Stephen Rees's blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘trains

The Fight for the Arbutus Corridor

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This post started out as a brief “in other news item” under the last post. It seems to me, as this story develops, that it needs its own space and promotion. More will be added, no doubt

Looking for pictures to illustrate this post – there is a good summary and illustrations on the CBC BC news site and also a useful summary of the background from The Province

CP has started ripping out community gardens in Marpole along the Arbutus corridor.

Fairchild TV crew

I helped Fairchild TV make a documentary about this episode this afternoon.

Quite why CP thinks the City of Vancouver is more likely hand over even more taxpayers’ money to them by holding hostages I am not certain. Kirk LaPointe of course would not be happy no matter no matter what decision the Mayor makes. He was on the CBC TV evening news blaming the Mayor for making a ridiculously low offer, forcing CP’s response. No doubt had the Mayor made a much bigger offer that would have been derided as overly generous. The sad truth of the situation is that the incumbent cannot please the opposition. Maybe voters in general will appreciate a Mayor who stands his ground against a bully even if gardens are destroyed.

CP could easily store trains or train its crews without going to all this trouble: there is plenty of track in better condition but just as unused elsewhere in the City.  If I was a CP shareholder, I think I would criticize management for wasting money on track of little use. Maybe reverting a pleasant greenway to a workable railway with no customers actually lowers its value. And here is a quote from one of the comments (“Naturalmystic”) under that Straight story linked to above which raises a possibility I had not considered

CP has the hammer and they don’t have to run a single train to get their price for the land. To run trains they need to upgrade the tracks. They need to upgrade the level crossings. Imagine you are trying to drive down Broadway and Arbutus at 8:30 am and the traffic is gridlocked. The cause? CP is doing work at the crossing. That entails working in the signals, the track…The city can’t do a damn thing. CP has the right to maintain their tracks, equipment, level crossings at any time without restraint. CP has the right to run their trains 24/7. CP has the upper hand.

You can also read Mayor Robertson’s response at the foot of which is the statement from CP which appears to confirm Maturalmystic’s prediction

“We are testing crossing signals, and assessing pedestrian and vehicle crossings to understand where, if any, maintenance is required.”

And then there is this I have lifted from the CP web site

At CP we know that a railroad may serve as the arteries of a nation, but at its heart is community. That’s why through CP Has Heart, we’re committed to improving the heart health of men, women and children across North America. And along the way, we’re showing heart whenever we can. Find out more@CPhasHeart

Working in a garden and eating fresh fruit and vegetables are a very good ways to improve your heart health. Try to do that, whenever possible, well away from the miasma of diesel exhaust.


There is an article on VanCityBuzz on the lack of ability to expand the Canada Line which mentions a possible Arbutus Line at the very end. When I read it, much of the subject matter and approach seemed very familiar. I am not sure if that is reassuring or not.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Slow Train Coming

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Vancouver Courier

And I am slow in catching up on this. I found it thanks to Transport 2000 Canada’s regular news round up. My Google alert for Vancouver +Transportation missed it.

Robert Alstead takes a journey north by rail from California and wonders if Canada’s vanished passenger trains will once again carry us from coast to coast

It is a sizeable slab of text with 6 web pages. Perhaps the best bit is the continuing story of the absence of the second train from Vancouver to  Seattle, and the apparent lack of concern from both province and the feds. Well, Gordon got his photo op last year and the siding is built.  My friend Dave Olson is quoted (in his professional capacity) and rubbishes the current “train bus” arrangement.

We really are being left behind. The rest of the world long ago realised that passenger trains will be increasingly important in a post peak oil, need to get the greenhouse gases down, there’s better ways than flying or driving world. We are stuck with this 1950s mentality. Trains are for museums. Kansas City can raise funds to restore Union Station as a “visitor experience” and a place for banquets (there seems to be a lot of demand for those still) but not seemingly for good quality public transport. Even of the current LRT proposal does get through the ballot, it will only serve the Missouri side, not the Kansas side, of the metropolis. Seattle is building one of the most expensive light rails schemes anywhere. But we cannot get a day time ride from here to there. There are no trains to Calgary – or Whistler – except the expensive tourist versions. And only three trains a week to the Rest of Canada.

