Zwei Sends A Letter

I will send the following letter to all municipal and provincial politicians in November  and it will be ignored, as usual.
This does not surprise me because our current lot don’t want to acknowledge the truth, lest they be embarrassed by past politically inspired decisions. Six figured salaried planners and engineers are merely telling politicians what they want to hear, more transit, billions of dollars more to try to patch up the system and extend it a few more kilometres.
The problem still remains, TransLink is largely held in high odor by the taxpayer.
Translated, this means huge new taxes on an already beleaguered taxpayer who has been hit hard by inflation, rents and taxes.
This is why TransLink’s CEO is a high priced American “spin doctor“whose job is to massage the truth so new tax hikes will be accepted by the taxpayer.
As with the previous post, most politicians haven’t a clue about transit and transit mode and are only concerned for photo-op ready projects which look good at election time.
A recent tilt with former politcal types on Facebook, extolling the virtues of SkyTrain and the need to build more ran square into an information wall, about SkyTrain, which good old Zwei dealt with every issue, calling out “man of straw” arguments and correcting TransLink’s favourite bits of fake news.
To say they were not happy was an understatement.
Last year, Zwei sent a letter to now premier Eby, asking for a judicial inquiry with transit and transit planning, which a reply stated “all further communication must go through a provincial barrister.” A cowards way out from dealing with reality.
This begs the question; “What was Eby afraid of?”
If you have the time, send or cut and paste the following to your city council, provincial MLA or Federal MP. It is time they face up to the reality of current transit planning, which is spending billions of dollars for politcal monuments and photo ops at election time and not much more.
I have been involved with transit issues in the lower mainland for over four decades. I have been a forty year member of the Light Rail Transit Association and through my long membership, I have been advised by transit experts, in Canada, the USA and Europe.
I am the person responsible for the Leewood Study, an independent study by Leewood Projects UK, about the viability of reinstating the former Vancouver to Chilliwack interurban service with modern TramTrain or light diesel multiple units, on behalf of the Rail for the Valley group.

Rail for the Valley:


Leewood Projects:

Leewood Study:

The Lower mainland has a glaringly expensive transit problem; Metro Vancouver mayors, the province and TransLink have approved spending around $11 billion dollars, extending the Expo and Millennium Light-Metro lines 21.7 km.

Is this a good investment of tax dollars or are the regional civic and provincial politicians condemning the region to a very expensive, yet obsolete regional rail system by doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for different results.

This massive expenditure, extending the Millennium and Expo Lines a mere 21.7 km will attract little new ridership because there will be little or no improvement for the transit customer, despite the promises of TransLink and the bellicose claims by regional mayors and politicians.

The $2.8 billion, 5.7 km Broadway subway, is literally a subway to nowhere. The terminus for the subway at Arbutus can be traced to the early 1990’s Broadway – Lougheed Light Rail Project, where the Arbutus Corridor was seen to connect to future LRT operating on the former interurban route. Subways have proven to be little incentive for attracting transit customers and a major inconvenience from forced transfers, bus to subway, means many former transit customers may opt for the car instead.

Subways are very poor in attracting new ridership, especially subways to nowhere.

In Surrey, the NDP political promise to extend the Expo Line to Langley, has grave financial implications, akin to the FastFerry fiasco, which has followed the provincial NDP as an Albatross around its political neck. Simply, the Millennium Line extension to Langley, like the FastFerries, has become far too costly, for what good it will do.

This possible $5 billion investment for 16 km of new line, confirms Bent Flyvberg’s Iron Law of Mega-projects specifically addresses why politicians are obsessed with infrastructure at any cost.

the “political sublime,” which here is understood as the rapture politicians get from building monuments to themselves and their causes. Mega-projects garner attention, and lend an air of proactiveness to their promoters. Moreover, they are media magnets, which appeals to politicians who seem to enjoy few things better than the visibility they get from starting mega-projects. Except maybe cutting the ribbon of one in the company of royals or presidents, who are likely to be lured by the unique monumental and historical import of many mega-projects. This is the type of public exposure that helps get politicians re-elected. They therefore actively seek it out.

It is time TransLink stops its deliberate game of confusion with Metro Vancouver’s light-metro system, which has led to decades ill-advised investments, which has cost the taxpayer many times more for the present light-metro system, than it should have.

Metro Vancouver’s regional light-metro system, is called SkyTrain and the SkyTrain light-metro system is made up of two distinct railways:

  • The Canada Line, a conventional railway, built as a light metro and uses ‘off the shelf’ Electrical Multiple Units (EMU’s) currently supplied by ROTEM of Korea. As built, the Canada Line, with 40 metre to 50 metre long station platforms, has limited its maximum capacity to around 9,000 persons per hour per direction, as it can only operate two car train-sets, 41 metres long.
  • The Expo and Millennium Lines operate an unconventional, proprietary and often renamed light-metro system, now called Movia Automatic Light Metro (MALM), whose cars are only supplied by Alstom. Alstom purchased Bombardier’s rail division, which includes the MALM system and no other car manufacturer has an “off the shelf” operating vehicle, let alone a production line for such a vehicle, thus the transit system is deemed proprietary as there is only one supplier.
The SkyTrain Light-metro System to scale, including station platform lengths.

