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An open  letter to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of BC, Federal and Provincial Ministers of Transportation, Metro Vancouver members of Parliament and the British Columbia Legislature.


In the past few weeks TransLink and the mayor’s Council on Transit has been mounting a advertising blitz on Facebook and other social media pleading for more taxpayer’s money to pay for their ill conceived and dated transit planning.

This blitz included the the one question “push poll”; “Do you support SkyTrain to Langley”, which was misrepresented as a resounding support for SkyTrain and reported, ad nauseam, in the mainstream media.

The problem is, TransLink does not have an income problem, they have a spending problem. TransLink is spending up to ten times more building with an extremely expensive and obsolete light-metro network. This light-metro network is know as SkyTrain.

SkyTrain is not a transit mode in itself, but the name of Metro Vancouver’s regional transit system. The SkyTrain network operate two railways, a conventional railway operated as the Canada Line and an unconventional proprietary railway operated on the Millennium and Expo lines.
Contrary to popular belief, the above picture is Bombardier’s SkyTrain system, a proprietary
rubber tired  airport people mover with no relation to the ART Movia metro used on
Translink’s SkyTrain system. Many elevated railways around the world are called SkyTrain.
The unconventional, proprietary railway is now called ART Movia Metro, which patents are owned by Bombardier inc. and SNC Lavalin.

ART Movia metro has been renamed many times, from the original Intermediate Capacity Transit System , to Advanced Light Rail Transit, to Advanced Light Metro, to Advanced Rapid Transit, to Innovia, and now Bombardier Inc. has folded the Innovia metro series into the Movia Metro product.

ART Movia metro is considered a unconventional proprietary railway because it is powered by Linear Induction Motors (LIM’s) and is not able to operate with any other rail system except for its own family of light metros. The Canada line trains cannot operate on the Expo or Millennium lines and visa versa.No other company offers an “off the shelf” product that will operate on the Expo and Millennium lines. This means Bombardier Inc.is the sole supplier of cars and spare parts.

Only seven of the ART Movia Metro systems has been sold in the past forty years and there has been no sales in the past decade. So poor is the ART Movia Metro (considered the Edsel of transit systems) that the next change will be the abandonment of production altogether.  The reason for this is very easy to understand: ART Movia Metro costs more to build; more to operate; more to maintain; and it lacks the flexibility in operation that is so needed in the 21st Century. As well, the ART Movia metro lacks capacity!

Continued building with the now obsolete ART Movia metro means that TransLink, according to the Toronto Transit Commission’s 1983 IBI and ART Studies, is spending up to ten times more to provide rail transit than they should!

Current planning for “SkyTrain” expansion in Metro Vancouver is costing the taxpayer almost $5 billion, yet for that money, the region is getting a short 5.7 km subway and a extension down Fraser Highway to Fleetwood in Surrey.

TransLink has not been honest with their planning as there is not the ridership on Broadway to justify an almost $3 billion subway, nor is their the ridership to justify SkyTrain expansion in Surrey! Both projects will greatly increase operating costs (the subway alone will add, based on TTC’s  estimates for a similar sized subway, $40 million annually) and the Surrey extension will trigger a $3 billion rehab of the Expo line to increase capacity beyond its Transport Canada Operating Certificate limit of 15,000 pphpd!

This chart from 2012 shows that the combined daily customer flows on Broadway fall way
short of the minimum Canadian and North American standard of 15,000 pphpd needed to
justify subway construction. Total customer flows to UBC all fall way short of the minimum
of 15,000 pphpd needed to justify a subway.

Added to this is that subways are very poor in attracting motorists from their cars and the Surrey extension does not offer any real incentive to attract the motorist from the car. Both extensions are considered very user unfriendly.

Both projects are being built for both politcal prestige and land speculation and development and not to provide a user friendly transit alternate to reduce congestion and pollution.

Vancouver wants subway to pretend it is a “world class city” because there is a belief that cities with subways are “world class” what ever that means. Vancouver’s decrepit downtown east side is also considered “world class”.

