If the UK is Reinstating former Passenger Routes, Why Can’t We?

Really, $4.6 billion to build 12.8 km of light-metro is an awful lot of money for so small increase in a rail route; 5.8 km to extend the Millennium Line in Vancouver and 7 km in Surrey.

By comparison, $1.5 billion would provide a 130 km Vancouver to Chilliwack service, with three trains per hour per direction, connecting Vancouver to North Delta, Cloverdale, Langley, Abbotsford, Sardis/Yarrow, and Chilliwack.

About 117 km more rail route for about one third the cost!

In other countries this would be a no brainer, but not in BC, as hugely expensive SkyTrain light-metro has enthralled politicians, but improving transit, no so much.

In the UK and Europe, former rail lines are now being rebuilt and reopened for passenger service. TramTrain, a concept now almost 30 years old, where trams share tracks with the mainline railways, has brought new transit options to connect regional cities at a cost almost on par with new highway construction.

The TramTrain option has been ignored in Canada, as it seems Canadian planners don’t read books printed after 1990.

In the UK, no fewer than 65 former rail routes are being investigated for reopening, while in BC, none.

The E&N is slowly rotting to death; there is no interest in reinstating the Vancouver to Chilliwack Interurban, and the province did nothing in keeping and restoring a passenger service from Vernon to Kelowna, but there is a lot of support for a $4.6 billion, 12.8 km extension of the Millennium and Expo Lines, through voter rich metro Vancouver.

It seems the current provincial government doesn’t give a damn for those who reside outside the Metro Vancouver bubble, rather very expensive to build and operate rapid transit (read light-metro) is being built mainly for photo-ops at election time as Premier Horgan has recently demonstrated, as will Justin Trudeau sometime in 2021.

Disused station at Firsby. Will a passenger service soon reappear?

Council submits bid to investigate restoring East Lincolnshire railway

Restoration of a section of the former East Lincolnshire railway from Firsby to Louth could be a step closer thanks to an application submitted by East Lindsey District Council.

By The Newsroom Louth Leader

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021,

The council has submitted an application to the Department of Transport for a £50,000 feasibility study for the ‘Restoring Your Railway Fund’, and included in that is for further consideration of the Willoughby to Mablethorpe loop.

The application has been driven by Portfolio Holder for Planning Councillor Tom Ashton and Mablethorpe Councillor Adrian Benjamin, and is supported by both Victoria Atkins MP and Matt Warman MP.

Support for the restoration has also gathered pace in the community with a petition gaining more than 2,400 signatures already.

The proposal endeavours to make the case for considering the reinstatement of the East Lincolnshire Line as the optimal sustainable transport solution for encouraging further economic growth and opportunity in East Lindsey.

Based on 2011 Census information, the route would serve the settlements of Louth, Legbourne, Alford and Willoughby – a population of over 20,000 – while the Willoughby to Mablethorpe section would serve over 13,000 people across Mablethorpe, Sutton and Theddlethorpe.

Councillor Tom Ashton, said: “East Lindsey is a great place to live and to visit and developing both these aspects is essential for future growth and economic prosperity.

“Enjoying the extensive Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a settlement geography of market towns, rural villages, wild coast, seaside resorts, and an excellent education offer which still includes grammar schools, East Lindsey should be incredibly attractive for people to choose to locate themselves, their businesses, and families.”

Councillor Adrian Benjamin added: “A green and sustainable rail corridor would be a natural place to look, to ensure communities are connected and reliance on cars is reduced.

“Whether that is the growth of existing settlements or the creation of new ones is beyond the scope of this application, however it does point to a greener, lower carbon future that allows this area to grow in a considered way, without engendering the harm which would come from scything through the countryside with major road projects. It enhances without harming.”


2 Responses to “If the UK is Reinstating former Passenger Routes, Why Can’t We?”
  1. Wainfleet says:

    A Vancouver to Chiliwack train should go from Marpole to New Westminster then Surrey to Chiliwack. The railline in south vancouver is sitting there unused and would pass through several new residential developments on the fraser river. Make it two separate lines until the rail bridge is replaced with new one. It would connect with both Canada line and expo line. There is an old station in New Westminster not being used. Vancouver should build its street car down arbutus to Marpole on the old rail line it bought from CPR.

  2. Haveacow says:

    After looking at the web of rail lines that use to exist in Lincolnshire, most ending passenger service around the fall of 1970 (a round of Beeching Report Cuts), it is pretty clear that if this remote part of England is to see any more than the existing services and its few very short costal Heritage Railways and one existing Heritage operation on a 5 mile section, 3 or 4 stops north of Louth on the old East Lincolnshire mainline, some very aggressive marketing is going to have to take place. Due to the low population in the area and the unescapable fact that, not all of those area rail line shutdowns were politically motivated (through the Beeching Cuts), a very much, multi-pronged and linked effort with many area stakeholders will be required.

    The only existing service is the hourly train that runs from Nottingham through Granby (which peak hour trips by-pass) through Boston and Little Steeping, ending at the sea side resort town of Skegness. The only way I see really any of this working is continuing and upgrading the existing service, while having every second trip branch towards Firsby, then on to Willoughby and following the old in-land branch line route through Alford Town ending in Louth, where a new station has been planned. The old station is very poorly located given the modern layout of the town. You see Louth is the entry point to the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) a kind of National Park.

    This area is dominated by a series of hills, forests and vistas that are some of the highest points in eastern England. These hills have an extremely beautiful view of the North Sea and associated coastline plus being one of the top 5 hiking spots in England. I have been there its beautiful but fairly remote. Many of the local rail lines have long since closed.

    Its these kinds of realistic, economic, tourist and operational service connections that make this British legal act of reopening former rail lines, work. The fund that powers all this is not magic, the line has to actually work and not cost too much for the railway to operate and government to reopen. The good thing is that this allows towns and rural areas to rebuild passenger as well as freight business in a partnership with the railway on these kinds of rail lines. However, the local population has to hold up there end and make the economic connections work for the railway. It has to be an all around effort or they get no start up money at all.

    I hope they sucseed!

Leave A Comment