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[Rail] Commuter rail


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#1 Mike K.

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 10:39 AM

This article highlights the need for amalgamation. To think that a municipality of 16,000 individuals can balk at the need for transit simply because it doesn't think rail transit will benefit its community is ludicrous. How about we barr traffic heading into Esquimalt along the Johnson and Bay street bridges? That traffic doesn't benefit Vic West, now does it?

Esquimalt balks at West Shore rail link

By Vern Faulkner
Goldstream News Gazette
Sep 29 2006

Some of Esquimalt's civic leaders aren't keen to support a group pushing for a commuter rail link between Langford and Victoria.

The Langford-Victoria Commuter Rail Working Group wants to establish a commuter rail link using the E&N rail line to connect the ever-growing West Shore with the downtown core.

The route naturally runs through Esquimalt - but during Monday's council meeting, the town's politicians expressed reluctance to participate, especially if the town has to provide cash to the group.

Coun. Don Linge suggested Esquimalt should look at things from a "what's in it for us" perspective. [...]

[link to original article no longer available[

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#2 Mike K.

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 10:42 AM

...and in the very same edition of the very same paper, we have this beaut following the above article. From one spectrum of brilliance to another (anyone else find the disconnect between the community and council rather amusing? ;) ) Good grief.

Train station mulled near Dockyard

By Mark Browne
Goldstream News Gazette
Sep 29 2006

Station touted as ideal for military employees commuting from the West Shore

Esquimalt's Economic Development Advisory Committee is looking at the idea of establishing a train station in Esquimalt.

The proposal for a train station at the corner of Admirals, Colville and Lockley roads was pitched by Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce executive member Ed Williams at the Sept. 13 committee meeting.

"We're keeping in mind the fact that the railroad is called the Esquimalt and Nanaimo railroad - not the Victoria and Nanaimo railroad. We believe that we should have a station in Esquimalt," said Williams, who also sits on the committee.

The chamber has been holding discussions with the Department of National Defence about acquiring land at the intersection for the train station.

"We've been working on it behind the scenes in the chamber executive for a couple of years now," he said.

The aim is to receive approval from DND to either purchase or lease the land for the station, Williams said.

"We need to get co-operation from the Department of National Defence first of all to determine that the land is no longer useful to them."

The idea then would be to enter some form of agreement to acquire the land. [...]

[Link to original article no longer available]

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#3 HOMBRE

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 10:48 AM

whats in it for esquimalt, naden creates alot of traffic that backs up through view royal into esquimalt, commuter rail may help this, thats whats in it for you guys.

are we in the middle ages with all these city-states??

#4 Holden West

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 11:23 AM

Since the chance of a sneak attack by the Russian Czar or the Japanese Imperial Navy have declined significantly over the last century I think the DND should give up a lot of their land for transit and other uses.
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#5 G-Man

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 12:11 PM

Those articles are hilarious.

I understand the point here about West Shore development companies being behind the push for commuter rail but Esquimailt also has to recognize that their community has one of the highest transit ridership numbers so I think that we could see a lot of that transfer to rail.

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#6 Holden West

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 03:06 PM

Letters: Build a new rail station

Victoria News Sep 29 2006

I believe in a balanced, well-developed transportation system on Vancouver Island and its communities. This would include commuter rail, and freight on the E&N, LRT, rapid bus, trams, feeder bus routes, community bus, cycling, taxis, ferries and well defined pedestrian areas. The automobile would still play an important role, but not to the extent where it has in the past 50 years, affecting the environmental and social aspects of our society in a very negative way.

The E&N rail system, supported by transport modes mentioned in the above paragraph, would benefit those living and going to be living on Vancouver Island. The automobile on the other hand has lead to irresponsible and uncontrolled development.

I believe we must build a new rail terminal (or multi-modal transportation centre) for Victoria. The current location is inadequate and has no space for expansion or proper transit connections. Although the Galloping Goose Trail has a direct link across the Johnston Street Bridge, it is not very pedestrian friendly.

A new station could have a retail/commercial proponent as well as a residential element.

Of a number of sites, the best, potentially, is the property surrounded by Pandora, Cormorant, Blanshard and Douglas. It is near the busiest corridor (Douglas Street) for both transit buses and auto and truck traffic. The abandoned buildings beside the Royal Bank branch could be incorporated into a new terminal using them as storefronts or a new entrance. The other option could be to demolish all buildings and replace them with a new complex incorporating the new railway terminal, residential, retail and office space.

Aaron Lypkie,

Saanich
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#7 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 29 September 2006 - 03:11 PM

I think the idea or LRT is a waste of time, but man, those are funny articles. Esquimalt peoiplke wouldn't use it? Sure, and if a bus from Wescom went through Esquimalt people wouldn't get on it for a trip into town?