Vancouver and Surrey also want to use SkyTrain as a driver for land speculation and development, razing current affordable housing to build towers and high rise condos mainly for the overseas buyer. This mass densification, driven by SkyTrain, is also part of the “Vancouver Model” of criminal money laundering, which has made Vancouver and metro Vancouver “world class” example of being a hub of criminal money laundering operations!

Vancouver’s light metro system has been studied for almost 40 years and those who study Vancouver, build with light rail instead.  Those cities that have built prestigious light metro systems now have regrets doing so. The USD $8.3 billion (CAD $11 billion) Hawaii light metro is a good example.

TransLink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit have willfully ignored the many warning signals about the high costs of light metro.

In 1992, the GVRD compared the annual $157.63 million subsidy for the Expo line operation from Waterfront Station to New Westminster and found it was more than the combined bus and trolleybus operation!
From the GVRD’s 1993 study. SkyTrain is subsidized at $157.63 million
($256.13 million in 2019 money) annually. How much is the SkyTrain system
subsidized today?

In the 1990′s, Former West Vancouver Clr. Victor Durman, Chair of the GVRD (now METRO) Finance Committee, stated: “The problem with TransLink is that you can never believe what it says; TransLink never produces a report based on the same set of assumptions.“

In 2008, American Transportation Engineer, Gerald Fox, stated, after he reviewed the Business case for the Evergreen Line: “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 analyzed honestly, and the taxpayers interests are protected. No SkyTrain project has ever passed this scrutiny in the US.”

In 2015 TransLink fired their two top planners, Tamin Raad and Brian Mills because they stated the obvious, that there was not the ridership on Broadway to justify a subway.

Again in 2015, regional voters rejected funding, by 62% funding, for TransLink. The plebiscite was a vote of non confidence of TransLink and the Mayor’s Council on Transit.

In 2019 TransLink admitted that Broadway was not the busiest transit route in Canada and the USA, rather it was Translink’s busiest bus route.

The mayor’s council on Transit has also ignored the legal turmoil that Bombardier and SNC Lavalin have embroiled themselves with. Legal ills with the ART Movia metro System in Malaysia and the former prime minister and the on going legal action Bombardier faces with the ART Movia Metro system in Korea, where it seems, only one car trains can be operated.

Who is in charge of the clattering SkyTrain?
The axles creak and the couplings strain,
and costs are too high, as fiasco nears,
and sloth hath deadened Translink’s ear,
and the warnings flash through the night in vain,
for the Mayor’s Council is in charge of the clattering SkyTrain.

Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley desperately needs a coherent and affordable transportation plan. Continued building with an obsolete yet very expensive light metro system, designed to deal with 1970′s inner city transit ills and not as a regional railway, will be a costly failure.

No one copies Metro Vancouver’s transit planning nor the exclusive use of light-metro!

There are better and cheaper options available, but TransLink and the Mayor’s Council ignore them, at the taxpayer’s peril. Provincial and federal politicians should be wary that support of TransLink and it’s current transit planning as its insatiable demand for more and more tax monies, is like an alcoholic’s craving for more liquor, may bring one’s politcal career to a grinding halt.

The above chart, comparing Ottawa’s new light rail vehicles with Vancouver’s
ART Movia Metro cars, comparing one modern tram is equal in capacity to
four MK.1 cars or 3 MK.2 cars. This clearly shows car cost and maintenance
advantages of modern LRT and the dated ART Movia Light metro.
The prophetic words of Norman Thompson; CBE, FCA, ACMA, English transit consultant and builder of the world’s busiest subway in the early 1980′s are coming true: “Vancouver is adopting a non commercial approach…….I hope they have lots of money“.

No more money should be allocated to TransLink and the point should be made with vigor; “Plan transit within your present budget“.
This could be the fate of TransLink’s and the Mayor’s council transit planning,
a Charleroi fiasco,where the metro was built, but lacked the funds to operate it and it sits
slowly rotting a way, a testament of poor planning and politcal ennui.
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Support affordable and realistic transit options for the Fraser Valley!

