Will SkyTrain Light Metro Ever Reach Langley?

These excerpts are from a comment by Haveacow, our expert from back east, which  must give one pause, because TransLink is about $1 billion short to extend the Expo line to Langley!

But TransLink is also short of train storage and maintenance space. They desperately need to build the extension of the Expo Line to Langley, which includes the much fabled Operations and Maintenance Centre #4. The problem, they are now $1 Billion short to on the Langley Extension, due to the higher than expected cost of $3.95 Billion.

I also have been told that the final cost for the Expo line extension to Langley could be as high as $4.5 billion.

What also is intriguing, is that production of the MK.3/4 MALM cars may cease after current orders are filled.

Once all these SkyTrain orders come through by 2024-2025, there are no more new upcoming orders for Alstom from the 6 other operations which use the driverless Bombardier LIM propulsion technology.  Some Japanese use a similar technology but are tied through the Japanese government, to only use Hitachi products. The same for the lone Chinese operator, which bought the technology from Bombardier but must use Chinese built vehicles for future orders. The only other rapid transit operation that uses this technology as a functional rapid transit train is Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and they might buy from Japanese or Chinese companies due to the fact that, Bombardier is connected to a corruption scandal investigation of the former Prime Minister. Their last Mk 3 car order (27/4- section Trainsets) is expected to be filled next year (2022).

The future for the proprietary Movia Automatic Light Metro is quite gloomy and only three of the current seven systems built may be in existence by the late 2020’s.

lf other operators plan to stop using their SkyTrain technology. Toronto is replacing the Scarborough RT with a subway extension, which is now under construction.

Detroit will never replace its People Mover and plans to stop operating it in 2025.

New York’s Kennedy Airport, the JFK Air-Train operation, although now successful due to its low fair cost compared to a $52 cab ride was a 1 time only airport express line, same as Beijing China’s, Airport Express. The debate at Kennedy Airport is either to buy a small amount of new 2 section trainsets or extend either the subway and or the Long Island Railway directly to the airport instead.

Yongin, South Korea, a suburb of Seoul, has had an ongoing court battle with Bombardier over its Everline (a Skytrain like line from the end of a Metro Line to an Amusement Park) which may never get to its promised 75000 people a day break even point. This has forced the city to subsidize the Everline’s daily operation and through associated budgetary shortfalls cut back or cut off many city services.

Only Vancouver and maybe Kuala Lumpur (if it can forget the technology’s corruption tag) and a possible small order from New York will ever use this technology again. This not enough customers in long term for Alstom. They need hundreds if not, 1000+ orders for the technology to remain useful. It also directly competes with a purely Alstom designed train product, being used in several Metro and Light Metro operations including, the upcoming REM system in Montreal.

Two notes about the JFK AirTrain, which was a private venture including Bombardier, SNC Lavalin, the Port Authority and was part funded by Canada’s International Development Agency (CIDA). The line is subsidized by a $7 departure tax and to conform to New York law, the elevated line was designed to operate regular subway cars.

The JFK Airtrain's guideway was designed to operate regular metro or subway trains.

As MALM is a proprietary light metro system, despite the snake oil TransLink, the provincial government and the mayor’s council on Transit tries to sell, I would doubt any other company would design a LIM powered vehicle for the remaining three lines, unless the operating authorities paid the full cost!

Like Germany’s Wuppertal Schwebeban (monorail), future car orders will need to be custom made. This is also the problem with Seattle’s 60 year old Alweg monorail, which original manufacturer is long gone!

Despite premier Horgans election promise of extending SkyTrain to Langley, cost and availability of LIM powered vehicles, may put an end to SkyTrain expansion, once and for all.

What then?

Te Expo Line will probably be extended to Fleetwood, with the completing leg to Langley promised to come at a later date, a la the Evergreen Line, which was the uncompleted portion of the the old Broadway Lougheed rapid transit project.

The competing Broadway subway, which I have been told is also over budget, has so many politicians, bureaucrats, and academics who have placed their personal and career credibility on, that it would be easy for all blame the failure of the Expo Line reaching Langley on the present mayor of Surrey.  His fibbing about the $1.65 billion cost building the line to Langley, which has now escalated to over $4 billion will not go well with taxpayers, who have to ante up another billion dollars on top of much higher living costs and taxes, due to Covid, already stretching people’s paychecks.

