Archive for September, 2010

The Streetcar Symposium – TransLink Doesn’t Get it!

September 30, 2010

Zwei attended the streetcar symposium on Wednesday and came out with a great sinking feeling – TransLink just doesn’t get it. The event itself was very well put together, with ample food and drink, but there was little discussion about streetcars, but a lot of back-slapping by the various agencies and bureaucrats attending. The symposium was derailed and for good reason too, I beleive.

What was it all about? To my well practiced eyes the event was an infomercial for Bombardier Inc. (they were well advertised) to sell Flexity trams to Vancouver for their $90 million tourist streetcar line. Why not purchase much cheaper second hand trams from Europe? No one has ever thought of that in a Bombardier town.

The symposium was mostly a tedious event with most speakers dancing around the topic of streetcars with, “oh no, they are not light rail“, responses. What is even more worrisome is that TransLink hasn’t a clue about light rail or even streetcars and continue their well honed mantra that LRT can’t carry more than 10,000 persons per hour per direction and that streetcar’s capacity is even less! of course this TransLink nonsense is to keep the SkyTrain option alive for Vancouver’s Broadway UBC Line.

Lesson for TransLink – Light Rail can carry over 20,000 pphpd! Of course TransLink knows this, but ignores it and continues to squander millions of dollars on pointless transit studies favouring SkyTrain metro or even a $80 million skyride to SFU!

As for Rail to the Valley and our ground breaking report? Nope, never, Nada; never heard of the group nor read the study; haven’t a clue what TramTrain is but; “we’ll have a look in Wikipeada……”.

Professor Patrick Condon summed up the days events; They are talking about stations and land development, they just don’t get it.

Zweisystem’s advice for the South Fraser Region, secede from TransLink and the sooner the better as TransLink is incapable of planning for affordable LRT and continues to dream in “SkyTrain”.

Update

Stephen Rees also attended the meeting and even though he said he wasn’t going to post to his blog about it, he has. It is worth while to see his view on the day.

http://stephenrees.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/streetcars-the-missing-link/

The Leewood Projects ‘Full Build Option’ or “Full Meal Deal”. Finally a Transit Plan With Vision!

September 28, 2010

Click here to download the full 84 page report

What is interesting about the Rail for the Valley/Leewood Projects TramTrain or interurban report is the vision shown by the author. Not only does he plan for the ‘politically correct’ (for valley types) Scott Road to Chilliwack TramTrain he also looks to the future with extensions to Vancouver, Richmond and Rosedale, with the ‘Full Build Option’ costing just under one billion dollars!

For a better perspective, the 11 km. SkyTrain Evergreen Line extension will cost over $1.4 billion and service far fewer potential transit customers, this has lead to demand for more density along the Evergreen Line in the Tri-Cities region to try to increase ridership on the metro. The RftV TramTrain doesn’t need such high density as there is plenty of population along the route to provide ridership. The density issue for rail transit has become a SkyTrain only issue as there is sufficient population to ensure economic operation with much cheaper to build light rail.

For the same cost as the Evergreen SkyTrain Line, a  full build (Full Meal Deal) Valley TramTrain, Vancouver/Richmond to Rosedale could be built and with the remaining $400 million, a Vancouver/Richmond to Maple Ridge TramTrain operation could also be funded.

The planned SkyTrain subway to UBC is estimated to cost $3 billion to $4 billion, yet for the same amount of monetary outlay, we could build a BCIT to UBC/Stanley Park LRT/streetcar ($1 billion); a full build RftV TramTrain ($1 billion); a new multi track Fraser River Rail bridge (approx. $500 million); TramTrain to Whiterock (approx. $300 million); and LRT/tram lines in Surrey and Langley ($500 million to $1 billion+)!

For the cost of one SkyTrain subway line, we could fund a sizable regional LRT network combining light rail, TramTrain and streetcar/tram, with the potential of being able to get on a tram in Rosedale and take the same tram to Stanley Park or UBC or Richmond! This is the vision behind the Rail for the Valley/Leewood Projects Report, it is not just a one politically and bureaucratically prestigious rapid transit line, rather a plan to implement affordable light rail transit in the region, providing affordable ‘rail‘ transit for generations.

