The Budapest HÉV System – Budapest’s Interurban

October 30, 2010 by

Although not a classic tram or light rail system, the Budapest HÉV system deserves a mentioning, because the rail line combines on-street operation (on a reserved rights-of-ways) in downtown Csepel, as well as classic railway operation.

See the HÉV System

 http://hampage.hu/trams/thg2bp/csepel.html

The Vogtlandbahn TramTrains & Interurbans – A Template For The Valley Interurban

October 29, 2010 by
 
A diesel TramTrain

The following is a summery of the Vogtlandbahn TramTrain operation in Germany. Contrary to TransLink’s (and Metro Vancouver and Liberal government) spin that one needs oodles & oodles of density for ‘rail‘ transit, the continues success of new TramTrain operations dispels the many negative myths.

The SkyTrain lobby is also desperately hard at work spreading myth and tall tales about LRT, that it can’t do this or it can’t do that and TransLink continues to support these negative myths by claiming that LRT can carry only about 10,000 pphpd and streetcars much less. The truth be know, LRT can carry over 20,000 pphpd! The fear is widespread among transit and planning bureaucrats that LRT, built and operated in any form, will give an apples to apples comparison of light rail and their beloved SkyTrain. The push to build the Evergreen line in the Tri-cities, planning for SkyTrain expansion in surrey and the $4 billion UBC/Broadway subway point to their anti LRT agenda.

TramTrain is about economy and giving the transit customer want he wants, a one stop (no-transfer) travel experience. To provide this, one must plan for cheap transit options, not gold-plated metro and TramTrain is the cheapest light rail option available.

Valley politicians have a choice, either continue supporting SkyTrain light-metro which never will be built or BRT, which has proven not to attract the motorist from the car - or – support TramTrain, a proven transit mode for reducing auto congestion and gridlock for the Fraser Valley.

The Vogtlandbahn  Tram-Trains & Interurbans

The Vogtlandbahn is a private railway company in Germany, which runs diesel trains on regional lines in the states of Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria, Brandenburg, and Berlin and as well as routes into the Czech Republic. Vogtlandbahn is wholly owned by the Arriva subsidiary Regentalbahn.

After German Reunification in 1990, there was a sharp drop in passenger numbers on the local rail network. The railways had old locomotives rolling stock and couldn’t compete with the rapidly improving roads. The Saxony government invested in an attempt to improve the attractiveness of the Zwickau–Falkenstein–Klingenthal line and the Herlasgrün–Falkenstein–Adorf Line, the track was relaid to a 80 km/h standard, disabled access was facilitated at all stations and new stations opened. Train and track maintenace was rationalised and to reduce costs some stations such as Schöneck were restyled as simple halts.

The investments in upgraded track and rolling stock proved successul and reversed the fortunes of the reailway.

A further success, is the extension of the network into Zwickau town centre (TramTrain). Following the example set by very successful Karlsruhe Zweisystem (TramTrain), the lines extend from Zwickau Hauptbahnhof (Main Railway Station) to the central market. As most of the Vogtland network has not been electrified, the train-trams do not use current from the overhead tramwires (as in Karlsruhe) but use diesel engines. From there to Zentrum the train and the tram use the same tracks. To do this, dual-gauge track has been laid; there are three rails, the tram uses metre gauge(1000 mm), and the Vogtlandbahn uses standard gauge (1435 mm). An extra rail was laid next to the tram line so that  they share one rail and each use one of the others as appropriate.

Dual trackage on city streets

Success followed success and several abandoned or disused railway lines were relaid or upgraded for servcie. Today the Vogtlandbahn is the second largest railway company in Geramny.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogtlandbahn

http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/de/private/passenger/Vogtlandbahn/RegioSprinter/pix.html

News About the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway

October 27, 2010 by

PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICE EXPANSION PROPOSED

Oct 26, 2010
THE ISLAND CORRIDOR FOUNDATION HAS UNVEILED THE FIRST STAGE OF ITS PROPOSAL TO EXPAND PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICE ON VANCOUVER ISLAND. 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GRAHAM BRUCE MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY… 