BC Transit Rail

The MALM system uses linear induction motors (LIM’s) and is not compatible in operation with any other railway except its small family of six (Toronto has now ceased operation) systems.
The five previous names for MALM are, in descending order (owner of the proprietary railway in parenthesis):
  1. Innovia Light Metro (Bombardier)
  2. Advanced Rapid Transit (Bombardier)
  3. Advanced Light Metro (Lavalin)
  4. Advanced Light Rail Transit (the Urban Transportation Development Company)
  5. Intermediate Capacity Transit System (the Urban Transportation Development Company)
The five other transportation authorities, operating MALM systems will either abandon operation when the cars and guideways become “life expired” or have signaled they are not going to expand their systems, leaving Vancouver the sole customer for MALM.

A technology bias exists at TransLink. Internationally the MALM system is considered long obsolete as it costs more to build, operate, and maintain than conventional light rail or even a heavy rail metro. Cities that built light-metro, such as Ottawa and Seattle, use light rail vehicles, as they are much cheaper to operate and far more flexible in operation, especially for future expansion.

TransLink continues to use this cunning method of manipulating analysis to justify SkyTrain in corridor after corridor, and thus succeeds in keeping its proprietary rail system expanding.

Gerald Fox, Noted American engineer, retired.

TransLink’s well oiled propaganda machine, churning out ”fake news” and “alternative facts” has created the local SkyTrain myth. The SkyTrain myth has fueled the SkyTrain Lobby, which repeats TransLink’s fake news so much that politicians and the public have come to believe the SkyTrain myth.

The Broadway subway is nothing more than a "politcal gravy-train".

The Broadway subway is nothing more than an old style “politcal” gravy-train, inflating property values along its route.

The Broadway subway is testament to the power of the SkyTrain myth. Funding for the $2.83 billion Broadway subway has been approved, yet its foundation is one of half truths and questionable planning.

The North American Standard for building a subway is a transit route with traffic flows in excess of 15,000 persons per hour per direction (pphpd), yet peak traffic flows on the 99B Line is about 2,000 pphpd, based on 3 minute, peak hour headway’s. Maximum transit flows on Broadway are less than 4,000 persons per hour per direction!

TransLink’s two top planners were fired for their opposition to the subway, by publicly stating the obvious; that there wasn’t the ridership on Broadway to justify an almost $3 billion subway.

TransLink quite happily lets people believe that Broadway is the “most heavily used transit route in Canada“, but instead claims “This is our region’s most overcrowded bus route.”, when there is a threat of professional or legal accountability.

The problem with TransLink is that you can never believe what it says; TransLink never produces a report based on the same set of assumptions.”

Former West Vancouver Clr. Victor Durman, Chair of the GVRD (now METRO) Finance Committee.

The former Mayor of Surrey’s flip flop from LRT to SkyTrain was also predictable, as the bureaucrats at TransLink did their best to ensure this would happen.

The well oiled SkyTrain Lobby was in full force with every bit of classic fake news and alternative facts they could muster, yet ignored the fact that MALM is now unsalable internationally and only seven such systems (with only six in operation) have been built in over forty years and no sales for the past 18 years!

The former Mayor of Surrey’s election claim that a SkyTrain extension from King George station to Langley City could be completed for $1.65 billion, was later exposed to be false, yet the Mayor’s Council on Transit, the Minister of Transportation took no action!

The fix was in!

The $1.65 billion figure pales when compared to the present estimate of $4.6 billion to $5.1 billion.

The cost of the Surrey/Langley/Line is so expensive that the provincial government has broken the one project into two projects in an attempt to hide the true cost.

  1. The guideway project, with a cost estimate now of $4.1 billion.
  2. The Operations and Maintenance Centre #5 project, which must be completed before the line can enter into revenue operation, is now estimated to cost $500 million to $1 billion on top of the now estimated $4.1 billion for the guideway! The stated costs do not include the costs for new vehicles.

 TransLink, the provincial and federal governments stay mute on the true costs of extending the SkyTrain light-metro system.

With the NDP promising to complete the proprietary MALM railway to Langley, a very costly issue arises.

The aging Expo line is desperately in need of a major rehab. This rehab includes a major overhaul and expanded electrical supply; a new automatic train control system, all the switches being replaced on both the Expo and Millennium Lines to permit faster operation and all stations must be rebuilt to deal with the higher customer flows which come with a higher capacity. The rehab is said to cost between $3 billion to $4 billion and must be done before any extension to Langley is built.

TransLink has already signed a $1.47 billion resignalling contract with Thales, leaving the necessary and much needed electrical rehab and upgrades waiting for future funding.

The following quote from Thales’s news release should be of some interest

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.

The combined annual operating costs for the Broadway subway and the full Expo Line to Langley will exceed $70 million annually. Will this cost be taken from the regional bus system, to pay for two very questionable and politically frivolous transit projects?

If taxes are not greatly increased, this will certainly happen.

How is this to be funded?

Is a $4.6 to $5.1 billion expanding MALM 16km a good investment, especially when ridership on opening day, according to Translink, will be less than what the Broadway 99 B Line bus carried pre Covid?

