A SkyTrain Carol

The following is an Email I sent to metro Vancouver mayor’s and Councils. Yes I know it is long and from the response I got, such as lectures by Mayors for not crafting long Emails indicates I hit a nerve. I also copied it politcal leaders and the Mayor’s Council on Transit.
I want to leave a record, that things are being done wrong and maybe a decade or so from now, when TransLink’s planning becomes untenable, the letter will be seen as a “I told you so”.
I also received an email from one Metro mayor, applauding my efforts as he did not know the history of our SkyTrain light metro system as it is referred to as a Cadillac transit system in “in camera” meetings with TransLink. “The best transit money can buy!”, is also a common refrain at meetings.
To be blunt, we are planning our regional “rapid transit” all wrong; the government blunders along, doing the same thing over again ever hoping for different results.
Metro Vancouver has become an “island” unto itself, where real transit solutions are ignored and the taxpayer is treated as rubes with deep pockets, by both politicians and bureaucrats to pay for fantasy projects, being built mainly for photo-ops and ten second sound bites for the evening news at election time.
The exclusive use of light metro and especially a proprietary light metro has limited the effectiveness of our regional transit system, which is very bad news for the future. The 1980’s  “hub and spoke/density” transit philosophy, designed specifically for the SkyTrain light-metro system has failed as the daily gridlock on our roads and highways is testament to this unpleasant fact.
In the 2020’s, it is user-friendliness that will attract new customers, but with our current transit system, it is near impossible to operate a user-friendly transit system.
Rapid transit does not take cars off the road; it is light rail transit that has a proven record of modal shift from car to transit and there is one reason why this is so.
Light rail takes up road space, creating a “push/pull” effect, where the convenience of LRT will pull car drivers to transit and the lack of road space and congestion will push car drivers to transit! In Metro Vancouver, TransLink compels bus customers to transfer to the light-metro system to pretend more people are using the system than actually are.
Putting transit on viaducts or in subways is user-unfriendly and does not attract the motorist from the car, yet no one, not the provincial government, not the regional government, not civic government will admit to this and continue to plan the region like it was still the 1980’s. The result, the regional transit system is toxic to the majority of the population.
The Expo Line extension to Langley and the Broadway subway will destroy any coherent transit planning for the next three decades, literally turning metro Vancouver into a third world of high rise tenements, endemic gridlock, and tent cities. This is happening as I write this, yet the provincial and metro governments point fingers blaming each other, demanding more and more money, to do the same thing over again, when all the politicians have to do is look into a mirror and see who is at fault.
Metro Vancouver is the prime example of how not to plan and build transit, especially rapid transit. No one copies Metro Vancouver’s transit planning and no one copies the exclusive use of light-metro.
The provincial government and TransLink, with tacit support of regional mayors are paving paradise, putting up towers and parking lots,at the same time increasing property values and demanding more tax money, making the region too expensive for the average family to live in. The quest for ever higher densities and punitive taxes is making Metro Vancouver unlivable for the average resident.
Enough already! It is time to admit that we have got it all wrong. It is time to do it right, because time is running out as global warming and climate change demands drastic changes to our current multi billion dollar tax and spend, rapid transit planning.
“If you tell a SkyTrain lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The SkyTrain lie can be maintained only for such time as the provincial government, TransLink and the Mayors Council on Transit can shield the people from the political, economic and/or environmental consequences of the SkyTrain lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the  provincial government, TransLink and the Mayors Council on Transit to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the SkyTrain lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the provincial government, TransLink and the Mayors Council on Transit.”
The region needs a complete rethink on how our public transit system is being planned, yet politicians and bureaucrats seem afraid to admit they have made a huge forty-four year mistake with our regional planning and our regional public transit system.
Who is not afraid to put a wooden stake through the heart of current transit planning?
Screenshot 2024-01-20 at 14-18-12 Media Library ‹ Rail for the Valley — WordPress(1)


