SkyTrain pie in the sky

SkyTrain pie in the sky

The Times October 8, 2010


So Premier Gordon Campbell has promised SkyTrain to Langley, but does anyone believe him?

To refresh everyones memory, SkyTrain is a proprietary, automatic railway that is now owned by Bombardier Inc. First marketed in the late 1970s, what we call SkyTrain has gone through at least four official name changes and a complete redesign, yet only seven such transit systems have been built and are now relegated to the niche airport people-mover market. SkyTrain was even too expensive for the truncated Canada Line subway and a generic metro system was used and is incompatible with the proprietary SkyTrain Advanced Rapid Transit or ART.

Only Vancouver has expanded it SkyTrain system and is the only one of four cities in North America having SkyTrain to do so.

Why? The answer is simple economics; SkyTrain costs more to build and operate than comparable light rail systems and despite claims by TransLink, SkyTrain has yet to prove that it has a greater capacity than light rail!

The grade crossing argument used by the SkyTrain lobby, is a man-of-straw argument. Rail/road crossings are more than 10 times safer than a road/road intersections. The proposed TramTrain grade crossings will be protected by lights, bells, and a gate. Compare this to a typical light-controlled traffic intersection or the cheaper four-way stop intersection; the road/rail intersection is much safer. If a car driver disobeys a road/rail crossing and collides with a TramTrain, shouldn’t the car driver’s licence be revoked?

For the Premier’s proposed $2 billion SkyTrain line to Langley, we can build a “full build” (Vancouver/Richmond to Rosedale TramTrain) and a new multi-track Fraser River Rail Bridge and at least two 10-kilometre LRT/streetcar lines in Surrey and Langley.

It seems Premier Campbell is waiting at the station for a SkyTrain that will never come.

Malcolm Johnston,

Light Rail Committee, Rail for the Valley, Delta

via SkyTrain pie in the sky.

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