By comparison, 2023 cost for The Rail for the Valley’s Leewood Study, for a 130 km, Vancouver (Marpole) to Chilliwack passenger service, using the former BC Electric Interurban Lines, servicing South Vancouver, South Burnaby, New Westminster, North Delta, Cloverdale, Langley, Abbotsford, Sardis and Chilliwack and connecting the many business parks, universities and colleges along the route, would cost under $1.7 billion.

TransLink does not support the Leewood Study’s Vancouver to Chilliwack rail service because it would outperform their $4.6 to $5.1 billion, 16 km extension to the Expo and Millennium Lines and very embarrassing questions would be asked.

But, eventually, Vancouver will need to adopt lower-cost LRT in its lesser corridors, or else limit the extent of its rail system. And that seems to make some TransLink people very nervous.”

Gerald Fox

With major demographic changes taking place, a major rethink must be done on how we provide an affordable regional rail system. Metro Vancouver’s light-metro system has been well studied, yet those cities who have done so, have invested in light rail instead!

Why, after four decades of unprecedented investment in regional rail transit, has no one copied Vancouver’s light metro system, including the exclusive use of the proprietary MALM system?

Two of the Advanced Rapid Transit (ART) systems built in Malaysia and Korea have embroiled both the patent holders, SNC Lavalin and Bombardier in legal proceedings, including charges of bribery. For added insult, the American government refused to subsidize any ART system because it is overly expensive to build and operate and was poorly designed

Korea's EverLine can only operate 1 car trains.

Korea’s EverLine can only operate 1 car trains.


Because of this, the Canadian Overseas Development Bank funded the New York Port Authorities “Airtrain” (known as SkyTrain in Vancouver) to save embarrassment to Bombardier Inc., which have been good friends with the federal government.

New York's AirTrain

New York’s AirTrain

It is time to put an end to MALM expansion or the provincial government and current mayors, will become like Marley’s ghost, dragging an ever longer chain made of empty cash-boxes, IOU’s, red ink, bare purses and increased taxes wrought in union made steel, election, after election for decades to come.

Remember the FastFerries?

Today, TransLink continues to be toxic with taxpayers and extending MALM to Langley or continuing the Broadway subway to UBC will make TransLink and all who supported the gold-plated extensions radioactive politically, on a Chernobyl scale.

For forty years regional and civic transportation planners and engineers have got it wrong. But, because of very good, publicly funded PR machines in Victoria, and local cities and municipalities, plus the lack of any honest reporting by the mainstream media, regional politicians keep building with the obsolete light metro. Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain light-metro system has convinced other cities to build with light rail because there is no advantage building the much more expensive light metro system.

It is time regional politicians rethink present regional rail transit planning, where today’s hugely expensive planning will exacerbate growing congestion and gridlock in the region and certainly greatly increase already high taxes. The SkyTrain light-metro system has become a politcal “tar-baby” and continues to be a showcase how Metro Vancouver’s regional transit planning has continued to get it wrong!

In the US, all new transit projects that seek federal support are now subjected to scrutiny by a panel of transit peers, selected and monitored by the federal government, to ensure that projects are analyzed honestly, and the taxpayer interests are protected. No SkyTrain project has ever passed this scrutiny in the US.

Gerald Fox

Who is not afraid to bell the TransLink cat?


16 Responses to “Zwei Sends A Letter”
  1. legoman0320 says:

    I am like transit rider. Not Transit planner!!!

    import Haveacow and zweisystem knowledge of Transit solutions/participated feedback for transit agencies.

    Questions Public transportation:

    1. Whether the important destinations or Locations Skytrain Missed?(in Lower mainland)

    2. What side of the fence are you on for transit agencies making money?(no tax)

    3. What’s your fascination or preference with LRT’s over other rail options?

    4. Best in North American transit system?

    5. What Zwei mentioned. user unfriendly the skytrain explain in detail?

    6. Is there a problem flexible services of the skytrain?(to other rail Options)

    Plz!!! better understand your point of view Transportation.

    Zwei replies:

    I will answer your questions.

    1: One has to remember ALRT (SkyTrain was a name chosen by a contest on CKNW Radio) was a politcal deal between the then BC Social Credit government and the Conservative Ontario government with the Ontaio government selling an unsalable light metro system in exchange for the then famous “Blue Machine” to enable the Social Credit to win the next election.

    Instead of the originally planned LRT going from Vancouver to Richmond, Whalley and Lougheed mall, we got ALRT to New Westminster built largely on the former Central Park Interurban Line. ALRT basically served downtown Vancouver.

    2: Very few transit agencies actually make money and the vast majority survive by subsidies. As the SkyTrain light metro system is very expensive to operate it needs more subsidy, thus higher taxes, for generally the same service. The metro Vancouver Study, the cost of Transportation in the lower mainland published in 1993 found the Vancouver to New West ALRT system was subsidized over $157 million annually – more than the diesel and electric buses combined. Higher subsidies = higher taxes.

    3: Light Rail is a family of transit systems that use a tram and is extremely flexible and cost effective in operation. The tram (or streetcar if you prefer} can be used as a: 1) streetcar operating in mixed traffic; 2) as LRT operating on a dedicated R-o-W giving a service comparable to a light metro at a far cheaper cost; 3) as a light metro on a grade separated guideway as done in Seattle, Ottawa and several other cities; 4) as a passenger train operating on the mainline as well as it’s own R-o-W; and 5) LRT can operate as all above on one route, giving the customer a very fast door to door travel time. LRT can also carry freight in standard containers and can operate heritage trams as a tourist attraction and even provide privately operated restaurant trams which tend to be popular. This is called “flexibility” of service.

