The Light Rail Committee’s position for Valley Rail from Vancouver to Chilliwack

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The following  is the Light Rail Committee’s proposal for ‘rail’ transit,  from Vancouver to Chilliwack.

Overview:

Diesel powered TramTrain, track-sharing with mainline railways, except for portions of the route in Langley and Chilliwack. TramTrain is a proven concept pioneered in Karlsruhe Germany in1992 and now used in many cities in Europe and North America. Track-sharing enables light rail vehicles to extend their service range, by using existing railway infrastructure, to affordably penetrate into less populated areas, while at the same time providing a high quality transit service. The following U-Tube clip demonstrates track-sharing on the Karlsruhe LRT system.

Single track operation is used in almost every LRT operation in Europe, providing cheaper service to less frequently used routes. Single track operation of a Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain will have double track portions at strategic placed to allow trains to pass each other, enabling a 30 minute service. The following U-Tube clip shows LRT operation on single track through a village.

Diesel LRT:

A concept of using diesel powered light rail vehicles on lightly used rail routes, providing light rail service without the expense of electrification. D-LRT conforms to strict EEC noise and pollution standards and provides a service on par with modern Light Rail Vehicles. Using D-LRT, enables transit service to operate in areas of small population, by track-sharing, yet still retain the ability to network onto city LRT rights-of-ways.

This U-Tube clip shows D-LRT in Ottawa.

The Plan:

The Light Rail Committee plan for the reinstatement of the Vancouver to Chilliwack Interurban service, combines modern light rail philosophy and operation, based on successful applications in Europe and North America with the need to provide an affordable service to the Fraser Valley. The line would start at Vancouver Central Station and track-share with existing railways to the Fraser River Bridge. This would entail double tracking the Grandview Cut, upgrading level crossing protection and adding two Stations at Braid and Rupert St.

Crossing the Fraser River Rail Bridge, the line would traverse the existing Southern Railway of BC rights-of-ways through Surrey to HWY 10, with double tracking and level crossing closures at strategic points. Future LRT lines could extend along King George HWY. & 152nd, North to Guilford and Whalley, creating a desired circle route in Surrey.

From Hwy 10 to Glover Rd. (Langley by-pass), the proposed D-LRT line would network off the Southern Railway rights-of-way at HWY 10 and operate, on a double track rights-of-way, through Cloverdale and Langley, to the Langley by-pass, in the median. This route would service Willowbrook Mall and adjacent businesses. Also a future extension may also travel up 200th to service a large population node, North of Willowbrook Mall.

From Glover Road to Sumas; the route would track share with the mainline ‘Superport’ railway until it reaches the CN cut-off and then travel along the old interurban route, now the Southern Railway of  BC, through Abbotsfords to Sumas. There would be a short rail connection from Sumas to Abbotsford Airport, providing direct Vancouver to airport service.

Sumas to Chilliwack; trains would travel on the existing rights-of-way until it reaches Chilliwack where a small 2 km. to 3 km. loop would turn around trains and provide a limited local service to the city.

As ridership increases and demand warrants the line could be electrified from Vancouver to Langley and full double tracking will be needed and a new Fraser River rail bridge will also be needed. A new multi track bridge would also enable D-LRT to service North Delta and Crescent Beach/Whiterock.

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