TramTrain – It’s Time To Have A Serious Look At The Leewood Project For a Valley Passenger Rail Servcie

As the Surrey LRT slowly gather’s steam, it seems the regional taxpayer is paying a lot of money for very little.

Despite the hype and hoopla about the Surrey LRT, does not do anything really, just provide a somewhat faster trip to the nearest SkyTrain station if you want to cross the Fraser. It has been designed as a poor man’s SkyTrain.

What is needed is a independent transit line connecting downtown Vancouver up the Fraser Valley as far as Chilliwack.

The track is in place and the former interurban route does connect the cities of Langley, Abbotsford, Sardis and Chilliwack to downtown Vancouver.

All this for around $1.5 billion, which makes a $1.9 billion 11 km Surrey LRT and a $3.5 billion 5.5 km Broadway subway just a tad too expensive for what they will do.

In colloquial terms, this is called a no brainer.

Isn’t time for politicians have another look at the Leewood/Rail for the Valley Study?


 A Langley to downtown Vancouver in 50 minutes train service could be in operation by the start of 2020!

TransLink’s and the City of Surrey’s much ballyhooed LRT really doesn’t offer the transit customer very much, except a very inconvenient transfer to the Expo Line and a 39 minute ride (if their are no glitches) on a dinky and crowed SkyTrain car to Vancouver.The 320 Langley Centre to Surrey Central bus takes 51 minutes to complete its journey; the 395 Langley Centre to Surrey Central Express (limited stop/limited service) takes 40 minutes; the 501 Langley Centre to Surrey Central Station takes 58 minutes; thus a the time for a full transit journey from Langley to Vancouver would take anywhere from almost hour and a half to almost 2 hours, including transfer but not including total commute time.The Rail for the Valley TramTrain concept could do the trip from Langley (200th Street) to Vancouver Central Station in 50 minutes, including two stops at Braid St. and Willingdon on the West side of the Fraser River and the 10 mph speed restriction on the Fraser River rail bridge.The Leewood/Rail for the Valley Studytime matrix shows that a 23 km. journey from 200th Street in Langley to Scott Road Station, including four stops, would take 22.5 minutes and an estimation of the 22km. trip from Scott Road to Vancouver would take 27.5 minutes – 50 minutes; a full 40 minutes faster than a combined LRT/SkyTrain trip to Vancouver!The cost, around $400 million for track improvements, signalling and vehicles.$500 million, certainly looks more affordable than the $2.5 billion Surrey LRT, designed as a poor man’s SkyTrain, especially if one can get to Vancouver faster and in more comfort.

The Stadler GTW light rail car could use city streets and operate as LRT if need be.



5 Responses to “TramTrain – It’s Time To Have A Serious Look At The Leewood Project For a Valley Passenger Rail Servcie”
  1. Slough says:

    The former interurban is no longer in place in Vancouver. The Burnaby lake line was replaced with highway 1 and the Skytrain Millenium line. The Central park line is now the Skytrain Expo line. The only train track left is the CN lines used by freight, VIA rail, Amtrak and the West Coast express. CN is not willing to allow more passenger trains. The only possible route is south Vancouver along fraser river to Arbutus then to Downtown. The city of Vancouver recently ripped out that track and replaced with bike path. This week they just sold a portion back to CP Rail who will redevelop it with homes. Your tram train might be a good from the fraser valley to Surrey.

    The current LRT for Surrey will not get people of cars. If you can drive from Langley to Vancouver in less than 1 hour then it is waster of time using transit. A single subway from Vancouver to Langley could do the trip in less than 1 hour. Since the skytrain is complete to Surrey, it makes sense to extend that to Langley.

    Zwei replies:

    Er no. The planned Diesel LRT or light DMU would use the existing main into downtown Vancouver.

    It will cost $6 billion to extend SkyTrain to Surrey and there is “0″ funding for this as the money earmarked for LRT is not transferable to SkyTrain.

  2. Brendan Read says:

    Check out the success of the SMART rail in California. Direct to Waterfront via SRY, BNSF & CPR?

    Zwei replies: BC Transit in the pre TransLink days, were actually in negotiations with the said railways to operate a frequent DMU servcie from downtown Vancouver to Port Moody.

  3. Slough says:

    Diesel trains are bad for environment and noisy. It has to be electric only. The existing main line into downtown is mostly used by freight and owned by CN. Government has to negotiate permision to use this line. The limited service westcoast express from the fraser valley can’t be more frequent. Now we have skytrain to Coquitlam and port moody with non stop express bus to mission. Skytrain can be extended to Langley if government wants to change plans.

    Zwei replies:

    Dead wrong on all counts.

    1) Diesel LRT is extremely quiet, quieter than current diesel buses.
    2) Yes government has to negotiate over it, as with building any transit line.
    3) SkyTrain cannot be changed to go to Langley for many reasons including the monies for LRT are dedicated to that project through P-3′s and you forget about the $3 billion or more rehab needed to the existing SkyTrain Lines before an extension can be built.

    So, where is the $6 to $7 billion coming from to do this?

  4. abbyGman13 says:

    I envision at best utilizing the SRY Line from a spur/terminus just NE of 232/Hwy 1 with a Parknride with mini stn/bus transfer at: TWU then Duncan Way/204 then 200/Fraser then Cloverdale over the 10 on a bridge? -then mini stops/bus access at 64/148 , 72/KG Blvd, 80/128, 88/Nordel, 99/96 with a spur line running from Old yale down across 110ave right up to Scott rd STN – need to figure track twinning or passing line options, as well there should be consideration of running the rail under some of the major intersections ie: 200st/Fraser , 148/64ave, 72/KGb, 128/80ave, 88/Nordel, 92/120 – and the locomotives shud be Hydrogen powered “HMU”? -this can all be done under the new Skytrain budget(with money to spare) -and runs thru so many neighborhoods -it would truly serve S of Fraser effectively…anyways theres my version – hopefully King Doug gets a reality check – but then theres the ring O mayors & Translink to convince – keep up the good work -thx

    Zwei replies: The often mentioned hydrogen train is experimental only and does not have FRA or Transport Canada approval, nor has it been saftey cased for operation in Canada. This could take many years.

  5. Haveacow says:

    It’s not experimental Zwei, the prototype has bee running for 2 years. The hydrogen powered Lint 54 (54 metres long) multiple unit has been in general service testing the train as well as the hydrogen infrastructure for 6 months in Germany. The Lint 54 can run in Canada because the Lint 41 model DMU that runs in Otawa on the Trillium Line or Line 2, is in the same family of vehicles. Althoubh I do concede, TC and The Canadian Transport Agency may force testing for Canadian service.The hydrogen drive technology isn’t German, or French, it’s made by a Canadian company out of Mississauga, Ontario.