#8 rboehm

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 11:19 AM

I own a condo in Vic West but I live in northern California. I'll say first that I am an advocate of commuter rail as I use it every day between my home in Campbell, CA and my work in Palo Alto, CA. The light rail branch opened in our town last November and, as usual, there was great debate about the cost of the line versus what ridership might be expected, with many naysayers. With gas prices up, ridership has increased steadily. In addition, the prices of condos located along the line have shot up. Taxes levied on developers of these condos has also gone up bringing money to the communities along the right of way. Business and retail centers along the right of way have seen an increase in traffic and can now charge higher rents on their buildings. They also pay taxes to the towns where they are located. There is a snowball economic effect with commuter rail: if the frequency of trains is high enough to avoid long waits between departures. My wife and I currently ride bicycles to the Esquimalt public library and swimming pool when at our condo in Vic West. As we get older, the ability to ride cummuter rail to communities west of Esquimalt would be valuable. The Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railroad is potentially a huge asset for the greater Victoria area. I hope Victoria area residents are wise enough to see it: for the future.

#9 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:03 PM

I own a condo in Vic West but I live in northern California.


Now THAT is a commute.

Welcome to the forum, BTW... :)

#10 G-Man

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:14 PM

I agree that the E&N could easily be used for commuter rail but I still think that there is a good casr to be made for LRT along Douglas and up to UVic.

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#11 van-island

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Posted 01 November 2006 - 03:46 PM

Hey all, first post!

I'm currently doing the English teaching thing in Japan, but will be back on the island by next summer. Anyways, I wrote this little piece (just for the heck of it!) and was wondering if anyone would be kind enough to give me feedback on the ideas contained within:

I recently took a second look at a pdf presentation of the Malahat Corridor Study produced by Stantec Consulting, and took a little time to mull over the situation once again. If you remember, several months ago I wrote in support of expanding the existing rail system as an alternative to expanded or additional highways. There are several distinct reasons for this, which I will now outline for you.

The first concern I have are the obvious problems created by an expanded highway system, basically revolving around the idea; where the **** are the cars going to go? Let’s briefly look at the considered bridge across to the Saanich peninsula, and the effect it would have on traffic heading into Victoria. The bridge would need to feed into some road on the peninsula side. While the Malahat side of things can probably handle a small load increase, being two lanes with few stoplights into Mill Bay, the Victoria side is apt to encounter serious congestion problems. As anyone who has driven the Pat Bay highway out to the ferries will know, at the best of times traffic is heavy, and after any ferry arrival it slows down considerably. So we know that a bridge would require one of two things: Either an expanded Pat Bay highway heading into Victoria, possibly incorporating overpasses to eliminate traffic signals, or the building of another highway to relieve the load on the Pat Bay. Both the options, in concert with the bridge, would not only undoubtedly push costs well into the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, but they would also be only temporary fixes, as even right-of-way highways soon become overwhelmed with traffic. Last year I drove a major regional highway into Osaka on a Saturday morning. This highway is a raised right-of-way, towering about 3 stories above the Osaka streets. Even as a dedicated highway without a single traffic signal, the highway was completed packed, so much so that in several places my speed didn’t exceed 30 km/h, simply due to the sheer volume of cars on the road. This, by the way, is a common experience of mine on these kinds of highways here in Japan. The ‘express’ highways throughout Japan were intended to relieve congestion on roads here, yet the number of cars on the road quickly expanded to fill even this monstrous network to the point that more road construction is under way. Is this what we want for Victoria? Huge raised behemoths of highways costing hundreds of millions to build and maintain towering over our streets? This is our fate if we pursue the ‘ideal’ of unrestricted car-based travel on Vancouver Island, for unless some major economic or environmental event halts the growth of the car culture, the number of cars on our roads will never decrease. (In contrast, the trains in Japan can get quite crowded in peak times too, yet they continue to run at the same speed, with the same fuel efficiency, the only difference being that they're making more money.)

Cutting a new highway through the forest is even a dreamier take on the bridge option above, the major differences being that the cost and level of environmental destruction is even higher, while at the same time the project would exhibit the same diminishing returns as stated above. Barring the previously mentioned economic or environmental event, the use of cars will probably not decrease, so here again we can expect car use to expand to meet the capacity of any new highway system, so that in a few years we arrive at the same situation we are now attempting to extricate ourselves from. Another major factor ignored in the Stantec study are peripheral consequences of a new highway, namely increased suburban-style sprawl creeping along the highway route itself. While this version of “growth” may be good for our present economy, can we really allow increasingly large portions of the island to be paved over with split-level ranchers and McDonalds/Walmart combos? To do so would spell a major loss in our responsibility to defend the local economy and natural beauty of our island. Living in an area of Japan where a strip of city basically runs over half of the entire east coast of the main island, I am loathe to see Vancouver Island turn into such an urban wasteland.