I sent the following to several professionals in Canada, the USA and Europe, giving them a somber update of our local transit scene, as a thank you for all the help and encouragement they have given for Rail for the Valley’s quest to do the right thing, advocate for a Marpole to Chilliwack, “return of the interurban”  a 130 km, modern regional railway for a cost of under $2 billion, which will attract more new ridership than the $11 billion, 21.7 km extensions to the Expo and Millennium Lines.
Apologies to Charles Dickens.
A SkyTrain Carol
STAVE 1 – The Ghost of SkyTrain Past
TransLink still plans for SkyTrain even though it is almost universally known that it is a very expensive piece of kit and provides far less “transit” and “capacity”, than modern trams costing 1/2 to 1/10 to install.
The old cliche, “follow the money” comes to mind with the sad and ignored history of Vancouver’s light-metro network.
The Province of Ontario’s former Crown Corporation, the Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC) had a problem, its flagship proprietary mini-metro was a dud and no one wanted it.
For most, this is old news. The Intermediate Capacity Transit System (ICTS) was a proprietary light-metro which was not only poorly built, but it was both expensive to operate and maintain. No one wanted it and of the three built, Vancouver’s and Toronto’s systems (Detroit was the third) were forced upon the operating authority by the provincial government. To fool the locals in Vancouver the name, ICTS, was changed to Advanced Light Rail Transit (ALRT).
It Worked!
The name SkyTrain is a local name only and was chosen in a radio station contest before the Expo Line opened and the name SkyTrain is used by many transit systems, unrelated to our proprietary SkyTrain light-metro.
Not well known is that Bill Bennett and the Social Credit did a horse trade with the Ontario government for Vancouver’s new “rapid transit” system, which was originally planned to use light rail, a la Calgary and Edmonton. The Bill Bennett government bought the unsalable ICTS (renamed ALRT for the deal) and in return got the services of the then famed “Blue Machine”, to win the next provincial election as the Social Credit Party had a one seat majority in Parliament, in Victoria.
The CBC did a full documentary of this, but then Prime Minister Mulroney got wind of it and ordered the CBC not to air it and in fact had it shredded or “reduced to produce”. The reporter who interviewed me and the late Dez Turner (who was the most informed transit advocate in the 90’s), as well as others told me the report was explosive as there were hints of plain brown manila envelopes changing hands everywhere.
The reporter was soon made redundant and the last time I heard from her in the late 1990’s, she was unemployed and seeking work down south.
Every extension of the Expo Line was designed to meet with a Social Credit election window, which was about every three years until former Premier Van der Zalm broke the construction/election window.
Lavalin purchased the UTDC, which was basically the ICTS/ALRT light-metro system from the Ontario government and promptly went bankrupt trying to build the system in Bangkok, Thailand. The UTDC was returned to the Ontario government, which quickly sold the remains to Bombardier at a fire-sale price. SNC amalgamated with the bankrupt Lavalin to become SNC Lavalin and SNC Lavalin retained engineering patents for ICTS/ALRT from Lavalin.
Soon Bombardier Engineers soon found that ICTS/ALRT was (quoting a former Bombardier engineer) a piece of  (to be polite) horse pucky. Bombardier rebuilt the cars using their universal Innovia light-metro body shell and redesigned the steerable axle trucks to support the longer and heavier Innovia body-shells.
The ICTS/ALRT system was rebranded as Advanced Rapid Transit (ART).
Only four were sold:
1) Korea, where Bombardier paid success fees to both bureaucrats and politicians to ensure a sale. The fallout from this was lawsuits and criminal investigations with the result of irreparable damage to Canadian Industries trying to do business in Korea with the scandal.
2) Malaysia, where Bombardier and SNC Lavalin paid success fees to bureaucrats and politicians including the prime minister to ensure the sale of ART for Kuala Lumpur for their second rapid transit system. This scandal started the SNC Lavalin and Bombardier bribery scandal, with hints that the Prime minister of Canada was involved.
3) The third system was built in New York, but in the USA all rapid transit systems being built, using federal funds must be peer reviewed and the JFK AirTrain was duly peer reviewed and it failed badly, being far too expensive to build and not well designed. To keep Bombardier from “losing face” internationally with this fiasco, the Canadian Prime Minister authorized the Canadian Overseas Development Bank to fund the system.
