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We’re a growing group who agree that the Fraser Valley needs passenger rail service NOW!


Some of our governing politicians still don't seem to get it. They say it isn't viable "at this time." Maybe in 20 years, they say. Of course, they said that 20 years ago…. They plan to spend billions of dollars on more highways, but they continue to ignore the obvious, long-overdue solution to our traffic congestion […]


Be a part of the movement to get us Rail For The Valley! The success of this campaign has come from people like you getting involved. By writing letters and pressuring the politicians, passenger rail is closer than ever to being realized, and all of it has been achieved through email and the internet. 1) […]


Some of our governing politicians still don't seem to get it. They say it isn't viable "at this time." Maybe in 20 years, they say. Of course, they said that 20 years ago…. They plan to spend billions of dollars on more highways, but they continue to ignore the obvious, long-overdue solution to our traffic congestion – passenger rail service for the Fraser Valley! Since they aren't listening, the next step is to organize ourselves…

Voted TOP CLIMATE ACTION PROJECT IN BC, Reader’s Choice Award, The Tyee Online Newspaper

"SRY Rail Link is open to the concept of passenger rail services that would utilize our rail assets throughout the Fraser Valley."  –Ken W. Doiron, VP Business Development, Southern Railway of BC (Interurban operator)

“It was the clever boys in Vancouver and Victoria who killed the Interurban transit system that served a far less densely populated Fraser Valley half a century ago. It’s long past time to correct that mistake.” -Langley Advance

“The most efficient and “green” way to move large numbers of people is via light-rail transit. Given the population growth in the Fraser Valley, this transit option should be a no-brainer.” -The Province

“If the government is to meet its goal of cutting air contaminants by 4.7 million tonnes in the next 12 years, the revival of the interurban line will be one of many initiatives aimed at getting commuters out of their cars.” -Abbotsford News

“Now is the time, when our population still allows it, to finally look at light rail. We have the rail ready and the cost of getting it up and running would be a fraction of the cost of building more SkyTrain routes… Not only are we convinced that rail is the best solution for the Fraser Valley, we are convinced that it will be used.” -Abbotsford Times

“One of the biggest disappointments in Victoria’s new transit plan is its failure to include the possibility of light-rail passenger service — along the old Inter-Urban rail route from Vancouver to Chilliwack. In our view, any transit plan that doesn’t include such an environmentally-sound option is deficient to some degree.” -The Province

“Where is the much-needed light rail for the Fraser Valley?” -Surrey Leader

“We can learn from history. Rail-based transit will work in the Fraser Valley.” -Langley Times

“There’s far too much foot-dragging when it comes to the issue of a proper transportation infrastructure for the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. Maybe the politicians need to take a load off and hop on the train.” -Chilliwack Times

Make no mistake, passenger rail service from Chilliwack to Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, and even to Vancouver would be a great thing. -Chilliwack Times

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts: "South of the Fraser, we want at-grade light rail. You see it all over the world." (link)

"I for one am a firm believer that instead of SkyTrain expansion in Surrey we should be looking at At Grade Rail. At Grade Rail is significantly cheaper, easier to build and much more aesthetically pleasing than SkyTrain. Surrey cannot wait until 2020 for improved rail transit. At Grade Rail can be completed much faster. I have great confidence in the potential of At Grade Rail, and I am currently having City staff analyze this option so that we can move it forward." (link)

During her [2011 State of the City] speech, Watts called for a sustainable funding strategy at TransLink within "a month or two," as well as design plans for a Light Rail system completed by next year. "I don't want to have SkyTrain cutting our communities in half – that is going to destroy our city."  (link)

Delta Councillor Bruce McDonald: "I really do believe 10 years, 15 years from now that line will be as important to the valley as the old Interurban was." (link)

Langley Mayor Rick Green: "Interurban services should be fast tracked, at least achieving excursion runs within the next couple of years." (link)

Abbotsford Councillor Lynne Harris: "I think the movement will take hold. I think there's feasibility to it. The infrastructure is already there, and in terms of economic affordability, it's an idea that should be explored."  (link)

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz: Light rail linkages between communities would be invaluable. The track could connect the University of the Fraser Valley and there could be tourism and business opportunities that we've only dreamed of." (link)

Latest News:

Another Suicide

Sadly, there has been another suicide on the SkyTrain light metro system, as in TransLink’s lexicon, “medical emergency” means suicide or attempted suicide.