This begs the question;  Will SkyTrain Light Metro Ever Reach Langley?

Will SkyTrain Ever Reach Langley?


16 Responses to “Will SkyTrain Light Metro Ever Reach Langley?”
  1. Bill Burgess says:

    Mr Cow noted that, for their Skytrain, Malaysia “might buy from Japanese or Chinese companies”.

    Does that mean Skytrain is proprietary in Canada but not elsewhere? Or is that another partial acknowledgement that the whole ‘Skytrain is proprietary’ argument is wrong?

    Zwei replies: As China pirated certain patents with the MALM system, they are not allowed to sell such vehicles in Canada. As for the proprietary issue, I have contacted several experts outside of Canada and all have said that the MALM system is a proprietary railway.

    Remember, SkyTrain is the name of the regional light metro system, which operates the proprietary Movia Automatic Light Metro system.

  2. zweisystem says:

    It seems, from very heavily redacted F.O.I., there seems to be no other bidders for the MK.3/4 car tender. Also heavily redacted is the guideway construction, due to proprietary issues!

  3. Bill Burgess says:

    ‘China’ not allowed by whom to sell Malm-like vehicles in Canada? Can you provide a source on this?

    And can you please post or extensively quote the FOI so we can see what you are referring to?

    Zwei replies: Simple to understand if you want to; if one steals patents one cannot profit by selling the item using stolen patents, to countries where those patents are registered in. This was made clear during the Evergreen line era.

  4. Haveacow says:

    Both the Japanese and Chinese operators of LIM technology (Linear Induction Motor), must buy from their national provider, Japanese LIM operators from Hitachi, and China’s single LIM operation from CRRC. Both the Chinese and Japanese LIM technology are not compatible with Bombardier’s/Alstom’s technology which is the LIM technology Vancouver uses. This is done by design. All these LIM technology providing companies do this to protect their existing market share. When Bombardier has only 7 operators world wide using their LIM technology, they purposely made their technology as difficult and expensive as possible to legally copy. This way, they never loose a LIM customer, unless they stop using LIM technology altogether, like Toronto and Detroit. If you loose too many operators, due to operators abandoning the LIM technology or loosing operators to other companies selling a competing LIM product, the cost of design as well as the manufacturing of new vehicles to this already tiny existing customer base becomes so high, it\’s not worth doing. This is probably the one of the reasons why only one company, Bombardier, ended up bidding on Vancouver’s Skytrain order. This lack of outside bidders and the tiny customer base is why the LIM Skytrain trainsets Vancouver buys from Bombardier/Alstom are already so expensive, compared to other rail transit technology on offer.

    Remember, these driverless, LIM powered trainsets are supposed to be extremely simple, easy to maintain and cheap unfortunately, the exact opposite has long been true.

    Yes, CRRC and Hitachi could design a vehicle for Vancouver that would work on the existing system but because of the design, financial and 3rd party legal proprietary safeguards Bombardier/Alstom have already put into their technology, it would be too expensive for Bombardier/Alstom’s competitors to engineer and build a compatible trainset, considering the tiny size of the total market. It’s just wouldn’t be worth it for them. Unless, the product CRRC or Hitachi produced was so massively discounted that both were virtually giving their product away. This is known as “dumping” and is illegal. Both CRRC and Hitachi have been accused of this more than once in the past, by the way, Bombardier and Alstom have also been caught dumping as well. The entire rail transit industry has broken the law many times, it is quite common, no one is innocent, there is just too much money involved to leave anything to chance or fair play.

  5. zweisystem says:

    Zwei has been told by a source across the pond (who wishes to remain anonymous), that 2022, due to Covid and spiraling costs, the major manufacturer of rail transit vehicles are going to greatly prune their product lines and concentrate on a select line of product. Today’s push is for “Green” transit means R and D is being spent on hydrogen powered trains and enhanced battery powered or power storage systems trains for existing railways and transit operators.