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From the South Fraser Community Rail Folks.

Comments about TransLink’s recent push poll about expanding SkyTrain in Surrey.

The Truth about TRANSLINK’S SURVEY RESULTS EXPOSED….
southfrasercommunityrail@shaw.ca
May 26, 2019

             South Fraser Community Rail

“Hydrogen iLink Passenger Rail, Scott Rd. SkyTrain to Chilliwack” #connect the valley

 

Press Release May 26th, 2019

The Truth about TRANSLINK SURVEY RESULTS EXPOSED….

Look into the untold facts behind TransLink’s misrepresentation! It’s startling!

The TransLink Survey results just released by TransLink yesterday exposes this organization for what it does very well, they are irresponsible with your tax dollars, conduct one sided Open Houses with only ONE option, conduct in-house on-line surveys with only ONE option and conduct market research offering only ONE option with ONE Question – Add all of this up, you get a ONE sided result surprised!

IMPORTANT – Added to the above is the fact the area being surveyed is absolutely starved for Transportation of any kind. In Langley/Surrey you get the results that have been published, all manufactured by TransLink for your pleasure. Wasting tax dollars is something they do very well.

Real Market Research seeks out the public’s views on a selection of issues, providing a variety of options to select from. Conducting telephone market research and asking the question ‘would you be in favor of SkyTrain to Langley City down the Fraser Highway” with no other option – WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO BE THEIR ANSWER? Especially, as stated above, they are starved for a transit option of any kind! It is an insult to the intelligence of the region, all designed with a preset answer.

On telephone market research, let’s break down their numbers:

In Surrey a sample size of 595, a margin of error of +/-4%, 85% support and in numbers 505.

In Langley City a sample size of 67, a margin of error of +/-12%, 90% support and in numbers 60.

In Township Langley, sample size of 180, a margin of error of +/-8%, 92% support and in numbers 165.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This phone call research again asked one question with only one option and you get 90%-92 %? In a transportation starved community, how did they not get 100%?

On Open House, filled out survey forms?

Pouring an endless amount of taxpayer dollars towards and into promoting; the website, Digital ads (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Search network, Google Display Network, G mail ads), Surrey Now Leader banner ads, advertorial, Facebook Posts, Langley Advance Times Banner ads, advertorial, Facebook Posts, SMS NextBus alert ads, eNewsletters, Social Media using Facebook and Twitter (Facebook events were created for each open house), Direct Outreach through corporate, business and community organizations, Mail out postcards to Surrey and Langley businesses and residents, Street teams (staff) distributing postcards at transit hubs, Community Events in Surrey, Information Boards at Surrey City Hall, Langley City Hall and the Township of Langley City Hall and finally transit ads! And you are Surprised at the result?

The level of awareness seems to have been the question of the day!

With the money poured into this one-sided Public Engagement Campaign the results are not at all surprising. Throughout the survey they talk about the plan for the South of Fraser – Surrey is NOT the South of Fraser region, it is a small part of it! Once again asking residents ONE question on ONE option in a region starved for any Transit Option does not constitute a survey of ANY value.

Seriously consider the following –

  • Doug McCallum got elected with only 13.50% of the eligible voters in Surrey!

Promised SkyTrain at a cost of $1.65 Billion, actual cost will be $3 + Billion!

Promised City Police Force @ 10% cost increase– Increase will be substantially greater!

 

  • The Safe Surrey Coalition has disbanded, Doug McCallum is the lone remaining voice and will cost the residents throughout the region increased TransLink taxation costs PLUS increased Surrey taxation for increased Policing costs. This financial irresponsibility has got to stop! Check out the Per Capita Costs below on all options:

 

  • Original LRT, Guildford, Surrey Center to Newton Pop. 312,340 @ $1.65 Billion = $5,122. Per capita
  • 11 kms in length 104th Guildford to Surrey Center down King George Blvd to Newton

 

  • SkyTrain Surrey Center to Fleetwood Population 62,735 @ $1.65 Billion = $25,504. per capita.
    • 7 kms in length down Fraser Highway to Fleetwood

 

  • SkyTrain Surrey Center to Langley City Population 157,618 @ $3.2 Billion = $20,302. per capita
  • 16 kms in length down Fraser Highway (About $800 million thru a Dead Zone, 25% no population)

The solution for our region follows and the questions regarding this option were not asked? WHY?