The sad fact is, Premier Campbell lacks such vision with his childish, TransLink Speak, remarks regarding light rail and his pronouncements are a continuing embarrassment for those  trying to get affordable rail transit built in the Fraser Valley.

The Fraser Valley municipal politicians had better show transit vision now and board the valley TramTrain, lest they be left waiting at the platform, paying Vancouver’s fare for a new $4 billion SkyTrain subway under Broadway.

A Karlsruhe TramTrain operating on tram tracks. The same LRV can operate on the mainline.

Spain’s FEVE Regional Light Railway – A Model For The Valley TramTrain?

September 27, 2010

The following came via the Light Rail Transit Association’s members group.

The FEVE is a Spanish narrow or metre gauge railway, what could be termed a ‘light’ railway, operating light rail style articulated electrical multiple units, diesel articulated multiple units as well as freight or goods trains. It is this type of operation that is envisioned for the Rail for the Valley interurban.

I visited last week the northern Spanish coast around Santander, and had the opportunity to travel frequently on the FEVE metre-gauge semi-light rail system, notably on the electrified bit between Santander and Cabezon de la Sal, which operates a regular service using high-platform tram-like articulated railcars. The stopping service uses double-articulated cars, and the “express” service single-articulated ones, both as single units. Current feed is by pantograph (I think 1500 vdc) to fairly basic but robust catenary, either span-wire or bracket-arm.

The stations are either unstaffed rural halts or else town stations with electronic gates and a “pay on arrival” ticket machine. Sometimes there is a roving conductor selling tickets on the railcar, but more often not. Disabled access is provided, either by new lift installations in the town stations or by using the ramp at the end of the platform in the rural case. There is also wheelchair space at one end of the railcar, and a lavatory at the other end. Bicycles are permitted.

The system is ferociously punctual, with a railcar every half-hour off-peak and more frequently at peak times. Rural halts seem to have spacious (and full ) car parks during the day, and even the off-peak services normally have a half-full load of passengers (in contrast to the competing local buses, which are frequently seen running empty). Fares are cheap, typically 1.90 euros single full fare for a 20 km trip (many concessions are on offer, and if my Spanish had been better I would have been tempted to try my ITSO pass and see if it worked !)

There is also a regular goods service, involving long trains of low wagons loaded with sheet metal hauled by a pair of diesel locos. At the frequent un-barriered rural level crossings these rely on massive air horns to announce their imminent passage (the passenger railcars use a whistle). This is one of the few visible weaknesses of an otherwise excellent system.

Whereas the goods trains go slowly, the railcars certainly don’t. I paced one from the adjacent motorway going at least 80kph, and they don’t slow down for the frequent sharp curves (the Spanish coast has very hilly topography – the new motorways have frequent tunnels, and the FEVE has frequent sharp curves rather like a full-size Hornby Dublo trainset.) Railcar brakes are interesting too: each trailing axle has a centrally-mounted disc brake of considerable size, but there are no track brakes. Despite that, the railcars can stop pretty quickly if required (see item above about “near-misses”)

I couldn’t get any information about the railcars’ build, but I would guess within the last decade and from a Spanish local supplier. The system seems to be subsidised by the “Ministerio de Fomento” (almost impossible to translate ‘Fomento’ – “public works and transport” is probably the closest, though it also means “encouragement”. We could do with that in the UK !)

A good example of European rural Light rail/Metro/Tram-Trains; exactly what we are attempting to achieve in the Fraser Valley.

 http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wl&q=Cabezon%20de%20la%20Sal

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FEVE

Following photos by David Orchard

 
 
 
   

FEVE EMU

 
  FEVE Station
 
   

Interior of a FEVE EMU

 
   

FEVE DMU

Mr. Campbell Responds to the Rail For The Valley/Leewood Report With Deciet

September 25, 2010

Gordon Campbell has a very bad reputation for not telling the truth, in fact he is a habitual teller of very tall tales.

The Premier’s statement in the following article, ” But you know the operating costs of the SkyTrain are about 50 per cent a year less than with light rail. And the ridership is two and a half times greater with SkyTrain.” is a complete falsehood!