    The crux of the matter is this, production of still in production proprietary railways will be phased out sooner, rather than later.

    As has been mentioned often here is that our SkyTrain light metro system has been one of the most studied, new build, transit systems in the world, yet no one has copied our exclusive use of light-metro and that salient fact has been ignored by the SkyTrain Lobby. Today, we have one of the most expensive, under performing rapid transit systems in the world (costs far too much for what it does) and the rest of the world knows this and have avoided our mistakes.

  6. Bill Burgess says:

    Zwei, again, “made clear” by whom; your source please (about ‘China’ being prohibited to sell products to Translink). If you can’t provide a credible source I think we should conclude your point is unfounded.

    And, if there was some such barrier in the past does it still apply, given that ‘everyone’ (Vancouver’s Chief Engineer, Translink, Bombardier’s VP, etc.) say such patents do not exist/have expired.

    Mr Cow, I accept your point about the high cost of someone else developing and producing a MALM-like product. But given that Translink’s report on the bid process for the new cars states there *was* a second bidder can you substantiate your claim there was not?

    Zwei replies: This was all from the Evergreen line days and the Chinese did not even tender a bid on the most current order attests that what I have said is factual. Vancouver’s Chief Engineer is so fast and loose with the truth it boarders on professional misconduct, TransLink is busy redacting so much from F.O.I.’s about the last order that what is released is all but useless and by the way, Bombardier doesn’t own it any more and Alstom has acquired the patents.

    To be blunt, TransLink refuses to name the under-bidder and their bid, which certainly points to the fact their was only one bid and one bid only. Is it not the accepted rule to reveal the name of bidders and the final bid on public projects? The whole concept of bidding on public projects is to have an open and fair process.

  7. Haveacow says:

    Just because the report said there was a second bidder doesn’t mean it’s a viable bidder.

    There were 6 bidders (Consortia) for the Stage 1 Confederation LRT Line during the RFQ (Request For Qualifications) stage, only 3 made it to the RFP (Request For Proposal) stage. Federal funding means you have to create a corporate entity to qualify under their P3 legislation to receive federal funding (Public-Private-Partnership). In most cases the bidders create consortiums that are publicly verifiable and financially viable because they have to qualify for loans and hire staff. These corporate entities group together many companies that can do all the individual jobs required to create the project in question, in this case, the First Stage of the Confederation LRT Line.

    Later I found out that, 2 of the 3 consortia that had been cast aside, weren’t even full consortiums but single companies, rail vehicle manufacturers in fact, claiming to be part of a group of companies that had full financing, design, project management and engineering knowledge, which they clearly did not. Hell, one of them named their consortium and when it was checked out, it didn’t even have a GST number yet.

    The Azur Metro Trainset Example

    During the process to buy Montreal’s new generation of Metro Trainsets, which later became the Azur Trainsets, officials in charge of the project at the City of Montreal and the STM (Societe de transport de Montreal) took a lot of political heat because they allowed both Bombardier and Alstom to group together to form a consortium for a single bid on the Metro Trainset Project (which they eventually won). Montreal’s Metro uses rubber tire trains. Both Bombardier and Alstom were the 2 world leaders in this technology. The public viewed it as an attempt by two train producing companies to corner the market and force Montreal to accept an overly expensive non-competitive bid. Let’s face it, there are only 3 or 4 makers of rubber tired trains in the world. If the 2 largest form a single bid, they can charge anything they want to and there is very little Montreal could do about it.

    The bidding process for the project was becoming a public relations nightmare so officials announced that another bid had been received from the Southern China Railway Rollingstock Corporation, one of the main component companies that formed the Chinese railway train making giant CRRC. When the details of their bid was made public, boy did the s— hit the fan.

    The SCRRC had proposed a steel wheeled Metro Trainset designed for steel track, not the steel and concrete track system Montreal’s rubber tire metro used. This bid would force the entire Montreal Metro to change it’s entire track structure. The attitude of the SCRRC was that, Montreal had to get with the program and use the track system the entire rest of the world used. The SCRRC had never designed a rubber tired trainset before, had no intention of designing a rubber tire trainset and chastised Montreal for asking for a rubber tire trainset.