    SkyTrain can only operate as a light metro

    4: Best in North America. I think not as with transit the best is copied and no one has copied Vancouver. The best in North America is for local consumption only as only seven such systems have been sold in over 43 years, with now only six remaining in operation and no interest in the system since 2005. Doesn’t sound “best” to me.

    A note; If we had built with LRT as originally planned, today we would have had a vast network extending from Vancouver to UBC, Whiterock, and the Fraser Valley to Chilliwack. metro Vancouver would have been the leader in modern public transport but instead we are a footnote.

    5: The 2000 Professor of Urban Transport (Germany), Hass-Klau study deemed user friendliness was the key for good public transport. As Metro Vancouver’s percentage of people using transit has only increased at the same rate as population growth for over 20 years, with roughly 14% of the population taking transit, one can say our system is not attracting new ridership thus it is user unfriendly.

    6: What we call SkyTrain is in fact two very different railways: The Canada Line which is a conventional railway that uses EMU’s and the Expo and Millennium Lines which use the proprietary ALRT/ART/MALM light metro system solely produced by Alstom after they bought Bombardier’s rail division.

    Every real expert i have talked to has stated that TransLink and the province must plan fo light rail simply because the cost of extending the present light metro system will be unaffordable. Already we are spending $11 billion to extend the E&M lines a mere 21.7 km and further planned extensions will be more. I have just heard that a viable SkyTrain extension to the North Shore would be a minimum of $10 billion in today’s money.

    We cannot afford this gold plated Edsel system and with light rail we have a much cheaper option, opening the door to many affordable transit solutions otherwise ignored because of the strict operating and construction parameters of light metro.

    I have also been told by a local engineer that the Langley extension is now estimated to cost $6 billion because the crossing the Serpentine Valley will be hugely expensive for building a viaduct needed by light metro, which was one of the many reasons LRT was being planned.

    I hope this answers your questions.

  2. Major Hoople says:

    We also rejected your Skytrain early on as we found it not conforming to EU regulations.

    Milan almost purchased the system but rejected it after a more investigation and found it poorly built and not what was advertised.

    When we tried to convince your people with the now called Canada Line that LRT would be a superior choice we were cut from the bidding process.

    I believe our bid was not made public, but with so much water passing under the bridge our bid, using trams would have serviced downtown Vancouver, YVR, Steveston in Richmond and the Richmond Olympic Oval for much less cost than what you have today.

    Evidently this much superior plan scared many politicians and we were, liquidated.

  3. Transport4u says:

    What if the expo and millennium lines were upgraded to be more conventional, like the Canada line? Would it make it much better and cheaper to operate?

    The Canada line should have its station platforms made longer to allow more capacity.

    The sky train extension on Broadway is about real estate to increase density and make money for developers. The city of Vancouver now has plans for a new 30-floor building on Arbutus.

    Metro Vancouver should get more regional trains like Toronto. West coast express is like the go trains in Toronto.

  4. legoman0320 says:

    And From what I understand is zwei just want better or more coverage Lower mainland and Fraser Valley on rapid transit.

    Question 1, Cover more of the city with LRT. Well, this could go on into hyperthetical. Can’t change the past.

    Question 2, Operational cost has fluctuated same with Substudies(aka tax Dollars)
    Question 3, Open to the public, it was a light metro. Now Medium Metro( Definition 20,000) In the future, it can be a heavy metro(60,000+) We have a change at the frequency up 60 Seconds like London’s Victoria line

    Question 4 I left it vague. So better Transit agency or Transit entity in North America.(not Translink)

    Question 5, European Transit uses to North American travel patterns. Certain trips better not done by transit at all in North America like Furniture, Groceries, Night shift(12AM) or Early morning(at 4AM) and To the corner store. family 4 or greater is too costly to take transit for a month or Day trip. ($50-1000+)

    Question 6, Translink already has put for the priorities on extensions. We don’t know the true costs until it’s completed. Until the Fraser Valley puts 4 for plan Transport in the region. F*** stuck with buses. Politics and transit enter twine use public funds/Tax dollars.

    Thales say “It was vital to plan for greater Vancouver regional growth, so authorities opted for an advanced rapid transit system – one that blended the technology of conventional subways, LRT and APM systems – one that could easily expand.
    BC Transit was open to incorporating innovative technology: linear induction motors, steerable axle trucks, and continuous magnetic reaction braking. But the biggest decision was to make SkyTrain completely automated – a driverless train – one of the world’s first.
    On the initial Expo Line, SelTrac CBCT controls up to 34 two-to-six car trains averaging a service speed of over 40 km/h, capable of 90 km/h (55 mph) maximum speed. Reduced headway is as low as 75 seconds.” New MK5 trains With the design capacity 672 and Crush capacity 1207.
    Expo Line Maximum pphpd 40,000(math 108 Seconds ÷ Minute = 1.8 Minutes ÷ 60 Minutes/Hour= 33.3 X MK 5 Crush or Designed capacity = 40,233+ or 22,377) Spending capital money up front improving upgrading Overtime Capacity and amenities. Expo line and M line operations cost are equal or better other automated metros.
    In-house Management
    Better technology( Cheaper to maintain)

  5. zweisystem says:

    The first question I ask is “Show m the money.” Show me the funding.

