Why the Valley Interurban Must Service Abbotsford International Airport (YXX)


To be successful, a transit system or transit line must serve popular destinations in order to generate ridership, the notion that transit customers will take ‘rail’ because it is just there is wrong. In order for successful interurban service it must serve destinations where customers want to go and Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) is a natural destination, especially if some airlines move their operations from the very expensive YVR to YXX.

As the interurban is in light-rail family, it can if need be, operate on-street making an easier and much cheaper route, instead of extremely expensive ‘greenfields’ construction. A strong case can be made for a route diverging West from the Southern Railway of BC rights-of-way at Huntington/Douglas, West along the median of Vye (servicing as well the penitentiary complex) & Huntington Rd’s. , turning North on Mount Lehman Road until it arrives at YXX.  An on-street single track 10 km. route with one or two passing loops, serving two destinations (three destinations if one includes the TRADEX Convention Centre at YXX), would cost in the neighborhood of $100 million or about $10 million/km., yet may be the crucial link and revenue generator for the proposed interurban service.

There is persistent rumour that if YXX has a rail connection, one or two larger scheduled airlines would make the move to YXX. With the interurban directly servicing Vancouver https://railforthevalley.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/why-the-valley-interurban-must-service-vancouver/  it would give Vancouver customers a ‘seamless’ rail journey to YXX, which must send chills down YVR’s management’s spine. Unlike RAV, where YVR is just to close to attract much ridership, a direct Vancouver to YXX rail service would provide the incentive for airlines to make the switch to YXX, with easy connections not only to Vancouver, but Surrey, Langley and Chilliwack.

$100 million may seem like a large investment for the airport connection but it would bring at least a ten fold investment back to Abbotsford and environs, more if airlines make YXX their hub. For those who want the ‘Return of the Interurban’ serious consideration must be made for a connection to YXX and it must be included in future interurban and transit planning.


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4 Responses to “Why the Valley Interurban Must Service Abbotsford International Airport (YXX)”

  1. David Says:

    Unlike you I don’t believe the interurban must service Vancouver because most people south of the Fraser don’t want to cross the river at all let alone go all the way to Vancouver. 80% of trips originating south of the river end south of the river.

    I do believe the interurban needs to serve YXX, but should do so from both east and west sides. Have a look at your proposed route and think how illogical it will look to anyone from Surrey or Langley. Why make a huge loop around Abbotsford when you can go straight down Fraser Highway in half the time?

  2. zweisystem Says:

    The experts I have talked to, real experts who make a living building these things, have told me that not going to Vancouver could be the kiss of death to the interurban project. The question that one must answer is, “Why would I take the interurban?” “What attracts me to the service?” By servicing directly into Vancouver greatly increases the number of potential customers, which increases the chances of success; it just makes sense. If the interurban doesn’t service Vancouver, I doubt very much that it would be viable.

    As for using the Fraser Highway, it is not going to happen. The whole reason d’etre of the interurban is to use existing rail infrastructure and by going via Huntington means only about 10 km. of expensive ‘greenfields’ construction. Going via the Fraser highway means far greater costs for little or no return benefit.

  3. David Says:

    You asked “why take the interurban, what attracts me to the service?” OK, what’s attractive about a long, circuitous train ride when a bus could make the trip in half the time?

    As for expensive construction I thought one of the primary reasons for the success of tram systems around the world was how quickly and inexpensively they can be added to existing roadways. I agree using existing rails is even cheaper, but only when those rails go where you want them.

  4. The Bistro Tram - Is it the right menu for the interurban? « Rail For The Valley Says:

    […] Rail For The Valley We’re a growing group of people across the Lower Mainland who agree that the Fraser Valley needs passenger rail service NOW! « Why the Valley Interurban Must Service Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) […]

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