HST Madness!

When boys and girls play trains, especially high speed trains (HST) it is best they read a book on the subject before they embarrass themselves.

Obviously, the “academics and urban planners, who believe such an infrastructure investment” have not read a book on the subject and are completely ignorant of the massive construction needed for HST! No wonder they remain nameless!

Could this be a sop to obtain government funding to plan for the impossible?

Nice if you can con the government for cash!

Could it be nothing more than a simple scam, like a pyramid scheme?

A pyramid transit scheme, been there done that with the Broadway subway!

No knowledgeable academic, bureaucrat or professional would ever endorse such a scheme before asking themselves the following questions:

  1. The cost for such a scheme. High speed trains require straight track with both very wide horizontal curvature and very long vertical curvature which would require tens of billions of dollars in tunneling and viaducts. You are looking at $200 million to $600 million/km. to build, extending the SkyTrain light-metro network, the cost for HST would easily be more.
  2. Is there the ridership demand for this? Will there be full trains traveling every 15 minutes, seven days a week, 352 days a year?
  3. Where is the funding coming from?
HST Madness!
Let us remember, the taxpayer is spending $4.6 billion to extend the Millennium and Expo Lines 12.8 km.
How much will it cost to build, greenfields construction, a 250 km plus, HST route, which demands  complete grade separation, built on viaduct or tunnel?
I suspect a fake group trying to take the steam out of much more practical rail schemes for the Fraser Valley, such as Rail for the Valley’s proposal or the South Fraser Community Rail  folks.
It is common knowledge that TransLink does not like any affordable rail link for the Fraser Valley.
I suspect this article, especially from the Hive which is TransLink’s mouthpiece, is more than a ruse to try to discredit affordable and more practical planning for rail transit in the region and Fraser Valley.
Sadly, with our gullible lot of politicians at the helm, they may succeed.

Over 200 km of viaduct or tunnels will be needed for a Chilliwack to Whistler HST route. What will the cost be?

60-minute train: High-speed rail proposal linking Whistler, Vancouver, and Fraser Valley

Kenneth Chan

Oct 5 2020

Imagine performing an end-to-end trip between Whistler and Chilliwack, and the destinations in between, within an hour on a regional high-speed rail line reaching up to 300 km/hr.

That is the connectivity vision for Mountain Valley Express (MVX) by a new local advocacy group comprised of academics and urban planners, who believe such an infrastructure investment — linking the Sea to Sky Corridor, Metro Vancouver, and the Fraser Valley — will provide a lasting economic engine and a “leaner, greener restart” for BC after COVID-19.

For the rest of the story, please click here



3 Responses to “HST Madness!”
  1. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. The link from Chilliwack to Waterfront to Lonsdale Quay is already here:


    Hard to imagine why we have to go to Whistler. As the WEST COAST CHARRETTE demonstrates, the opportunity lapping at our shores is to complete the link between the Vancouver Island Freeway and the Greater Vancouver Freeway.

    It is a constraint on our economy to have the TransCanada Highway end abruptly at Horse Shoe Bay. There is a payoff awaiting linking the route—not to a skying resort—but to the capital of the province, and the second largest population base on the Great Salish Sea.

    This is imitation. But a poor copy.

  2. Donald says:

    “That is the connectivity vision for Mountain Valley Express (MVX) by a new local advocacy group comprised of academics and urban planners”

    Who is this new group?

    It has nothing to do with Translink. Translink is not responsible for fraser valley transit and areas north of Lions Bay. That is BC Transit service area.

    BC goverment should bring back BC Rail on the track they still own. CN just has the rights to use the track in a long term contract that should be renegotiated.

    BC Transit should build LRT to Chiliwack from Langley connecting with Skytrain to Vancouver.

    Zwei replies: TransLink has stated “they are not interested in anything that cannot operate at 10 minute headway’s or less. TransLink would also love to muddy the political waters by having this in the public. Translink knows damn ell the public haven’t a clue about transit, the cost of transit, except when their taxes increase and in fact could promote extending light metro beyond Surrey saying “we are much cheaper than planned rail” forgetting to mention HST rail.

    By the way, LRT from Langley to Chilliwack would bwe a waste of money, it must go to downtoen Vancouver to be successful.

  3. Haveacow says:

    Before everyone jumps on me high speed rail is very useful but it isn’t easily built or paid for. The corridors used have to be simple and well thought out. Geography is your enemy. Going around mountains and lakes adds cost. Going to every place you want can kill a line because not all cities are in desirable locations, easily accessible by high speed rail.