4) China bought one strictly to obtain Linear Induction Motor technology and has never built another. Hint, ICTS/ALRT/ART use attractive LIMs, while Maglevs use repulsive LIMs and there is a technological void between the two forms of LIM’s.
Both BC Transit and Metro Vancouver soon found out how expensive the ALRT system was to operate and was supported by a massive subsidy of $157.7 million annually or $296 million annually in today’s money, just for the Expo Line to New Westminster. The next Rapid Transit project was the Broadway Lougheed Rapid Transit project and BC Transit and Metro Vancouver did everything to plan for light rail.
The BC Government (NDP) did everything in its power to derail the project, first by hiring an international engineering firm with little interest in light rail (they were pushing for a proprietary personal rapid transit or PRT pod sort of thing) and finally forced Advanced Rapid Transit (ART) onto BC Transit and Metro Vancouver and in the process creating TransLink to exit BC Transit from the debate and making Vancouver Councillor George Puil, Chair of Metro Vancouver, the Chair of Translink to make sure.
But why the flip flop by the provincial government?
From my many conversations with professionals and as well as former NDP types, many untoward ‘things’ happened.
TransLink became a partner of Bombardier to sell SkyTrain abroad, which further isolated Metro Vancouver from other successful transit applications.
Bombardier and SNC Lavilin contributed to UBC and SFU to pave the way for their support of SkyTrain. Example: The Bombardier Chair of Regional Transportation Planning at UBC.
Then there is the strange case of $1 million dollars found in a duffel bag in Clinton Park, in the late 90’s by an off duty police officer. The million dollars was not a ransom for a kidnapping (the first investigation), nor wasn’t drug money, as there was no trace of drugs on the money, and in the end the money was successfully claimed by the police constable who found the money, after much legal angst.
Who leaves a duffel bag full with a million dollars in a park?
As the now called Millennium Line, using ART, was so expensive to build, it had to be built in two sections, the present Millennium Line and the later Evergreen Line which became the Millennium Line upon completion. Thus the original Broadway Lougheed R/T project cost about one half to one third the cost of the completed SkyTrain Millennium and Evergreen Lines.
STAVE 5  – The Ghost of SkyTrain Present
From 2005 to 2018 there was absolutely no interest in SkyTrain light metro and the ART system was folded into the Innovia family of transit with the LIM’s being a FREE add-on and still no interest and finally the Innovia line of light metros was folded into the Movia heavy-rail metro line. The official name was changed to Movia Automatic Light Metro or MALM. Alstom, which purchased Bombarider’s rail division, now owns MALM.
Now, we come to Surrey’s flip flop from light rail to SkyTrain (MALM) and the former Surrey  mayor’s outrageous claim that SkyTrain, could be built to Langley for only $1.63 billion and no one challenged him; no one fact checked him and the NDP government, with mainstream media support, did everything it could to continuing to build with the now obsolete proprietary light-metro system.
The last cost estimate for just the 16 km guideway from Surrey to Langley was $4.01 in 2021, but accounting for inflation, the cost is now estimated to be over $4.42 billion for 2023 and with structural cement now topping $450 m/3 and including inflation, the cost just for the guideway will be almost $5 billion! This does not include the cost of cars, the cost of the operations and Maintenance Centre #5; the $1.47 billion re-signalling of the Expo and Millennium Lines or the estimated and much needed  $2 billion electrical rehab of the E&M Lines to operate the higher capacities of the light-metro system.
A very important question must be asked: Will the federal government contribute any more money for the almost extra $1 billion in construction costs for the guideway or will local taxpayers face ruinous tax increases to satisfy the Premier, the Ministry of Transportation and TransLink forcing an obsolete and proprietary light metro system onto the region, which by all accounts is the wrong sort of system to build to the suburbs as light-metros are for strictly urban use!
A word on the $2.7 billion 5.7 km Broadway subway to nowhere. The Broadway subway is being built to replace the Broadway 99B Bus which has a maximum peak hour capacity of 2,000 pphpd, catering to traffic flows under 3,000 persons per hour per direction, The North American standard for building a subway is to cater to transit routes with traffic flows in excess of 15,000.
Two interesting facts:
1) Modern light rail, even a streetcar can cater to traffic flows of 20,000 pphpd or more.
2) According to Thales News Release about the $1.47 billion re-signalling of the Expo and Millennium Lines, the Millennium Line (Broadway subway) will be re-signaled for a maximum capacity of only 7,500 pphpd!

