TramTrain should steer us in the right direction

TramTrain should steer us in the right direction

By Malcolm Johnston, The Times September 28, 2010

Editor, the Times:

Last Monday, Rail for the Valley and Leewood Projects (UK) released a historic and revolutionary TramTrain report for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

The TramTrain plan is historic, for it is the first time in over 30 years that a transit study, independent of political and bureaucratic influence, has been released to the public, giving an affordable option to TransLink’s expensive SkyTrain light metro planning.

The TramTrain plan is revolutionary because it gives economic 21st-century transit solutions for the region, instead of costly and dated 1950s metro and subway planning.

TramTrain is a reinvention of the Interurban and is part of the large light rail family, which sees over 450 such systems in operation around the world.

First operated in Karlsruhe Germany, in 1993, the new TramTrain proved so successful that ridership on the new TramTrain line (which replaced a commuter train and one transfer) exploded from 533,600 per week to over 2,555,000, (almost 480 per cent increase) in a few months.

Karlsruhe now operates over 410 km of TramTrain, including lines in the environmentally sensitive Black Forest, with the longest route being over 210 km.

As TramTrain is inexpensive to build, TramTrain lines do not need the massive densification needed by SkyTrain and the RAV/Canada Line.

TramTrain can pass through sensitive ALR lands, leaving farm lands as they are and prevent rampant land speculation and development that more expensive transit modes need to sustain them.

The RftV/Leewood plan also gives glimpsed into the future with the initial line expanding to Vancouver, Richmond and Rosedale.

Why build the 11-km., $1.4-billion plus SkyTrain Evergreen Line when we can build a full 138-km. Vancouver/Richmond to Rosedale TramTrain service for under $1 billion, with enough money left over to build a Vancouver to Maple Ridge TramTrain service, as TransLink planned for in the late 1990s?

Today there are 14 cities with TramTrain operation (only seven cities have SkyTrain), with a further 20 TramTrain operations being planned for.

One hopes the regions’ mayors board the TramTrain for better public transit. If not, they will be left behind at the station, waiting for a SkyTrain that will never come.

Malcolm Johnston,

Light Rail Committee

Ai??Ai?? Copyright (c) Abbotsford Times

via TramTrain should steer us in the right direction.

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