Archive for October, 2009

From the Vancouver Sun – Metro Vancouver mayors vote for an extra $130-million for TransLink. As Barnum Observed, There Is a Sucker Born Every Minute.

October 23, 2009

Metro mayors caved in to TransLink’s slick propaganda campaign, to bad because TransLink and the provincial government will forever treat municipal politicians as mindless patsies. It was time to draw a line in the sand, but regional politicians just didn’t have the stomach for it and continue to be just tax and spend politicians who don’t care about the future.

It was time to say just NO and let the chip fall where they may! The problem with TransLink isn’t money, it is an ineffectual bureaucracy stuck in the past, squander millions of dollars following a largely discredited transit philosophy based on a few expensive light-metro lines being force fed by buses. Doesn’t work – doesn’t attract the all important motorist from his car. But, no fear, TransLink will continue with this drivel until the public finally compel politicians to change it of be forced out of office.

Doing the same thing over and over again and wishing for different results has been defined as madness.

Knowing that they are dealing with rubes, TransLink will be back demanding more money faster than you can say sucker!

What $130 million buys you in planning!

What $130 million buys you in planning!

Metro Vancouver mayors vote for an extra $130-million for TransLink

By Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver SunOctober 23, 2009 3:14 PM

Metro Vancouver mayors “reluctantly” voted for a $130 million supplement plan for TransLink today saying it would give them some breathing room while they tried to find more money to run the transit system.

The so-called stabilization plan will see a three-cents-a-litre increase in gasoline taxes as well as transit-fare increases, starting next year. TransLink also plans to resurrect its parking stall tax. The fare increases come into effect April 1, pushing up the price of a one-zone farecard from $73 to $81 or adding 10 cents to a fare-saver ticket.

Despite a high level of frustration, mayors would not support a suggestion by Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan to vote against the plan and use impending cuts to force the province to help with funding.

Corrigan had suggested the province would respond in such a crisis situation especially before the 2010 Olympic Games.

But other mayors argued the price of the cuts would be too high for their communities and said they will take Transportation Minister Shirley Bond at her word that she will work with them.

Although Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said ther is “no guarantee the provincial government will listen to any of us,” the $130 million will help keep the transit system limping along.

“I don’t think it’s responsible to throw up our hands, cut the system into shreds and force the government in a corner,” she said. “It’s a very tenuous situation as it is.”

TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast said the decision has staved off drastic cuts which would likely have occurred following the Olympics.

But he said TransLink now faces finding the money to expand the system and honour its commitment to building the Evergeen Line connecting Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Moody.

Port Moody Mayor Joe Trasolini, who voted against the plan, had suggested mayors defer the vote until it could find out if road pricing was an option. His motion was defeated.

More to come.


We have been talking about Dublin’s LUAS, now let’s take a ride!

October 23, 2009

Here is a recent trip on Dublin’s LUAS tram, which also serves the Guinness Brewery – Cheers!

CargoTram – Taking Commercial Trucks Off the Road. Is TransLink planning for the future? Can TransLink plan for the future?

October 22, 2009

1 Cargotram

What local transit planners have not done in the Vancouver region is take into account the versatility of modern light rail with their strategic planning and always plan for LRT as a poorman’s SkyTrain. In many cities, trams pull small trailers to carry bicycles or specialized cars to carry rubbish from refuse bins along the line, adding to the versatility of light rail.

The importance of BC Electric’s Interurban lines, was not primarily to carry passengers, but to carry freight in standard freight cars, specially built freight motors or combines, which carried freight and passengers. With few exceptions, by the 1960’s most tram/LRT lines abandoned the concept of carrying freight and concentrated on passenger only service.

The Cargo Tram in Dresden Germany has reversed this trend by successfully operating cargo or freight (in containers) on tram bodies, using existing tramways.