From Thales July 2022 News Release:

The government of Canada, the government of British Columbia, and the region have committed to investing $C 1.47bn in the Expo and Millennium Line Upgrade Programme until 2027.When the programme is fully implemented, the Expo Line will be able to accommodate 17,500 passengers per hour per direction, and the Millennium Line will be able to handle 7500 passengers per hour per direction, a 32% and 96% increase respectively.

This certainly indicates TransLink knows full well that even future ridership does not justify a $2.7 billion subway under Broadway!
Why did former premier Horgan agree to this and why is Premier Eby continuing this spending over-kill with an obsolete light metro system? That is a question that should be answered!
TransLink MK.2 - 3 car procurement.
STAVE 6 – The Ghost of SkyTrain Yet To Come
Today, Alstom owns the MALM system and all technical patents, but SNC Lavalin still owns engineering patents for the proprietary railway. Alstom is not actively marketing the system and by all appearances will phase out production altogether when the last paid for cars are completed for Vancouver.Vancouver is now the only customer as no other transit authority wants the dated light-metro system.
By my calculations, by the end of 2024 the taxpayer will have spent over $15 billion more for continued SkyTrain planning and construction, than if we built it with light rail as originally intended in the late 70’s.
A bigger problem is that the MALM system is a proprietary railway and no one, except Alstom, produces compatible vehicles or specialty parts. If Alstom pulls the plug on MALM production and probably will because the system is now dated and is deemed obsolete!
This also brings another strange case, the “the MK.5 train bidding process”, where Bombardier won the bid from a phantom bidding process (mock auction?) as no other company had a ready to run train that could operate on the Expo and Millennium Lines. TransLink is very reluctant with information on this salient point!
What is TransLink afraid of?
Will Alstom continue to produce a transit vehicle nobody wants and has such a checkered history, except for Vancouver?
I doubt it.
Thus comes the end of this tale, but unlike the more famous Charles Dickens ‘ “A Christmas Carol”, our ending is very unhappy because the taxpayer, playing the part of Tiny Tim, continues to be royally Scrooged by the government in Victoria, Metro Vancouver, and the Mayor’s Council on Transit.
 Screenshot 2024-01-24 at 09-06-36 ghost of Christmas yet to come - - Image Search Results


8 Responses to “A SkyTrain Carol”
  1. legoman0320 says:

    Hi What’s wrong with this translink?

    Vancouver transit mentality was the Canadian mentality.

    Define what does and doesn’t work in the transit world. And to find a solution that would fit very nicely for Vancouver. To provide a rapid connection across the region.
    Something that would be incremental in capacity when needed. Skytrain originally Capacity maximum 15,000 now at 25,000 Newer and upgraded systems and new Mk train to grow the capacity. Remember, it’s only a likely man operation compared to traditional subway operations. And don’t forget it was built to a subway standard that was flexible in frequency and capacity. Comfy, and having views at the wonderful mountains. It’s just so nice just to ride on the train for no reason sometimes.

    LRT Antiquated old-fashioned limited capacity and not looking at the beautiful mountains. Limited frequency. Harder to change the timetable on the whim.

    From a region that was so car dependent to one that actually favors skyTrain as solution.

    Freedom of choice you’re taking public transit. There’s still a lot of cases where it doesn’t work for people or if they simply don’t want to be associated with people who take transit.

    1. Yes, there’s a big difference between the 2 different Mode LRT and ART. One is a local or other one is a regional with automation to boot. From the naming of the SkyTrain to the West Coast Express name and the newest rollercoaster at the PNE being up for votes. A wide array of named choices Being narrowed down by the public to find the best one seems to be a good thing.
    It doesn’t matter which party they all have the vested interest somehow in The Metro Vancouver region.

    2. Those patents are for the construction and assembly of the MK1 car. Other parents for the Author equipment Manufacturer companies in Canada. Made like GM car where you can change every component or change manufacturers. Most common parts available. Translink Anything specialized is big component: Absolute, bogeys, Door, or Air conditioner unit. They just in time freight model is causing delays due to a shortage of truck drivers available.