In Europe, EEC rules demand station doors must be installed on all automatic (driverless) transit systems, not so in Canada.

Not so in Canada, especially in Vancouver, where politicians and transit authorities just do not seem to care.


SkyTrain station closed in New Westminster, causing delays on Expo Line

The Expo Line has suspended its service between Edmonds and New Westminster stations Tuesday morning due to a “medical emergency.”

TransLink says the incident is at 22nd Street Station, and that station is closed.

A bus bridge has been requested to help move people during the morning’s commute, however, the transit provider has not provided an estimated time of reopening.

TransLink says people travelling west on the Expo Line will have to transfer to a bus at New Westminster Station, while customers heading east will have to transfer at Edmonds.

The Millennium Line and the Canada Line are unaffected, TransLink says.

From TransLink’s web site, time 11:23 am Tuesday Jan. 30 2024:

Critical Alerts

2 Alerts

Station Closure SkyTrain: Expo Line

In Effect30-Jan-2024 10:27 am — Ongoing

Expo Line 22nd Street Station is closed due to medical emergency. Expect delays. M-Line and Canada Line unaffected. Updates to follow.

Expo Line trains will be traveling through 22nd St Station without stopping.

Bus Bridge is in place to assist between New Westminster, 22nd St Station, and Edmonds Station.

Some trains may terminate at Edmonds Station and others may terminate at New Westminster Station. Please watch destination signs to ensure you are boarding the correct train.

Updated34 minutes ago

Bus BridgeSkyTrain: Expo Line

In Effect30-Jan-2024 9:29 am — Ongoing

Bus Bridge is supplementing Expo Line service between Edmonds Station and New Westminster Station due to medical emergency at 22nd St Station.

Bus Bridge Locations:

Edmonds Station – Bay 5 – Stop # 52605

22nd Street Station – Both Directions – Stop # 58322

New Westminster Station – Bay 7 – Stop # 61654

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TransLink’s Hype and Hoopla About BRT Is Just Another Wet Squibb!

When is Bus Rapid Transit just a an express bus route? When TransLink claims an express bus route is BRT

Real BRT operates on a fully dedicated Rights-of-Ways, with priority signalling at intersections, offering headway’s in the 2 minute to 5 minute ranges.

BRT operating on dedicated R-o-W. Not happening in Vancouver.

BRT operating on dedicated R-o-W. Not happening in Vancouver.

What TransLink is palming off onto the public is a tarted up bus service like the Broadway B-99, with some HOV lanes to create the illusion and with our extremely gullible media, will be an easy sell to the public.

Here is the core issue, TransLink just cannot tell the truth; it cannot be straight with the public.

But what would one expect when the CEO is an American spin doctor selling snake oil to the rubes!

The real insult to both the transit customer and the taxpayer is that the real cost of real BRT, is only slightly less s than at-grade light rail, which has a far bigger bang for the taxpayers buck.

The following graph from Ontario’s MetroLink tells the tale of the real costs involved.

Cost comparisonSad to say, TransLink and the Mayors council on Transit are again deceiving the public with fake news about the regional transit system and it seems the premier and the provincial NDP government are in full agreement with this.

Shame on TransLink. Shame on The Mayors Council. Shame on Premier Eby!

Screenshot 2023-11-16 at 15-32-00 TransLink unveils first 3 planned new Bus Rapid Transit routes - BC

TransLink unveils three new bus rapid transit routes in Metro Vancouver

TransLink has identified the first three bus rapid transit routes coming to Metro Vancouver.

According to the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, the three new “priority corridors” will be King George Boulevard from Surrey Centre to White Rock, Langley Centre to Haney Place, and Metrotown to the North Shore.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) “is a high-frequency rapid transit service with dedicated bus lanes and rail-like stations.”

Mayors’ Council Chair Brad West says the three new corridors are part of the first phase of the 10-year Access for Everyone Plan.

“The three new corridors being announced today had been selected to maximize people’s access to rapid transit based on ridership potential, future housing and population growth projections, as well as strong support from mayors to bring these projects to their communities. Simply put, these rapid transit projects … will help us unlock housing potential and keep up with record-setting population growth,” he said Thursday.

West says the B.C. government’s plan to densify housing near transit hubs across the province “underscores the urgency to expand our transit system.”