    1. Whether you are in North America or Europe, it isn’t a Category or Type 1, high speed rail line unless, speeds of 260 km/h (160 m/h) are sustained over a certain time period.

    2. There is no such thing as an urban or suburban high speed rail line ! I now people like to use that term a lot but it doesn’t really exist. In Europe, trains traveling in urban or suburban environments are not allowed to exceed 125 km/h for safety, noise and environmental reasons. High speed trains only get to their most impressive speeds once they are in rural areas outside of the city.

    In North America, railways inside cities and suburbs can’t exceed Category 4 track conditions and limits. That means in a suburban or urban environments, trains can’t go beyond the category 4 speed limit of 100 km/h – 130 km/h. Safety and noise conditions can also be set on railways by each municipality they pass through.

    3. Trains are not sport cars. High Speed Trains have a maximum standard operational acceleration/deceleration rate of 0.3 metres per second, squared, this is the standard comfortable acceleration and deceleration rate in Europe for both passengers and operators. The emergency deceleration rate is 0.5 metres per second, squared. This means that if you want to accelerate to just 100 km/h you need at the least, 2.6 km of perfectly flat, arrow straight track. If there are curves or grades/valleys you will need even more room. This means even with a maximum speed of just 100 km/h, the absolute minimum distance between 2 stations is 5.2 km. This wipes out many of your stations, in the article.

    This is why your Skytrain and other urban railways, with even limited numbers of stations and a grade separated right of way, only averages between 33 – 38 km/h. Urban Railways by design must have higher rates of acceleration and deceleration to be useful. Skytrain has a standard acceleration/deceleration rate of 1.05 metres per second, squared and most Light Rail Vehicles have an acceleration/deceleration rate 1.2 – 1.36 metres per second, squared. Higher rates of acceleration wipe out higher speeds in urban areas.

    4. Capital cost is extremely important here when it comes to H.S.T Any true high speed lines require ralway corridors that are flat and straight. Any curves are gentle and usually involve enormously long turning radi. This means complex and elaborate bridges and viaducts. A Montreal to Toronto High Speed Corridor is estimated to cost around $18 to $20 Billion. There would only be at most, 2 intermediate stops in Kingston and Belleville, Ontario, Belleville, normally gets eliminared in budget reviews. Ottawa usually gets eliminated immediately because it requires a hugely expensive turn heading North-East, and a never ending number bridges through the Rideau Lakes Region as well as the Canadian Shield. This roughly 500 km long line between Montreal and Toronto is considered ideal because it is mostly straight, doesn’t cross or have to go around a major lake and would be easily accessible during construction. This cost doesn’t include the trains or any improvements to the stations, like building improvements and longer passenger platforms. You would be using the existing VIA Rail stations.

    At a minimum each High Speed Train would have to be 10 to 12 cars long to even come close to paying for itself. Currently VIA Rail trains are 4 to 6 cars long in the Quebec – Windsor Corridor. So a considerable number of new passengers on each of the 6 to 7 daily scheduled trains between Montreal and Toronto, would have to suddenly appear on these new High Speed Trains. If not, the actual number of trains per day would have to be cut by VIA Rail. Currently before COVID 19, the Toronto to Montreal service made a profit. This why VIA Rail and the Government want to increase the frequency not necessarily the speed of the trains by building their new planned, high frequency line between Quebec City and Toronto.

    5. High Speed Trains need longer lines to be useful and frequency of service can become a limiting value to that service. The line mentioned in this article is not just impossible because the distances between the stations are too short, there are far too many stations, the far too many frequent and overly sharp curves but the line itself is really too short in length to have frequent service with anything approaching high speed.

    Currently VIA Trains in the Quebec – Windsor Corridor travel between 175 km/h to 190 km/h (110 m/h to 120 m/h) at their maximum points. Just this speed range (hardly high speed by today’s standard), limits the number of station stops to a maximum of about 7 on the 500 km long Montreal-Toronto route. That is including the 2 suburban stations, Dorval (in the Montreal area) and Guildwood (in the Toronto area) that are used as alternatives for locals who don’t want to travel all the way to the downtown stations. If you want frequent stops like in the article, in the relatively short total distance between Chilliwack and Whistler, anything looking remotely like a high speed mainline railway operation, disappears very fast.

Leave A Comment