    When this joke of a bid was rejected and it was rejected quite publicly, the SCRRC took the STM and the City of Montreal to court claiming that there bid hadn’t been taken seriously and both organizations had acted in bad faith. It held up the project for a year and a half but the SCRRC eventually lost however, both the City of Montreal and the STM had their hands legally slapped because they allowed the RFQ process to become public. This is why both the RFQ and RFP process is usually a very quite, non public thing. The only public parts are when the RFQ process ends and a short list of bidders is publicly announced for the RFP process. When the winner of the RFP is chosen it is allowed to be publicly announced.

    The moral of the story, even non viable, non serious bidders have to be treated like serious bidders or else you get sued!

  8. zweisystem says:

    So, reading between the lines, there could have been a second bidder, who had no vehicle to for TransLink to bid for, hoping to win the bid, then design a vehicle to operate on the proprietary railway at a later date.

    This reminds me of the Canada Line, where Premier Campbell and Min, of Trans. and today’s BC Liberal leader hopeful, Kevin Falcon,did not understand why only SNC Lavalin/Bombardier could only bid for their faux OP-3, the Liberal government opened the bidding up by having SNC Lavalin bid against itself with a conventional metro, with 2 bidders, Alstom and Siemens ejected from the bidding process because they wanted to use light rail vehicles, offering the ability to network off the grade separated route, enabling the the Canada line to be cost effectively extended top Steveston and ironwood mall! Camopbell and Falcon did not want any hint of LRT in the bidding process and the result is a classic transit White elephant.

  9. Haveacow says:

    To be more accurate, the Japanese rule around LIM propulsion is not favoring one company, it’s really a Japanese only rule. Since Hitachi is the only company that really makes this technology consistently in Japan , it ends up always being them. I’m sure that other Japanese companies could build a competitive LIM propulsion system if they had the time and money to. However, since LIM propulsion based lines make only make up a tiny fraction of rail transit lines in Japan, other companies just don’t have any real financial or professional incentives to try and compete with Hitachi over this absolutely tiny market..

    The second bidder could have been CRRC with perfectly fine upstanding bid. However, given the fight with the Canadian government and China, over the 2 Michaels and Huawei, that could be political Kryptonite for everyone involved. I guess will never really know.

    As for the Azur rubber tire metro trainsets in Montreal, there was a sizeable minority that wanted the Chinese to win the court case and by winning, drag kicking and screaming the Montreal Metro System back into line with the vast majority of metros around the world, being forced to use conventional steel wheels and steel track. Thus lowering the cost for replacement trains forever. When the REM Light Metro system was announced many were upset it wasn’t a rubber tire based train. Not only did CDPQ Infra state they wanted a network that was separated from the metro but by design, operationally different than the metro. Then they told everybody how much a rubber tire based system would cost and begrudgingly the rubber tire supporters accepted their reasoning. Regardless of the marketing name, the REM just isn’t a Light Rail system, it is a Light Metro, using Alstom designed and built Light Metro/Metro trainsets.

    Lastly I say this, having other bidders is a good thing. I think it’s quite telling that Ville de Quebec’s LRT network was forced back into a RFP process, delaying the project for a year, because the people involved recognized that having too few bidders is a recipe for possible financial and technical disaster as well as the bringer of cries of corruption. They only had 1 solid bidder and a very very weak second bidder, whom was almost forgotten by the press when it was announced they would go back into and redo their RFP process.

  10. Bill Burgess says:

    Mr. Cow and Mr. Zwei, you have not substantiated your claims that there was no second bidder for the new Skytrain cars.

    It would not be surprising to learn that Translink has exaggerated the extent to which there was a true competitive process. It is obvious Bombardier would have many advantages over other would-be suppliers.

    But meanwhile there is (some) evidence there was a second bidder, compared to your ‘absence of evidence’ argument that no second bidder was named.