    They can’t and reading through metro Vancouver’s/TransLink’s bumf, they are heavily depending on federal dollars and both the Liberals and the conservatives have indicated present cost sharing transit projects will cease. So current statements about transit expansion is nothing more than propaganda.

    So that being said, i will answer your questions.

    1) We can easily build up to 10 times more with LRT/tram than we can with SkyTrain, which means more transit accessibility and more ridership.

    2) Skytrain costs about 60% more to maintain and operate than conventional light metros and light rail, one of the big reasons no one wants it.

    3) Never heard of medium metro and it is light metro, name changing only shows how dishonest those promoting SkyTrain are. Today’s legal maximum capacity of the Expo line is 15,000 pphpd, increased to 17,500 pphpd after a $1.5 re-signalling job. The Millennium Line has a maximum capacity of slightly of around 4,000 pphpd and will increase to 7,500 according to Thales news release. Increasing headway’s is costly as not only the system have to be again re-signaled, hugely expensive alterations must be done to stations to cater to increased customer flows. Again, show me the money.

    4) As no one has copied Vancouver’s planning or management style, I doubt TransLink is anywhere near the top of Transit agencies.

    5) Most European transit agencies offer great incentives for customers using transit, in Vancouver TransLink does not. The nonsense of free transit also has proven to not to work as transit tends to operate as a social service decays.

    6) As Alstom is probably cease production of the ART/MALM car (SkyTrain is TransLink’s name for the light metro) future extensions are more a wish list to give politicians photo-ops and 10 second sound bites. Again show me the funding! Already TransLink is on a fishing expedition to abandon the Langley extension and use the funding for the subway to UBC. More on that after the next provincial election.

    By the way, crush capacity is more of a politcal statement than a practical one. In today’s world, with almost everyone carrying backpacks and the constant entering and exiting trains, “crush” capacity is nothing more than a theoretical calculation.

    Your last paragraph is more of wishful thing than anything else. to carry 40,000 pphpd, you would have to operate 10 car trains and rebuild every station on the system to handle the vastly increased passenger flows. The rest of your claims is stuff and nonsense and your last sentence is just plain silly.

    Again I ask, “show me the money” because what you claim to want will cost in the tens of billions of dollars, which would cause a taxpayer’s revolt.

  6. legoman0320 says:

    Kenneth Chan say “From this order, the Expo Line and Millennium Line’s capacities are slated to increase to 17,500 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) and 7,500 pphpd, respectively. These increases represent a 32% and 96% boost in carrying capacity, respectively, over existing capacities.”

    In 2019 Expo Line math 108 Seconds ÷ Minute = 1.8 Minutes ÷ 60 Minutes/Hour= 33.3 X MK 3 532-940=17,556 round 17,500 max 31,020 pphpd. Millennium Line’s math Minute = 2 Minutes ÷ 60 Minutes/Hour= 30 X MK 2 256-300=7,680 round 7,500 max 9,000 pphpd.

    in 2023 TransLink say “By 2029, we expect to be able to serve about 20% more customers on Expo Line, and 50% more on Millennium Line during the busiest times of the day.” Mk 1 train 498 x33= capacity 16,434 pphpd. MK 2 train 532 x33= capacity 17,424 pphpd.

    Incremental Capacity Increases 2023 MK 1 MK 2 MK 3 at 17000 pphpd in 2027 MK 5, MK 3, MK 2, 21000 at pphpd. in 2030 MK 5 MK 3 at 22,176 pphpd 2050 MK 5 30,000-40,000 pphpd NO Platform Extensions

    zwei say show me the money. Cost sharing 50% of BC provincial 50% federal on Langley Extension.

    Translink diversifying of funding: P3, naming rights for stations, Increasing retail options, Advertisements, Real estate, Transit bond, Merchandise, Compass products, R&D Transit agencies, Carbon tax, gas tax, Municipal tax, Hydro Levy, Clean BC Fund and Fairbox revenue.

    Federal Permanent transit fund start 2026 For the other extensions or new lines of Skytrain and Rapid Bus.
    Public transit fund of $3 billion per year.

    Rail of Valley problem: duplicating rapid services, Missing connections to City centers, Conflicts with Cargo services( Increasing double track), Propose frequency is low and not time competitive with other forms of Transport Options( Highway 1 and FVX Bus).

    In 2012 Port authority Vancouver and translink say need Quartrack Some sections not interfere with freight traffic or passenger services.

  7. zweisystem says:

    Zwei replies: Kenneth Chan does not do any research and treats News Releases as news, they are not. The Hive is the most unreliable news source around.

    In order to achieve the 17,500 capacity limit, the line must be re-signalled; the electrical supply must be rehabbed (no contract for that yet) and all the switches on the Expo line must be replaced (this is hugely expensive as it means extensive changes to the guideway) with high speed switches.

    As for capacity increases, a 5 car MK.2/5 train has a slightly longer and gangway ed throughout something TransLink could have provided 20 years ago!

    The rest, to be polite is pure bumf. As Chan and the Hive has been the mouthpiece for TransLink and much of what is printed is more wish than fact.