The idea of building an automobile glass factory for Volkswagen in Dresden arose in 1997. On 3 March 2000 the Dresden Public Transport Co. (DVB) and the Volkswagen Automobile-Manufaktur Dresden GmbH (VW Car-Manufacture Dresden Ltd.) signed a contract for the CarGoTram. Movement of parts from the logistics center in Dresden Friedrichstadt to the new factory would be managed using a tram running over the cities tram or streetcar lines. The route from the logistics center to the new glass factory runs straight through the inner city of Dresden so use of trucks would cause a large increase in truck traffic within the city.

Two CarGoTrams were built by the Schalker Eisenhütte Maschinenfabrik GmbH Gelsenkirch, costing about $5.25 million per vehicle. The DVB AG is responsible for the transportation and security of the freight.

The freight tram was introduced officially in Dresden on 16 November 2000 and had its first test run on 3 January 2001.


Despite it looks, the Cargo Tram is not an articulated vehicle, but a bidirectional vehicle consisting of 5 close coupled segments. The standard formation is three freight units and two combination freight/control units. The control cars have less capacity (7500 kg) than the middle cars (15000 kg), because of space devoted to the driver’s cab. Total capacity is the equivalent of three motor trucks (214 m³).

Running gear for the tram was recycled overhauled parts from out-of-service Tatra trams. The bodies were newly built.

All axles of the control car as well as the middle cars are driven.

If one introduces the concept of Cargo Tram in the Vancouver METRO area, especially from Vancouver to the Valley and to UBC, one must factor in cost savings (road damage, fuel savings, etc.) of operating trucks over a 20 to 25 year period. If the proposed BCIT to UBC LRT project included cargo trams into its planning, then by building with light rail, it would reduce commercial truck traffic and it’s associated  cancer causing diesel particulate pollution, along Broadway and 41st Avenues, with no great added cost over a 20 to 25 year period! Imagine, UBC, operating a commercial transfer point in Burnaby and containers for UBC loaded onto specially built trams to be taken to UBC at regular intervals with no delay in service.

cargo 3

For the Valley Interurban, cargo carrying trams are a no brainer as Canada post and many courier companies could take advantage of a dedicated cargo service for reliable deliver up the Fraser Valley. If the Southern Railway of BC, were to operate the interurban service, they may take the concept of cargo tram to the next level and operate container carrying trams instead of a heavy-rail freight service as they currently operate.

The concept of cargo carrying trams clearly demonstrates the advantages of light rail in its various forms; the ability to be flexible in operation and the ability to move with the times, while its inflexible cousin, SkyTrain (light-metro) can’t. This is important, the government advised by planning bureaucrats are going to invest many billions of dollars in regional transit, unfortunately to date, TransLink can’t seem to think out of a very dated, circa 1960’s box.

Dublin’s LUAS LRT – A streetcar without subsidy, a template for the Broadway LRT?

October 21, 2009

There is much to learn about Dublin’s LUAS LRT or tram system and the ability to operate and make an operating profit is completely lost on TransLink, it’s bureaucrats and BC’s current lot of tax and spend politicians. SkyTrain is hamstrung by massive construction and operating costs and the annual subsidy to operate the metro exceeds $230 million a year! Compare this with the EU grant of $129 million to get the LUAS project under construction!

So when TransLink comes knocking at your municipalities door for more and more taxes to pay for their pet SkyTrain light-metro system, your municipal councilors should – MUST tell TransLink NO and tell them in no uncertain terms plan for affordable light rail instead.

For the SkyTrain lobby and their $4 billion plus fantasy about a Broadway SkyTrain subway to UBC; dream on, it is not going to happen any time soon.


Dublin’s Luas (Irish for ‘speed), Light Rail System, is a light rail or tram system serving Dublin, the first such system in the decades since the closure of the last of the Dublin tramways. In 2007, the system carried 28.4 million passengers, a growth of 10% since 2006.

There are currently two Luas lines. The Green line commenced operations on 30 June 2004, while the Red Line opened on 26 September 2004. It is one of 450 light rail systems operating in cities around the world. As of 2008, the system has 36 stations and 25 km (15 miles) of track.