    A. Korea, Operating company wanted something that was Frequent and fast.
    Low operating cost.

    B. Malaysia, Wanted a International company Transit Manufacturer to Make competition with local manufacturers to get prices down. And see Lavalin the construction arm of the deal. Brought in foreign workers to do the construction job Instead of locals.

    C. New York, MTA mad New York port authority not building a American Built Transit. Asked to revoke proposal for government funding. Port authority ended up asking a third party for loans to build the Transit connection.

    D. China Obviously if they try to copy or replicate the same Technology. But The reversion hasn’t had expanded at all, if not even worse.

    E. Dubai. Wanted something built fast, futuristic and cheap to operate.

    Each one of these were trying to change something in their own problems in Politics, along with getting a cheaply operating.
    None of the operating companies going bankrupt or reporting any problems.

    4. A.BCRTC Could operate into the red and needed to be Bailed out by the BC Province. Fairbox revenue was separate between buses and SkyTrain. paying out-of-pocket for refurbishing the original MK 1. 20 Year Fiber optics need to be replaced.

    B. M line. Make a new operating company for a different operations or keep it in the same and have long-term cost benefits to expanding SkyTrain. A cost-cutting measure was to keep the existing OMC and expand it.
    And that’s why we have a weird interchange at Columbia.

    5. Absolutely, that’s a joke, right?
    Alstom put it under metropolis name and Innovia name is for their people movers and Monorail.

    His plan was to take the LRT money and put it into SkyTrain out to Langley. It doesn’t sound surprising for the cost to balloon from switching from one mode to the other.

    Rewiring, upgrading and expansion of the automated train systems.

    E&N Still under review.

    A. That is more of a crunch capacity along a single road corner. Yes, it removes car capacity on the road. Parallel streets will get more clogged. Slow operational speeds and Crowded Space on the LRVS Slow to minimum growth of transit riders.

    B. I already talk to you about what type of frequencies that will Available to BCRTC Operations. Capacity could double If they increase the train length on the M Line 15,000. 7500 1 pair mk 2 train. And that doesn’t include the new MK 5 Has been delivered and will be in service later this year.

    6. Translink still refers to it ART (Advance rapid transit) At this time I think MALM is a dead name.

    Deadline for the last mk5 to be ordered is 3035. I had a lot of time between here and there for something to change or to be dead.

    skytrain has been in a good state of repair Unlike Scarborough RT or TTC 1 or 2 Line

    Scrooge mcduck Government holder of the golden coins. Tiny Tim, Commuter, that can’t catch a break due to long commutes.

    Mr zwei. Quit being an amateur transplanter.

    Mr haveacow and Mr zwei Want to talk to me about an actual solution for The Valley. DM On X(Twitter) @Legoman0320

    Sincerely legoman0320

    Zwei replies: Didn’t read much did you, but of course you didn’t because you may have learned something. I am an amateur but I do have a fair background in public transit, far more than the average punter.

    Trying to read into your reasoning, which i can’t it seems you are a SkyTrain fan and always will be a SkyTrain fan and for many it is the same, the believe the gibberish that passed off onto the punters.

    something you should know, I am privy to a lot of information that I cannot print, because peoples incomes are involved. But, in the end you don’t get it, like the MAGA supporters of Trump, they don’t get it either. Reality is soon to hit us square in the face and in my dotage, i will tell you “I TOLD YOU SO!

  2. zweisystem says:

    By the way, the patents were for the ART (Innovia) cars which the so called MK.5 cars are. MK.5 is Translink name for the cars because the term SkyTrain has been trademarked by a Brazilian Company for their proprietary people mover.

    Your claim that LRT is for local and ART is for regional is backward. I guess you haven’t heard of TramTrain and a 210 km route!

    All your claims are wrong, completely wrong and it just confirms to me that you are indeed a troll because it is all drivel.

    I’ll give you a hint sunshine, the Malaysian government thought that ART was a monorail because they wanted a monorail as it was thought at the time monorails were modern.

    Your ignorance is expected but it seems you are inventing it as you go along and all i can say is read a book on the subject, because you haven’t a clue.

  3. Haveacow says:


    “1. Yes, there’s a big difference between the 2 different Mode LRT and ART. One is a local or other one is a regional with automation to boot.”

