Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Rail for the Valley Rally

with 6 comments

This picture is of a low floor diesel light rail train running on existing freight rail track in Ottawa, which would be the easiest way to get started on passenger rail for the Fraser Valley.

An interesting afternoon yesterday at the Township of Langley’s new municipal hall (memo to self get new map book and/or update Mapopolis).

As I was on the panel I did not get my notebook out, but I did learn quite a lot. For example, SRY actually owns the track but not the right of way. The successors to BC Hydro do not want anyone stringing trolley wire over the tracks, even though that is what the double line of poles once supported. So the introduction of a pilot program or demonstration project may not be a straightforward as I once thought. On the other hand it comes down to money in the end, and all it takes is for the province for reset its priorities and do transit first rather than highway expansions.

Yeah, right, like that’s gonna happen!

Turnout was somewhat low – but then it was a very nice day for a change so I expect a lot of people who might have gone decided that a day outside would make a nice change, and I cannot say I blame them. Those that did come were not only interested but interesting – and the discussion was generally well informed and very civilised. It was nice to meet Malcolm Johnson – who is much nicer in person than the on line persona he adopts. We must have known each other “virtually” for a long time. Also notable was that all the panel members drove there – and much of the discussion was really about why transit service south of the Fraser is so dreadful. And why the Province and the FVRD both seem committed to keeping it that way.

The Fraser Valley Heritage Railway seem to be very confident that they will get going soon.

And as predicted I was able to recycle most of Cris Leinberger’s material. When you speak last after four other people that is not a lot that can be said that is new or original – but people seemed to like it.

UPDATE  April 30 There are very positive reviews in the Langley Advance, Langley Times and also on VALTAC’s blog

Written by Stephen Rees

April 27, 2008 at 8:47 am

Posted in transit, Urban Planning

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6 Responses

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  1. Southern Railway of BC still seems open to the idea of pasenger service:

    http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=0a8852f0-6635-4d9d-8454-4a3d9737f043

    Ron C.

    April 27, 2008 at 5:02 pm

  2. It is a very positive article all around and once again demonstrates the big lie – the we need more roads for the health of the port. It never was true, and as the price of oil continues to soar, it gets less true by the day. The biggest issue facing the port is the lack rail capacity across the New Westminster Swing Bridge. That should be the number one priority for both federal and provincial gateway programmes

    Stephen Rees

    April 27, 2008 at 5:21 pm

  3. Yes it is encouraging to read the article about Southern Railway and their desire to get port traffic off the road. The idea to build highways to connect the ports to the major rail yards (North and South Fraser Perimeter Roads) is ludicrous, especially when these highways drive straight through established communities and will likely destroy important and irreplaceable ecosystems.

    The railways/ports are very capable of taking care of themselves when they are given the correct signals. But with Falcon completely obsessed with more pavement the big rail companies are simply going with the flow… (why should they bother with the local infrastructure if the province will do it for them with their pet projects?)

    By promoting local rail as the solution for goods movement between ports and railyards there are many potential benefits, including (eventual) electrification to eliminate diesel from most local port-goods movements, improved rail network for passenger rail, and reduction of congestion from local roads (by removing trucks which do not move at the same cadence as cars)

    Not only does this make sense as a response to high fuel costs, but even the local trucking companies admit that they can’t find enough people to drive their trucks. Local rail companies can move more goods per worker.

    yes, nice job in Langley on Saturday Stephen.
    Indeed, what is wrong with making better use of the infrastructure we already have?

    Andrew Feltham

    April 28, 2008 at 12:13 am

  4. Over on the LIvable Blog Dave Fields finds himself surprised to be agreeing with a Province editorial. Me too, but thanks for the props

    Stephen Rees

    April 28, 2008 at 10:59 am

  5. Good meeting, lots of information (note to myself; leave the d*** cell phone home next time), but it was preaching to the converted. My performance was less than stellar, but Stephen has wealth of information, all of it pertinent to the case for better public transport.

    The real task is to make the proposed rail service happen and I do not yet see the ‘mass’ of public support for this to happen. But, if gas exceeds $1.50/litre, the public may force TransLink’s hand.

    Malcolm J

    April 29, 2008 at 8:54 am


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