The Luas is operated by Veolia Transport, under tender from the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA). It is a major part of the Dublin Transportation Office’s strategy (2000–2016). There are currently two extensions to the existing lines under construction, while several more extensions as well as new lines are at the planning stage.

Construction work began in March 2001 on the Tallaght to Connolly line, as well as the Sandyford to St. Stephen’s Green section of the second line, with Ansaldo of Italy and MVM of Australia getting the contract to build the system. The development of the Luas Red Line was facilitated by EU funding of €82.5 (CAD $129.1 million) million under the European Regional Developmen Fund (ERDF) and part of the cost of some proposed line extensions (e.g. over 50% of Line B1 to Cherrywood) is being raised though levies on development in areas close to the projected route.

The original launch date for the Luas was to be 2003, but delays in construction saw this date pushed back by a year. An advertising campaign took place to inform the public of the development of the system, while construction was taking place. Construction finished in February 2004 and a period of testing and driver training began. 30 June 2004 was decided on as the official launch date of the Green Line. The first tram went into service for the general public at 3 pm. Several days of free ridership and a family fun weekend took place to launch the system. The Red Line opened on 26 September 2004, with six days of free travel for the general public.

By November 2006, over 50 million journeys had been made on the system. Around 90,000 Luas trips are made each day (total 28.4 million in 2007). To date, the busiest day on the Luas system was Friday December 21, 2007 when 145,000 passenger journeys were recorded.

Luas operates without a State subsidy. The service recorded a surplus of €985,000 (CAD $1,542,000) –  €680,000 (CAD $1,064,000) in 2004 – an achievement well ahead of an anticipated deficit of €2.5 million (CAD $3.9 million).

From U-Tube – Trams Of Karlsruhe, Germany. Finest in the world?

October 20, 2009

An interesting video on Karlsruhe’s tram system, including their famous TramTrain, which can operate as a streetcar, a light railway or a commuter train! It’s worth a watch.

From the Vancouver Province – Inter-Urban exhibit sparks debate – ‘B.C. Electric Railway: More Than Just a Tram’ an example of light-rail transit

October 19, 2009

It seems that the momentum for the return of the Fraser Valley Interurban is gaining strength. If we can get the consensus of Valley mayors to support the return of the interurban, the next big hurdle is to take on the SkyTrain/light-metro lobby, because they desperately do not want much cheaper light rail operating any where near SkyTrain, lest it expose the light-metro’s huge construction and operating costs.

TransLink’s transit planning has come off the rails a long time ago and too many bureaucrats are afraid to have their dirty little secret exposed, by the reinstatement of the interurban. The impending $450 million deficit is just more evidence that we are squandering far too much money on transit, that has failed to create the model to attract the motorist from the car. Is it time for TransLink to go and a more locally and fiscally responsive organization should be created?

The valley interurban is coming and sooner than many people think and the great wailing and gnashing of teeth of those against the project is almost laughable; the question to be asked is: “When will METRO and regional politicians realize that modern light rail, track-sharing by using existing tracks, can be built as much as one tenth the cost of SkyTrain!” Much cheaper LRT means light-rail can penetrate into areas never dreamed of by current transit planners, creating more destination opportunities, thus attracting for ridership. How long can TransLink resist the power of modern light rail?


Inter-Urban exhibit sparks debate

‘B.C. Electric Railway: More Than Just a Tram’ an example of light-rail transit

By Brian Lewis, The Province – October 17, 2009

The call for establishing light-rail transit throughout the Fraser Valley is strengthening and now some of its advocates are reaching into the past to show us the future.

On Saturday, the Chilliwack Museum officially opened a year-long special exhibit — “The B.C. Electric Railway: More Than Just A Tram” — that tells the story of the Inter-Urban electric rail service that operated from downtown Vancouver to Chilliwack from 1910 until the 1950s.