A 1996 comparison with Calgary’s C-Train LRT shows that the Expo Line costs 40% more to operate than Calgary’s LRT (both about the same length), yet the C-Train carries more passengers!

“Mr. Campbell, to restore your credibility, please provide the same type of – accurate – data for SkyTrain as can be found on the Calgary Transit website for its light-rail system.”

http://www.calgarytransit.com/html/technical_information.html

Operating costs, Calgary C-Train (2006).

  • Vehicle Maintenance costs: $13.9M (2006)
  • Station Maintenance costs: $2.8M (2006)
  • Right of Way Maintenance costs: $2.9M (2006)
  • Signals Maintenance costs: $2.4M (2006)
  • Average annual power costs: $4.8M (2006)
  • Annual LRV Operator wages: $6.0M (includes fringe benefits of 21.57%) (2006)
  • Total – $32.8 million
  • A 2009 study done by UBC Professor Patrick Condon also showed SkyTrain as being very expensive to operate and in his study, SkyTrain had the highest cost to operate than any other transit mode in the study, which reflects much higher operating costs.

    http://thetyee.ca/News/2010/09/16/StreetcarToBeDesired/

    Mr. Campbell’s other statement that ridership is two times and half a much as LRT’s is pure fiction, both SkyTrain and LRT have the same potential capacities. To remind everyone, capacity is a function of headway & train length. This comment from the Toronto Transit Commissions 1980’s ART Study sums up SkyTrain potential capacity:

     “ICTS (which SkyTrain was called at the time) costs anything up to ten times as much as a conventional light-rail line to install, for about the same capacity; or put another way, ICTS costs more than a heavy-rail subway, with four times its capacity.”

    There is no independent study that shows that SkyTrain attracts more ridership than LRT, in fact at-grade/on-street light rail tends to be very good for attracting ridership.

    There are other erroneous claims being made in the article and they will be dealt with later.

    Mr. Campbell demeans himself with such claims, as he continues to demonstrate that truth is not in his lexicon. SkyTrain was built and will be built for reasons of political prestige and not what is best for the transit customer or the taxpayer. SkyTrain has failed to find a market domestically,in the USA and in Europe because it is both more expensive to build and more expensive to operate than its chief competitor modern LRT.

    Mr. Campbell, Rail for the Valley demands honest debate for the future of transit in the region, not your half baked statements based on fiction, to pursue your political aims.

    Oh, what tangled webs we weave, when we first practice to deceive“, Mr. Campbell, your tangled web of anti-LRT propaganda stops here, next time, deal in fact.

    Burnaby News leader

    By Jeff Nagel – BC Local News

    SkyTrain detractors should consider the benefits of the technology and not focus solely on the lower cost of building new rapid transit lines with at-grade light rail, Premier Gordon Campbell said.

    “It does cost less in capital – it costs about $150 million less,” the premier said in an interview with Black Press, referring to price estimates for the Evergreen Line to Coquitlam.

    “But you know the operating costs of the SkyTrain are about 50 per cent a year less than with light rail. And the ridership is two and a half times greater with SkyTrain.”

    The decision to make the Evergreen Line a SkyTrain extension rather than a separate light rail line will ultimately move more people, faster at lower long-term costs, he predicted.

    Campbell spoke Thursday, two days after the release of a new study from advocates who say a 100-kilometre light rail line from Surrey to Chilliwack can be opened on existing railway tracks for less than $500 million, compared to $1.4 billion for the 11-kilometre Evergreen Line.

    Several mayors, including Surrey’s Dianne Watts, have lobbied for light rail for future lines.

    Also critical to any transit expansion in the Lower Mainland, the premier said, is to ensure cities concentrate growth along transit corridors to support use of new lines while also making neighbourhoods more livable for walking and cycling.

    “You can’t have an urban transit system at rural densities,” he said. “You have to actually give yourself a chance for transit to make ends meet.”

    Campbell signed an accord with Metro Vancouver mayors Sept. 23 promising to explore a multitude of methods to raise more cash for transit expansion.

    He said mayors are free to put on the table even contentious options like a vehicle levy or forms of road pricing, which the agreement notes can help shape how people choose to travel.

