A letter in the Aldergrove Star & The Surrey Leader


Affordable transit needed

Published: March 18, 2010


I find it surprising that the Mayor of Chilliwack does not want to join the ‘South of the Fraser Rail Task Force’ until after the $400,000 study has been completed.

Certainly she hasn’t shown the mettle as previous politicos a century ago that lobbied and welcomed the original Interurban service.

The Light Rail Committee has been advising the Rail For The Valley group on a possible solution for the return of the Interurban to the Fraser Valley, based on modern light rail in the guise of the very successful TramTrain.

TramTrain is a streetcar that can operate on mainline railways. In other words, we are advising for an ‘interurban’ service, not unlike the interurban service that ran until the early ’50s.

The LRC has been advised by several professional transit planners, that the geometry of the original BC Electric line was designed for short wheelbase interurbans (used by the BCE) which precludes any commuter rail or standard DMU operations.

Modern TramTrain with short wheelbase articulated cars can handle the existing tracks with ease and at speed, with little or no expensive track alterations.

The LRC has been advised by ‘real’ experts that a half hourly Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain service can be had for about $500 million, even cheaper if diesel LRT is used.

Now $500 million will buy you about 4 kms. of SkyTrain.

Put another way, we could build TramTrain to the Tri-Cities instead of the proposed $1.4 billion SkyTrain Evergreen Line and a Vancouver to Chilliwack Interurban service and still have money left over for other transit projects in the region.

Affordable solutions for ‘rail’ transit are available, only if we pursue them.




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