It has been a long established transit maxim, long ignored by TransLink and BC Transit before, “use existing rail routes first“.
Because existing rail routes are much cheaper to build and install light rail, rather than going ‘greenfields’ construction. Of course, SkyTrain and RAV are the epitome of ‘greenfields’ construction!
The cost to build a Vancouver to Chilliwack SkyTrain would be in the neighourhood of $9 billion to $10 billion! It is suffice to say that there isn’t the ridership on the line to justify such an expenditure.
The cost of an electric LRT service from Vancouver to Chilliwack, using existing rail routes, would be in the neighbourhood of $1 billion, ($1.5 billion including a new Fraser River Rail Bridge) which is a manageable sum, especially when compared to the $2.5 billion RAV/Canada line.
With Diesel LRT, the cost of a basic Vancouver to Chilliwack service, using existing tracks, could be as low as $350 million for an hourly service. $350 million is about the cost of 2 km. of SkyTrain!
In a time of financial icebergs looming at TransLink, should not TransLink’s planners be thinking of much cheaper transit alternatives, instead of their grand SkyTrain and RAV lines, that despite their massive costs ($8 billion+) serve a region that only 11% of trips are made by transit, a number largely unchanged for over a decade.
It’s time for TransLink and all levels of politicians to think Light; think Rail; think affordable Transit.
Tags: C-train, Chilliwack, commuter rail, cost per km, Diesel LRT, economic stimulus, Evergreen Line, Fraser River rail bridge, Fraser Valley, gateway, highway 1, infrastructure, interurban, Karlsruhe, Langley, light rail, LRT, LRTA, NDP, passenger rail, Patrick Condon, Pattullo bridge, Rail for the Valley, skytrain, Surrey, track-sharing, tram, trams, tramtrain, transit, UBC SkyTrain, Vancouver