Share your opinion with

LETTER: Poor design keeps SkyTrain as the poorer choice for Fraser Valley transit

Interurban link from Chilliwack through Langley to Vancouver better and cheaper than SkyTrain

Dear Editor,

It was such an ill-informed column about the valley rail proposal [Interurban won’t run again, Langley Advance Times, June 7 Painful Truth], that one would think it was a plant by those who want to spend billions on SkyTrain, which itself has proven poor in attracting customers.

SkyTrain’s high boarding numbers come from over 80 per cent of bus passengers forced to transfer from bus to SkyTrain, thus over 80 per cent of customers using SkyTrain are making a minimum of four boardings a day.

The real issue is that the regional rail network, SkyTrain, comprises of a conventional railway (Canada Line) and a proprietary unconventional railway called ART Movia Metro (Expo and Millennium Lines).

The now-called ART Movia metro is so unpopular because of poor design and operating characteristics that it has undergone six official name changes, and only seven such systems have been built in the past 40 years.

The author of the column shows his ignorance of railway operation.

A passenger and freight service can operate on the same line, and do so on literally thousands of railways around the world today. It is all about signaling and allocation of pathways for trains – the science goes back to the pre 1800s plateways, before the modern railway was even conceived.

The master agreement included with the portion of track purchased and used for the CPR allows up to 33 per cent “wheel-age” for passenger operations, with the owning railway (CPR) paying full cost of all track improvements, including double tracking.

A maximum of two freights a day on the remaining portion of line, poses absolutely no problem for passenger operation.

The Leewood Study, commissioned by the Rail for The Valley Group, done by Leewood Projects UK and released a decade ago, found that such a service was viable. The study was vetted by Canadian transportation specialists and Transport Canada.

In Europe, the Leewood Study had great exposure for its forward thinking and affordability, and featured in two transportation trade magazines.

In Canada it was ignored by the SkyTrain-centered cabal planning transit in civic, provincial, and federal levels.

The Leewood Study saw per km cost of a DMU/EMU/TramTrain service varied from $5.2 to $7.2 million/km.

ART Movia Metro’s cost per km is well over $140 million/km. Onerous operating and maintenance costs and lack of flexibility in operation makes it cost prohibitive to extend through Surrey to Langley.

The automatic ART Movia Metro was never designed as a regional railway, and it operates extremely poorly in snow.

The success for a return of the interurban is dependent on it operating into Vancouver, providing a seamless journey from Vancouver to Chilliwack. The failure of building a combined road/rail bridge replacing the decaying Pattullo Bridge and the decrepit Fraser River Rail Bridge, demonstrates a lack of foresight by regional politicians, especially the Mayor’s Council on Transit.

If Fraser Valley politicians want a rail connection to Vancouver, a rail service using the former Interurban line is the way, or they will be waiting at a station for a SkyTrain that will never come.

Malcolm Johnston, Rail for the Valley


Do you have anything to add? Share your opinion.


Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

UPDATED: Police looking at other collisions linked to impaired driver who allegedly struck Langley 12-year-old

One of two Friday hit-and-runs the driver is believed to be part of, Langley police say

Burnouts stressing out Langley’s Cruise-In board

A board member said the charity car show can’t allow burnouts for safety reasons

Langley council will hear petition to rename park after teen overdose victim

With 3,500 signatures so far, organizer is thinking of closing down online campaign

Best Set Decoration and Best Supporting Actress for Langley Players Club production

Dancing at Lughnasa among winners at the 26 Annual Community Theatre Coalition Awards

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Most Read