The Whalley, King George, White Rock Light Rail line Revisited – Again


It has has been three years year since I entertained the idea f the Whalley – King George – White Rock LRT Line and in 2014 the WKW Line is still superior to what TransLink is planning for Surrey.

TransLink’s LRT plans for Surrey are three ai???poormanai??i??sai??? SkyTrain type designed light rail lines feeding SkyTrain.

TransLink designs new transit lines to increase density; to increase property values for land developers who are generally friends of the government and not to efficiently and affordably move people.

The same is true for LRT/streetcar planning for Surrey. Having TransLink plan for LRT is a major mistake, as the lumbering bureaucracy has no experience with modern light rail, nor has it shown any desire to gain experience, preferring to plan for much more prestigious SkyTrain and subways. TransLinkai???s desire to build with SkyTrain is clearly evident with the proposed Broadway subway, in Vancouver, where TransLinkai??i??s planners are designing a $? billion subway to only Arbutus, on a route with average traffic flows below 5,000 persons per hour per direction!

What Surrey needs is a bold new vision for modern LRT and I believe the Whalley ai??i?? King George ai??i?? White Rock or KWKAi?? LineAi?? would provide the vision to implement a strategic and affordable light rail network for Surrey and communities south of the Fraser river. Failure to plan and build sustainable light rail and to continue to plan and build with the hugely expensive SkyTrain light-metro, will beggar the region with ever escalating taxes, driving out business and residents alike, leaving Metro Vancouver a ghetto for the wealthy and the poor.

The WKW Line, operating in conjunction with the ‘full build’ Leewood/Rail for the Valley tramtrain and with a new multi-track rail bridge replacing the present Fraser river Rail Bridge would cost no more than the present estimated $2.5 billion light rail lines in Surrey, would be a powerful tool in alleviating congestion in the south Fraser region. Sadly both Metro Vancouver and TransLink do not have the foresight to see this; they can’t even comprehend it.


LIGHT RAIL FOR SURREY ai??i?? The Whalley ai??i?? King George ai??i?? White Rock (WKW) Line

Surrey wants light rail, but where will the first LRT line go and what line would attract the most customers to the new light rail line?

If the goal of the new light rail line is to serve customer needs and offer the ability to provide an attractive alternative to the car, it also must serve a multitude of destinations. Those presently planning for LRT doAi??not much much expertise and tend to treat the mode as a poor manai??i??s SkyTrain. Building LRT as an extension of the SkyTrain light-metro system will fail to meet expectations as LRT will not be designed to its best advantage. It is not ai???rocket scienceai??i?? to design a transit line to be an attractive alternative to the car and the following plan may prove useful.

The Light Rail Line

The 22 to 24 kilometer Whalley ai??i?? King George ai??i?? Rail for the Valley ai??i?? White Rock line (WKW Line for short) would be a solid foundation for an attractive light rail system in Surrey. The proposed light rail would be a classic LRT, operating on a ai???reserved rights-of-wayai??i?? (RoW) in the median of the roads involved.

The route of the WKW Line would start at at 108th Ave. & the King George Hwy. and would continue South to the Southern RR of BC (formerly the BC Hydro R.R.)Ai?? This portion of the route would service the Central City shopping district; Surrey Memorial Hospital; Queen Elizabeth Secondary School; Bear Creek Park; and the Newton shopping district.

The WKW Line would then network south-east along 4 km of the former BCE interurban line and proposed Valley Rail Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain route to 152nd. Traveling mainly through industrial lands, which would provide the ideal location for the Light Rail storage and maintenance yards. This portion of track would be double tracked and adequately signaled for safe freight/Interurban/tram operation.

There is the possibility of futureAi??joint operation with the RftV/Leewood interurban, enabling South Surrey and White Rock transit customers the option of a direct or no-transfer service to downtown Vancouver.

From 152nd Street, the KWK Line would go straight south to White Rock crossing the Nicomakle /Serpentine River valley basin. Along here, the line must be raised above flood plain and three new bridges across the Super Port Railway Line, and the Serpentine and Nicomakle rivers must be built. It is this portion of line that will be the most expensive.

Rising out of the small river valley the KWK Line would continue south along 152nd Ave., terminating in downtown White Rock

In the summer, the light rail line would bring congestion relief to White Rock by providing a quality transit alternative for the many thousands of people who come in cars to the popular beaches. Also close to the KWK Line is the South Surrey Athletic fields, which many fields and arenas are constantly busy with hockey, baseball, soccer, rugby, and football games, twelve months of the year. The KWK Line would also provide an excellent transportation access for the burgeoning housing estates, such as Morgan’s Crossing in South Surrey and White Rock.

An approximate map of the WKW route as Google maps do not use existing rail lines.

The Cost

The the total cost of the KWK Line, including bridges and/or viaducts should cost no more than $900 million, based on an average of $35 million/km to build (updated 2014) with contingency. The high cost of major engineering in the Nicomakle/Serpentine valley, would be mitigated by simple on-street construction on 152nd and the King George Highway and track sharing for 4 km on the Southern Railway of BC Line bisecting Surrey .

It is interesting to note that the total cost for the 98 km RftV/Leewood Chilliwack to Scott Road Interurban using Diesel LRT and the 23 km KWK Line would be about $1.4 billion or put another way we could build 121 km of modern LRT lines in the Fraser Valley for about the same price as the 11 km Evergreen Line!

Unlike present light rail planning, where development is encouraged to take place along a LRT/SkyTrain route, the KWK Line can pass through sensitive agriculture and ecological areas, without the need for land development. Building the KWK Line would provide a potential capacity of 20,000 persons per hour per direction on the route, well able to handle future passenger demands, yet still can be built much cheaper than its SkyTrain/light-metro competitors. The cost for a SkyTrain along the KWK Line? About $2.3 billion at a conservative cost of $100 million per km to build!

A modern LRT Line in Madrid, Spain ai??i?? A template for the WKW Line?

Using low-floor trams, with convenient stops, ensures an obstacle free journey for all transit customers including the mobility impaired, without the need of expensive stations and equally expensive to maintain elevators and escalators.

The KWK Line can provide traffic calming where needed, yet still supply ample capacity for future transit needs. By providing a regular and efficient transit service from White Rock to Surrey Central and by servicing many destinations along its route the proposed LRT line would attract ample ridership, including the all important motorist from the car. The KWK Line would also easily integrate with the RftV TramTrain interurban service from Vancouver to Chilliwack and could provide in the not too distant future a direct White Rock to Vancouver TramTrain service, faster than the present bus and Canada line service.

The WKW Line would bring 21st century transit solutions to Surrey, transit solutions that are too long overdo.


One Response to “The Whalley, King George, White Rock Light Rail line Revisited – Again”
  1. Daniel says:

    “transit solutions that are too long “overdo” overdue not overdo. I hope your knowledge about transportation is not on par with your education.

    Zwei replies: If that is the only complaint against the post, I think it a job well done, except for a typo or speller error.

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