Nonsense From The Langley Times

Such an ill informed column in the Langley Advance Times, that one would think it is a plant, by those who want to spend billions on SkyTrain, which is well past its “Best Before” date.

Just who builds with ART Movia Metro (Expo and Millennium Lines) any more? Not one of the proprietary mini-metros sold in the past decade you say?

Why have only seven such systems have been built in the past forty years?

The failed TransUrban MAGLEV, the forerunner of ICTS, which was ALRT's previous name. What we call SkyTrain, is actually now called ART Movia metro and has had at least 5 previous names

The real issue is that the regional rail network, called SkyTrain, comprises of a conventional railway (Canada Line) and a proprietary unconventional railway called ART Movia Metro (Expo and Millennium Lines).

The now called ART Movia Metro is so unpopular because of poor design and operating characteristics that it has undergone six official name changes with only seven such systems have been built in the past 40 years! Of those systems, Toronto is soon to tear theirs down and in Asia the Youngin, Korea and Kuala Lumpur’s ART systems have embroiled Bombardier inc. and SNC Lavalin in legal ills.

The gross ignorance of railway operation by the author showed that he did no research, because if he did, he would have learned a thing or two.

First of hall a passenger and freight service can operate on the same line and do on literally thousands of railways around the world today. It is all about signaling and allocation of pathways for trains and the science for this goes back to the pre 1800’s, before the modern railway was conceived.

The “ace in the hole” is that the master agreement included with the portion of track purchased and used for the CPR allows up to 33% “wheel-age” for passenger operations, with the owning railway (CPR) paying full cost of all track improvements, including double tracking.

With a maximum of two freights a day on the remaining portion of line, poses absolutely no problem for passenger operation.

In Germany, TramTrain operates on mainline railways with mixed passenger and freight service, with little problems.

Then there is the extremely successful TramTrain, which in layman’s terms is a streetcar designed to operate on both on-street track and mainline railways. Both cheap and successful, TramTrain has affordably extended passenger services by rail at costs a mere fraction of that what would be spent building a SkyTrain style light-metro.

The first TramTrain line opened in Karlsruhe Germany in 1992 and saw ridership soar, in the first six months from 534,000 per week to 2,555,00 a week a massive 479% increase in ridership!

Karlsruhe Germany first TramTrain operation saw a dramatic 479% increase in ridership in the first six month of operation.

The Leewood Study, commissioned by the Rail for The Valley Group, done by Leewood Projects UK and released a decade ago, found that such a service was viable. The study was vetted by Canadian transportation specialist and Transport Canada. In Europe, the Leewood Study had great exposure for its forward thinking and affordability, featured in two transportation “trade’ magazines. In Canada it was ignored by the SkyTrain centered cabal planning transit in civic, provincial and federal levels.

The 2010 Leewood Study saw the per km cost of a DMU/EMU/TramTrain service varied from $5.2 to $7.2 million.

Alstom's Hydrogen fuel cell Coradia Lint is bringing a new dimension in public transport. Though not TramTrain, most TramTrain's will have a fuel cell option with in five years.

ART Movia Metro’s cost per km, using Translink’s own data, is over $200 million/km. And combined with onerous operating and maintenance costs, and lack of flexibility in operation makes it cost prohibitive to extend through Surrey to Langley. The automatic ART Movia Metro was never designed as a regional railway and it operates extremely poorly in snow.

It snows much more on the Surrey plateau, than Vancouver.

The success for a “return of the interurban” is dependent if it operates into Vancouver, providing a seamless and transfer journey from Vancouver to Chilliwack. The failure of building a combined road/rail bridge replacing the decaying Patullo Bridge and the absolutely decrepit Fraser river Rail Bridge, demonstrates a complete lack of foresight by regional politicians, especially the Mayor’s Council on Transit.

The GVRD were planning to replace both the Patullo and Fraser River Rail Bridge with a new road/rail bridge as early as the mid 1970's. Today, no such plan, a parochial politics is going to see the old 4 lane bridge replaced by a new 4 lane bridge.

If the Fraser Valley politicians want a rail connection to Vancouver, TramTrain or a hydrogen EMU is the way to or they will be waiting at a station for a SkyTrain that will never come.

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