“We’ve made formal application to VIA Rail to move the terminus from Victoria to Nanaimo and initiate an early morning southbound rail service from Nanaimo to Victoria. This would tie in to the daily service that then runs from Victoria to Courtenay, and provides a more friendly service for people on the rail, moving to the southern sector of Victoria” 

BRUCE SAYS IT’LL BE 12 TO 18 MONTHS BEFORE THE SERVICE ENHANCEMENT COULD BE ACHIEVED. IT DEPENDS, IN PART, ON A 15 MILLION DOLLAR UPGRADE OF THE RAIL TRACK, WHICH THE I-C-F IS ASKING THE FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS TO FUND. 

BRUCE WAS SPEAKING WITH DAVE DICKSON ON C-FAX1070 THIS AFTERNOON.

A comment by Zweisystem
$15 million is chump change for a transit project these days and I hope that Federal and provincial politicians look “three minutes into the future” and fund this worthwhile investment.
Zweisystem believes that two TramTrain services on the E&N are both feasible and practical.
TramTrain option 1.
Shawnigan Lake to Victoria, with a 3 to 4 kilometer streetcar loop in Victoria for the use of both TramTrain and heritage trams.
TramTrain option 2.
Duncan to Nanaimo Harbour, with limited on-street (streetcar) operation to the BC Ferry Depot.
The cost to provide an hourly schedule for both options would be well under $250 million or about 1 km. of a Broadway/UBC subway.

News and Letters – October 27, 2010

October 27, 2010 by

Local news & Letters

Chilliwack Progress#

http://www.bclocalnews.com/fraser_valley/theprogress/opinion/letters/105729548.html

William Chambers has very succinctly scored with a well landed punch on Sharon Gaetz, with this one.

 Also in the Chilliwack Times

http://www.chilliwacktimes.com/news/High+cost+rail+just+myth/3727555/story.html

 Langley Times#

Metro urged to recant rapid transit priority for Surrey

http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/langleytimes/news/105694708.html

Two more overpasses planned for Langleys

 http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/langleytimes/news/105490118.html

 Surrey Leader#

Make Bond use transit

http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/surreyleader/opinion/letters/105542243.html

 The Province#

Valley commuters need bridge

http://www.theprovince.com/opinion/letters/Valley+commuters+need+bridge/3718612/story.html

A Siemens Combino tram in Budapest colours.

International News

Gold Coast, Australia

http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2010/10/26/265831_gold-coast-news.ht
ml

Phoenix

http://raillife.com/blog/

Los Angeles

http://redondobeach.patch.com/articles/locals-prefer-light-rail

Denver

http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/eaglepcommuterrailpr/

Dulwich Hill, Sydney

http://lightrailextension.metrotransport.com.au/proposed-routes/light-rail-to-dulwich-hill/

Utrecht

http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/urban-rail/single-view/view/qbuzz-wins-utrecht-sneltram-concession.html

Rail for the Valley on the Radio

October 26, 2010 by

On CKNW radio this morning, Fraser Valley transportation was discussed. Sadly, the mayor of Abbotsford, seems to be quite out of his depth on the issue.

For a listen, please follow the link and set at October 26, 10:00 am

http://www.cknw.com/other/audiovault.html

Why there is antagonism towards at-grade Light Rail/Tramways & streetcars (North America + Canada)

October 26, 2010 by

The following was sent to Zwei by a very concerned urban transportation advocate.

All the SkyTrain lobby has is fear to debate light rail and spread fear they do. All technical debates between LRT and SkyTrain/light-metro have been won or lost decades ago and SkyTrain has been relegated to the history books. Like uber Regulus fanatics, the SkyTrain Lobby and its ilk, well entrenched in TransLink, desperately try to keep building with the aging SkyTrain system with any argument they can muster.

Zweisystem predicted over a decade ago, if TransLink persisted in building with SkyTrain/light metro, it would bankrupt itself and that prediction has come true, with TransLink, balancing on the knifes edge of financial peril. It can not fund the $1.4 billion SkyTrain Evergreen Line, it can’t fund the proposed $2 billion plus Surrey/Langley extension and TransLink certainly can’t fund the proposed $4 billion UBC/Broadway subway; yet TransLink still wastes the taxpayers money, playing the same games planning for light-metro that no one can afford.

