Light rail: SkyTrain most costly route

Light rail: SkyTrain most costly route

LANGLEY ADVANCE DECEMBER 31, 2010

Dear Editor,

While local mayors bicker with TransLink over the funding of yet another grossly expensive metro line for the region, Rail for the Valley, in association with Leewood Projects in the UK, has provided the region with a far cheaper alternative: a TramTrain transit plan for the South Fraser region.

The 84-page RftV/Leewood report found that a basic service (three trains an hour each direction), 98 km Scott road Station to Chilliwack LRT TramTrain could be implemented for as little as $492 million, while a full build 138 km Vancouver/Richmond to Rosedale service could be had for as little as $998.5 million.

Compare that with the $1.4-billion 11 km Evergreen line.

The RftV/Leewood Report has been very well received overseas, with articles on the Valley Interurban in Railway Strategies and the internationally acclaimed Tramways & Urban Transit, yet locally, this very important study has been all but ignored.

TransLink has treated the RftV/Leewood Report with disdain as they continue to plan for multi billion dollar metro lines that the taxpayer just can’t afford.

Gerald Fox, an American transit expert commenting on the Evergreen Line observed that; “……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.”

For the cost of the 11 km $1.4 billion Evergreen SkyTrain mini-metro, we could build 138 km of TramTrain From Vancouver, past Chilliwack to Rosedale and have enough money left over to build a 50 km Vancouver to Maple Ridge TramTrain service.

Who builds with SkyTrain today? No one. Yet more than 20 cities, including Paris, France, are building and/or extending TramTrain lines.

In an age of global warming and peak oil, is it not best to get the biggest transit bang for your transit buck, rather than continuing to build with the extremely expensive and now obsolete proprietary SkyTrain light-metro system?

Malcolm Johnston, Rail for the Valley/Light Rail Committee

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