More Comments On TransLink’s Anti Valley Rail Screed

This reply by our friend, Mr. Haveacow is very much worth reading.

There are big problems extending SkyTrain; big problems equals lots of ta money, which equals more taxes and user fees.

Like high gas prices, just continue building with SkyTrain.

I will add to the professors point, the Hydrogen powered I Lint54, is a hydrogen fuel cell equipped version of Alstom’s top selling Lint 54 DMU /EMU commuter and regional rail vehicle. Ottawa’s O-Train uses the Lint 41 DMU for its diesel LRT equipped Trillium Line. The number in the title refers to the length of the individual DMU/EMU vehicle. It comes in 3 sizes 41 metres, 54 metres and 81 metres.

The Lint series of vehicle would require a minimum of testing because Ottawa already uses a version of this vehicle and has already recieved special dispensation to run on North American railways from Transport Canada. Only the Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology and the Hydrogen storage facilities would need the intense testing required for operations on Canadian mainline railways.

What Translink is really upset about is the same thing O.C. Transpo was upset about when the planning for the O-Train stsrted around 1997-98. They will have to negotiate with the railway for running rights. Then pay said railway while this system operates. To say most transit operators are uncomfortable with this, is a massive understatement. The history of your West Coast Express is an example of how much they (Translink), dislike not owning the right of way.

The benign neglect of Translink regarding the West Coast Express (WCE), shows the nature of the relationship between it and true regional level transit lines. The Skytrain is at best a downtown to suburb based rail system. As a regional level rail transit system (downtown to distant suburb or exurb), the Skytrain operationally is a very expensive and clumsy. This also clearly displays how both the Skytrain technology and Translink have a big problem of dealing with the geographic scale of true regional rail based transit. Both are not equipped to handle the issue and as a result, do it very poorly. This is an issue I have discussed before on this website, as Zwei will attest. Skytrain’s high level of technological complexity means that, any long distance stretch of track with little or no development like the Langley extension, will require many decades to get to the point were the ridership numbers come close to the current network’s average ridership revenue plus subsidy vs operating costs. Technological complexity means higher operating costs. These costs become a big limiter to service frequency if there isn’t enough ridership.

As per the service area boundary issue between B.C. Transit and Translink that is at best a red-herring! If Translink was interested in actually doing this Valley Service, the time between Translink proposing the idea and an agreement in principle with the province, could be measured in minutes. As soon as provincial officials realize that there is serious support for this locally in Translink, the process would instantly begin. I can see the meetings among provincial officials, “Someone other than us wants to operate a regional rapid transit service from Chilliwack to Surrey’s Skytrain Stations instead of B.C. Transit doing it! Sounds good to us!”

Finally what Translink just won’t talk about is the extreme high cost of building with Skytrain vs. low to medium passenger cappacity DMU ‘s and EMU’s using very much underused mainline railway rights of way, that already exist. I peg the cost of the Valley Rail Line project at 1/7 to 1/8 of the lowest end of Skytrain construction. The operational costs somewhere between 1/5-1/3 that of Skytrain. Yes, it will carry fewer passengers but so will any Skytrain line going out this far from the centre of Vancouver.

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