“From a regional standpoint, each of these corridors will provide major improvements to residents in need of better transit,” West said.

BRT corridor timeline

The Mayors’ Council says it will now be “stepping up” engagement with municipalities to “nail down a concept design.”

“From there, we’ll start to do engagement with the public in the spring, summer of 2024. As we get into 2024, we’ll start to engage the public as we have that alignment, to really discuss and get their feedback. It’s so important to us to get public feedback to understand how this will impact people’s lives, right? This transit expansion is going to be such a game changer for the region, I think it’s going to help a lot of people,” explained TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn.

“From there, we’ll in 2025 likely move, once we have an agreement on that pending funding, we’d moved to procurement stage and then likely construction, potential service rolling out in 2027.”

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming says the BRT plan comes “at an incredibly good time for TransLink,” adding these BRT corridors and other future plans will help the province deliver on its housing goals.

“We also want to anchor the BRT plan that is under discussion today to new legislation that we passed as a government around transit-oriented development. We have to make smart investments in our transportation network that also meets the goals of providing more affordable housing choices for people in this region and that’s what we aim to do,” he said.

səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation) Chief Jen Thomas says “safe, quick, and reliable transit” is critical to the Tsleil-Waututh community, “to keep us connected to the wider community and to transport us to and from work and school.”

Squamish Nation Chairperson Khelsilem echoed the importance of transit, noting BRT through the North Shore “presents a unique chance to enhance the quality of life for all residents, including the Squamish People, who have been an integral part of this region for nearly 400 generations.”

“Establishing a dedicated Bus Rapid Transit link from Park Royal to Metrotown promises improved accessibility to essential services, job opportunities, and community resources while alleviating congestion,” Khelsilem said. “The long-awaited prioritization of the North Shore is a welcome development, and the Squamish Nation looks forward to collaborating with local, regional, provincial, and federal governments to work together to create shared benefits for all our communities.”

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The Coward’s Way Out

Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results

The preceding quote, often misattributed to Einstein, conveys the huge financial issues facing TransLink.

The provincial government’s bailout of TransLink, to a tune of $479 million, is nothing more than per-election politics as a financially floundering TransLink, does make good politics at election time.

The real problem is that former customers are not coming back to transit as predicted and with two very questionable and very expensive transit projects being built, lack of customers may prove very embarrassing in the future.

The $11 billion Broadway subway, Expo line extension to Langley and rehab, will look quite silly if no one uses them.

Instead of facing TransLink’s real problems including a proliferation of electric cars (no gas tax), remote working, and of course a very user unfriendly transit system.

In my local, the transit service, except for the express buses to the ferry, are mainly used by students (cheap fares, including the U-Pass) and those who do not have access to a car. The elderly have all but stopped taking transit, simply because it has become so user unfriendly.

Demographic change has also changed the playing field as more and more business are leaving Vancouver to cheaper operations up the valley.  Uber and other like ride-hailing services are also eating away at TransLink’s core business.

Yesterday’s destinations are growing thinner every year and except for post secondary institutions, such as UBC and SFU (which students have the universal $1 a day U-Pass, which also adds to TransLink’s financial woes), taking transit becomes more and more user unfriendly.

Instead of facing facts, the Premier and the Minister of Transportation, abetted by the Mayor’s Council on Transit are doubling down, with photo-op ready, politically prestigious transit projects and not designing a regional transit system that will naturally attract ridership for the future.

By doing the same thing over again, and expecting different results is a coward’s way out.


From News 1130


B.C. spending $479M to stabilize TransLink fares

The B.C. government is stepping in to bail out TransLink from financial shortfalls that could have led to service reductions.

Premier David Eby announced the $479 million cash infusion on Wednesday, saying it will go toward things like infrastructure, avoiding service cuts, and keeping free transit for kids under 12 years old.

“Hundreds of thousands of people rely on TransLink’s service every day to get to work, travel to school, and access all parts of the region,” Eby said. “Failing to act now would lead to higher fares, fewer buses on the road, and reduced service across the board. We won’t let that happen.”

B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming says the province will continue working with the federal government for future funding partnerships to help the transit company.

“Given TransLink’s significant and immediate needs, the Province is taking action with this funding stabilization to address TransLink’s short-term operating funding needs, preventing layoffs and maintaining transit services that will create jobs and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, which benefits residents and visitors to Metro Vancouver,” he said.