  • Scott Rd SkyTrain to Chilliwack, Population 852,846 @ $1.250 Billion = $1,465. per capita
  • 99 kms in length

The Interurban State-of-the-Art Hydrail Passenger Rail proposal makes sense for 1.2 million people! Why wasn’t this option offered in their survey? Cost would be pennies on the dollar and would serve 14 Post Secondary Institutions, 7 First Nations Communities and 16 Cities, towns and municipalities!

Let’s stop insulting the intelligence of the Public. Let’s start by conducting a balanced survey that will MEAN something, save Billions of dollars and provide far better service at a fraction of the cost while we are at it!

It would be laughable IF it wasn’t so serious! TransLink continues to waste an immense number of tax dollars while the regions (1.2 million residents) are losing out on a FREE for use corridor.

For more detail from the South Fraser Community Rail Group – Contact Rick Green – 604 866-5752

Website www.southfrasercommunityrail.ca     

Email address southfrasercommunityrail@shaw.ca

Attachments area
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Good news everyone, the federal liberals are giving TransLink money to buy new cars and upgrade the Expo Line, yippee.

It’s not additional money of course, rather a renouncement of a renouncement.

Really, how much mileage can they get for $1.47 billion? A lot if today’s reannouncent is anything to go by.

Just to remind ourselves of the committed costs to date, I will restate the funded projects and the funding shortfalls.

Broadway subway: Funded to $2.8 billion. Real cost around $3 billion. Shortfall $200 to $300 million.

Surrey Expo line extension: Funded for $1.65 billion. Cost to go to Langley $3 billion. Shortfall $1.35 billion.

200 Mk.3 car order: $800 million plus. Funding included in the Federal financing. Shortfall $800 million plus from the two approved transit projects.

Expo & Millennium Line rehab: around $3 billion. Unfunded. Shortfall, around $3 billion.

Total funding shortfall: Over $5 billion!

As always, Translink’s numbers do not add up and the federal Liberals and the provincial NDP know this very well, but with such a dismal mainstream media in BC, renouncement of a reannouncement, of reannouncement makes big news!

New, reconditioned SkyTrain cars: Feds, province outline funding for Metro Vancouver transit

by Hana Mae Nassar

Posted May 23, 2019 10:05

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – The federal government is outlining how the $1.47 billion it previously announced to upgrade public transit infrastructure in Metro Vancouver will be spent.

The money will go toward buying hundreds of new SkyTrain cars, as well as toward reconditioning dozens of older ones.

“It’s money that was announced back in January that we were sharing the investment with the federal government,” B.C. Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena says.

Of Thursday’s announcement, Trevena says she’s happy to be able to announce the upgrades and expansion of the Expo and Millennium lines.

“The upgrades wouldn’t happen without the commitment from all levels of government. We’re working in partnership with the federal government, and obviously with TransLink to make sure this happens. But, we do need to ensure that we are replacing the rolling stock, that we do get those extra carriages on, that we have the facilities, the storage facilities, to make sure the power system is upgraded.

“We need to get people out of their cars, we need to get them into public transportation,” Trevena adds.

The money is part of the federal government’s broader infrastructure plan, which Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan says has been able to fund thousands of projects across Canada.

“Our investments are encouraging more people to take public transit and helping to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution,” he says.

Continued investments in communities across B.C. will help grow the local economy, Sajjan adds, as well as build more inclusive communities, all while protecting the environment and health of those living in this country.

“Here in British Columbia, we have provided and invested over $3.6 billion through our infrastructure plan to date,” Sajjan says.

