Monday, December 31, 2007


When the new Canada Line opens in Vancouver in 2009 we will see the become the leader in Canada when it comes to light rail transit.

In 1985 Toronto and Montreal had established subway systems, Edmonton had their one short line and Calgary was building the C Trains. Vancouver had nothing.

In 2009 Vancouver will have three lines, but not only that, it will have vaulted ahead of all the other cities in Canada.

Calgary 44.8 km and 37 stations
Edmonton 12.9 km and 11 stations
Ottawa 8 km and 5 stations
Montreal 66km and 68 stations
Toronto 68.3 and 69 stations
Vancouver 68.5km and 49 stations, rising to 53

Two years later the Evergreen line will open and Vancouver will rise to about 80km of line and 64 stations.

No one has seemed to notice that it is only Vancouver that has been consistently and regularly been building more rail transit.

The Expo line was in use by late 1985 but not finished till 1994. Then came the Millenium line - serious planning work on this line started shortly after the Expo line was completed and the line came into initial operation in 2002 with the last station opening in 2006 by which time work had started on the Canada Line.

Effectively Vancouver has had some degree of active work happening on light rail transit all the time since the early 1980s. As it stands, the works will continue till at least 2011. I suspect with there will be a strong push for the Millenium line to have an expansion commence sometime around 2011 running westwards.

I see the line running as far west as about somewhere around Burrard and Broadway. As appealing a link to UBC might seem, I do not see that happening as distance is rather far and the population densities are low.

One aspect of the Vancouver light rail system that is different to the others in Canada is the lower number of stations on the lines - there is a more distance between stops. This means that the Vancouver system is a faster one than the others in Canada.

Meanwhile the other rapid transit systems seem to be doing very little in terms of expansion.

Montreal has added three stations and a few km since the 1980s and has nothing even in the planning stages.

Toronto added the Scarborough RT in the mid 80s - which always struck me as cheaping out on add to the existing line. They also added the Sheppard line in 2002 - what the point of this short piece of line was I am not sure? $1 000 000 000 for a 5.5 km line that is only carrying 42 000 people a day....... Toronto is proposing an extension north of Downsview for around 2014.

Calgary had the bulk of their system in place by 1990 and has only added small pieces since then. There is early stage talk about another line in 2023.

Edmonton is working on a southern expansion and has a northern one planned as well, but they have waited about 30 years to get underway with any expansion.

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