Greater Vancouver politicians wedded to obsolete SkyTrain system

Editor:

Re: Train goes only so far, Murphy’s Law, Jan. 31

article continues below

What we call SkyTrain, the name of our regional metro railway, is comprised of two non-compatible railways: the Canada Line and the Expo/Millennium Lines.

The Canada Line is just a grade separated railway, operating coupled sets of EMU's and the Expo/Millennium Line which operates the again renamed proprietary Movia light metro system. Both are fraught with expensive problems.

The Canada Line was built on the cheap by the BC Liberals and has small stations and can only accommodate 41-metre long couples sets of EMU's. This gives the Canada Line a limited capacity, slightly more than half of that of the E & M Lines.

The Movia light-metro lines are an unconventional, proprietary railway, which the engineering patents are owned by SNC Lavalin and the engineering patents owned by Bombardier Inc.

The capacity of the E & M Lines is limited by Transport Canada's operating certificate to a maximum capacity of 15,000 pphpd.

Movia light-metro is the seventh name given to the proprietary railway and only seven such systems have been built around the world, since it was showcased from the late 1970s

Of the seven built, only three are seriously used for metro transit and of the three, Toronto will soon be tearing theirs down due to it being life expired and the Kuala Lumpur SkyTrain has embroiled SNC Lavalin and Bombardier in a corruption scandal.

Vancouver is the only city in the world to continue planning for the proprietary railway.

Why have so few cities invested in SkyTrain? SkyTrain was made obsolete by modern LRT in the mid-1980s because it was much cheaper to build, operate and maintain, than SkyTrain and light rail had a higher capacity.

Our politicians, being wedded to the now obsolete SkyTrain, means that there is little hope of a user friendly metropolitan rail system being built in the near future, as the two SkyTrain rapid transit systems being planned will beggar the taxpayer with onerous taxes, at the same time not providing an affordable alternative to the car.

Malcolm Johnston

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