Last month, the Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council called for a $250 million investment from the federal government, which would be matched by the province.

Brad West, chair of the council and mayor of Port Coquitlam, says he welcomes Wednesday’s funding announcement.

“Every day almost 400,000 Metro Vancouver residents use our transit system. These are regular people trying to get to work or school, or go to a hockey game or a park, all of whom expect governments to keep them moving with good, reliable transit,” he said.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, TransLink has received over $850 million in government assistance due to decreased ridership, going from about 450 million users in 2019, to 200 million in both 2020 and 2021.



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Lawned Rights-of-Ways Come To Canada

Will this be a game changer for light rail in Canada?

For over thirty years, lawned rights-of-way have been the norm on European tramways and light rail operations; even the Deutsche Bahn (German Federal Railway) investigated lawend rights-of-ways for the main line railways.

Today, the lawned R-o-W’s are a fixture of the modern tram.

The new tramway in Luxembourg has extensive lawned rights-of-ways


Not so in Canada, where local bureaucrats, ever so scared of change, would not allow lawned R-o-W’s with excuses such as they were a fire hazard or emergency vehicles can’t us them (well if properly designed, they can).

Years ago in the early 90’s, at a City of Vancouver open house for concepts for the Arbutus Corridor, Zwei had a display of modern LRT, with every picture showing the then revolutionary lawned R-o-W, which contrasted quite well BC Transit photos of start gravel and asphalt R-o-W’s.

A gentleman approached me and said” I live on the Arbutus and if they did that (install a lawned R-o-W), I could not mount much of an objection“.

The chap from BC transit, overhearing the comment, quickly added; “But here in BC, they would be a safety and fire hazard”

Zwei thinks the real issue was that modern light rail, operating on a “Green” lawned R-o-W would be a positive ‘sell’ to the public and with light rail having operating characteristics that surpass light metro, would forever relegate the much more expensive and politically acceptable light metro to that dead branch of transit evolution.

A Paris tram, operating on a lawned R-o-W.

Toronto thus becomes the first Canadian city to have lawned-R-o-W’s, after years of kicking and screaming entrenched anti Green cabal. Toronto is laying “Green” track and joining the modern world of Light Rail Transit.

The Eglinton Crosstown LRT is going green

The first of three green track areas along Eglinton Crosstown LRT’s at-grade section is being installed at Warden Avenue’s Golden Mile stop.

Construction of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit (LRT) project continues to progress, and one of its latest milestones may have you seeing green.

Portions of the at-grade section, east of Brentcliffe Road, will feature green tracks to help integrate the new transit line with Eglinton Avenue’s many parks and green spaces.

The ’green’ will be made up of grass and additional foliage planted down the middle of the LRV route.

A mock-up of the green tracks, totalling 16 metres in length and 92 square metres in area, has been installed at the Golden Mile stop east of Warden Avenue.

The installation of each section of green track takes three months after the final design is approved. Each section will include irrigation chambers, water supply, and an energy supply to power the irrigation system.

The partially installed green track mock-up at Warden Avenue’s Golden Mile stop looking east. (Metrolinx photo)
The partially installed green track mock-up at Warden Avenue’s Golden Mile stop looking west. (Metrolinx photos)

Not only do the green tracks look good, but they serve a purpose.

Swapping out concrete for grass can help keep temperatures down in the heat of summer. Grass and other vegetation can also act as a sound dampener, absorb rain to reduce run-off, and even minimize the spread of dust.

It’s all part of Metrolinx’s goal to provide environmentally sustainable light rail transit service across Toronto.

Story by Katherine Abraham, Metrolinx Community Relations Specialist

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Trudeau And Horgan Codemn Metro Vancouver And the Fraser Valley to Gridlock Hell

SkyTrain, the Edsel of Rapid Transit

An election is coming and time to bribe the voters with their own money.

So the the PM, needing cheap politcal points, helps our the premier with $1.3 billion announcement to fulfill his politcal promise made in the last election to Langley voters to extend the Expo line to their city.

Whether this is new funding or just reannounced funding is anyone’s guess, but it makes for a nice photo-op.