    Actually LRT and Skytrain which is a Light Metro) are Mainline Rapid Transit systems or considered Rapid Transit under Transport Canada’s definitions not regional. The Skytrain system is a suburb to city centre or suburb to suburb service, this means it’s not regional. Regional systems generally don’t have gaps of less than 2.5 km or less distance between stations. You would not use 3rd rail generally to power them because this is bad engineering. 3rd rails are designed for quick acceleration between closely spaced stops, not regional distance services, unless you absolutely have to. Regional systems generally don’t have more than a small handful of stops inside a specific city or town.

    The only “Regional Transit” as Transport Canada, CUTA, or most other major national and international transit organizations define it, is your Commuter Rail/Regional Rail system, the West Coast Express.

    The current extension of the Expo Line to Langley still is defined as a rapid transit service especially considering the number and distance between stations inside Langley itself. You could make the argument that Langley is an outer suburb, which is the start of distance scale regional transit traditionally covers. However, as a regional system the great complexity and high operating costs of the Skytrain vs. standard commuter/regional rail equipment is exactly why this extension in its current form, is a bad and overly expensive idea.

    LRV’s have the advantage of being scalable as regional transit equipment. This is why Tram-Trains generally use LRT like equipment and vehicles. Also why light regional rail equipment can also be used as urban mainline LRV’s, for example Coradia LINT 41 or Stadler Flirt D/EMU’s.

  4. legoman0320 says:

    To make sure we’re all on the same page Terminology going forwards.
    Mr zwei and Mr haveacow

    Transit customer by mode

    Skytrain is for Cross Town Customers
    LRT Is for Local Customers
    WCX Is for Regional Customers
    VIA Rail Intercity/Cross-country Customize
    Vancouver is missing more regional services.

    Modern definition Capacity between light and heavy Rail.

    Light 0-20,000 pphpd
    Medium 40,000-60,000 pphpd
    Heavy 60,000+ pphpd

    Light Rail Transit and Light Metro Same operating capacity or Ultimate capacity.

    Medium Metros In between a Lower capacity or the higher capacity.

    Heavy metro or heavy rail at or near Maximum capacity possible for a rail line.

    Third and Fourth, rail is not the worst option for a metro. I think a troll wires would be a worse idea for metro operation.

    The problem with bringing Tram Train in North America is the operations. Transit agencies used to Commuter rail or LRT Instead of combining them into a Tram Train service.

    Skytrain operations expenses includes the upgrade and Reverb MK car. The last 6 years they had been refurbishing 2 models MK 1 and MK 2 in house at OMC2.

    Zwei replies: Tell your employer that I am on to you. Typical TransLink, pull nonsense from the thin air and pretend they are facts. Hell, that is why we keep building with SkyTrain light metro.

  5. zweisystem says:

    The famous Line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, where mark Antony says; “‘Cry havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war” comes to mind with your posts.

    I just sent a rather terse letter to regional mayor and Councils, TransLink and local media and the response I have got tells me that regional mayors are now asking pointed questions to TransLink’s mandarins, questions that cannot or will not answer.

    TransLink is desperate for money and instead operating a user-friendly public transit service, they operate a politcal transit service designed by politicians to win elections. Ridership is slowly declining, when compared to population growth and if it wasn’t for the highly subsidized U-Pass, ridership numbers would be embarrassing.

    TransLink is concealing this dismal fact. The provincial government wants subways for Vancouver, as the current Premier is from Kits and he believes a subway to UBC will guarantee his reelection, so it doesn’t matter if very few people use it as it is electability that makes the subway a top construction goal.

    Surrey’s former mayor wanted SkyTrain to Langley so his developer friends could reap whirlwind profits for massive high rises built along the route. The City of Langley’s mayor figures himself he is a transit expert and from SFU, SkyTrain is the only way to go!

    Burnaby is left out so it wants a gondola because, well world class cities have gondolas. (a side note: the city of Burnaby refuses to give me the gradients of the roads going to SFU)

    Today, Surrey is waking up to the fact that SkyTrain is going to do little if anything mitigating their growing traffic congestion and the current mayor, though embroiled in a policing fiasco is beginning to understand that SkyTrain will do nothing.

    The three B-Line route are designed to feed SkyTrain and though it will give a somewhat faster trip than the current express services.