Like a slow motion train wreck, TransLink skirts with financial oblivion, ignoring all danger signals, until it finally crashes into a brick financial wall.

In the end, as noted American transit expert, Gerald Fox: “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.”

Why there is antagonism towards at-grade Light Rail/Tramways & streetcars (North America + Canada)

The title could be for a doctorate or thesis on public attitudes & political psychology, towards public transport.

The anathema is not always or usual directed towards cost of a project. Over the last ten years or so of Light Rail advocacy, I has noted a number of key arguments which I have listed below.

  • The road lobby fear at-grade Light Rail/Street Tramways, because of the reduction in road width/road capacity for cars.
  • The road lobby and dedicated motorists don’t like  Light Rail/Street Tramways, because it means that junction/intersection signals will be prioritized for Light Rail
  • Buses & BRT are tolerated because it is known that these modes will not offer modal shift comparable to Light Rail/Street Tramways
  • Downtown & suburban/out of town retailers fear Light Rail/Street Tramways will give shoppers a reliable transport service into the city centre to shop & by so reducing their trade.
  • Politicians & business leaders in suburban townships & rural areas, fear Light Rail/Street Tramways will turn their communities into dormitories as residents find that a commute to  the big city is feasible.
  • Politicians, civic leaders & established residents fear Light Rail/Street Tramways, will bring developers & an influx of newbie’s into their communities.
  • Big city politicians & civic leaders fear Light Rail/Street Tramways will mean citizens moving out further into the suburbs to live, work & shop.
  • Planners & politicians fear Light Rail/Street Tramways will bring urban sprawl.
  • Contrary to many expressed views, major private bus operators are remarkably tolerant of Light Rail/Street Tramways, in Europe many of them operate the Light Rail/Street Tramway systems. With public bus operators, competition with Light Rail/Street Tramways cannot be an issue. There may be a number of small existing public transport operators such as cab firms that fear a loss of trade, but often they readily adapt to the changing patterns.

 To put this into a Fraser Valley/Vancouver/BC context.

  1. TransLink fears Light Rail/Street Tramways, because its likely popularity with the general public will undermine their business model for SkyTrain & their credibility.
  2. Likewise the TransLink apparatchiks on Skyscraper, for whom urban transport is ART running through densely populated cities on elevated segregated tracks surrounded by ….. wait for it……Skyscrapers….of course! What they would actually like to see is a Dan Dare year 3000 scenario with thousands of PRT pods flying around.
  3. Gordon Campbell fears Light Rail/Street Tramways, because it will destroy his credibility and his power base.
  4. Civic politicians  fear Light Rail/Street Tramways will turn their communities into dormitories as residents find that a commute to  the big city is feasible and will bring developers & an influx of newbie’s into their communities.
  5. Civic politicians would support buses or BRT, cos they know that mode will not offer a comparable modal shift.
  6. Langleyapparatchiks  fear Light Rail/Street Tramways, cos it wasn’t their idea and they didn’t think of it first.
  7. Mike Archer & others of his ilk fear Light Rail/Street Tramways, because he’s a journalist & it’s his job & nature to write negative articles about what he doesn’t really understand.

UBC Transit – Rapid transit for UBC has priority over Surrey’s, students and university say

October 25, 2010 by

Well now, someone should instruct the UBC Alma Matter Society on the economics of subway/light-metro and light rail, because there is no way that a $4 billion subway can be funded by $1.00 a day U-Pass ticket holders. That Translink still wastes the taxpayer’s money planning for yet more SkyTrain for the region only confirms that this ponderous bureaucracy is completely out of touch with reality.

The problem with transit planning in the region is that TransLink, abetted by the province and the city of Vancouver, have convinced themselves that building subways is the only way to go and have forgotten that SkyTrain (Read SKY train) was so designed to be elevated to mitigate the high cost of subway construction. The notion failed, but Translink carries on with this SkyTrain nonsense and have created a rosy little world of the SkyTrain myth. Reality check boys and girls, because there is absolutely no way one can fund a $4 billion subway, while letting other regions in METRO Vancouver go wanting.