However, as the exhibits title suggests, the B.C. Electric Company brought far more than a simple rail service to the Fraser Valley.

The private-sector company, which was run by British Empire entrepreneurs out of its London headquarters, also played the major role in establishing and developing the Fraser Valley as we know it today.

Most importantly, it brought electricity to the Fraser Valley, electricity it produced via the region’s first large hydro-electric dam and power station at nearby Buntzen Lake.

Not only did the BCE provide the power and the trains to the valley, it also established the first stores to sell electric appliances and other products to households and industry.

And as the exhibit demonstrates, the BCE’s rail presence had equally huge social and economic implications for the valley.

Farmers could quickly ship their fresh products to Vancouver’s market, food-processing operations became economically feasible all along the Inter-Urban route, valley sports teams joined Vancouver-based leagues, crop pickers from the city were easily transported to valley farms and the region’s towns, lakes and streams were suddenly accessible to city-based tour- ists.

“The idea for this exhibit grew out of the current public discussions on re-establishing rail service in the valley” says Chilliwack Museum executive director Ron Denman.

“We want people who see this exhibit to understand the extent of the long-lasting impacts the first rapid-rail transit system had on the Fraser Valley.

“And we want them to think about what would happen if we had a rapid-transit system in the valley today that was on a similar scale.

“I think it would have a similar effect on our future development and it certainly would be a greener and more efficient way to move people,” he adds.

“The BCE Railway was a green initiative long before going green became popular.” Meanwhile, as the staff at Chilliwack Museum (www.chilliwack. put the finishing touches on the special exhibit, equally intensive action has been taking place on the political front.

The various community groups that have called for rail in the valley are joining the region’s city councils and post-secondary schools to establish the South of the Fraser Community Rail Task Force.

Under this umbrella, the valley rail campaign is about to enter a more sophisticated phase.

Led by Langley Township Mayor Rick Green, it’s calling on the federal and provincial governments to help establish a full-demonstration project on part of the Inter-Urban line, one that would utilize the latest light-rail technology.

“One of the things we’ve been lacking up to this point is a common voice,” Green explains. “Now this task force will be the unifying voice for the communities we represent.” Details about the new task force will be announced shortly.

More unhappiness from South of the Fraser – From the Delta Optimist – Train offers miserable experience

October 18, 2009


It seems that the RAV/Canada Line is not swaying the transit customer’s minds to happily use the metro. It’s crowded, but over crowding could be the result of TransLink deliberately underestimating Richmond and South of the Fraser buses ridership, to crow about packed trains to a very complacent media. Obviously, TransLink isn’t operating enough capacity on the RAV/Canada line, to meet the capacity of buses serving the metro. Why is there not enough cars to handle all the bus traffic serving the metro?

One clue is that TransLink exaggerated vehicle capacity by 20%, when in fact car capacity is 163 persons as advertised elsewhere by ROTEM and not 200 persons as advertised by TransLink. This translates into a calculated lack of capacity, crowded trains, and unhappy transit customers. The letter also points to the fact that RAV is heavily used by people with concession fares or U-Passes, which means less revenue for TransLink. If one apportions fares for the U-pass, the RAV/Canada Lines share of revenue for a student is $8.33 to $12.50 a month! One can’t fund a metro at those prices and certainly points to the reason why TransLink is in a fiscal free-fall.

Also the RAV/Canada line seems not to have taken a car off the road and those 200,000 car trips off the road as promised by premier Campbell and other politicians are mere ‘pixie dust‘ promises, meant for the ever complacent mainstream media who continually mistake political hyperbole for news.

Here is a question that should cause one to think: “If the RAV/Canada Line is at capacity now, how can it cope with an estimated 30% higher ridership during the Olympics?”

Train offers miserable experience

the Delta Optimist


It’s been approximately six weeks now since we lost our direct 601 bus service into Vancouver. I, like a lot of transit users, have had to ride the Canada Line.

