Why Can’t Translink Plan For Affordable LRT?

While Surrey’s proposed LRT is topping $100 million/km to build, in Europe new LRT lines are being built much cheaper. In Weisbaden, their new LRT is pegged at $24.5 million/km to build!

Analysis: Fire the Surrey LRT planning team and hire people that actually know what they are doing.

WEISBADEN, a city in west-central Germany with a population of 288,000, is making plans to build its first light rail (modern tramway) line, the “metro report international” site reports:


Light rail plans progress in Wiesbaden

17 Feb 2017

GERMANY: The municipality of Wiesbaden has approved ai??i??3Ai??4mAi??(CAD $4.72 million) ai??i??of preliminary planning work for the cityai??i??s first tram route.

The Land of Hessen is providing ai??i??465, 000Ai??(CAD $646, 303)ai??i??


When complete, the Citybahn light rail line would link Wiesbaden to the existing metre gauge tram network in the neighbouring city of Mainz at one end, and to the tourist-oriented Aartalbahn that runs north from Wiesbaden at the other.

The 12Ai??2Ai??kmAi??ai??i??(7.5 mile) ai??i??first phase, estimated to cost ai??i??165mAi??(CAD $299, 350 million)ai??i??, would connect Hochschule Rhein-Main in the north of Wiesbaden with Theodor-Heuss-BrA?cke to the south.

In Canadian funds, construction would cost $24.5 million/km to build!

Further phases would see the mostly single-track Aartalbahn converted from 1Ai??435Ai??mm

ai??i??(standard) ai??i??to 1Ai??000Ai??mmAi??(meter) ai??i??gauge over the 15Ai??kmAi??(9.3 miles) ai??i??

between Bad Schwalbach and Chausseehaus, from where a new alignment would take the tram line to Otto-Wels-StraAYe in Wiesbaden.

Here the Citybahn alignment would be met by a branch from Hermann-Brill-StraAYe, then serve Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhof and Ostbahnhof.

Crossing the Rhein on the existing road bridge, the route would then continue for 2Ai??5Ai??km

ai??i??(1.5 miles) ai??i??to reach the existing Mainz tram network at Mainz Hbf West. It is envisaged that Citybahn services would run as far as Mainz Hochschule.


3 Responses to “Why Can’t Translink Plan For Affordable LRT?”
  1. eric chris says:

    Coincidentally, the $299.35 million CDN to go 12.2 km for this tram line in Germany is the same cost to go 12.2 km for the tram line from Commercial Drive to UBC in Vancouver. Over the last 20 years, TransLink has spent at least the cost of the tram line to UBC on studies (fake) and consultations to plan the subway to UBC (20 years to “plan” the subway line to UBC?).

    Trams with the same intrinsic capacity (passengers per hour per direction) as s-train carry twice as many people as s-train owing to the relatively slow speed of s-train which only averages 40 kph compared to the tram which averages 20 kph. In a conversation with someone who reads this blog, I was asked to clarify this.

    I will with an example. Before I do, it requires an understanding of two key concepts.

    First concept, people who commute only commute 30 minutes on average (Marchetti’s constant). Making public transit travel at 40 kph by cutting out stops and putting trains below or above grade to avoid other traffic (s-train) just makes commuters travel farther over 30 minutes compared to public transit which travels at 20 kph on the roads with all the other vehicles (tram). If you want to move people short distances over 30 minutes in Vancouver and contain urban sprawl, you engineer public transit with trams.

    Second concept, moving people on public transit is all about putting people on trains and buses and getting them off trains and buses. That is, it is all about turnover. Turnover is proportional to the number of people that the bus or train can hold. Trams hold the same or greater number of passengers as s-train. Therefore, whenever the tram stops, at least as many passengers can board or alight the tram as with the s-train.

    To illustrate how trams can carry twice as many passengers as s-train, take the s-train (40 kph) with stops every 1,600 metres in Vancouver, Canada, compared to the tram (20 kph) with stops every 400 metres in Wiesbaden, Germany. After one hour, the s-train has traveled 40,000 metres and has either picked up or dropped off passengers at 25 stops (25 stops * 1,600 metres per stop = 40,000 metres).

    After one hour, the tram has traveled 20,000 metres and has either picked up or dropped off passengers at 50 stops (50 stops * 400 metres per stop = 20,000 metres). Turnover of passengers is proportional to the number of passengers on board public transit, and the tram can hold just as many passengers as the s-train.

    Therefore, the tram making twice as many stops as the s-train has twice the turnover of the s-train and has twice the capacity of the s-train. As a corollary, the tram earns twice as much money as the s-train. Tram service at grade costs less than the s-train service in the ground or in the air to build, operate (all direct and indirect costs included) and maintain. While the tram caters to passengers making short trips (good) in the community to curtail urban sprawl, the s-train caters to passengers making long trips (bad) outside the community to induce urban sprawl.

    Planners at TransLink blundered with s-train. If s-train could carry twice the number of people of the tram (s-train can’t carry 1,000 passengers) or s-train could travel at four times the speed of the tram (s-train can’t average 80 kph), the planners at TransLink could claim to be able to move as many people with the s-train as with the tram. However, the planners at TransLink are glorified monkey (commonly referred to as idiots) whose unsophisticated thinking has cost citizens in Metro Vancouver billions of dollars for “planners” at TransLink to diminish the capacity of public transit rather than improve the capacity of public transit in Metro Vancouver:

    Idiots at TransLink took their fake business plan for the subway in Vancouver to the federal government having very qualified engineers who aren’t amused by idiots trying to defraud the federal government. Stay tuned for future updates on the soon to be former CEO of TransLink.

  2. tory says:

    I’m sure there are idiot planners at TransLink at much as there are very good engineers there. My experience with planners is that they do not really get complex and dynamic subject. They purport to but they really superficially hover in their 30,000 foot view world throwing out the “well you don’t see the big picture” when questioned about their basic math errors. Equally, engineers can be too tree focused and not realize there is a forest.

    If they have the wrong CEO then you tell me what is the ideal CEO for TransLink. What are the attributed? And no he/she cannot come from Planet Krypton. I and others would probably like to hear it.

    Zwei replies: We had a knowledgeable CEO. Tom Prendergast, but h understood the problems with SkyTrain and wanted to curb its expansion and he did favour service up the valley; TransLink got rid of him. As well, TransLink’s two top planners were fired because they, again, dared to question expanding SkyTrain.

  3. tory says:

    Zwei, you are absolutely correct. Mr. Prendergast was an excellent CEO. It is very unfortunate his tenure was short-lived. It seems he went back to a much politically tame place called New York. And unfortunately for them he will be retiring soon.

    You are absolutely wrong. And you obviously have no idea. They were not fired because they dared to question SkyTrain. Every professional in this region that isn’t in the business of SkyTrain, or can’t do simple math, questions SkyTrain. They were fired because they deserved to be. People celebrated when they were escorted out.

    Zwei replies: Tammin Raad was let go because of his opposition to a Broadway SkyTrain subway; Tom Prendergast was sent to Coventry because he questioned building more SkyTrain. In Metro Vancouver, if you do not support SkyTrain and light-metro your career opportunities are very slim.

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