To put the estimated $4 billion cost for a subway under Broadway to UBC in perspective, this is what $4 billion will buy you if we build with light rail.

  1. A BCIT to UBC/Stanley Park LRT.
  2. A full build, Vancouver/Richmond to Rosedale TramTrain.
  3. A new Fraser River Rail Bridge.
  4. TramTrain from Vancouver to Whiterock/Maple Ridge/Queensbourgh/Annicis Island.
  5. 40 to 50 km of LRT in Surrey and Langley.

Yet Translink still thinks in the terms of truncated subway lines that will not attract the motorist from the car!

One can see the concern with the UBC Alma Matter Society, but demanding rapid transit (a.k.a. SkyTrain) instead of light rail, shows contempt for the already over burdened taxpayer and instead should hire a out of province consultant to give an independent view on improving transit along Broadway.

Rail for the Valley did and now has a bona fide plan for LRT or TramTrain, from a respected consultant, at an affordable cost.

http://railforthevalley.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/groundbreaking-report-on-interurban-light-rail-released-today/

Rapid transit for UBC has priority over Surrey’s, students and university say

By Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun

October 24, 2010 10:04 PM

The push for rapid transit to the University of B.C. is heating up, with the Alma Mater Society urging Metro Vancouver to make the issue an “urgent priority.”

Society president Bijan Ahmadian has sent a letter to the regional district saying rapid transit to UBC should be considered as “equally urgent” as that for south of Fraser communities in Metro Vancouver’s draft regional growth strategy.

The move comes after Metro cited the Evergreen Line, a Surrey SkyTrain extension and the Broadway corridor as the top priorities in its draft plan, bumping the UBC rapid transit line to the bottom.

Metro chief administrative officer Johnny Carline has said Surrey will bear the brunt of the region’s growth in the next 30 years, and more transit is needed to help shape that city’s development.

Only after Surrey gets improved transit should TransLink consider extending rapid transit to UBC, the draft strategy says.

But UBC argues the demand is already there for more transit to and from the university. About 4,000 students are passed up by full 99 B-Line buses every day.

The Alma Mater Society last week launched a campaign to demonstrate support for rapid transit. It said transit use to UBC is expected to grow by 10 per cent each year.

“We are concerned that Metro Vancouver is playing politics on the issue, and that students will suffer as a consequence,” Ahmadian said in the letter. “This is not just a UBC issue. This is your issue too. UBC students, faculty and alumni live throughout Metro Vancouver.”

Nancy Knight, UBC’s associate vice-president, planning, at UBC, agreed the university is a significant employment centre not just for the region but for the province.

The university is proposing to build more affordable student and faculty housing on campus, in hopes of building a more sustainable community where people can live, work and study closer to home.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense for a significant centre like this not be connected by rapid transit,” she said.

TransLink is preparing technical reports for both a UBC rapid transit line and extending SkyTrain in Surrey.

ksinoski@vancouversun.com

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Rapid+transit+priority+over+Surrey+students+university/3720075/story.html#ixzz13LVRrBY5

Build Murray-Clarke — or Evergreen support goes: PM council

October 23, 2010 by

An interesting little spat is taking place in Port Moody, where the city council want TransLink to chip in with the Murray-Clarke Connector project and if they don’t, they will pull their support for the Evergreen (Nevergreen) Line. This confirms two of Zwei’s opinions about the $1.4 billion light-metro project:

  1. The Evergreen Line is front for more road and highway construction and for massive up-zoning of residential and light-industrial lands for high density, shoe box style of apartments.
  2. The Evergreen Line will not take cars off the road.

The artist’s rendering says it all, SkyTrain and the West Coast Express are almost hidden away by a massive new highway interchange, designed to handle large volumes of traffic.

Zweis thinks it is time for a moratorium on all transit (highway and rail) contraction and planning and the provincial government hold a Royal Commission on regional transit to get  a proper foundation for the implantation of an affordable regional transit system.