    I predict that ridership will be somewhat disappointing.

    I have contributed to this blog site for 15 years and without fail, when Zwei causes embarrassing questions taken from this blog, TransLink let slips the dogs of war, such as Legoman, to counter what is being posted or letters to council. The problem is, they deluge the Troll with facts, which the poor Troll uses, without much knowledge of what they are about.

    So there you have it.

    As an aside, what is printed here is just a smidgen of what I have been told and if I did posts, they would be unbelievable, such as the strange story of $1 million cash found in a duffel bag in Clinton Park in the late 1990’s.

    So Troll on as it tells me that politicians are reading the blog and asking pointed questions which is making Translink very nervous indeed.

  6. Haveacow says:


    LRT, Skytrain (Light Metro) and Metro (Heavy Rail, Subway) serve the same market, these are defined as rail rapid transit based lines and networks. It’s just their various capacity limits that effect what is marketed to a customer. Downtown to suburb or suburb to suburb distances (8 km to roughly between 24 km to 32 km, the upper limit depends on transit market norms but is usually between 15 to 20 miles)

    Station spacing and its resulting travel times goes into this as well. @ beyond 50 minutes per single transit leg (time on an individual transit vehicle before you need to transfer to another vehicle to complete entire trip) and station spacing with nothing shorter than 500m and nothing longer than 5km between stations, anything beyond that is a big no no for rail rapid transit systems.

    These characteristics are part of the technological and efficient operating design limits on rapid transit vehicles. This is how companies like Alstom or Bombardier design and market rail technology for cities.

    Streetcars and Trams are designed and equiped for local service, trip distances within 8 km or less. Stop or station spacing of as little as 100m to around 800m is the norm.

    Regional Rail, Commuter Rail or Tram trains go beyond rapid transit distances. Think downtown to distant suburb locations, like Langley. These rail vehicles have acceleration/braking rates for these greater distances. Some regional rail vehicles however can do rapid transit distances efficiently as well Their fuel or power use, maintenance and component performance is maximised for these longer distances though.

  7. Haveacow says:

    It’s EXTREMELY unusual in Europe or North America to need passenger capacities beyond 40,000 p/h/d. It’s actually very rare that rapid transit lines go beyond 40k world wide. Yes, there are some Asian systems that have several lines with capacity needs in excess of 40k however, for the North American or European market it’s rare and those levels of crowding tends to drive away customers. Talking about transit lines that need to handle over 40k p/h/d in capacity rarely happens. Most of the so called “really busy” Metro lines in Europe, North America and even Australia and New Zealand rarely exceed 30,000 passengers per hour per direction.

    There are several European LRT systems that have multiple LRT lines that exceed 25,000 p/h/d in terms of capacity needs. Conversely, there are many, many, about 65% of full scale metro lines in Europe or North America that never have or ever will exceed 10,000 p/h/d. Under today’s design and passenger metrics, there are many classic European and North America Metro lines or entire systems that would have never been built, if started today. Mainly because of their operating costs. These operating costs vs passenger use realities are the reason for the rarity of new systems and lines. Even China is cutting way back in subway line projects

    For example:

    A single, 2 track, reinforced concrete rapid transit rail bridge passing over a standard 4 lane road, costs between $55 – $60 million in Canada. If you want that bridge to handle heavier mainline railway equipment (either passenger or freight) add $5 – $10 million more. This for a standard concrete bridge not the more expensive, more environmentally fire low carbon concrete. (CUTA)

    A single two track, two side platform, 80 -120 metre long, enclosed, LRT, Light Metro or Metro station will cost $4.5 million per year to maintain. The costs go up to $5.7 million if it’s a standard, basic 150m long Toronto or Montreal metro station. Even more if it’s an architectural complex or non standard designed station. Higher still if it’s a station complex with more than one line servicing it. (CUTA)

  8. Haveacow says:

    I gave Zwei a file about the advantage of EMU, DMU, LRT, Tram Train based transit. All based around a single station in Ottawa. It’s big advantage is due to the concept of scalability, something Skytrain doesn’t do well at all. If you want something to work equally well in the Fraser River Valley or any particular Canadian, inner suburb or outer suburb, city centre or rural area, have him post it. If not I can send it again.

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