    From the Dec 17, 2020 Translink Board meeting (see the Skytrain Fleet Contract Award document beginning on p. 65 of https://www.translink.ca/-/media/translink/documents/about-translink/governance-and-board/board-of-directors/board-minutes-and-reports/2020/december/2020_12_17_public_board_meeting_agenda.pdf#view=fitH):

    “When the SkyTrain service began in 1985, the Linear Induction Motor (LIM) technology used to propel the
    existing Mark I, Mark II and Mark III SkyTrain cars was proprietary to Bombardier Transportation Inc. The
    patent for the LIM technology has since expired and as such, now allows for other manufacturers within
    the rail industry to build their own LIM system(s)”…

    “Through the course of general discussions with a number of these manufacturers, it was discovered that
    there were at least two possible organizations, other than Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc., that
    were interested in working on the project and could potentially manufacture a LIM type of railcar to meet
    TransLink’s requirements”…

    “When the RFI closed, three manufacturers had expressed interest in TransLink’s SkyTrain project, which
    confirmed there were an adequate number of companies to create a competitive environment to provide
    a solution for new SkyTrain cars”…

    “Major elements contained within the RFP were the performance specification, the project schedule
    milestones (i.e. BSP requirements, the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) funding
    deadlines), warranty program criteria, key performance indicators, service level requirements and other
    information structured to ensure the best overall solution. Proponents were asked to provide detailed
    responses to questions structured into technical and commercial areas to demonstrate how they would
    achieve the requirements.
    These areas included:
    • Technical Performance and Features
    • Quality Assurance
    • Project Delivery (i.e. approach to work, project schedule and key milestones)
    • Qualifications and Experience (i.e. key personnel, organizational structure and experience)
    • Financial and Corporate Stability
    • Pricing Information”…

    “TransLink received proposals from two companies. All information from the proposal submissions was
    provided to the technical and commercial evaluation teams, respectively, to be reviewed, assessed and
    consolidated into a final score.”

    “The first step in the evaluation process was to review each submission and assess the information
    provided based upon the following criteria;
    • Ability to provide LIM technology
    • Integration of LIM motors with the brake systems and Thales’ TOP ATC system
    • Meet all existing space envelope restrictions on the Expo and Millennium Lines (from performance
    • Not exceed the train weight and axle loads (from performance specification)”

    “To assist with the evaluation of the proposals, the [evaluation] teams initiated a clarification process with the two
    proponents through a presentation provided by each proponent and followed by comprehensive
    clarification questions based on the individual proposals. The evaluation teams received the clarification
    responses, which informed the pricing and technical information and guided the scoring”…

    “Ultimately, the consolidated scoring from the evaluation team identified the company with the
    best overall solution to meet TransLink’s needs; Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc.”…

    Finally, the report of the ‘Fairness Monitor’ refers several times to “proponents” (i.e., more than one), including up to the final evaluation stage: e.g.,

    “The evaluation was conducted by two teams of evaluators with expertise in technical and in commercial matters. I attended a selection of the meetings of both teams at which they discussed
    and graded the submissions. I observed that evaluators took a consistent approach to Proponents’
    submissions, discussed and instructed themselves appropriately on fairness-related issues as they
    arose, and conducted the evaluation in a manner consistent with both the RFP and the Evaluation

    Again, we don’t know how real this ‘competition’ was. Go ahead and voice skepticism. But don’t state things as facts until you have the requisite evidence for factual statements.

    Zwei replies: Mr. Burgess, enough of your BS. The attractive LIM’s used on the MALM vehicles (your refusal to use the term MALM hints at dishonesty) omits the salient fact that the patents were purchased by the UTDC From Krauss Maeffi. Subsequent upgrading meant new patents. Lavin acquired the patents from the UTDC and Bombardier did the same. Those patents were upgraded as the attractive LIM’s (used nowhere else because they are inefficient) as late as the MK. 4 cars. These patents are now owned by Alstom.

    Meanwhile SNC Lavalin has patents for the elevated guide ways and the interface with LIM powered MALM.

    I also find suspicious that you happen to have information that has been redacted by TransLink with recent FOI’s and I can only assume that you are a sophisticated troll to spread misleading information about the proprietary light metro and TransLink.

    As you list no actual bidders and only hint here and there, what you say is spurious indeed.

    The real problem is that no one gives a damn about out light metro system, because no one wants it simply because it is a “crappy system” (quote from a US Engineer).

