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.