Posts Tagged ‘Broadway Corridor’

Prefab tram track = fast construction! Friends of the Broadway Light Rail/Streetcar Take Note!

August 26, 2010

The following article from EccoRussia, gives an account of the installation of 670 metres of prefabricated tram track on the Athens (Greece) light rail/tram in just 10 days or about 67 metres of new tram track a day! At this speed of track laying it would take a mere 14 days to lay one kilometre of new track!

What is important, is that new tram/LRT construction would not unduly affect local merchants for a great length of time, as one’s storefront would not see construction in front of it for more than a few day, unlike Susan Heyes, whose business was disrupted for years by subway cut-and-cover construction!

It also means that a 20 km. BCIT to UBC LRT line would take less than 300 days to build! Or having two construction groups, working from BCIT and UBC towards each other, would take about 150 days. Now that is something to think about!

The first extension in the Athens tram, was duly finished and commissioned for circulation, in mid-October.

The extension measuring 670 meters comes as a trial for new technologies rather than a substantial addition to the already operating 22 km network.

One of them and surely the most important is the introduction of prefabricated segments for the substructure.

The segments were used in the crossing of Poseidonos avenue, a high velocity motorway in the south of Athens and gateway to the seaside tourist and nightlife areas.

In order to facilitate the construction of the crossing and the sequential congestion of traffic, given a conventional construction, prefabricated segments came as a natural choice.

The segments were constructed in a prefab plant in the outskirts of Athens, using Belgian know-how adapted in the local conditions.

The segments incorporating the rails and all major network duct ways were laid in less than ten days, including the soil and substructure preparation, a major advance to the other ways monthly time span.

Behavior up to now in the heavy traffic is said to be very smooth, and it is almost certain that prefab segments are to be used in the next extension to Peraeus.

Tram S.A. was founded in March 2001 and is a subsidiary company of ATTIKO METRO S.A.

In 2002, the company begun the construction of the new Athens tram network, while commercial operation started in July 2004, a few weeks before the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

TRAM S.A. is a public service corporation supervised by the Ministry of Transportation & Communications.

The company’s mission is to design, develop and operate the modern tram network.


More Tram Videos

July 30, 2010

Thank you for blog reader, David Cockle, for more European tram movies!






Croydon Tramlink.











The Broadway Follies – TransLink does the Gong Show

April 26, 2010

Here we go again, TransLink’s famous planning exercises that in the end will please no one and achieve very little. There is no bold ‘grand plan’ but more of the same, a little BRT here; a little SkyTrain there, with a hint of LRT thrown in to keep the trolley-jolly types happy. With all the information available today, with all the examples of modern LRT, TransLink goes back to its dated and questionable planning practices which are a blend of distortions and misinformation.

The present six alternatives, save for one, are expensive and unworkable and begs the question: “Does TransLink have the revenue streams to fund any of them?”

The one alternative, the sixth and last, the Best Bus Alternative is probably the only doable option, which then poses the question: “Why waste the publics time with five expansive and unworkable transit solutions?”

The Light Rail Committee’s 1990’s plan, the BCIT to UBC and Stanley Park LRT is simply a much superior plan, which had a vision for Vancouver’s transit needs for the next half century. Alas, not in Vancouver, where tunnel vision, subway tunnel’s that is, still rules how TransLink bureaucrats still plan for transit.

If TransLink is to have any credibility, it must ‘think out of the box’, they have not and what they present as transit planning is the ‘same old song and dance’, with TransLink’s patented ‘dog and pony show’. Transit customers and regional taxpayers deserve better.

The following are the six transit alternatives presented by TransLink.


BRT Alternative

Buses are not ‘rapid transit’ as the definition for ‘rapid transit’ is a heavy-rail metro installation. BRT in North America is really express buses or buses operating on a busway. For buses to truly compete against ‘rail‘ they must be guided, either kerb guided or rail guided (optical guidance has been proven far too troublesome), which requires a ‘reserved rights of ways‘ or a route used exclusively by transit. Guided bus has proven to be a third less costly to build than light rail, but has proven disappointing in operation, by not attracting new ridership. For many a bus, is a bus and perceived as a second rate transit mode and remain taking their cars.

BRT, if built, would prove only slightly cheaper to build than LRT, with none of the operating benefits.

LRT Alternative 1

Like BRT, LRT is by definition not ‘rapid transit’, but is light rail a separate ‘rail’ mode built to solve different transportation problems. What makes LRT different from a streetcar is the concept of a ‘reserved rights-of-ways’ (RRoW’s), where the streetcar operates on an exclusive route free from traffic, add in preemptive signaling at intersections and LRT operation can rival its much more expensive cousin heavy-rail metro, in operation. Modern LRT has all made light-metro such a as VAL and our SkyTrain obsolete.

Clearly,  TransLink has only dusted off BC Transit’s Broadway Lougheed ‘rapid transit’ planning from the early 90’s and cobbled together this loser. No thought has been made to provide a customer friendly transit service and again TransLink planners prove that they plan for LRT as a ‘poor man’s’ SkyTrain.


LRT Alternative 2

The second LRT alternative, feeding a second line to the Olympic Line, seems to have been planned on a back of an envelope to take advantage of the recent success of the now closed Olympic Line. Another daft TransLink plan.





RRT Alternative

It seems that TransLink is scared by the term subway or metro and use the very strange term Rapid Rail Transit, more to confuse people than anything else. The name is to infer that it is fast and for TransLink, the speed of a transit line is their mantra. But the higher speed from a metro comes from grade separation and fewer stations, which means an expensive ‘shadow’ bus operation to try to feed the metro. Metros are very expensive to build and are not very good in attracting new ridership and guess what, SkyTrain is a metro, yet has seemed very poor in attracting the motorist from the car. Strange to, that SkyTrain was first conceived to be elevated to mitigate the massive cost of subway construction.

Rail Rapid Transit or metro is only built if ridership demand (15,000 pphpd or more) warrant the huge expenditures required to build and operate the mode.

Combo Alternative

This is truly bizarre and it seems TransLink is trying to please Bombardier, by having a ‘rail‘ option for both their LRT/tram line of vehicles and SkyTrain. Really, what has been proven over and over again is that transfers deter ridership, yet TransLink loves to force transfers on transit customers. This option is expensive and extremely poorly thought out.




Best Bus Alternative

It would save TransLink a lot of grief and money by promoting an European style of bus service with stops every 400m to 500m,  with faster commercial speeds and better productivity. The Best Bus is well past its ‘Best By’ date but probably will be the winning option due to TransLink horrendous financial problems.