-With files from Martin MacMahon

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story quoted Minister Sajjan as saying the federal government has invested over $3.6 million to date. The minister has corrected his statement to say $3.6 billion.

Please see: http://www.railforthevalley.com/latest-news/zweisystem/adios-the-mk-1s/

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As the debate over trams/LRT and or proprietary light metro intensifies, let us look and modern trams in operation around the world.

Today, there is over 600 tram/light rail systems in operation or nearing completion, around the world.

Only seven of the proprietary ART Movia light-metros have been built in the past 40 years and there is good reason for this. With tram/LRT one can operate the in almost all locales, from small suburban lines to main transit arteries in major conurbations where peak hour customer flows exceed 20,000 pphpd.

With light metro, only somewhat short, yet very expensive  trunk lines can be built, forcing many transit users to transfer from bus to mini-metro, which in turn deters ridership. This is but one, of the many reasons light metro has become somewhat obsolete in the 21st century.

This inherent flexibility of operation means that the modern tram can serve transit routes with low and high ridership; track share with mainline railways; and penetrate economically into dense city centres without beggaring the taxpayer.

Beggaring the taxpayer is a topic the SkyTrain lobby refuses to deal with.

Nottingham's (UK) new tram system services the city centre with the minimum of cost.

Another view of Nottingham's tram, using city streets to affordably reach customers.

Innsbruck's tram services mountain customers, giving direct access to the city centre.

A Basel tram operating safely, on-street in the city.

A modern tram operating in Nice, France. Note the simple reserved or dedicated R-o-W.

A modern tram in historic Milan Italy.

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From the response from the previous post with about lawned rights-of-ways for trams, I offer more glimpses of what modern LRT should look like in Metro Vancouver and in any city considering modern light rail.

Think of tram routes as linear parks.

Think of Vancouver with many linear parks, providing fast and efficient public transport.

Think of a linear park reaching as far as UBC; Stanley Park; or even SFU.

This is real “Green” transit, supported by the “Green” movement internationally.

Modern light rail, would bring “Green” transit to Metro Vancouver.

Note: the centre is used for the APS method of power collection (no overhead wires).

A simple station or stop on a lawned tram route.

A simple pedestrian crossing at a station in Basel Switzerland.

Keeping the lawn "green".

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One item that the SkyTrain lobby are loath to show, is lawned rights-of-ways for modern LRT and I wonder why?

Even in parched Australia, lawned tram track is being laid.

But it is in France, where lawned tram track is de rigueur, making the tram a part of the cityscape and not an eyesore. The modern tram is “green” in more ways than one.

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Rail for the Valley by Zweisystem - 1M ago

The new Camberra Australia, light rail line.

This is classic light rail.

Reserved or dedicated, at-grade rights-of-way and easy pedestrian access across the line is the hallmark of LRT.

All the benefits of a metro at a fraction of the cost.

So, why does the provincial NDP, the City of Vancouver and the Mayor’s Council on Transit not support light rail?

Why instead, does the provincial NDP, the city of Vancouver and The mayor’s council on Transit keep supporting the now obsolete and extremely expensive light-metro system, with two lines using the equally obsolete, proprietary ART Movia Metro?

Maybe it has something to do about certain political contributions and donations?

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Age is an expensive journey for older transit systems, especially older proprietary transit systems and the MK.1 cars operating on the SkyTrain network are indeed showing their age.

The majority of Mk.1 cars are now over 34 years old and are in dire need of major maintenance and/or refurbishment.

This is why TransLink is ordering 200 new Mk. 2/3 cars because they are going to replace the original fleet, which will have seen 40 years of service by the time the first replacements arrive.

Here is the problem, this order for 200 new cars includes the cars previously announced and not the extra cars needed for the Fleetwood/Langley extension.

Then there is the thorny issue that Bombardier may cease production of the ART Movia metro cars altogether, as Vancouver is the only city in the world, out of the seven cities that use ART Movia Metro or its predecessors, that is expanding its system. No other company offers an “off-the-shelf” vehicle for Expo and Millennium Lines.