Build Murray-Clarke — or Evergreen support goes: PM council

By Sarah Payne – The Tri-City News

Port Moody council may pull its support for the Evergreen Line if the Murray-Clarke Connector isn’t built.

At a special meeting Tuesday, council again discussed the 32 requirements it says are critical to its support for Evergreen. Among them is building the connector before construction of the rapid transit line.

But with TransLink struggling to cover the funding gap just to get Evergreen built — and pay for other needed transportation projects throughout the region — Murray-Clarke has fallen off the radar once again.

“It’s one of the prerequisites of us going along with the Evergreen Line,” said PoMo Mayor Joe Trasolini of the connector. “We’re very concerned that now it seems the Murray-Clarke Connector is being orphaned again. It’s nowhere on the priority list of TransLink” even though the previous board not only approved the project in 2008 but also allocated $50 million for its construction.

Costs for the connector, which will have to be extended to reach over the SkyTrain line, are now estimated at more than $70 million. PoMo has set aside $4 million for the project.

“Today, when we’re expecting it to be completed, all of a sudden TransLink doesn’t have it on its priority list,” Trasolini added. “It’s a great concern to us and should be to everyone east of us. It throws doubts on our support for construction of the Evergreen Line.”

TransLink must come up with $400 million for its share of the $1.4-billion Evergreen Line and Metro mayors have recently balked at suggestions to hike property taxes to pay for Evergreen and part of the North Fraser Perimeter Road (Option A: $465 million) or a handful of regional projects including expanded bus service and station upgrades (Option B: $338 million).

Trasolini says Murray-Clarke must be built regardless of those funding issues.

“With the narrow corridor in Port Moody, if the Murray-Clarke Connector remains undelivered when construction for the Evergreen Line starts, you can see the disruption we’ll have. This is not just a Port Moody problem, it’s a northeast sector problem.”

Trasolini maintains the connector is not a new TransLink expansion project but the completion of an existing project — the Barnet Highway — that was promised by the province more than 20 years ago.

But TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis sees it differently, noting earlier this month that the original justification for the connector was to protect Moody Centre businesses when the Evergreen Line was planned as an at-grade LRT system down St. Johns Street. With the switch to an elevated SkyTrain system, the Murray-Clarke Connector is no longer an urgent priority, Jarvis said.

Trasolini said it’s “absurd” that a one-lane overpass that causes rush-hour back-ups stretching for several kilometres is part of the inter-municipal corridor, echoing an earlier council discussion that suggested PoMo may withdraw the Murray-Clarke from TransLink’s major road network — and block access to it for commuters coming from outside Port Moody.

He also wants to know whether the new, provincially appointed TransLink board, whose meetings are closed to the public, rescinded approval and funding for Murray-Clarke.

Trasolini and city manager Gaetan Royer were to meet with TransLink executives today (Friday) to discuss the issue. Royer said it’s unclear what effect Port Moody’s withdrawal of support for Evergreen would have on the project or who will cover the increased cost of the Murray-Clarke Connector.

“We have a tougher job getting support for the Murray-Clarke Connector because now it’s going to cost more, it’s going to have to be a longer bridge,” Royer said. “We want the province, which is the lead of the Evergreen Line, to pay for the longer bridge… because it would be a smaller project were it not for the Evergreen Line.”

spayne@tricitynews.com

— with files from Jeff Nagel

http://www.bclocalnews.com/tri_city_maple_ridge/tricitynews/news/105477778.html

Abbotsford Today Doesn’t Like the Rail for the Valley/Leewood Report

October 22, 2010 by

A new valley magazine and web site, Abbotsford Today doesn’t like the RftV/Leewood report and one wonders why? What do they want, more new highways or a SkyTrain that will never come?

Issues: Costs Still Make Light Rail A Pipe Dream

http://www.abbotsfordtoday.ca/?p=46791

As stated before, the report was a feasibility study for the implantation of a TramTrain service using the old BC Electric (now Southern Railway of BC), route. Using existing railway rights-of-ways, greatly reduces the cost of providing rail transit for a region. Unlike the West Coast Express, which must purchase pathways from the CPR at onerous costs, the valley TramTrain has a statutory right to providing passenger rail service on the existing route.

