Thank you for blog reader, David Cockle, for more European tram movies!
An interesting article from RailNews UK.
Rail ‘creates more jobs than road transport’
MORE jobs would be created
by reducing car use and encouraging a switch to rail travel, according to a new report.
The findings. commissioned by pteg, the Campaign for Better Transport and Sustrans from researchers Ekosgen, show that 100 direct rail jobs support 140 ‘indirect and induced’ jobs, while 100 direct motor industry jobs support only 48 other jobs.
The conclusion is also supported by evidence from the United States that investing in public transport creates twice as many jobs than investing in roads.
The report goes on to say: ‘It is widely accepted that sustainable transport is at the heart of tackling congestion, in delivering important international commitments on climate change and bringing about the change to a low carbon economy. In addition this research firmly demonstrates that the sustainable transport sector also employs significant numbers of people (estimated at almost half a million jobs) which can make an important contribution to the economic recovery and growth.’
Stephen Joseph, who is the director of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: ‘This report clearly shows for the first time that sustainable transport industries are major employers and are in fact on some measures more important to the overall economy than the motor industry. Investment in sustainable transport can support the low carbon industries the Government says it wants to encourage. In deciding its spending priorities, the Government must learn the lessons from other countries, where consistent long term investment in rail and bus has supported domestic manufacturing industries providing skilled jobs.’
‘Zwei’ notes that Professor Condon has fallen into the light rail/streetcar trap. The difference between LRT and a streetcar is the quality of rights-of-way, where a streetcar operates on-street in mixed traffic, with little or no signal priority at intersections, while LRT is a streetcar that operates on a ‘reserved rights-of-way’ (RRoW), which is a a route reserved exclusively for a streetcar or tram and with signal priority at intersections. A RRoW can be as simple as a HOV lane with rails or as complex as a lawned boulevard RoW such as the Arbutus corridor. When a streetcar/tram operates on a grade separated RoW such as elevated on a viaduct or in a subway, in fact becomes a metro!
Until academics, transit planners and bureaucrats start understanding that modern LRT/streetcar a independent transit mode that is built to provide different and unique transit solutions different from that of a metro and is not a poor-man’s SkyTrain, we will get the same monotonous, expensive and unworkable metro only planning that the region has suffered for the past three decades.
Islanders ignore fiscal realities as they rail to save decrepit E&N
By Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun
July 22, 2010
The B.C. Liberal government decision last week not to spend tens of millions of dollars on a rescue of the decrepit E&N railway brought an angry if predictable reaction in the provincial capital region.
An insult. A stark contrast to hefty funding elsewhere in the province. The government doesn’t spend nearly enough on transportation on Vancouver Island.
The previous New Democratic Party government spent $1 billion on a new Island Highway. And as residents of the southern Interior have noted, it was toll-free, unlike the Coquihalla Highway for the first 20 years of its existence.
In its current term, the government has seen a massive expenditure on capital construction for ferries and terminals, plus more than $1 billion in direct subsidies for the ferry service.
But as we say on the Island — I’ve lived here for most of three decades — “what have they done for us lately?”
Still, judging from the series of reports released by the government in support of its decision, it is hard to make the case that an E&N makeover would be the best use of public infrastructure dollars on the Island.
The line, 125 years old and neglected for decades, is in wretched shape. A third of the ties are already defective; many others are rotting their way to imminent ruin. “The bulk of the rail joints are in poor condition and not in compliance with the regulations.”
Some of the signalling equipment is so out of date, spare parts can no longer be purchased. (Rummage sales?) Plus, sad to say, “most frogs need grinding.” (Love that railway jargon).
More serious, from a standpoint of long-term reliability, “some bridges date back before the corridor and were reassembled here after being in service elsewhere in Canada in the 1800s.” (!)
Note that the government-funded stock-taking on the line did not include a seismic review. Maybe there are some instances where it is better not to know the true state of affairs.
Then, too, the line has some 240 level crossings, each a recipe for accidents, service interruptions, lawsuits and soaring insurance premiums. “Injury damage awards have been high, particularly for long-term debilitating injuries.”
In sum, without significant investment in upkeep, “the line will become inoperable.” Figure $70 million to maintain the status quo, between $200 million and $300 million if service is to be expanded. But the prospects for expanded utilization are, at best, iffy.
Freight? Current volumes on the line amount to about three carloads a day. The most likely prospect for growth would necessitate persuading industry, mainly the troubled forest sector, to switch back to rail from trucks.
Tourism? “Major tour group operators often did not view the Victoria-based tourist train as a high-profile enough rail excursion to include in their itineraries.”
Passengers? The line averages fewer than 300 trips per day at peak season, a mere 41,000 paying customers in an entire year. Improved service might reap a three-to fourfold increase in passengers, presuming an investment of at least $100 million, plus an annual subsidy of $1.6 million a year.
One of the reports suggested that at least part of the line could be transformed into something other than a historical artifact, by adapting a 17-kilometre stretch into a commuter rail service linking downtown Victoria to the communities west of the city.
Rebuild with double-tracking in some stretches. Construct four new stations and a maintenance facility. Improve safety at some two dozen level crossings. Invest in new vehicles like those on Ottawa’s O-train.
At an estimated upfront cost as high as $168 million in current dollars plus a subsidy of $3.5 million a year, commuter rail would not qualify as a low-budget option. Still, if you build it, won’t they come?
Maybe not. The E&N corridor is out of whack with regional travel patterns. The service would be oriented toward commuters going to and from work in downtown Victoria. But four out of five regional trips are by people headed elsewhere for other purposes. And even for the one in five headed to and from work, the track runs out annoyingly short of the employment and commercial core of the city.
Plus the one-way travel time, even on the refurbished line, would be 30 minutes. “This is a fairly slow service for a 17-kilometre trip and may cause many potential passengers to continue commuting by automobile.”
Still Victoria’s E&N boosters say transit is a chronic money loser and that hasn’t stopped government from expanding the network on the mainland. Look at the West Coast Express. Look at that nifty new Canada Line.
Okay, let’s look. The projected usage of the E&N commuter line is just over 1,000 riders per working day, fewer than 300,000 in a year.
The West Coast Express hauls the latter tally worth of commuters back and forth in a little over a month. The Canada Line carries that many people in three days.
I love my Island home. But from time to time, I do wonder at the fiscal logic of some of my fellow Islanders.
For some light summer fun. Gibraltar, as we all know is a very small colony on the bottom tip of Spain and land is at a premium. Instead of an expensive tunnel, the main road into Gibraltar crosses the main airport runway and is protected by railway style crossing gates!
To enter Gibraltar, one must cross the main runway!
When the runway is in use, railway style barriers come down and stops traffic.
And when the runway is not in use, the barriers rise and the traffic proceeds normally!