Re: Qualtrough on board with Delta's call for light rail, March 29
It always amuses me when politicians talk about transit when they know absolutely nothing on the subject. Both Delta MP Carla Qualtrough and Mayor Lois Jackson know almost nothing about transit, except for the politically acceptable catch phrases.
Here is a quick primer: Light rail is a steel wheel on steel rail transit system that has the ability to operate in mixed traffic (streetcar) if need be.
Rapid transit, the Canada Line and the Expo/Millennium lines are not light rail at all, rather they are part of the "heavy" rail family called lightmetro. Both of Metro Vancouver's lightmetro lines are driverless, thus unable to operate in mixed traffic.
LRT made light metro obsolete in the late 1980s because it is cheaper to build, maintain and operate and has the added benefit of higher capacity.
The Canada Line is really a heavy-rail metro, built as a light metro, and because costs were escalating, the scope of the project was greatly reduced. The Canada Line was built on the cheap and as a result, its truncated stations have platforms only 40 metres long, half the length of the SkyTrain stations.
This means the Canada Line has about half the capacity of the SkyTrain lines and why the Canada Line seems full.
The cost today to increase the capacity of the Canada Line is about $1.5 billion and must be done before any expansion takes place.
The proposed bridge replacing the perfectly good George Massey Tunnel is not being designed for rapid transit at all, for if it were, it must be able to accommodate 300-ton trains and unless tracks are laid, when constructed, rapid transit will never cross the bridge.
Qualtrough and Jackson are the epitome of the problem with regional transit: they know little or nothing about it and instead of admitting to this, they oversee the spending of billions of taxpayers' dollars on grossly overpriced vanity projects.
D. Malcolm Johnston