Light-rail on Number 10 Highway & The Langley Bypass – An Alternative route to the Valley.

The Light Rail Committee have long advocated for “The return of the Interurban” for the Fraser Valley, as a cost effective way of extending ‘rail’ transit to Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack. The LRC advocates that instead of following the original rights-of-ways completely, alterations to the original routeAi??Ai??must be considered to give the ‘interurban’ 21st century usefulness. Using Number 10 highway and the Langley By-pass for LRT, would bring the tram directly to major transit generators, such as KwantlenAi??Ai?? College in Cloverdale; Fraser Downs horse racing facility and Casino; Willow Brook Mall; and businesses along the Langley Bypass.

Using a ‘reserved rights-of-way’ in the median of Highway 10. would not interfere with road traffic, enabling the interurban to penetrate to where the customer wants to go, without the need of long walks or bus transfer.

The proposed 9.5 km. route would diverge from the Souther Railway of BC to Highway 10 at the Serpentine Bridge (164 St.), where there is already a protected rail crossing and proceed in the median (single track), with preemptive signaling at all major intersections. At 175 St. the route becomes two tracks, through Cloverdale to 180 St., where the line again becomes a single track, until it reached the Langley By-pass, where again the routeAi??Ai??is dualAi??Ai??tracked, operating on a ‘reserved rights-of-way’Ai??Ai??until itAi??Ai??rejoins the Coal Port Railway at Glover Rd.

The benefits are many and most importantly giving the interurban 9.5 kilometers of it own route in Langley and Cloverdale, without interference from the mainline railways (this is important, especially if a local service were to be operated), secondly, many businesses and schools would be in easy walking distance tram the interurban, an important consideration if one wants businesses and transit customer support. There is one final benefit of the #10/Langley Bypass route; the proposed 200th St. LRT/streetcar service would feed directly into the interurban, providing a seamless journey to Vancouver, a proven way to attract ridership.

Detractors of the proposed route, mostly the auto lobby, will whine about loss of road space, yet very little road space will be lost, especially if the interurban operates in mixed traffic in Cloverdale. There are hundreds of light-rail operations around the world which operate in such a manner and with proper design the interurban would fit in with minimal disruption. The proposed route would of course cost more to build, about $50 million more than using the existing railwayAi??Ai??rights-of-ways but the benefits would out weigh the added cost or minor traffic disruptions.

The success of the interurban is dependent on how it satisfies the (transit) customer’s needs and a #10 highway/Langley Bypass route, servicing major shopping precincts, commercial businesses, and schools will go a long way to satisfying customer’s travel needs.


6 Responses to “Light-rail on Number 10 Highway & The Langley Bypass – An Alternative route to the Valley.”
  1. Anonymous says:

    you might want to replace the word “whine” with something a little less condescending, such as “object”.

    I totally agree that we need to hit as many urban centres as possible!

  2. David says:

    I’ve always looked at the portion of the SRY from Cloverdale to TWU as a huge problem for restoration of the Interurban because of the high volume of freight going to and from Robert’s Bank. This proposal is one of the best I’ve heard because it addresses that problem and improves accessibility, a key feature for building ridership. After all what good is a transit system that doesn’t go anywhere people want to?

    This raises another issue. We need to find a way to get light rail into the valley without decommissioning all the freight lines. If we make it difficult for freight trains, goods movement will be even more dependent on trucks, a situation that is already being used as justification for the Gateway Project. We need to move people AND stuff, not just one or the other by rail. Light rail added to existing roadways is a good solution to both problems.

    As you’re well aware our transit planners aren’t transit users they’re drivers and drivers will never accept converting a road lane to transit only use even if it moves 10 times as many people. They might reluctantly accept transit added to an existing road, but only if it doesn’t disrupt even a single car or truck. This has to change, but I don’t see how. Getting elected requires lots of money and wealthy people drive cars.

  3. zweisystem says:

    There is a common misconception, exploited by Kevin Falcon and the anti LRT crowd, that LRT can’t track-share with freight trains. This is nonsense, based on early 20th century railway technology and very outdated federal laws. It’s all a matter of signaling and with proper squalling LRT can track-share with regular railway trains in complete safety.

    In Karlsruhe Germany, trams, passenger trains, freight trains and even steam trains can all operate on the same line in complete safety since 1992. This U-Tube video shows the Karlsruhe two-system tram/train in operation on the mainline.

  4. David says:

    I didn’t mean to suggest that track sharing was unsafe. I simply meant the current single track between Cloverdale and Livingston is too heavily used by freight to support reasonable LRT frequency. Obviously with double track and good signaling a high volume of both passenger and freight traffic can be maintained.

    What I don’t know because I don’t live near the line in question is whether the right of way is wide enough to support double tracking. I’m sure the national freight operators would be happy to have a second track through Langley because it would reduce delays for their operations, but only if someone else pays for it.

  5. zweisystem says:

    It is my belief that there is plenty of room for double tracking along the entire line.


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