    But he cautioned the key is to deliver good transit services that work and not merely try to use tolls or other fees to deter driving.

    “You can’t punish people into transit,” he said. “People use the Canada Line because they love it. It meets their needs.”

    Asked about public concern over the potential tolling of all three Fraser River bridges out of Surrey, Campbell downplayed the issue, saying the province determined in advance residents supported tolling the new Port Mann Bridge to deliver congestion relief.

    “There’s always going to be someone who says ‘I don’t want to do it,'” he said, but cited the time savings for users of the Golden Ears Bridge.

    “Think of the opportunities for connecting families, for moving goods.”

    He said an “adult conversation” is required on the options to fund TransLink for the future.

    Other parts of B.C. need transportation upgrades too, he said, adding the province will be hesitant about steering money to TransLink that deepens B.C.’s deficit or makes it harder to fund health care.

    “If there was a simple answer it would have been done a long time ago.”

    http://www.bclocalnews.com/greater_vancouver/burnabynewsleader/news/103734279.html

    Rail for the Valley in the News!

    September 22, 2010

    The Rail for the Valley/Leewood TramTrain study has had region wide reporting, with most of the weekly papers featuring this historic news release.

    Click here to download the full 84 page report

    Surrey Leader, Langley Times & Chilliwack Progress, BC

    http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/surreyleader/news/103467759.html

    or http://tinyurl.com/32zmj7n

    Valley light rail all go, twin groups claim

    Vancouver Province

    http://www.theprovince.com/life/Valley+light+rail+twin+groups+claim/3556678/story.html

    or http://tinyurl.com/36aznnb

    Chilliwack Progress

    http://www.bclocalnews.com/fraser_valley/theprogress/news/103467759.html

     Report supports light rail

    ‘An honest accounting’ of the potential transit system

    Chilliwack Times, BC

    http://www.chilliwacktimes.com/news/Report+supports+light+rail/3555699/story.html

     From the North Shore News

    http://www.nsnews.com/columnists/Valley+residents+track+with+light+rail/3561755/story.html

    Valley light rail all go, twin groups claim
    Vancouver Province

    http://www.theprovince.com/life/Valley+light+rail+twin+groups+claim/3556678/story.html

    Even the Richmond Review and south Delta Leader has Jeff Nagel’s article!

    http://www.bclocalnews.com/richmond_southdelta/richmondreview/news/103467759.html

    CBC TV News

    http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/Local_News/BC/ID=1596879406

    Groundbreaking report on Interurban light rail

    September 21, 2010

    The Rail for the Valley/Leewood study is indeed historic, for it is the first time in over 30 years that a truly independent transit study, free of political and bureaucratic influence, has been done in the region. The study shows that the region can build a large ‘rail’ network cheaply, with an affordable vision for future, cost effective extensions.

    SkyTrain’s Achilles heel is cost and when one compares the per kilometer cost of the RftV TramTrain and SkyTrain, a full build TramTrain is less than 10% the cost per km. to build than SkyTrain light metro.

    Click here to download the full 84 page report

    Being affordable to build, enables TramTrain to penetrate to areas, that would otherwise remain unserved by ‘rail‘. The ‘density’ argument, used successfully by TransLink and the provincial government to deter ‘rail‘ expansion South of the Fraser, disappears as TramTrain easily uses existing railway lines, without any any need for expensive ‘greenfields’ construction (like using the median of the Number 1 Hwy.). If on-street operation is desired in town centres, TramTrain can play the role of a streetcar or LRT, yet retaining the ability of cost effective operation to widely spaced population centres using existing rail lines.

    The Evergreen Line has demonstrated that funding for SkyTrain is becoming harder and harder and if we look at the ‘full build’ RftV/Leewood Study, a Vancouver/Richmond to Rosedale TramTrain would cost less than one billion dollars or put another way, for the over $1.4 billion Evergreen line, we could build the ‘full build’ TramTrain, plus a Vancouver to Port Moody TramTrain service as well! More rail service, servicing more customer destinations, is the best recipe for achieving a true modal shift from car to transit.