    The SkyTrain Lobby remains deaf to the reality of the situation and like the SkyTrain for surrey folks, bend the facts to suit their own agenda. There are plenty of facts, including the fact that only 7 of these things have been built in the past 40 years; only 3 are seriously used for urban transit; 2 systems will be abandoned within four years; that MALM not only costs more than LRT to build, it costs moire to operate and maintain and lacks capacity; and the the list goes on.

  11. zweisystem says:

    To further this conversation, for the past 35 years, I have talked to so many real and I stress real transit experts, so many that I have lost count ans all of the experts who lived outside the metro Vancouver bubble and all have expressed the opinion that our SkyTrain light metro system was a very bad choice by the Premier of the day. Further expressing that continued bad choices by premiers who approved each extension and the continued use of the proprietary railway have greatly impeded the creation of a viable transit network.

    I must remind everyone that the final decision for each of the 3 (4 if you include the Evergreen Line, which is now the Millennium Line) rapid transit lines, including the approval for the Expo Line extension to Langley and the Broadway subway have come from the premiers office.

    The opinion from real transit experts, those who work in the industry such as Gerald Fox, and Haveacow (he wishes to remain anonymous) and a sundry of others who reside in the UK and Europe have all expressed the opinion that our Skytrain light metro system is extremely expensive for what it does, is poorly designed and operating on routes best suited for cheaper transit alternatives. By continuing to build with a proprietary light metro means the region will have a small ineffective rapid transit system that will do little in offering an attractive alternative to the car.

    This has made Vancouver and Translink an international joke more or less as we continue building an 1970’s style Edsel transit system, unsuited for the needs post 2021. All Vancouver is doing is giving an international lesson in “NOT HOW TO DESIGN AND BUILD A RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM.”

    That there are those who do not believe this and slander those who have spent much time and energy trying desperately to right the past wrongs is testament that the region will never have a usable and user friendly transit system, thus the region will never have the ability, other than the car for regional mobility.

  12. Bill Burgess says:

    Mr. Zwei, both Translink and Bombardier state the LIM patents have expired (Translink is quoted above, Bombardier in a recent comment). You have not cited *evidence* to the contrary.

    I hinted nothing, I quoted verbatim from a public document available on line – did you even read it?

    I have not pursued this point to defend Skytrain over light rail, etc. It is rather so we can focus on the real issues to do with transit in Vancouver rather than secondary points and your many unfounded assertions.

    Zwei replies: It would be in Bombardier’s interests to state that the Patents expired (which patents) as it would expose the fact that MALM is a proprietary railway. It would also apply to SNC lavalins patents because if it was known that SNC Lavalin was to receive federal money, it would be doing so illegally.

    Than no one has developed a compatible LIM demonstrates it is not worth the time or effort.

    Until you can show me in non redacted F.O.I.s regarding to the bidding process, I would say you are talking through your hat.

    Only the SkyTrain Lobby is worried about this issue.

  13. Haveacow says:

    A simple question why does Vancouver have a rail based rapid transit system that requires a 4th rail just to move from place to place? These LIM propulsion units don’t last longer than standard electric railway “Can” motors if they didm more transit properties would be using them. LIM units are definitely more expensive to buy and maintain.

    Every few thousand kilometres or so, it’s usually averages out to 25 days, at least with most Canadian rail transit vehicles anyway. Whether the train needs it or not, by law, the motors and other key operating technological components are removed tested and goes through some type of heavy preventative maintenance routine. Anyone who has ever been around trains has to have a routine like this.It goes by many different names depending on the transit or railway property. Anyone who has worked on both standard electric transit or mainline railway “flange or wheelgens” as well as LIM units all say the same things. LIM propulsion is more time consuming, requires more equipment and staff to do anything regarding maintenance. Even compared to the difficulty prone, Diesel Mechanical Drives used by certain DMU’s in Ottawa. I don’t know about the DMU’s used by the UP Express in Toronto, they are maintained by GO Transit and other than complaints about parts supplies, they seem to handle these much lighter pieces of equipment just as easily as the standard GO Train equipment.

