broadway Extension is currently being carried out, the provincial government took over this Expo Line extension project from TransLink last year, and is currently leading planning efforts towards implementation.

The current public consultation will lead to the finalization of the new business case for the entire extension by Fall 2022.

By early 2023, the provincial government will launch the bidding process for a contractor, starting with request for qualifications (RFQ). Shortlisted contractors will then be invited to submit a detailed bid through the request for proposals (RFP) stage in Spring 2023, with an aim to award the contract by the middle of 2024. Construction is expected to begin in late 2024 or early 2025 for an opening by late 2028.

Noticeably absent from the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project scope is the inclusion of an additional operations and maintenance centre (OMC5) serving the Expo Line, which will be located in Langley. The provincial government’s BC Major Infrastructure Projects Brochure, published earlier this spring, suggests the OMC5 facility will be a separate project, with an estimated cost range within the category of between $500 million and $1 billion. Procurement for OMC5 will start in the latter half of 2022, with construction anticipated between 2023 and 2028. This will be a very significant facility to accommodate both Surrey-Langley SkyTrain car operations and the overall long-term growth of the SkyTrain car fleet.

Before major construction begins in about two years on the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain, about $128 million in advance work and site preparation activities will be conducted, including widening Fraser Highway through Green Timbers to a four-lane standard, relocating BC Hydro power lines and structures, relocating other utilities, and property acquisitions.


One Response to “Expo Line Extension To Langley Bafflegab. Has The Cost Risen To $5 Billion?”
  1. Haveacow says:

    In Edmonton, the Valley LRT line is divided into two phases. The end product would not have been too dissimilar to what was planned with the two phase Surrey LRT Network. The Valley Line’s two phases will be 27 km long with a combined price of $4.47 Billion. The first stage (13.1 km for $1.8 Billion) is about to open. The two stage Surrey LRT network would be roughly the same length. The combined price was about $3.5 Billion in 2018, with inflation I suspect the higher cost second stage, would put the total price at roughly the same as the total Valley Line cost, between $4 Billion to $4.5 Billion. Had the City of Surrey stayed with their paid for LRT the first line would be opening in 2 years and the much simpler, and cheaper second stage LRT line to Langley would be under construction by 2024, probably opening in 2028 or 2029.

    Before the Skytrain types start jumping on me, it’s better to have a good LRT line with confirmed prices, than a Skytrain extension that still has few concrete price details and may or may not ever happen. I’m still not convinced that the Surrey to Langley Skytrain extension will ever happen and the more details I keep hearing from friends of mine in the B.C. government ministry in charge of this project (because Translink certainly can’t do it anymore), the more I believe you will be better off to delay the whole thing. The cost is high and the number it will serve is too low.

    Keep this in mind Ottawa’s Trillium Line (Line #2) upgrade project includes:
    1. All lines use existing mainline railway rights of way with some new rights of way in the outer areas
    2. 7 new Mainline Railway compatible Diesel Multiple Unit Rail Vehicles (only 13 in total)
    3. Will still operate large sections of single track, although great amounts of double track are being added
    4. Each new or upgraded station will be similar in length to Skytrain length 80 m long station platforms
    5. Has completed a new yard and maintenance centre
    6. Will have a separate shuttle service to Ottawa’s Airport
    7. Has 8 new stations added the remaining 5 upgraded, a majority (8) of stations will be double tracked
    8. There will be an increase in the line’s operating length from 8 km to roughly 24 km
    9. Expected to have a 10 minute operating schedule on the mainline and a 5 to 10 minute schedule on the short separate airport branch
    10. The Line is late mainly due to Covid 19 related supply chain issues but is expected to open somewhere between May to September 2023

    This whole project’s capital cost is $811 Million (fixed price contract) plus another $820 Million for the 30 year operating contract (it is a P3 Project after all), $1.632 Billion in total, including yard, raio vehicles and a 30 year operating contract.

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