    Rail for the Valley is not duplicating services, but you are ignorant and wish to believe so, be my guest. My final prediction is that despite Chan, the Hive and the SkyTrain lobby, there will be no new SkyTrain extensions after the resolution of the Expo line to Langley. both no new tax monies and Alstom’s abandonment of the The MALM system.

    My advice to you is to read real books on transit and not the fish wrap the Hive is.

  8. zweisystem says:

    By the way, this is a recent Email from an MTA Engineer commenting on Kevin Quinn:

    ……………yeah he really screwed up the Baltimore system when he was here with his hasty “LINK” revamp that forces almost everyone to make more transfers and a 3% annual loss of ridership boardings (according to National transit database) BEFORE Covid.

    it will take us years to undo his damage,

    good news for us, bad news for you, watch him like a hawk he will try to pull fast ones and bait and switch.

    the Most almost violent public hearing I’ve ever been to in 50 yrs turned into a near riot at our War Memorial meeting hall witch holds 500 seated and it was standing room only. he finally ducked out a back door. and he ignored everything said at meeting.

    (I have photos!)

    take care

    Name withheld

    I rarely comment on transit administrators but in his case I make an exception.

    I would say Translink hired Quinn as a “Spin doctor”, a la Joseph Goebbels, to spread propaganda to the likes of the Hive and the Mayor’s Council and all who can listen.

  9. zweisystem says:

    I will add this to your comment. 30 story building does not guarantee ridership, the transit must go where the customer wants to go. Here is the problem I see, Metro Vancouver’s demographic is changing and as rents and leases increase, small businesses and offices are moving Eastward. Our rapid transit system is based on a 9 to 5 office hours, catering to rush hour traffic. This is changing, so for the costly investment, our r/T system is too expensive to service new development East in the Fraser Valley.

    This means the classic close headway metro, offering high capacity is slowing becoming redundant as ridership changes. The congested lines to UBC are congested by the $1 a day U-Pass and one just cannot maintain a hugely expensive metro system on $1 a day universal tickets!

    with costs now approaching $300 million/km to extend the MALM lines and the billions needed for subways, the bulk of the population will find current transit planning as stale as week old bread.

    Rail for the Valley offers an alternative that goes to more destinations at an affordable cost and this scares the crap out of TransLink, the City of Vancouver and the provincial NDP, who are wedded to SkyTrain rapid transit.

  10. legoman0320 says:

    Transport Canada can give out a certification of Metro operations to TTC, STM and BCRTC not limits on capacity.
    Signaling is how many trains per hour. Not How many people per hour? But you can put it together, and you can give it as the Passengers per hour per direction(pphpd).

    TTC Line 1 is now at 32,000-21,500 pphpd 2-3 min before the upgrades 16,000-13,000 pphpd 4-5 min
    Translink 2012 Expo line 17,000 pphpd now Official at 18,000 pphpd with new trains MK5 20% Increase on capacity 2029 21,500 pphpd

    Toronto 1954, the first Canadian Subway/Metro. Reason Biggest city in Canada.

    Edmonton 1978 First modern LRT North America and Canada.
    Calgary joining in 1981 C-Train. New train technology.

    Montreal 1985 Rubber tire metro.
    Follow Paris Transit planning.

    Vancouver 1986 LIM powered Metro.
    21st century technology for the expo 86

    2000 Waterloo and Ottawa Low floor LRT. Have busy bus upgraded to rail.

    As a nation, we have been all over the place Rapid transit rail or Rubber Tires.

    Customers are the people who use public transit and satisfaction is up be providing an adequate service. More people complain about expansion/Lines or No extensions/Lines.

    Proposals from locals of where they want Skytrain to go.
    1977 North Shore line.
    Canada line Propose 1982Or arbutus Greenway.
    sometime Broadway Subway project.
    Around the 2000 Extension to Langley, Extension into Coquitlam, Hastings Line
    2010 ist Extension Maple Ridge, White Rock to Coquitlam Line. Marine Drive line.
    Oh, and the most weirdest one North Shore to Horseshoe Bay and Canada line extension to BC ferries terminal

    I can’t read that well. But I can listen to audio books.
    More about people traveling and the people that they meet on transit. With works and what doesn’t work for the customer using public transit. Alone for more are opportunities And destinations, they wouldn’t have gone too.

    Tell me or zwei the most important thing that, I or you have Learned in transit?:

    Convenient, Heading and Where

    Every 5 minute is over, right. But No one wants to wait.

    *quality of service
    How do you feel while using the service.

    Zwei replies: I call bullshit when I see it.

    Transport Canada’s operating certificate for the Expo and millennium Lines is a maximum capacity of 15,000 pphpd and capacity can only be increased after certain conditions are met.

    The rest is nothing more than 1980’s BC Transit and Translink bumf

  11. Major Hoople says:

    When we have worked with your TransLink, we found that most of the information emanating from them was unreliable. The same was true for your MoT.

    TransLink used theoretical numbers for capacity based on 4p/m2 to 8p/m2. Actual fact 3p/m2 would be the most accurate for crush loading.

    Vancouver is not Japan and safety rules would prohibit higher capacity numbers.

    Many of our urban/suburban regional railways operate in conjunction with freight and what probably is needed is a modern signalling system and proper time tables.