    Why after working in the industry for, 25 to 30 years (o god I’m feeling old all of a sudden) why is this one of the most consistent complaints I hear about generation to generation, LIM propulsion is a pain to do maintenance if you have worked on both them or more standard electric motors.

    Even the automation system used by them is a pain (Citiflo 650) because nobody else uses it and it operates differently than other system used in Canada or the US. It actually shares more operational characteristics with automation systems used on elevators and airport people movers. The automation systems used in Ottawa for Citadis Spirit LRV’s on the Confederation Line (yes we have one) and in Toronto, the automation system used by the Flexity LRV’s on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT Line and Finch West LRT Line (yes they have them too) are built by different companies, for different LRV designs, but still operate similarly. Why is the Skytrain always the operational, technical and technological outlier. Why does nobody else in Canada use your trainsets or operating technology? The only other system in Canada that did use your technology, is happily, replacing it with a subway line extension.

    Toronto and Torontonians have written songs, plays and novels about their subway trains, songs about their buses and streetcars but rarely about the Scarborough RT, when they do, it’s to complain about how crappy it is compared to buses, streetcars, subway trains and GO Trains. Heck, Global TV in Toronto created a daily soap opera that always took place on a GO Train. Did you guys ever get to see or remember watching, Train #48? My point, is when transit passengers have a choice, the Skytrain technology isn’t a favorite choice for most. I would like Vancouverites, to have the same choice as people in other Canadian cities. Right now, you don’t have any choice.

    Zwei replies: There are those, who dream about wundersystems and because SkyTrain is driverless, a great portion of the public thinks it is cheap to operate. The same set of the SkyTrain Lobby do not understand maintenance schedules or preventive maintenance and the time consuming effort that is neede to keep a rail system in operation.

    In 1993, the GVRD, desperate to convey the message that the Expo Line was costing taxpayer’s dearly and that a change to LRT was imperative, showed in a study, that the cost to operate the Expo line to New Westminster was more than the entire diesel and electric bus system. Politics got in the way and those wanting to change the course of transit planning for much cheaper all around LRT, were quietly shown the door.

    Today, TransLink is full of yes men and ass kissers, forever pleasing their politcal masters to keep planning and building for light metro. The result is a gridlocked city, high tax and gas prices and regional transit system that is growing crappier by the day.

  14. Logi says:

    Broadway subway is over budget because they decided to buy more land that was not needed. Just look at broadway and granville. An entire block was demolished. A station entrance does not require an entire block. Same thing happened at Main street and cambie streets. The new station at Cambie will be an extension of the Canada line station and share the same entrance. Skytrain is not going to be obsolute. New trains will continue to be made. Skytrain is so much faster than street cars like the ones in Toronto. Torontos King street trams are slow.

    Zwei replies: The cost fopr the Broadway subway is increasing because the cost of cement and steel are rising at 2 or more times the rate of inflation (1.7%) and this is predicted to rise to 2.2% in 2022.

    As demand for new cars is quite low, production the line will probably end in 2025. Yes new cars can be made but at an increased cost.

    Skytrain is a light metro and light metro is for all intents and purposes, made obsolete by much cheaper light rail.

    Skytrain maybe faster than streetcars, but not faster than LRT, which is a streetcar operating in a dedicated rights of way, something most people do not realize.

  15. zweisystem says:

    he avatar Logi, uses a @gov.bc.ca address and I am assuming that either Logi is a troll or works for government.

    I have been informed (locally) there is great concern in the provincial government that there is not the funding, to complete other projects. As Premier Horgan promised Skytrain to Langley, it has been given priority, the problem is, regional mayors do not or will not fund the outstanding billions dollars to complete the line and the much needed rehab of the Expo and Millennium lines. With civic elections in 2022, increase taxes may mean political suicide for some candidates. As TransLink is held in high odor by the taxpayer, the funding may not materialize and the Langley extension may never be built.


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  1. […] So the opening of the Expo Line extension to Langley has been delayed to 2028, well don’t bet the farm on it as a more realistic date is 2030, if ever! RvtV just commented on this issue two posts ago: Will SkyTrain Light metro Ever Reach Langley […]

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