For many commuters this means two bus rides and the Canada Line to get to the same place they used to get to by just riding the 601. My transit time has increased by 25 minutes.

It is not only the time and inconvenience of this but the actual experience is miserable. I rarely get a seat on the Canada Line, which is usually crowded with many people dragging luggage, strollers, carrying skateboards and bringing their bikes on board.

Getting on and off is particularly hazardous and the chance of tripping is great, especially for seniors. Plus, on several occasions, I have witnessed pushing and shoving to get onboard. There are few seats on the Canada Line and most people have to stand.

There are no seats or benches at the Bridgeport station where the 601 goes now and many of us have stood and waited for up to a half hour for the bus. If it is later at night you can stand for an hour.

I have heard many stories of how people’s lives have been disrupted since the loss of the 601 into Vancouver. One woman, who is brain damaged, used to ride into town to visit friends. She could do so as it was one bus ride. Now she cannot go as she cannot handle the frustration of transferring and waiting.

A senior who has never driven cannot get off and on the six times involved in going into town and coming back, plus there is no guarantee of a seat.

Another person has a mentally handicapped niece who used to ride from Vancouver to the exchange to visit. She can no longer do this without being accompanied.

Also, I know of many people who are now driving after commuting by transit for years.

For many of us the loss of the direct 601 service into Vancouver is a frustrating, time-consuming experience. For others, it is a barrier and their quality of life and enjoyment has been diminished.

TransLink has to get 100,000 riders on the Canada Line a day or it has to subsidize its private partner. How many lives are affected or what are the transit needs of our community is not a concern for them.

Now TransLink has announced there will be a fare increase for what is essentially a decreased service for many.

I have an appointment in Vancouver this week and I’m driving. I have stood all the way into Vancouver in crowded cars, been pushed by those onboard and been nearly tripped too many times now. Riding the Canada Line is not worth the risk.

From the Vancouver Sun: “Olympic traffic plan could leave a lasting legacy — but it will depend on us”. NOT

October 17, 2009


The editors at the Vancouver Sun have never grasped the realities of the many transit issues in Vancouver, let alone the challenges of the ‘Olympic‘ road closures. The problem in METRO Vancouver is that transit planners have always seized the latest “flavour of the month” in transit operation from light-metro to GLT and revenue gathering such as road tolling, congestion charge, etc., but seldom if ever read the fine print. The same transit bureaucrats then create transit policies espoused by politicians, who again seldom, if ever read the fine print. How many Vancouver area bureaucrats and politicos realize that London’s congestion charge law also provides relief, in the form of subsidies, to merchants and businesses in the congestion charge zone who can demonstrate a loss in business to the congestion fee. Anyone remember Susan Heyes, a Cambie St. merchant who had to take TransLink to court to get compensation for four years of cut-and-cover subway construction devastation?

Again we read of ‘carrot and stick’, a so 1980’s approach to transit, with the RAV/Canada Line where a Mr. Crilly and the Sun’s editorial board make the critical mistake assuming that the new metro line is indeed a carrot. The fact is, there is no proof that the RAV/Canada line has taken any cars off the road and for many transit customers, RAV has increased journey times, hardly what one can call a ‘carrot‘ when the new metro line now seems to be a rather nasty stick!

For transit to be a ‘carrot‘ it has to be seen as user friendly and convenient; convenient enough to attract the motorist from the car. The RAV/Canada Line is not perceived so and by forcing unwilling car drivers onto an extremely poorly designed metro system for the duration of the Olympics, will create just more people detesting public transit than before and taxpayers forced onto a perceived ‘transit stick’ by higher road charges and taxes, spell political annihilation to politicians supporting such measures, just like what is happening in the UK today.

The only ‘transit‘ legacy the Olympic traffic plan is that car drivers will realize how shallow and inept transit planning is in the region and how out of touch transit planners and politicians are about regional transit. The ‘Olympic’ transit plan may finally force provincial and regional politicians that years of light-metro only construction has failed and that there has to be a complete rethink how we provide and fund public transit.