    One hopes that the ‘powers that be’ understand that planning for expensive, ‘pie in the sky’ metro is becoming a fools game as there is just not the money to fund such grandiose schemes and in todays economy, TramTrain becomes a most viable option. The RftV/Leewood Study paves the way for a real and cost effective alternative for transit expansion in the METRO and Fraser Valley Regions and one hoped that the politicians will jump on board TramTrain, lest they be left at the station platform, waiting for a SkyTrain that will never come.

    Groundbreaking report on Interurban light rail – released TODAY

    September 20, 2010

    UPDATE:
    Major media coverage of the report

    CBC News Video: Light rail recommended for Fraser Valley

    Rail for the Valley – Breakfast Television on City TV

    Langley Times editorial – Speed up transit decisions

    Langley Advance: Study lauds light rail

    Chilliwack Times: Report supports light rail: ‘An honest accounting’ of the potential transit system

    Chilliwack Times: Mayor remains mum on latest rail system study

    Abbotsford Times: Report supports valley light rail

    Surrey Leader, Richmond Review, Delta Leader, Abbotsford News & Chilliwack Progress: More ammo for light rail service through Valley

    Chilliwack Progress: Regional transportation needs ‘holistic’ approach

    Surrey Leader Editorial: We should get on track (Frank Bucholtz)

    North Shore News: Valley residents on track with light rail

    Vancouver Province: Valley light rail all go, twin groups claim

    News 1130: Commuter rail service to the Valley is affordable – study

    Rail For The Valley is extremely excited to announce the release of a comprehensive independent analysis of the potential for light rail service on the existing and publicly owned Interurban Rail Corridor, connecting communities from Chilliwack to Vancouver with an affordable, sustainable public transportation system. The study, now complete, was performed by Leewood Projects.

    About Leewood Projects:

    Leewood Projects is a British-based company that has professional expertise in light rail solutions, providing comprehensive project management and planning services to the international railway industry. Leewood Projects has in the past had involvement in prestigious rail projects such as the Channel Tunnel.

    Highlights of the the report:

    • TramTrain technology: Track-sharing the existing Interurban rail line with freight operations.
    • 20 minute (peak), 30 minute (off-peak) all-day service.
    • An analysis of the track and needed upgrades.
    • Railway stations designed as community gathering points. 10 full stations and 8 Tram Stops.
    • A detailed Journey Time matrix for stops along the line.
    • Total journey time between Surrey Scott Rd. SkyTrain Station and downtown Chilliwack: 90.5 minutes.
    • Future proposed expansions of the line: Downtown Vancouver (Stage 2) and Rosedale (Stage 3).
    • A detailed capital cost breakdown for the entire project.
    Total capital costs:
    Stage 1 Phase 1 (Diesel Light Rail) 98 km Scott Rd. – Chilliwack: $492 million
    Stage 1 Phase 2 (Electrification) 98 km Scott Rd. – Chilliwack: $114 million
    Stage 2 Proposal – 28 km Extension to Downtown Vancouver: $363 million
    Stage 3 Proposal – 12 km Extension to Rosedale: $28 million
     

    This is the most comprehensive light rail study ever undertaken in this province, performed by a company with professional expertise in light rail solutions. This report at long last provides us with an honest accounting of the potential for light rail service on the Interurban corridor.

    -John Buker, Founder, Rail For The Valley

    A Must Read For Regional Mayors Before They Talk Transit Funding!

    September 20, 2010

    Since the spring of 2008, the Light Rail Committee has circulated an E-Mail sent by American transit and transportation expert, Gerald Fox to a Victoria transit group that wants to promote LRT and TramTrain in the Capital Region. Mr. Fox easily shreds TransLink’s business case for the Evergreen Line which should forewarn transit groups and regional politicians in the Fraser Valley that TransLink easily manipulates statistics to favour SkyTrain to the detriment of light-rail and is not to be trusted with any transit study. The following is the text of the E-Mail and for those lobbying for the return of the Interurban, just substitute the Fraser Valley for Victoria.

    The letter, first published in in this blog December 27th, 2008 is reprinted in light of this weeks meeting of regional mayors with Transportation Minister Shirley Bond and the Premier of BC, regarding funding for the Evergreen Line.