The announcement is a long term disaster for the region, brought to you by two very fiscally irresponsible politicians.
To recap:
The Expo and Millennium lines are an unconventional (powered by Linear induction Motors or LIM’s) proprietary railway, operating the recently rebranded Movia Automatic Light Metro (MALM). Using Linear Induction Motors (LIM’s), the proprietary system cannot operate with any other railway except it small family of seven systems.
MALM is the 6th rebranding of the proprietary railway, first marketed as ICTS and quickly rebranded ALRT for sale to the BC Government because ICTS was deemed as obsolete as an Edsel!
The sale of ALRT to Lavalin, meant another rebranding, ALM and when Lavalin went bankrupt trying to build ALM in Bangkok. Bombardier picked up the remains of ALM at a fire sale price and quickly found how bad it was and by giving it a quick makeover, using their own Innovia body shell to try to make the system salable. Rebranded again as ART and after only four sales (with two having Bombardier and SNC Lavalin involved in corruption charges, ART was included in the Innovia Line with the LIM being a customer add-on.
After 15 years of no sales of the LIM powered Innovia model, it was finally rebranded as MALM.
MALM is an orphan system, obsolete by today’s standards, which is now owned by Alstom after they purchased Bombardier’s troubled rail division.
 MALM can cost up to 10 times that of LRT to construct; costs a minimum of 45% more to operate and being proprietary means maintenance costs are much higher than LRT. Sky/train also lacks capacity and the all important flexibly which is important in the 21st century. Almost 1,000 employees work on the Expo and Millennium Line light metro system. The Canada Line has separate employees being a P-3, lead by SNC Lavalin!
A conservative estimate is that SkyTrain light metro network has cost the taxpayers three times more than if LRT was used. In other words, we could have at a light rail network three times larger than the present SkyTrain light metro network.
The announced extension will be a financial albatross around the taxpayer’s necks for generations as higher operational and maintenance costs at the Surrey/Langley end will erode present bus services.
SkyTrain also causes more pollution than LRT because of the vast amounts of CO2 produced for making the concrete for the elevated guideway, are more than any pollution savings over the life time of its operation.
There is no proof, even after 35 years of service in metro Vancouver, that SkyTrain actually attracts the motorist from the car as any hint of modal shift is non existent as mode share by Transit in Metro Vancouver has been around the 15% mark for almost 50 years!
In an age of unprecedented investment in rail transit systems around the world, not one city has copied Vancouver and not one city has copied Vancouver’s exclusive use of a proprietary light metro system for regional transit.
And the damned thing doesn’t run in the snow!
The $3.1 billion cost for the line to Langley  is almost twice McCallum’s campaign estimate of $1.65 billion.
What we have witnessed by Trudeau’s announcement is a crass politcal bribe to voters by continued building with an obsolete light metro system, which has connections to SNC Lavalin, that will cost the taxpayer dearly and completely deny Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley of any meaningful transit for at least 3 decades.
Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Horgan have announced endemic gridlock in the Fraser Valley for decades to come. Well done!

Feds pledge $1.3B to finish Langley SkyTrain extension, funding to plan UBC extension

By Amy Judd Global News

Posted July 9, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced federal funding for the Surrey to Langley SkyTrain project.

Speaking in Surrey, B.C. on Friday, Trudeau said the federal government will provide up to $1.3 billion dollars for the Surrey to Langley SkyTrain extension.

This includes an elevated extension of 16 kilometres and eight stations.

“This will cut commute times and make your lives easier,” Trudeau said.

He also said the federal government will invest up to 40 per cent for the SkyTrain extension from Arbutus to UBC.

Trudeau said this was a second big day of announcements for British Columbians, following the news about $10 a day child care on Thursday.

Joining Trudeau was Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna, British Columbia Premier John Horgan, British Columbia Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming, British Columbia Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, City of Langley Mayor Val van den Broek, and TransLink Interim CEO Gigi Chen-Kuo.

This federal funding was the third piece of the project needed. Provincial and TransLink portions of the SkyTrain project have already been committed.

Current funding for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain expansion will only take the line six stops from King George Station to 166th Street in Surrey’s Fleetwood neighbourhood.

Langley Mayor Val van den Broek said in June the final piece of the puzzle to get the trains out to 203 Street in her city is a funding commitment from the federal government.

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Not Cost Effective.

Another suicide, another death and TransLink washes it hands of the problem.

The SkyTrain light-metro system doesn’t have an attendant on board to monitor the tracks.

This is the darker side of driverless trains.

Unlike other automatic metros, there are no sliding glass gates at stations to prevent egress onto the tracks.