The fear of political failure and a loss at election time is a wonderful ‘carrot’ to demand change from politicians.

Olympic traffic plan could leave a lasting legacy — but it will depend on us

The Vancouver Sun – October 15, 2009

The challenge facing traffic planners for the 2010 Olympic Games was relatively straightforward.

All they had to do was figure out a way to avoid gridlock while squeezing an additional 150,000 people into an area that is already congested while at the same time closing some roads and constricting others.

It’s akin to trying to pour two litres of water into a one-litre jug. So not surprisingly, the finely detailed solution they came up with recognizes that no plan will allow us to achieve the impossible. Something has to give.

That means the Olympic traffic plan will work only if businesses and residents in the Lower Mainland start doing some detailed planning of our own.

If anyone hasn’t figured this out yet, like it or not, it will not be business as usual for two months surrounding the Games and especially during the two weeks of competition.

That fact is now chiselled in stark relief with the release of the detailed traffic plan, which while disruptive in itself, counts for its success in achieving a never-before-obtained 30-per-cent reduction in the number of people bringing their cars into downtown Vancouver.

It also urges commuters, even those taking transit, to avoid travelling into the downtown area between 7 and 9 a.m. and between 2 and 7 p.m..

Some people will be able to adjust their schedules or to work from home.

But any significant shift in the timing of rush hour — or several hours, as it has become — will depend on employers getting into the spirit of the Games.

Business owners need to consider whether hours of work can be shifted, whether they can organize around four-day weeks for example, eliminating one day of commuting, and whether their employees can work effectively from home.

While the changes will be onerous for some people and businesses, we hope that they will be undertaken in the spirit of the Games as part of the excitement of being host to the world and as a potential opportunity.

There is also the opportunity to create another Olympic legacy by making permanent a switch from single-occupancy automobiles to ride-sharing, public transit, bicycling and walking to work.

Although this is not overtly part of the plan, by putting up new hurdles to driving downtown, the Olympics are acting as the kind of tool for social engineering called for last month by the regional transportation commissioner, Martin Crilly.

Crilly argued in his report on TransLink’s financial woes that simply building new transit infrastructure won’t persuade commuters to leave their cars at home.

He said carrots, such as the new Canada Line, must be accompanied by the stick of higher taxes that make driving more expensive.

The “stick” aspect of the Olympics is temporary. It will persuade more drivers to take transit.

Whether they go back to their cars after the Games are over will depend in large measure on how well TransLink performs.

In that way, TransLink shares with the rest of us an extraordinary, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in hosting the world through the Winter Olympics

As the traffic plan shows, it won’t all be fun and games. But it’s our party and as individuals, families, businesses and a community, whether we laugh or cry is up to us.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

London Tube and bus fares going up – From the Independant. Looks like TransLink isn’t alone with its financial woes

October 16, 2009


Some overseas news. Transport for London is increasing fares for the TUBE by 8% as Transport for London is facing a financial crisis on a far grater scale than our TransLink. What this shows, in part, is that maintaining a large metro network is very expensive, due to many factors including wages, maintenance and renewals to the TUBE and Underground Lines. The  £1.7bn or CAD $2.9 billion funding gap is staggering.

Also London’s famed congestion charges are rising, but not all is well with the congestion tax; residents in Manchester voted heavily against a congestion charging (with dire consequences for the politicians who supported it) and congestion is returning to London as it seems now the congestion fees area cost of doing business and being downloaded onto the consumer. What is  not being released is the amount of subsidy (a per the congestion charging act) is being paid to merchants and stores negatively affected by the congestion fees, within the congestion tax area.

Could this be a portend of things to come in the region, where the aging SkyTrain (needing a $1 billion refit) is demanding more and more taxpayers money and the METRO area forces congestion charging or road tolls to gather more tax income. Is there danger that major businesses will look to relocate South to Seattle or Portland and the cost of goods and services will rise dramatically as the congestion charges or road tolls will be seen as a cost of doing business and be downloaded onto the consumer.