    The question is basic: If TransLink’s business case for the Evergreen line is dishonest, then would a funding formula for the Evergreen line be equally dishonest?

    From: A North-American Rail Expert (Gerald Fox)

    Subject: Comments on the Evergreen Line “Business Case”

    Date: February 6, 2008 12:15:22 PM PST (CA)

     Greetings:

     The Evergreen Line Report made me curious as to how TransLink could justify continuing to expand SkyTrain, when the rest of the world is building LRT. So I went back and read the alleged “Business Case” (BC) report in a little more detail. I found several instances where the analysis had made assumptions that were inaccurate, or had been manipulated to make the case for SkyTrain. If the underlying assumptions are inaccurate, the conclusions may be so too. Specifically:

     Capacity. A combination of train size and headway. For instance, TriMet’s new “Type 4” Low floor LRVs, arriving later this year, have a rated capacity of 232 per car, or 464 for a 2- car train. (Of course one must also be sure to use the same standee density when comparing car capacity. I don’t know if that was done here). In Portland we operate a frequency of 3 minutes downtown in the peak hour, giving a one way peak hour capacity of 9,280. By next year we will have two routes through downtown, which will eventually load both ways, giving a theoretical peak hour rail capacity of 37,000 into or out of downtown. Of course we also run a lot of buses.

     The new Seattle LRT system which opens next year, is designed for 4-car trains, and thus have a peak hour capacity of 18,560. (but doesn’t need this yet, and so shares the tunnel with buses). The Business Case analysis assumes a capacity of 4,080 for LRT, on the Evergreen Line which it states is not enough, and compares it to SkyTrain capacity of 10400.!

     Speed. The analysis states the maximum LRT speed is 60 kph. (which would be correct for the street sections) But most LRVs are actually designed for 90 kph. On the Evergreen Line, LRT could operate at up to 90 where conditions permit, such as in the tunnels, and on protected ROW. Most LRT systems pre-empt most intersections, and so experience little delay at grade crossings. (Our policy is that the trains stop only at stations, and seldom experience traffic delays. It seems to work fine, and has little effect on traffic.) There is another element of speed, which is station access time. At-grade stations have less access time. This was overlooked in the analysis.

     Also, on the NW alignment, the SkyTrain proposal uses a different, faster, less-costly alignment to LRT proposal. And has 8 rather than 12 stations. If LRT was compared on the alignment now proposed for SkyTrain, it would go faster, and cost less than the Business Case report states!

     Cost. Here again, there seems to be some hidden biases. As mentioned above, on the NW Corridor, LRT is costed on a different alignment, with more stations. The cost difference between LRT and SkyTrain presented in the Business Case report is therefore misleading. If they were compared on identical alignments, with the same number of stations, and designed to optimize each mode, the cost advantage of LRT would be far greater. I also suspect that the basic LRT design has been rendered more costly by requirements for tunnels and general design that would not be found on more cost-sensitive LRT projects.

     Then there are the car costs. Last time I looked, the cost per unit of capacity was far higher for SkyTrain. Also,it takes about 2 SkyTrain cars to match the capacity of one LRV. And the grade-separated SkyTrain stations are far most costly and complex than LRT stations. Comparing 8 SkyTrain stations with 12 LRT stations also helps blur the distinction.

     Ridership. Is a function of many factors. The Business Case report would have you believe that type of rail mode alone, makes a difference (It does in the bus vs rail comparison, according to the latest US federal guidelines). But, on the Evergreen Line, I doubt it. What makes a difference is speed, frequency (but not so much when headways get to 5 minutes), station spacing and amenity etc. Since the speed, frequency and capacity assumptions used in the Business Case are clearly inaccurate, the ridership estimates cannot be correct either. There would be some advantage if SkyTrain could avoid a transfer. If the connecting system has capacity for the extra trains. But the case is way overstated.

     And nowhere is it addressed whether the Evergreen Line, at the extremity of the system, has the demand for so much capacity and, if it does, what that would mean on the rest of the system if feeds into?