Has TransLink reached it’s own “critical” vehicle shortage?

The answer maybe found on the Millennium Line where TransLink operates  two car train-sets only!

In Toronto, Transit issues are reported, unlike metro Vancouver where the mainstream media report TransLink news releases as actual news and politely ignore the rest.

Presently, only 2 car train-sets are used on the Millennium Line. Has TransLink reached its critical vehicle shortage?

Scarborough RT fleet reached ‘critical’ vehicle shortage last month
By Ben SpurrTransportation Reporter
Sat., May 4, 2019

The Scarborough RT’s aging vehicle fleet reached a “critical juncture” last month when so few cars were available for service that the line was operating without any spares, according to the TTC.

The shortage of cars meant the agency had no margin of error to operate planned service on the RT, which serves more than 35,000 riders every day. It’s a bad omen for Scarborough transit users who are supposed to rely on the line for at least another seven years.

The TTC expects the Scarborough RT to stay operational until 2026. The agency has “not yet evaluated how/if we can keep the line operational” beyond then, says a spokesperson, despite a provincial plan that may not see it replaced by a subway until about 2029.  (Rene Johnston Toronto Star / Toronto Star)

The situation “is a prime example of the need to modernize and replace our assets before they reach their end of life expectancy,” TTC CEO Rick Leary wrote in his latest report to the agency’s board.

To operate full service on the RT, the TTC requires five trains. Each is made up of four cars, paired in two-car units, for a total of 20 vehicles.

The agency has 28 of the vehicles, which allow it to perform tasks such as preventative maintenance on some cars while still operating full service.

But in mid-April, workers discovered an electrical fault on a car as they were preparing it for morning service. At the same time, a car in another unit was found to have an axle-bearing defect.

Both of the two-car units had to be taken out of service. And because two more units were already undergoing overhauls as part of a life-extension program to keep the RT running, over five days the TTC had just 20 cars available.

That’s the bare minimum, meaning if any other car had experienced a problem during that period, the RT would have had to operate with fewer than five trains.

“Depending on the time of day, fewer than five trains would mean longer wait times and increased crowding,” said TTC spokesperson Stuart Green.

“Although not ideal, we can run four trains in peak periods. Fewer than that and we would supplement service with bus shuttles (in addition to the trains). We did this a few times over the winter when we faced challenges on the line.”

Green couldn’t rule out a repeat vehicle shortage.

“Unfortunately, given the age of the vehicles, it is possible we could see a similar situation in the future,” he said.

The RT fleet entered service in 1985, and was intended to last 30 years.

A 2016 analysis by Bombardier, which owns the RT vehicle technology, flagged numerous problems with the cars, including “heavily worn” brake discs and holes in car bodies that “could compromise the integrity of the vehicle structure.”

The document, which the Star obtained through a freedom of information request, said in some cases maintenance had been done using a “piecemeal” approach. “Duct-tape has been used as a sealant, electrical wiring is exposed,” it said.

The TTC was already facing a struggle to keep the RT in good enough condition to operate until 2026. That’s around the time the one-stop $3.9-billion Scarborough subway extension council approved as a replacement for the RT was expected to enter service.

However, the Ontario Progressive Conservative government has tabled legislation to take control of new transit builds in Toronto and plans to construct a longer, three-stop $5.5-billion subway extension instead. Its version may not open until about 2029, raising the prospect that Scarborough transit users will be served only by buses for years after the RT is forced to shut down.

Both subway plans supplanted a proposed LRT that was supposed to replace the RT. It was scheduled to open in 2019 when council voted in 2013 to build a subway instead.

Councillor and TTC board member Jennifer McKelvie (Ward 25, Scarborough-Rouge Park) said reliability issues with the RT fleet is “a problem we’re going to be dealing with for the foreseeable future.”

She said she would ask the TTC at the agency’s board meeting next week to ensure it has contingency plans in case it’s not able to operate full service on the line.

She supports the three-stop subway over the one-stop plan or LRT, and made no apologies for backing the project that could leave riders taking the bus for years.