Just a note: Zweisystem filled up the family chariot in Point Roberts Washington, where the price of gas was CAD $0.81 a litre and lovely 1.66 litre box of Tillicum ice cream was on sale for $2.99 or three for $8.00.

London Tube and bus fares going up

By Peter Woodman, Press Association

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Travellers will have to fork out for above-inflation public transport fare rises in the capital in the New Year.

 And the daily cost of the London congestion charge for vehicles is also going up soon, it was announced today.

 He also announced that the £8 daily congestion charge fee would rise to £9 for those choosing to pay by a new automated account system and to £10 for those paying by existing methods, with the changes expected to take effect from December 2010.

 Mr Johnson said that the decision to put up fares had “not been taken lightly” but a small rise was needed now to prevent huge rises in years to come.

 He said the increases were necessary to protect Transport for London’s (TfL) large investment programme and that he had only sanctioned the increases after ensuring that £5bn efficiency savings were being made at TfL.

 The rises on the underground and on the buses are in stark contrast to the situation for national mainline rail season ticket holders who will actually find their fares going down in January thanks to the retail price index inflation figure being in minus territory.

Asked about this seeming discrepancy between national and London fares today Mr Johnson said that national rail fares were being “depressed artificially for election purposes” and would inevitably rise after the General Election.

TfL is facing a £1.7bn funding gap which the rises in fares and the increase in the congestion charge will go some way towards closing over the next three years.

Mr Johnson said today: “Nobody wants to make an announcement like this, especially when Londoners are feeling the effects of the recession. It is not a decision that I have taken lightly.

 “The mistakes of the past and the current economic climate have conspired to present us with a huge challenge. The crucial thing is that we safeguard the investment in our city’s future and that’s why I’m asking Londoners to accept this difficult decision.”

Train crashes into car in Nanaimo: Another example of a car driver ignoring the dangers of a railway level crossings

October 15, 2009

1 tram crossing

Here we have another sad example of a motorist ignoring railway signals and driving into the path of a passenger train, with tragic results. Rail For The Valley must deal with two issues before the reinstatement of the interurban.

1) Before any interurban or streetcar service is to begin in BC, a complete review and updating of the motor vehicles act must take place. When the act was written, taking streetcars (and interurban) into account, motorists in BC drove on the left hand side of the road! This was done in the UK, before the Manchester LRT scheme was built and in France, before there was major investment in new tramway’s. It has also been attempted in the USA, but with poorer results ans the anti-LRT lobby has used motor vehicle rules change as the last bastion of defense for their ant-LRT tirades.

2) RFV should advise government that any motorist who ignores a railway signaling device at a level crossing should be given a six month driving ban and any motorist who ignores a railway level crossing signaling device and causes an accident or death, should be given a 10 year driving ban. All interurban signaled controlled level crossings are to be CCTV monitored.

Modern light-rail is one of the safest public transit modes in the world, yet where LRT interfaces with auto traffic, accidents will and do happen and it is best the auto drivers know the law and be compelled to adhere to the law.

The SkyTrain lobby should do well to remember this as well, the annual death rate on SkyTrain is three times higher than the annual death rate on Calgary’s LRT, but that is another story.

Train crashes into car in Nanaimo

A man and woman in their 40s are dead

John Streit NANAIMO (NEWS1130) | Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 8:00 pm

NANAIMO (NEWS1130) – Two people are dead after a passenger train slammed into a car at a railway crossing in Nanaimo. It happened around three this afternoon, an older model car travelling on the Island Highway was turning right when it was hit by the Southern Railway of Vancouver Island dayliner.

There were three people in the car at the time – a man and woman in their 40s are dead, a passenger in her 20s was hurt and taken to hospital with unknown injuries. None of the passengers on the train were hurt. Mounties were told the lights and bells on the train crossing were working at the time.