This costs money and the politicians do not think it a wise investment. Not cost effective.

It is cheaper in the long term to let the disturb die by SkyTrain, rather to do what other transit authorities have been forced to do, put gates at stations to prevent people from accessing the tracks.

The TransLink, SkyTrain lobby and the Mayor’s Council on Transit seem happy with the status quo, preventing suicides is not cost effective.

Medical emergency stops service between some Vancouver SkyTrain stations

by NEWS 1130 Staff

Posted Feb 22, 2021

File – SkyTrain. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130)
Expo Line service between some Vancouver SkyTrains has been disrupted due to a medical emergency

TransLink has set up bus bridges while service is stopped

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Expo Line service between the Stadium-Chinatown and Waterfront SkyTrain stations is currently stopped due to a medical emergency.

The shutdown started around 7 a.m. Monday morning.

Commuters needing to get to those stations will have to get off at the Main Street-Science World station for a bus bridge.

Trains are operating from Main Street Station to King George, and customers heading to or from Production Station must transfer at Columbia.

There’s no indication on when service will resume.

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The Realities of Subway Mania In Lotus Land


The realities of subway mania.

Vancouver politicians live in “The Land of the Loyus Eaters”, when it comes to transit.

In Greek mythology the lotus-eaters, were a race of people living on an island dominated by the Lotus tree. The lotus fruits and flowers were the primary food of the island and were a narcotic, causing the inhabitants to sleep in peaceful apathy.

As TransLink, Vancouver Council, UBC,  and the Mayor’s Council on Transit sleep in peaceful apathy, the realities of the real cost of the subway are ignored.

According to Metrolinx’s study, the real cost of the 5.8 km Broadway subway will be more like $6 billion over 50 years.

As costs mount ever higher elsewhere for subways, our politicians and bureaucrats remain ignorant of escalating costs for subway construction, continue to misinform the public as to the real cost of Broadway’s subway.

In Metro Toronto, Metrolinx has finally admitted that:”

“……the Scarborough subway costs simply aren’t worth it,” he said. “It’s been years that Scarborough subway advocates haven’t been telling the truth to Scarborough residents and people across the city.”

And for years now, Translink: the City of Vancouver, UBC, the Ministry of Transportation, the Minister of Transportation, the Minister responsible for TransLink, the Mayor’s Council on Transit and the subway lobby haven’t been telling the truth about the high costs of subway construction to taxpayers in metro Vancouver. Is the $6 billion. plus, cost over 50 years, giving good value?

Is it not time that the province steps in for a fiscal reality check? Is there the moral fibre in Victoria to do this?


Interesting that the numbers for LRT came via the TTC and the numbers for the subwaycame from the provincial government who wanted the subway.

Costs of major transit projects will far exceed their benefits, according to Metrolinx reports

Oliver Moore Urban Affairs Reporter


The subway project in Scarborough has been hotly debated in Toronto since 2013, when its backers won council support for cancelling a light-rail line in the area and replacing it with an extension – the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension seen here in 2016 – of the subway to Scarborough Town Centre mall.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail


Two of Ontario’s marquee transit projects have costs that far exceed their benefits, according to a pair of analyses prepared for the regional transit agency Metrolinx.

The reports, released Friday afternoon, show that the Scarborough subway extension proposed for east-end Toronto and the westward extension of the Crosstown Eglinton light rail line across the city could, together, cost nearly $10-billion to build while producing benefits amounting to billions less. In spite of this, Metrolinx has recommended both projects be advanced.

The analysis deliberately errs on the side of caution and Metrolinx hopes to improve the benefits of these projects over time, agency CEO Phil Verster said in a statement.

The benefits are calculated by assigning a monetary value to such things as removing cars from the road and saving commuters time.

Shelagh Pizey-Allen, spokesperson for the advocacy group TTCRiders, said the projects were examples of proposals pitched with a modest price tag, but costs rose and value diminished over time.

The Metrolinx board received these reports at an in-camera meeting in January and, at the time, quietly approved pushing ahead with the projects. The agency refused to release the reports when asked earlier this month.

Both projects are being overseen by the provincial government, which struck a deal with the city of Toronto that handed over control and financial responsibility for major rail construction to Metrolinx.

A spokeswoman for Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said the government would continue to support both projects.

“These [reports] represent Metrolinx’s best understanding of the projects at a given moment in time and are inevitably subject to change during the projects’ life cycles,” Christina Salituro said in an e-mail.