    The problem with your stations is not platform lengths, rather the ability of high passenger flows to enter and exit a station. My memory tells me that most of your stations, except for your deep tube stations, have only escalators going up and not down. In high passenger flows this can be very dangerous and not allowed in Europe.

    This must be addressed and if the stations were not designed so, very expensive.

    I agree with Zwei that the MK 5 cars are nothing more than updated MK.2 and would not have much capacity increase, unless you take out seating.

    The big question, which Zwei keeps asking, what will happen if Alstom abandons production. Vancouver remains the only customer.

    LIM powered trains are really a niche product and have proven expensive to operate. Modern electric motors are extremely reliable and easy to maintain and unless you are considering a MAGLEV avoid LIMs at all costs.

    Vancouver is recognized as a city which does not listen to good advice and continues along a course that is both unaffordable and glowingly unable to cope with today’s transit ills, let a lone the futures!

  12. zweisystem says:

    It is quite evident that you work for TransLink because you parrot the same sort of drivel that has been parroted for over 40 years. Despite all the hype and hoopla, only 7 ALRT/ART systems have been built, with now only 6 in operation. The last four systems sold, Bombardier’s ART, were either built after “success fees” were paid to senior bureaucrats and politicians to build it or the Canadian Overseas Development bank funded it because the American government rejected federal funding due to the high cost and questionable ability of the system and one was sold so LIM secrets could be obtained without patent infringement.

    Hell of a record!

    You list all the man of straw arguments that have so skillfully used to sell the damn thing but the biggest yet is your utter failure to deal with costs associated with the proprietary light metro.

    Actually your screed matches one sent to this blog back in 2011, so i guess LegoMan, you just changed your name to hide the guilty.

    Your list of extensions amounts to well over $50 billion and federal government will not and I guarantee, will not fund 50%.

    As I said I have had over 40 years talking and receiving notes from real experts and all of them have all stated that is was extremely bad planning to continue planning and building SkyTrain. No one recommended continued construction. But TransLink continues and why not, a provincial government that builds rapid transit to win elections; civic government that wants SkyTrain to inflate property values and the over 1,000 bureaucrats at TransLink who earn over $100K annually planning for transit they know will never be built.

    If the Hive was a real newspaper, those are the stories it should go after and not being a paperboy for TransLink.

  13. legoman0320 says:

    If you forgot SkyTrain network is currently have 79.6 km most trackage in Canada for rapid transit.

    Skytrain originally opened with MK 4 to 6 car Trains Frequency of 4 minutes now 108 Second frequency Mix of rolling stock MK1, MK2, MK3. Only expecting 30,000 per day.( SkyTrain documentary)
    2 months after expo 86 It was between 50,000-60,000.
    Slowly expanding Regional rail system to the other municipalities and Increasing capacity when the demand is there.

    Mr. Hoople

    How do we know the cost difference between Light metro, heavy metro and light rail? SkyTrain is unconventional, so is Rubber tire metros they exist. And if we don’t count wages or Usage( Kilometers or miles moves) Cost difference of maintaining?
    What are the mechanical or components that need to be replaced rail vehicle: On the sky train LSM, Third and fourth contact rail, Doors and door sensors, PA system, Control Stand, on board computer, Magnetic Break, Friction break( Lack of better term), Articulating Bogey, Axles, Fan, heating, Lights, Windows, barriers, seat, High voltage and low voltage Inverters. 4 things that don’t belong to Heavy metro or LRT.

    Hasn’t been anything to hide since day one. Not an unmantist and it’s a lightly man system. Modular and to be expanded. Early days it was called a toy Train. 1. Transit planners that did visit Vancouver To see the automated skytrain or 2. Custom Specialty ordered Train sets. 3. New System and operations Needs Approval from the regulators of the country. And 4. other transit agencies want to have an In country manufacturing capability of Building and designing transit vehicles.

    on the crunch capacity that’s on the manufacturer.
    Ask Awesome Mobility solutions How they calculate that matrix?

    Mr. Zwei

    A can of worms. to Talk About other installations have their own stories and reasons.

    Let you have your problem with Translink neglecting your plan. But If you can’t move on from this simple thing, oh, boy.

    Only SL Extension BC Provincial project so it’s a 50/50 between the Province and Federal in Investing Canada infrastructure program.
    Surrey council and Translink Paying for other associated programs Better biking Infrastructure and Improve sidewalks.

    Fredway extension has a split 40% Local government and translink 30%Province 30% Federal

    List of extensions are from family and friends.

    That’s saying where they want the sky train to go next.(AKA Dreams). R&D Budget is to Improve services with the myriad of new technologies or procedures. With travel opportunities Hands-on experiences with other transit operators. High stress positions pay more for more Liability like Head engineer or Head of operations and Other positions.

    Sorry I don’t know who you’re wanting me to be. Don’t work or associate with translink Staff. On the internet since 2016 With my online username being Legoman0320.

    Personally, I would like to see a breakdown comparing the 2 different automated systems we have in Vancouver. 2022 Rail Operations 363.6 Million (WCX, Canada line, BCRTC) pg58

  14. zweisystem says:

    Zwei replies: Actually, the Expo Line opened with 5 minute headway’s, not 4 minute headways and they operated both 4 car and 2 car trains. Operating 6 car trains was problematic due to the signalling at the time. Again, i would trust anything Translink says and in fact they were not around in 1986, as it was BC transit which operated the system.