“This is our one chance to build important infrastructure for the next generation, and we can’t take shortcuts, we need to do it right,” she said.

She said her message to Scarborough transit users is “to continue to be patient and positive as we work on this important issue together.”

Green said the TTC is confident its vehicle life extension project, which is expected to cost $68 million, will enable the RT to operate safely until 2026, but the agency has “not yet evaluated how/if we can keep the line operational” beyond then.

With files from Jennifer Pagliaro.

Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter covering transportation. Reach him by email at bspurr@thestar.ca or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpur

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Leipzig Tram

The ongoing planning charade currently being played out by the cities of Vancouver & Surrey, and TransLink with the proposed Broadway SkyTrain subway, is being fueled by professional misconduct, by all professionals and most politicians involved.

A notable exception is Vancouver City Councillor Colleen Hardwick.

Today, the message being relayed around the world is that the city of Vancouver lacks any modicum of professionalism, which is both a dark message for companies wanting to locate here, but also it sends a welcoming call to money launders, flim-flam artists and alike.

The following is a 2014 email from a real transit engineer from Germany on the subject of tram headway’s and capacity (Capacity is a function of headway). He is answering questions that were put to me by several local politicians claiming that LRT cannot obtain the same headway’s as SkyTrain.
I relayed the email to said politicos and bureaucrats. As of yet, I have not heard a reply!

A coupled set of trams in Leipzig.

> = question.

> It is not possible to operate 36 trains per hour as traffic signals
> will hold them back.

That’s the whole point of traffic light pre-emption. Which does not
*increase* the green phase for streetcars, but *shift* it in time. So
automobile traffic does not wait longer, it’s just different drivers who
wait, statistically.

If there’s no significant automobile traffic parallel to the
streetcar/light rail tracks (as typically the case in those “transit
malls”), you can even dynamically reduce the green phase for the trains
to the strict minimum required to clear the crossing (less than ten
seconds, even for a four-car set), which will actually *increase* the
green phase for crossing automobile traffic.

Right here next door, Leipzig is easily running 40 trains per hour on
sections shared by several routes. And the infrastructure is not
nearly at capacity, neither concerning trainset lenght (platform
length would allow 60m instead of 42m), nor concerning frequency. Other
operators do as well or even better. Karlsruhe’s 80 trains per hour are
running through a pedestrian street. Calgary’s transit mall precisely
seems to suffer from a lack of traffic light pre-emption, judging form
the videos.

Another example, from Czechia, the streetcar at Prague. The section
from Karlovo Namesti east to I.P.Pavolova carries the routes

4: 8 min 7.5 trains/h
6: 8 min 7.5 trains/h
10: 8 min 7.5 trains/h
16: 8 min 7.5 trains/h
22: 4 min 15 trains/h

That’s 45 trains per hour.

The tracks from Karlovo Namesti to the north carry the routes

3: 4 min 15 trains/h
6: 8 min 7.5 trains/h
14: 8 min 7.5 trains/h
18: 8 min 7.5 trains/h
22: 4 min 15 trains/h
24: 8 min 7.5 trains/h

That’s 60 trains per hour.

The tracks from Karlovo Namesti to the south carry the routes

3: 4 min 15 trains/h
4: 8 min 7.5 trains/h
10: 8 min 7.5 trains/h
14: 8 min 7.5 trains/h
16: 8 min 7.5 trains/h
18: 8 min 7.5 trains/h
24: 8 min 7.5 trains/h

That’s 45 trains per hour as well.

All figures given are for the morning peak. There are various other
networks in Europe that have similarly dense operation on sections
shared by several routes. 40 trains/h is not uncommon.

> In a subway, 31 trains are possible per hour with 14,640 passengers.

Boston’s green line is running 40 trains per hour, 90 second frequency. On
sight in the tunnel, without ATC. Four branches, six minutes frequency
each. They are running four-car trainsets for events so the platforms
would be long enough.


A treed R-o-W in Leipzig

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