Vancouver Will Need To Adopt Lower-Cost LRT In Its Lesser Corridors

But, eventually, Vancouver will need to adopt lower-cost LRT in its lesser corridors, or else limit the extent of its rail system. And that seems to make some TransLink people very nervous.

Gerald Fox, 2008.


21 years later and nothing has changed!

Here is the big crunch which TransLink seems deathly afraid of, do they continue with the now obsolete and often renamed and now called Movia Automatic Light Metro, or join the rest of the world and build with light rail?

Here are the cost comparisons so far.

  1. McCallum’s Expo Line extension to Langley – $3.2 billion and climbing ($1.6 billion funded).
  2. The original LRT plan – $1.6 billion and climbing, (but not so much).
  3. Broadway subway to Arbutus – $3 billion plus (funded to $$2.8 billion).
Total: $4.4 billion, funded for about 14 km of Movia Automatic Light Metro.
Here are the unfunded costs, so far.
  1. Broadway subway completion to UBC (7 km) – a minimum of $5 billion.
  2. Expo/Millennium Line rehab – $2 billion to $3 billion.
  3. Completion of the Expo line extension to Langley (9 km)- a minimum of $1.6 billion.
Total unfunded costs: A minimum of $7.6 billion, for about 16 km of MALM .
Total, a minimum of $12 billion for about 30 km of light metro lines.
The dark horse:
Vancouver to Chilliwack DMU./EMU service costing $1.5 billion (unfunded and unwanted by TransLink). Or, put another way $1.5 billion for about 100 km of DMU/EMU service.
As things stand, the dark horse, the reinstated interurban with modern vehicles, would probably attract the most customers, at the most affordable cost.
The problem we have is who is listening?
The politicians don’t seem to give a damn about how much it costs. Neither do the voters, until they are sure its going to directly increase their taxes, which all SkyTrain extensions will.
The lessons of the 2015 plebiscite are lost and both the politicians and the bureaucracy, with both desperately trying to obscure the financial costs for fear of an anti tax uprising.
$12 billion minimum for 30 km of Movia Automatic Light metro; think about it.


2 Responses to “Vancouver Will Need To Adopt Lower-Cost LRT In Its Lesser Corridors”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Currently according to my information, both Skytrain extension projects should cost $4.46 Billion for about 12.9 km of line.

    Millennium Extension to Arbutus, $2.83 Billion for 5.9 km

    Expo Line Extension to Fleetwood, $1.63 Billion for 7 km

    These are project costs and don’t include new vehicle cost which are, $210 Million for, 14, 4-car Skytrains Consists for both extension projects.

    That’s a total of $4.67 Billion for 12.9 km of Skytrain extensions and 14, 4 car Consists or Trainsets (56 cars total).

    This is an interesting total because it allows for very easy comparison with 2 existing LRT projects, both were highly criticized for being way too expensive for what they were getting.

    1. In Toronto the Eglinton Crosstown LRT Line which is expected to open in 2021, costs $5.3 Billion for 19.5 km of mainline LRT service. This doesn’t include the extra $750 Million + for Light Rail Vehicles from Bombardier.

    So for $6 Billion, Toronto is getting more mainline (19.5 km worth), with 10.5 km of Tunnel and 72 LRV’s, 25% bigger stations and more of them, which means more access to the line by passengers.

    2. In Ottawa, Stage 2 of the LRT ended up costing almost $1 Billion more than originally planned back in 2015. There is still much political teeth nashing because SNC Lavlin won the contract for extending and upgrading the Trillium Line (now called Line 2).at a cost of $1.65 Billion. In total the Stage 2 LRT program will cost a whopping, $4.66 Billion! This cost thankfully includes, 38 LRV’s and 7 new Stadler Flirt DMU’s.

    So for $4.66 Billion, Ottawa gets 45 new LRV’s & DMU’s, 19 new stations and 5 much larger refurbished ones, which are as large or larger than yours, all will be designed to be easily expandable by 20%. The Trillium Line stations will be 80 meters long, expandable to 100 metres and the Confederation Line Stations will be 95 metres long, easily expandable to 120 metres. Each of the 38, 4 section long, LRV’s , the Electric powered Alstom Citadis Spirit, can insert a 5th section to expand the vehicle, from 48.5 metres to 59.5 metres long or from 300 to 370 passengers per LRV. Each Train or Consist on the Confederation Line has 2 LRV’s. This LRV expansion work can bre done here in Ottawa.

    The big difference here is that this money will buy 44 km of new line plus 8 km of refurbished line, 4 km of which will be in shallow tunnels.

    I keep coming back to this point because even with the differences in property and construction costs between different cities, in different provinces, compared to other cities using LRT operating technology, the people of the Lower Mainland of BC are getting much less service and capacity expandability with the Skytrain technology, for similar or greater costs.

  2. Emily says:

    ******Vancouver Will Need To Adopt Lower-Cost LRT In Its Lesser Corridors******

    Yeah they do and even bigger corridors but we all know they will not.

    Tran$link is out of control and the fact so many have drunk their kool aid does not help either….

    All I can say is expect a very huge jump in property taxes, hydro and fuel surcharges, fares and even an additional sales tax for metro even though voted down by the people (do not be surprised if they do not try to get FVRD to start contributing too) .

    I wonder if Translink should be a separated elected body without city officials? Would that work? What about making metro a mega city? To many little fiefdoms holding things up…. I dunno but it seems most if not all other large metro areas in Canada do not have to deal with 20 some odd governing bodies…This is an inefficiently run area. ……….. Surrey wants wider six lane Pattullo Bridge while New West says no, (will be expandable to six lanes apparently but will open as a four lane), before last election Delta wanted a bridge to replace tunnel but most other cities wanted a new tunnel… So inefficient… No wonder it takes so long to get things done… ( Calgary’s Mayor even made a comment on that). Hell I remember back in the day the Expo Line was suppose to originally go to King George station yet never did for many many years after the fact….

    Zwei replies: The questions you ask should be taken seriously by te Mayors councl and by the province, but rapid transit has always been a politcal football.

    As for your last sentence, actually it was light rail that was supposed to go to Whalley and as the Socreds forced the present light metr onto the the LRT planning, the huge costs of light metro retarded growth. For the same cost for ALRT to new West, the region was supposed to get LRT to lougheed Mall, Whalley and Richmond centre.

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