“These documents are key elements in ensuring Metrolinx continues to make the most informed decisions going forward and are just one of a number of factors used in making a final decision.”

The subway project in Scarborough has been hotly debated in Toronto since 2013, when its backers won council support for cancelling a light-rail line in the area and replacing it with an extension of the subway to Scarborough Town Centre mall.

The analysis released Friday of the subway extension concluded it would bring $2.8-billion in benefits over a 60-year period, and cost about $5.5-billion to build. The Ontario government had last year pegged the cost at this level, which is about $2-billion more than the amount budgeted by the city when it was in charge of an earlier version of project.

“That subway is not going to be cost-effective,” said Brenda Thompson, with the advocacy group Scarborough Transit Action, adding that such a high price tag would preclude building anything else in that part of the city.

“I think this is going to suck up all of the money and I think politicians should be upfront about that. This is what we’re going to end up with, if at all.”

Toronto Councillor Josh Matlow, who has long advocated for the original plan for light rail instead in Scarborough, said that the report is another example of the claims of subway boosters being proved wrong.

“Today Metrolinx finally admitted that the Scarborough subway costs simply aren’t worth it,” he said. “It’s been years that Scarborough subway advocates haven’t been telling the truth to Scarborough residents and people across the city.”

The city had budgeted $3.56-billion for a one-stop Scarborough subway extension. During the last election campaign, now Premier Doug Ford pledged to add two more stations. The version being studied by Metrolinx includes the additional stations.

The newly released analysis for a light-rail extension of the Crosstown to Pearson International Airport shows that it will cost up to $4.4-billion, net present value, in 2019 dollars, if it has nine stops and is substantially below ground. In that form it would bring benefits of $1.4-billion over 60 years.

The project’s capital cost could be reduced to about $2.8-billion if most of the stops were removed, the analysis notes, or to as little as $2.1-billion if it was built on the surface.

Mr. Ford has pledged to bury as much of the Crosstown extension as possible.

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The Great Broadway Subway Grift Continues!

One has to shake one’s head as the Broadway subway lobby desperately tries to have their way.

Reality is just not in their lexicon, as the city of Vancouver, UBC and several First Nations, all involved with land development along the route, are now lobbying for funding.

I would like to ask:

  1. Where is the funding coming from for the about $4 billion subway?
  2. Who will pay the added the operating costs? The cost to operate the subway to Arbutus will be around $40 million annually; around $50 million to UBC.
  3. Who will pay for mid life rehab , 25 years down the road? In Germany, the gift of new subways, latter meant bankruptcy for transit authorities when mid life maintenance costs cannibalized monies from the rest of the transit system and they collapsed.
Important questions, that the Broadway subway lobby ignore and will ignore at the taxpayer’s peril!
TransLink fired its two top planners because they did not like to hear the truth that there was not the ridership on Broadway to justify a subway. So who trusts TransLink?
Then there are the land speculator/developers, enabled by the city of Vancouver, who is going to believe this lot of grifters, especially when there is not the ridership to justify a total $7 billion subway?
The mainstream media have been bribed by scarce advertising dollars to report positively on the subway and to ignore contrary opinion, thus making the mainstream media nothing more than the Canadian version of Pravda and Radio Moscow! The previous post certainly shows that!
As Barnum observed, there is a sucker born every minute and the Broadway subway lobby are banking on the fact they all live in Metro Vancouver!

Graph prepared by Metrolinx to inform the debate on choice of modes


Stakeholders ramp up pressure on government for Broadway Subway to UBC

by Hana Mae Nassar

Posted Jan 29, 2020

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Calling it a “historic agreement,” the City of Vancouver, UBC, and the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Development Corporation say they have come together to push for a SkyTrain line that extends all the way to UBC’s Point Grey campus.

As part of their partnership, they’re asking the province and federal government to both commit to helping secure funding for the line all the way to the campus, as soon as possible. The stakeholders are also vying for regional support for the project, which would extend the Millennium Line.

Original plans had the Broadway subway stopping at Arbutus Street, forcing students, staff, and anyone else wanting to get to UBC to take a bus after the subway line.

“Building SkyTrain all the way to UBC is a regional priority that will not only help connect academic and health sciences along Broadway with the rest of the region, it will put reconciliation into practice as we work in partnership with the MST Development Corporation,” Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said on Wednesday, adding the agreement “sets a new example.”