For Shame

The Canadian at Pacific Central

The Canadian at Pacific Central

Written by Stephen Rees

October 25, 2008 at 7:33 pm

Posted in Railway

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Canada Line cars unveiled

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The following report was written by Ian Smith and sent yesterday to RailsNorthWest a Yahoo newsgroup. He also writes for Branchline and The Sandhouse. He was kind enough to provide two photos and rewrote part of the story to be more accurate. Please note that he retains the copyright on the written material and the pictures and they should not be copied without his written permission. 

The Canada Line cars were unveiled this morning at a news conference at the OMC in Richmond.

Canada Line new train launch

The first surprise is that the cars do not wear the livery shown on the project billboards and publicity material.

The basic carbody is finished in brushed stainless steel, with a vinyl wrap at the outer ends. The colours take their cue from the current Canucks uniform — green and blue, with some white flashes. Quite attractive, in my opinion.

The official in charge of engineering for the operator told me this was done consciously because the cars will carry advertising wraps, which will adhere better to a flat-textured surface rather than a shiny painted one. Given that the cars are owned by the private-sector operator, InTransitBC, it should be no surprise that maximizing revenue will take priority over appearance. That said, the corporate branding on the car ends is visually very strong (whereas SkyTrain does not use the car ends for branding purposes).

There were no fleet numbers on the two cars on display, but they carried the logos of the many parties involved – the Canadian and B.C. governments, YVR, and the cities of Vancouver and Richmond.

Among the features are illuminated LED signs both outside (for the ultimate destination) and inside (for the next stop).

The larger dimensions of the cars were apparent and various people, including Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan, were quoted as saying how much better they are than SkyTrain vehicles. B.C. transport minister Kevin Falcon went on at some length about this, and it was duly picked up in the TV news reports. In Sullivan’s case, the comments came from the perspective of someone who is wheelchair-bound, and there certainly seemed to be a lot of open space for wheelchairs, bicycles and luggage.

A two-car set seats 88 but can hold 394, which gives some idea of the standing space.

The seats are upholstered in dark blue vinyl and are adequately padded.

At the “cab” ends, the seating arrangement is different from the Mark II SkyTrain cars. There is no “driver’s” seat. Instead, there is a small retractable T-shaped perch on a single leg that can be pulled down to serve as a “hostler’s” seat, and this is concealed when the lockable cover is closed over the manual control panel.

Facing the control panel and windshield, there is a double passenger seat on either side of the aisle. The passengers in the aisle seats will have a fine forward view through the large windshield, but those next to them in the seats up against the side wall will be staring directly into the bulkhead that forms the corners of the car end — and they don’t have a side window either, as this is where the front surface wraps around to join the side panels. Claustrophobes beware!

While the cars were fit for unveiling, they had not had their onboard control system fully installed, and can only be operated manually at present. The pair on display were expected to have this system installed in the coming week.

Unlike the SkyTrain cars, the Canada Line cars use conventional traction motors and will operate on a third-rail power collection system (unlike the fourth-rail system used on SkyTrain). It will be interesting to see if the Canada Line acquires a public identity of its own. Most laymen I know think of it simply as the third SkyTrain line, but perhaps the car’s larger dimensions and more spacious ambience will overcome that.

Canada Line New Train in Operations and Maintenance Centre

In addition the official Canada Line website has three press releases on the new cars and logo, and News1130 has small pictures including one of the car interior.

Written by Stephen Rees

December 15, 2007 at 12:55 pm

Posted in transit, Transportation

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Canada Line rolling stock in Richmond

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Canada Line rolling stock ii Richmond BC 2007_1129, originally uploaded by Stephen Rees.

I tried to get some pictures of the newly delivered rolling stock. The only way to do this at present is to stick a lens through the chain link fence. It looked like there are four, two-car sets at the operations and maintenance centre (River Road and Van Horne Way). I suppose I could have walked across the Oak Street Bridge, but trains wrapped up in plastic really do not make much of a subject.

According to one of the construction workers the wraps will stay on for a week or so but some kind of public event may occur before Christmas. At the time of writing nothing appears on the official web page, although usually reliable sources inform me that there will be a media event in mdi-December after the livery is applied

UPDATE Saturday December 15

There is a (very poor quality) image of the train in its new livery at the Richmond Review web page, and three press releases at the Canada Line web site which includes a cut out drawing of the new trains and a blurb on the new logo.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 29, 2007 at 3:49 pm

Posted in transit, Transportation

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