    Operational costs largely are attributed to car/track maintenance and wages and in today’s world, the small SkyTrain cars cost more to maintain as they have to do twice the work to carry the same volumes of traffic. It has been said that SkyTrain cost around 60% more to operate than a conventional metro.

    Currently Toronto has 70 km of route with another 63 km under construction.

    As for major Hoople, he knows his stuff as he was with a company that tried to bid on the Canada Line and we have been in correspondence since.

    Actually all the stuff you say Heavy rail doesn’t have, well it has. One of the big problems with ALRT/ART is the steerable axle trucks or bogies as they are maintenance intensive and very problematic.

    Most of your post is just a repeat of the TransLink/SkyTrain Lobby screed of fake news and alternative facts. You would be interested to know that our SkyTrain light metro system has been one of the most studied new build rapid transit systems and as most studies are in-house, the results tend not to be made public, but again i have been told that the current ALRT/ART system is just far too expensive for little or no benefit. It costs more to build, costs more to operate, costs more to maintain, lacks capacity and in the 21st century, lacks the all important flexibility of operation! THAT IS WHY AFTER ALMOST 45 YEARS ONLY 7 SYSTEMS HAVE BEEN SOLD; HAS BEEN REBRANDED 6 TIMES; HAS HAD FOUR OWNERS; HAD CITIES BRIBED TO BUILD WITH IT; THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT REFUSED TO FUND CONSTRUCTION; AND TODAY THERE ARE ONLY SIX IN OPERATION. IF YOU CANT FIGURE THAT OUT, THERE IS NO HOPE.

  15. Haveacow says:

    I have been living in the Transit Planning Industry for a looooong time, too long actually. Skytrain is just too expensive for what it actually does. That’s its fundamental problem. When it was new it was somewhat revolutionary, for its time. Many of if not all the things that made it less expensive than rail technology of that era have long been added to conventional LRT, Light Metro or Heavy Metro trainsets.

    Case in point, the LIM Propulsion Units used by the Skytrain. Contrary to popular opinion, it has plenty of moving parts (a huge number of cooling fans for example), they aren’t very energy-efficient, they produce extreme amounts of waist heat (it can’t be used for other purposes) and their acceleration is actually slower than nearly all available standard electric rail based motors. They are aren’t cheaper either than many standard motor units or do they last longer.

    What it doesn’t have is an expensive drive shaft and gear system, which are still quite common on some mainline railways. The primary advantage was that the engines are mostly solid state parts and systems. Something not working, take it out put in a new one, simple, “plug and play” as we use to say. No complex gears with their own bearings, which need special attention. No auxiliary gear systems to examine for cracking and no timing readjustments needed. Maintenance became much simpler, if it wasn’t broken you didn’t touch it, simplicity was warranted. For the time somewhat revolutionary, not so much now.

    Nowadays, even the complex heavy metro motors are pretty much self contained, you don’t replace one part but a self contained portion of parts, “plug and play”. The positioning isn’t under or between wheels sets, its on the outside of them and designed so a single person can do the work alone, he or she rarely needs help. The positioning issue is a common complaint of the Skytrain propulsion system. Also unlike the Skytrain, most of the maintenance equipment is standardised railway tools, easily available from many providers not just Bombardier’s single supplier.

    The advantage the LIM Propulsion Units had years ago, are now nullified. The only thing that hasn’t changed is Translink’s spouting of how inexpensive it is. Considering, Translink has never operated anything else, to any great degree, you kind of have to take their praise with a grain of salt.

    Whereas the TTC, has run multiple types of rail based engine technology. What was not hidden was the TTC’s disgust with the overly expensive and non-standard equipment and practices required to maintain the Skytrain’s twin, the Scarborough RT. They are not referring to the driver’s cab issue, just general maintenance. Compared to a PCC streetcar from the 1950’s and the simple subway motors used by the TTC in the early 1980’s, the RT’s maintenance needs were extreme. Driverless yes, the RT could be in driverless mode but in total a maintenance headache. Nearly a decade after its 1985 opening, the TTC and its senior staff were ready to and more than willing to, dump it in favor of a subway extension or replacement with new LRV’s or more units of the existing streetcar fleet in this case.

    It was the Provincial Government that had forced the change of operating technology on the TTC. The Scarborough RT was originally supposed to be articulated CLRV (Canadian Light Rail Vehicle), now refered to as the ALRV’s (Articulated Light Rail Vehicle), the last of which were finally retired after being replaced by the Bombardier Flexity LRV’s.

  16. zweisystem says:

    I thank you for this and again, I keep asking “show me the money” and this is important.

    I have just heard through the transit grapevine that Alstom wants to close several plants in Europe and at least one in North America as the events of last week in Israel is now demanding a ramp up of weapons manufacturing. This means secondary products may not be available such as MALM. If things get really ugly, Alstom could cancel their contract in inherited from Bombardier supplying cars. Ukraine is another issue which is putting pressure on manufacturers as costs are increasing.

    How is this going to affect transit? It just may compel industry to concentrate on what works and what is affordable and as Vancouver is the only customer for MALM, I would wager Translink is getting very worried.

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