The three groups hope the eventual connection to UBC will help improve transit around the Metro Vancouver region, as well as achieve a goal of more affordable housing, better access to post-secondaries, and increased economic growth.

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Avignon Tram Opens In France

It seems the French clearly understand the benefits of light rail, well they should, because they have studied both LRT and light-metro (VAL).

Like Vancouver’s SkyTrain, VAL was made by MATRA, the famous arms manufacturer and in the 1980’s the general political thought was, if no one used  VAL for transit, it would reflect badly on MATRA’s arms sales. Thus the French government  in a political diktat tried to force French cities to build with VAL, even financing the initial line.


French civic politicians (unlike BC politicians), are ever mindful of the public purse well understood the huge costs of light metro, especially future expansion and upkeep costs and in the end, only a handful were built, as study after study showed that “Le Tram”, was the the best option for both the customer and the taxpayer.

Today, Siemens owns VAL and is marketed mainly as an airport people mover and only eight such systems have been built.

This month the City of Avignon is opening their new tramway.

The 5.2 km line cost €135 million (CAD $190.75 million) or CAD $36.7 million per km to build. Due to political interference, the line is short, thus per km costs are higher, but when one thinks that TransLink is building a 5.8 km subway under Vancouver for over $3 billion, “Le Tram” certainly seems far better value for money and far better value for the taxpayer and customer.

Avignon light rail line opens

Oct 22, 2019
Written byQuintus Vosman

THE French city of Avignon inaugurated the first phase of its new light rail service on October 19, a 5.2km stretch with 10 stations from Saint Roch in the south of the city centre to Saint Chamand, the location of the mainline station in the southeast.

Oct 21, 2019 | News

Journeys between the termini on Line T1 take 15 minutes and are served by 14 three-section LRVs supplied by Alstom. The 24m-long, 2.4m-wide vehicles are a shortened version of the Citadis X05 and use 750V dc traction. They have capacity for up to 140 passengers and have a maximum speed of 70km/h.

Services run at 5-6 minute frequencies between 06.00 and 00.00 and are operated by Orizo, the public transport operator in the greater Avignon area, while Grand Avignon is the line’s owner. Existing bus services have been optimised to coordinate with the new service.

Plans for the project were approved and developed in 2011-13. However, inauguration of the project was in doubt in 2014 when the newly-elected mayor vowed to cancel the scheme. The result was a modification to the plan, scaling back the project from three lines to one and the cost from €330m to €135m, with construction getting underway in October 2016.

Expansion of the network is still planned through the construction of Line T2. Construction is currently scheduled to start in 2021 and conclude in 2023. There are also plans to extend Line T1 to the north while additional sections could be added to the LRVs to meet future demand.

Avignon’s previous tram system was closed in 1932.


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Osaka – The City of Rugby And Trams

Osaka, a Japanese city famous for rugby and trams.

Hankai Tramway Co., Ltd.  (Hankai Denki Kidō Kabushiki Gaisha) is a company which owns two tramway lines in the cities of Osaka and Sakai, Osaka, Japan. The parent company is Nankai Electric Railway Co., Ltd.

Osaka prefecture’s last remaining streetcar, known affectionately as “Chin Den,” is still used by the people of Osaka today. There are two lines, the Hankai Line, which runs from Ebisucho, just steps away from Tsutenkaku to the area in front of Sakai’s Hamadera Station, and the Uemachi Line which links Tennoji Station with Sumiyoshi. The Hankai Line’s predecessor, run by the former Hankai Tramway Co., Ltd. began operation in 1911. Meanwhile, the Uemachi Line’s predecessor began running in 1900 under the operation of the Osaka Carriage and Tramway Co., Ltd. As the name suggests, at the time, horse-drawn carriages ran along the rails. Along the line is Abe no Seimei Shrine, said to be the birthplace of Abe no Seimei, a famous ‘onmyoji’ yin-yang diviner, as well as Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, also known as Settsu Ichinomiya. Along the route, you’ll also find Akiko Yosano and Sen no Rikyu’s Sakai Plaza of Rikyu and Akiko, the Sakai City Traditional Crafts Museum, Nanshuji Temple, Daianji Temple, and many other famous temples. Also recommended is the one day “Teku Teku Kippu” free pass, ¥600 for adults and ¥300 for children.

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