Here is another example for Rail to the Valley of TramTrain being planned for in Europe. The theme is all too familiar, designing a transit system to cater to the needs of the customer, using existing railway infrastructure to reduce cost, while at the same time increasing service. The theme of TransLink is simple, we are going to build another hugely expensive metro line, whether you like it or not and we will tax you out of your cars to fund it.
It’s time for TransLink to enter the 21st century and plan for affordable, useful, and sustainable transit. To date, TransLink has given no clue that they actually understand what they are doing and continue to blunder ahead with costly, yet ineffective metro style transit planning.
Clearly, it’s time for regime change in those ‘ivory towers’ on Kingsway.
WITH a population of almost 300,000, Arhus, on the east coast of Jutland, is the second largest city in Denmark after Copenhagen. To meet the changing transport demands of residents, the city is planning a tram-train project.
Arhus is served by half-hourly Danish State Railways (DSB) mainline services from Copenhagen, which after reversing at the city’s main station, Arhus H, continue north to Aalborg and Frederikshavn. There are also regional services operated by both DSB and Arriva as well as international services to Hamburg and Berlin.
Arhus H is also served by two single-track branch lines, one stretching 69km north to Grenaa, and the other running 26km south to Odder. These lines converge at Arhus H and there have been many plans to bring their operation together with the introduction of through running.
Nonetheless, they remain independently operated, each using a different type of dmu, though there is cross-platform interchange at Arhus. Most of the Odder line and the 25km southern section of the Grenaa line from Arhus H to Hornslet runs through either built up areas or local towns while the remainder of the line is quite rural.
In a recent round of local authority reform in Denmark, all local public transport became the responsibility of the new regions, in the case of Arhus, Midtjylland, and this is administered by the authority’s traffic company Midttrafik. The Arhus–Grenaa line is owned by Danish infrastructure manager Banedanmark and operated by DSB for Midttrafik, while the southern line from Arhus to Odder is owned and operated by Midttrafik.
Both lines are operated by life-expired rolling stock and new trains will need to be purchased soon. This is one of the main reasons to review the future of both lines as a single unit and evaluate how they can play a more important role in solving the city’s traffic problems.
Arhus has an extensive bus network, but the reliability of these services is being seriously compromised by increasing road congestion.
Politicians in Arhus and the neighbouring councils of Odder, Norddjurs and Syddjurs are keen to develop a light rail network, with a first stage based on dual-mode tram-train principles and incorporating the two underutilised branch lines.
The plan involves converting the two lines to light rail and diverting operations on a 12km section of the Grenaa line, where the line runs through a forest and along the coast with very little traffic generated, to 12km of new double-track line that will serve rapidly developing areas along the congested Randers Road, the university, and the new town of Skejby, where the city’s main hospital is situated.
This route already boasts the highest level of public transport usage in the city. The new line and the part of the line along the harbour in the city centre to Arhus H will be electrified, while the outer sections will remain diesel operated. The bypassed section of the northern line will be retained for use by semi-fast trains to Grenaa and freight services.
At present the authorities are inviting tenders for preparation of an environmental impact assessment for the first stage of the project, and the Danish government is contributing to the cost of this.
This assessment will be complete in about 18 months and will be followed by a public hearing at the end of 2009. This will be followed by political approval, whereby work on stage I of the project can begin in 2011 with a planned opening by 2015.
A short branch to Nordhavn may be included in the first phase of the project, depending on the rate of development in the harbour area and the possibility of securing alternative finance. Here the track will run along the central reservation of a tree-lined boulevard.
The most important of the planned future extensions will be the key city centre section bypassing the mainline station at track level and diverting operations through the city streets serving the shopping, business and entertainment areas as well as the town hall; generally providing better distribution of passengers in the town centre.
The line will leave the Grenaa line beside the harbour development area and run along the streets, some of which are used exclusively by buses, before passing the main station, crossing the sub-surface platforms at street level. The line continues along mainly a segregated alignment on the streets through built up areas, before rejoining the Odder line at the suburb of Viby.
Longer term extensions include branches to important suburban areas such as Brabrand from the city line, Hasselager from the Odder line, and Trige, Vejlby and Hinnerup from the stage 1 line. These lines will be mostly run on segregated alignments, either on existing wide roads or as part of new developments.
The extension to Hinnerup could stretch further along the main line to Hadsten. Some of these lines will employ dual-mode tram-train operation, while others will operate exclusively as electrified light rail lines.COPYRIGHT 2008 Simmons-Boardman Publishing CorporationCOPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning
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, Langley, light rail, LRT, LRTA, passenger rail, Patrick Condon, Rail for the Valley, streetcars, study, Surrey, track-sharing, tram, trams, tramtrain, transit, Translink, UBC, UBC SkyTrain, VALTAC, Vancouver