     Innuedos about safety, and traffic impacts, seem to be a big issue for SkyTrain proponents, but are solved by the numerous systems that operate new LRT systems (i.e., they can’t be as bad as the SkyTrain folk would like you to believe).

     I’ve no desire to get drawn into the Vancouver transit wars, and, anyway, most of the rest of the world has moved on. To be fair, there are clear advantages in keeping with one kind of rail technology, and in through-routing service at Lougheed. But, eventually, Vancouver will need to adopt lower-cost LRT in its lesser corridors, or else limit the extent of its rail system. And that seems to make some TransLink people very nervous.

     It is interesting how TransLink has used this cunning method of manipulating analysis to justify SkyTrain in corridor after corridor, and has thus succeeded in keeping its proprietary rail system expanding. In the US, all new transit projects that seek federal support are now subjected to scrutiny by a panel of transit peers, selected and monitored by the federal government, to ensure that projects are analysed honestly, and the taxpayers’ interests are protected. No SkyTrain project has ever passed this scrutiny in the US.

     Victoria

     But the BIG DEAL for Victoria is: If the Business Case analysis were corrected to fix at least some of the errors outlined above, the COST INCREASE from using SkyTrain on the Evergreen Line will be comparable to the TOTAL COST of a modest starter line in Victoria. This needs to come to the attention of the Province. Victoria really does deserve better. Please share these thoughts as you feel appropriate.

    Light Rail News Round Up

    September 19, 2010

    Some news about LRT and transit from the USA and Europe.

    Houston

    http://triptotheouthouse.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/metrorail-houston.jpg

     http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kC5MT2r5U8s/Sl4F-NXBl6I/AAAAAAAALDo/Xc0hZryKsgk/s1600-h/Houston+METRORail.jpg

     http://www.flickr.com/photos/16638697@N00/186998827

     Oslo

    http://i46.tinypic.com/11j43s4.jpg

     http://lh6.ggpht.com/_-sUKhyFR7PM/RrxuaQKw-FI/AAAAAAAABus/hVt9hZCtBaw/IMG_1897.JPG

    TAMPA – More than a decade ago, Phoenix baseball officials showcased a video of their state of the art ballpark during a lavish Tampa Bay reception, overwhelming the home team’s introduction of Tropicana Field.

    Local business and civic leaders that night yearned for a comparable facility, even before the Rays’ first season had begun.

    Once again local officials are casting an envious eye toward Phoenix. This time they are studying a 20-mile light rail system that could serve as a model for a proposed system in Tampa.

    http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/sep/19/tampa-looks-to-phoenix-as-model-for-light-rail-sys/news-metro/

    WASATCH FRONT — The Utah Transit Authority says work on five new TRAX rail lines is steadily progressing. Riders are expected to be able to hop on light rail on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley by next fall.

    All five lines are expected to be done by 2015, which will add 70 miles to UTA’s existing 64-mile rail network.

    In the not-too-distant future, commuters on TRAX will have a lot more rail to ride.

    http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=12455377

    Toronto – letter: candidates have heads in asphalt Candidates’ transit ideas defy reality

    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters/article/862432–candidates-transit-ideas-defy-reality

    Ottawa’s largest independent business organization is jumping onboard Ottawa’s $2.1 billion Light Rail Transit Plan.

    http://www.cfra.com/?cat=1&nid=75698

    Transit Blogs

    September 18, 2010

    Well, if you are stuck inside due to our heavy rain, here are some interesting transit blogs to peruse.

    You may not have come across some of these before:

    http://www.andrewgrantham.co.uk/

     http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2010-05-04/article/35212?headline=Against-BRT-Streets-are-for-People-Not-Buses

     http://www.cahsrblog.com/

     http://capntransit.blogspot.com/2009/03/feds-relax-restrictions-for-light-rail.html

     http://www.friendsoftheotrain.org/

     http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2008/07/14/milwaukee-transit-the-technologies/

     http://www.pdxtransit.com/index.php/2009/08/14/the-o-train-ottawas-light-rail/

     http://theoverheadwire.blogspot.com/

     http://melbpt.wordpress.com/tram-construction-costs/

     http://stevemunro.ca/

     http://transport514.wordpress.com/