Zwei’s Road Trip To The Future


During this Covid-19 emergency, getting housebound is just collateral damage, so Zwei fired up the family chariot and went on a road trip through south Surrey, Langley, Huntington, Yarrow, Vedder Crossing, and Chillwack/Rosedale and was astounded by the mass of development, especially in the Vedder, Promontory areas.

Any politician today, who states or claims or use any excuse, “that there is not the density/population to support a regional TramTrain system from Chilliwack to Vancouver, using the existing and former BC Electric interurban route” is deliberately and maliciously misleading the public!

Cultus Lake, a major tourist destination; Abbotsford Airport, including Tradex; and the many post secondary institutions along the route,  would attract sufficient ridership to justify a passenger service to the upper Fraser Valley.

What is even more disheartening is that the $1.8 billion extension of the Expo Line to Fleetwood, could instead fund a deluxe version of the Rail for the Valley’s Leewood Study Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain service, with three trains per hour per direction (20 minute service).

The stunning abuse of power of Metro Vancouver’s Mayor’s Council on Transit is breathtaking with the major players getting heavily subsidized light metro and aerial tramways, while the smaller cities gets crumbs or nothing at all.

  1. The city of Vancouver is getting a $2.8 billion, 5.8 km subway under Broadway, on a route, which the current 99-B Line bus route offers a maximum service of 20 buses per hour, offering a capacity of around 2,000 pphpd. A stunning 13,000 pphpd less than the industry standard for the necessary ridership needed for a subway.
  2. Surrey flipped flopped from a city wide LRT plan to a 7 km extension of the dated Expo Line light-metro.
  3. For Burnaby’s and SFU’s support of building more of the obsolete proprietary SkyTrain light-metro system, they are getting a glitzy $300 million aerial tramway, to service routes already survived by buses. Judas sold out for thirty pieces of silver. Burnaby council sold out the taxpayer for an aerial tram!
For $4.6 billion and change, not one car will be taken off the road and new customers will be few and far between.
For the now (2021) $1.5 billion, full build, Leewood/RftV TramTrain, all ridership will be new ridership and that number will be in the thousands!
Sadly Premier Horgan, demonstrating his and the NDP’s continued ignorance on regional transit issues, mdea very stupid politcal promise to spend a further $2 billion to extend the dated SkyTrain proprietary light-metro to Langley, to appease local politicians and win votes. His actions will destroy any competant transit planning for the Fraser Valley for decades to come. It means more cars, more roads and highways, more pollution.
The NDP has now shown everyone that winning elections is more important than the environment! Green, the NDP are not!
This transit fiasco will be over shadowed by the NDP’s continued wasting billions of dollars of the taxpayer’s money on the Site C dam, which foundation is on sinking shale. The massive $16 billion fiasco, will make a $4.6 billion SkyTrain light expansion fiasco look like small potatoes indeed.
Even the Fastferry’s, the bane of a former NDP government, costing under $500 million pales at a the future financial fiasco’s that await us.
A TramTrain or DMU service from Chilliwack to Vancouver is needed, the ridership potential is huge and if politicians get their heads out of multi billion dollar mega transit project and rubber on asphalt planning, real “Green” alternatives are ready to be built.
It only takes politcal will to do the right thing and in BC, doing the right thing is a rare currency!

The Vedder River Rail Crossing, in place and ready to use for TramTrain.


3 Responses to “Zwei’s Road Trip To The Future”
  1. Bill Burgess says:

    Zwei, what fare rate/structure do you imagine, and what ridership, and what (operating) subsidy?

    Zwei replies: At the time (2010) the fares would be comparable to regional railways elsewhere. The consultant thought after 5 years, the service would be handling 2 to 3 car trains, every 20 minutes per direction. The operating subsidy at the time, would be a modest $10 to $15 million annually.

    After 10 years, the numbers could be adjusted for inflation.

    As a comparison, the E & M Lines are subsidized at well over $250 million annually and the Canada line pays the operating consortium over $110 million annually.

  2. Chillwack says:

    The fare to ride a train from Vancouver to Chilliwack will be expensive. The train from Downtown to Mission cost $12.50 each way. There is discount if you use compass card. It is cheaper to take skytrain to coquitlam and transfer to #701 bus to Mission. A train to Chilliwack will cost at least $15 each way. Currently, you can ride skytrain to Lougheed on expo line and transfer to Fraser valley express bus operated by BC Transit.

    Zwei replies: Depending on how fares are done and discounted, a one way fare From Vancouver to Chilliwack would be in the area of $20 to $25 dollars (a return fare from Vancouver to Mission is $23.75), with a return fare of $30 to $35 dollars. Cheap compared to the cost of gas, parking etc. The cost would be less, for intermediate stops.

    For this fare one would get a comfortable seat and the ability to drink coffee, etc. There would also be a W.C. on board. This would provide a superior service than SkyTrain and a bus.

  3. Haveacow says:


    Your cost comment does stand but this is true regional transit as opposed to Skytrain’s suburban to downtown rapid transit focus. There is a cost advantage for the rider but definitely not a time advantage. When distances are this large, station spacing should be much further apart than standard Skytrain or highway express bus operations generally . The vehicles like Mainline Railway Diesel Multiple Units and or Tram-Trains are designed to operationally focus on regional transit distances as well as a Suburban -Downtown commuter focus. Skytrain is really reaching its limit here. This type of operational distance will stress a Skytrain to its operating breaking point. The cost to operate a rapid transit system over these distances, will greatly increase a rapid transit systems operating and maintenance costs for the vehicles and right of way, not to mention the enormous capital costs of future extensions. These increasing costs will bring the point home to Translink that a new longer distance or “Regional” rail operation will be needed.

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