Talking Though One’s Hat – Doug McCallum on SkyTrain

Talking through one’s hat,  definition:

Talk nonsense; especially on a subject that one professes to be knowledgeable about but in fact is ignorant of.

This is exactly what former Surrey mayor and current morality candidate, Doug McCallum is doing.

As  Mr. Cow, our expert from Ontario, said;

” You can expand SkyTrain to  Langley, there is nothing stopping TransLink from doing just that. However, it’s just really, really bad idea due to the enormous cost compared to using LRT operating technology, the complete lack of funding to do it, as well  as the possibility of being sued by multiple contractors!”

My estimate for McCallum’s SkyTrain to everywhere.

SkyTrain (Expo Line) rehab to increase capacity………… $3 billion

Langley SkyTrain extension …………………………………. $3 billion+including lawsuit settlements

South Surrey SkyTrain extension …………………………… $3 billion+

Total …………………………………………………………….. $9 billion+

The joker in the deck; the cost of cement and steel is rising at a cost three times that of the rate of inflation. SkyTrain uses a massive amounts of steel and cement.

The offical rate of inflation in Canada is 2.5%, thus the cost of cement and steel is rising at a rate of a minimum of 7.5% annually.

Conclusion: Doug McCallum’s SkyTrain promises will cost a minimum of $10 billion!

Not going to happen.

Surrey mayoral candidate Doug McCallum wants SkyTrain extension to White Rock


He’s running for mayor in Surrey, and promising to scrap Light Rail Transit (LRT) to build a SkyTrain out to Langley along the Fraser Highway instead.

Now, Doug McCallum is proposing that the SkyTrain should also extend to South Surrey.

“To sort of complete the rapid transit part of our city, the first phase would be from our city centre out Fraser Highway to Langley,” he said.

“And the second phase that we’re proposing is to go from our city centre down King George to Newton, and then out to South Surrey.”

McCallum said he has studied the numbers, and is confident that a SkyTrain to Langley can be built for the same price as LRT: $1.65-billion.

“We can build these lines fairly quickly and I would go so far as to say that once we start construction on the SkyTrain and Fraser Highway — that we will build around the clock seven days a week.”

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond told the Surrey Board of Trade this week that McCallum is wrong, and that the cost would be about $900-million more.

McCallum calls Desmond’s comments astonishing. “I just don’t understand his position,” he said.

Another mayoral candidate, Tom Gill, is also wading into the debate.

“It’s unfortunate that my opposition is using it as a political football,” he said. “The realities are very simple. There’s not an additional billion dollars on the table right now for us to switch technologies.”

“I think we’ve done an incredible amount of work over the last decade, since 2008, finalizing a vision for the city. The idea is to get our residents around the city not necessarily get them downtown Vancouver.”

Gill also said that LRT between Guildford and Newton is only the first phase of a project that will extend to 150 kilometers.


5 Responses to “Talking Though One’s Hat – Doug McCallum on SkyTrain”
  1. Kirsty says:

    There is a lot of people in Surrey and Langley that want to see the Skytrain extended to Langley. They will vote for a mayor that promises that. The current mayor is not listing to the people. Politicians that ignore the people get thrown out.

    About 10-12 years ago, the BC government had a plan to upgrade the orginal skytrain capacity which was never implemented. The Olympics came and prioritized the line to Richmond. The govenment should reconsider upgrading the capacity and extending to Langley.

    They should only do one line per decade to make it affordable. This decade was the extension to Coquitlam. 2020′s should be extension to UBC. 2030′s upgrade expo line and extension to Langley. Then after all this LRT from Guildford to White Rock.

    Then If you want a tram train to Chilliwack, ask BC Transit to build it.

  2. zweisystem says:

    **Gasp**, one line a decade, means Surrey won’t get SkyTrain until the late 2030′s.

    Have you considered that the proprietary SkyTrain will probably be out of production by then?

  3. Causa causans says:

    Sometimes we are speechless at events going on on your side of the world.

    Does anyone understand transit?

    We are beginning to think not.

    As for your skytrain, we find it poorly designed, poorly built and planning not well executed.

    Why anyone wants more of it, just makes us shake our heads.

    If only your politicians understood the real implications of continuing to build with your skytrain; the costs, and lack of servcie, I would hope they would demand a new and bolder transit plan.

    Mediocrity, seems the byword in Vancouver.

  4. Haveacow says:

    One clarification, the steel products I was talking about are things like the specialized steel products used in construction such as reinforcement rods or the new types of exposed structural “I” beams.

    The new kind of plastic covered rebar steel used in concrete pours, that are designed to be extremely water, salt and weather resistant, which greatly increase the life of exterior walls and support elements.

    Here in Ontario, we see a great amount of the exposed steel “I” beams you see for example on the underside of newer highway overpasses and bridges that are resistant to weather conditions because they are coated in several layers of plastic that help reduce the amount of concrete used in a structure and can resist many, many years of expansion and contraction.

    These types of specialized products are extremely expensive individually but save on long term maintenance on large or complex construction projects used in modern infrastructure development.

  5. Dr. Simon Cowell says:

    Surrey should be taking a look at transit systems around the world that efficiently move people around their cities. Use of existing railway routes will save on costs as they will only need to be refurbished. The growth of the city is around the city center’s and a rail system should be in place connecting the hubs.

    Skytrain is outdated in modern rail technology but I am sure there are viable options that can continue the rail line down Fraser Hwy, King George Blvd and even connect Surrey to Coquitlam without having to transfer in New Westminster. The options are there and the government is ignoring them.

Leave A Comment