It is hard to take the article seriously, when the author compares the report with the “………feasibility of an underground subway to Whistler……..”.

The issues of fares is important, but I don’t think the $25, quoted is correct;  one way fares on a full build (Vancouver/Richmond to Rosedale) should be in the $5.00 to $10.00 range depending on distance traveled. 

A comparison with the $2.5 billion Canada line is in order.

The standard fare on the Canada line is $2.50 for one zone and $3.75 for two zones; there is a $5.00 supplement for customers leaving from YVR, but the numbers using the $8.75 fare leaving YVR is very small. About 80% of the fares are also apportioned between RAV/Canada line, the SkyTrain line, Seabus and the buses and many customers are using the heavily subsidized U-Pass, thus the real revenue for the Canada line is much less than the actual fares paid.

TransLink was/is singing hosannas about how the Canada Line’s ridership was near 100,000 boarding a day and soon the metro was to be able to pay its operating costs; so lets compare fares and ridership on the Canada Line with the prosed RftV TramTrain.

The full build, 138 km.  RftV/Leewood TramTrain is said cost about $1 billion or about $1.5 billion less than the 19.2 km., $2.5 billion Canada line, meaning that the RftV TramTrain would only less than 40,000 boardings (remember those apportioned TransLink fares & deep discounted U-Pass), charging the same fares as the Canada Line a day to obtain the same ratio of income that TransLink is presently cheering about on the Canada Line. If the TramTrain aims for only 20,000 boardings a day, then fares should be in the $5.00 to $10 dollar range, depending on the distance traveled, a far cry from the $25.00 quoted in the article.

It also should be noted that a new Vancouver to Chilliwack rail service will open the door to a host of new tourist and travel opportunities, where people who would not otherwise travel via car would take the train.

Yes there is a lot of questions remaining about the RftV/Leewood report, yet on the basis of the report, the taxpayer will get more than 10 times more rail transit per km. compared with SkyTrain, providing ample new travel opportunities for potential transit customers at affordable costs and maybe even be the catalyst for improvement of local bus services in Chilliwack and Abbotsford.

Vancouver Commuting Habits

October 22, 2010 by

 

The following information from the Out-of-home Marketing Research Association of Canada or OMAC is certainly contrary to the SkyTrain lobby claims that SkyTrain takes a large share of Vancouver’s commuters. But Zwei knew that already as if any claims made by Translink about SkyTrain being a wunder system are quickly dispelled by the lack of overseas recognition of any claims made about SkyTrain. The statistics also backs up Zwei’s claim that despite being in operation in the Vancouver area for over 25 years and over $8 billion invested, SkyTrain has failed to show a modal shift from car to transit.

The question is: “Why does Translink continually force SkyTrain planning on the region, when it has failed miserably to alleviate auto congestion and gridlock?”

The answer my friends is blowing in the winds around those the Ivory Towers on Kingsway.

Commuting Habits

Mode of Transportation to Work

Driving to work is the dominant mode of transportation.

Driver or passenger in Vehicle – 79.2%
Public Transportation – 11.5%
Walk – 6.5%
Bicycle – 1.9%

Length of Commute to Work

There has been a consistent growth in vehicle kilometers travelled on a typical weekday in Vancouver. The population growth, the increased size of the city and the improving economic conditions all contribute to the growth in vehicle kilometers travelled.

41% of Vancouver workers commuted between 5 km. and 15 km. Only 8% commuted more than 25 km.

· 34.8% travel < 5 kms.
· 41.2% travel 5 – 14.9kms.
· 16.2% travel 15 – 24.9 kms.
· 7.7% travel 25 kms. +

Time Spent By Car Commuting To Work

Vancouverites spend a average of 70 minutes traveling by car to work. This has increased from 58 minutes in 1986.

Source: Stats Can 2001 Census: Where Canadians Work and How They Get There

http://www.omaccanada.ca/en/market/vancouver/default.omac


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