The problems plaguing car transport however, are more manageable with rail-based transport. Increased use, while causing congestion on highways, need only be met with increasing rolling stock (train length, etc) or adding additional train service such as rapid trains (fast commuters stopping at limited stations) or simply by increasing the number of departures per day. However, when I read Stantec’s analysis of the rail question, I can’t help being plagued by several concerns I think have the potential to be disastrous to increasing rail use on the island.

The biggest problem I think is what most people consider as “expanded commuter rail service”. Train service of the kind now operating in British Columbia barely registers on the bottom rung of “commuter”, and still contains a patina of the “train journey” of old. I consider the current state of rail transport in much of North America to be what I would call a “frontier hangover”. Namely, the idea of rail transport in Canada remains to a certain extent based on the idea of trains heading out into the wilderness; the journey rather than the commute. Look, for example, at the stations lining the E&N right of way. The Chemainus station, as an example, looks much as I would have imagined it to over a century ago, nothing more than an outpost in the wilderness. Even the train station in Victoria, the biggest city on the island, remains little more than a shack, ignored on the downtown waterfront. None of these stations maintain any significant relationship to other transit services (i.e., schedule coordination, ticket sharing agreements, advertising), nor are there any development strategies that would turn the lines into usable, efficient transit corridors connected to the community at large. Not only does this current preconception of rail transport prevent it from gaining new riders, but it also ensures that current riders find the system slow and irrelevant, detached from the community. A large part of this situation has no doubt evolved as a result of 60 years of post war neglect of the rail system, and an absolute dependence on cars for our transport needs. As another result of this, the know how for improving our rail technology to the point that is currently enjoyed in Europe, Japan, or even China (home to a mag-lev commuter train) now seems to be something of a rarity in Canada. At the present time, I think the largest obstacle to train travel on Vancouver Island would be that most people regard train travel as an old, “frontier” technology, rather than one of the most modern, efficient modes of travel around. Most people lack experience with the modern, efficient rail systems in Europe and Japan, and as such don’t realize what great options such a system would present. Rail travel would have the added benefit of concentrating development near stations, reducing much of the damaging suburban sprawl that is currently destroying so much of our natural environment, as well as bringing life back into the suffering downtowns of our smaller towns. Another symptom of the “frontier” notion of rail travel is the continued use of a ticket-checking conductor on the train, ala early 20th century rail travel, as opposed to electronically controlled gates and ticket sales, as most modern commuter train systems have. Occasional on-board ticket checks are indeed necessary, however the volumes necessary to achieve a profitable and efficient commuter rail service will never be achieved with a lone conductor, nor will passengers view the system as quick and efficient with only a single or few individuals handling ticket sales and checks.

To be quite honest with you, I feel like we’re being passed by. I keep an eye on urban and transport development around the world these days, and to be quite honest with you, railways in Venezuela put much of Canada to shame, not to mention the level of development in Europe and many countries in Asia (Taiwan is soon to open their own high speed bullet train, based on Japanese technology). The trend is obviously leaning towards development oriented around transit centres and walkable communities, and against sprawl, and yet here we are in Canada with barely an operating rail system, all the while talking about spending hundreds of millions on new roads. When I ride the train here in Japan I often feel quite sad actually, and often find myself thinking, “why can’t we do this too?” Japan employs tens of thousands of people in a homegrown, profitable railway industry, providing jobs for every aspect of the business. All the equipment is built in Japan, making work for Japanese factories, and yet the best we can come up with back home is to pave some more highways. As Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef said, “I want us to have a fucking better, cooler, cleverer, healthier nation.” He was talking about Britain and food, but anyways, the idea is the same. Why are we sitting on our hands and doing the same old crap when the rest of the world (except for maybe the USA) is obviously taking a better path? Why is the best job a young man can get these days on a construction site to build the Olympic facilities? We need to do things smarter and better than the next guy, but instead we piss around with the same old formula, more roads, more subdivisions, more traffic, and more mess. It’s about time we changed that.



#12 rboehm

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Posted 02 November 2006 - 03:46 PM

Here on the San Francisco peninsula the heavy rail and light rail commuter trains (CALTRAIN) have no ticket sales on board. At each station there is a machine that will sell everything from a single ride pass to a monthly pass. It will make change and take credit cards. Once aboard a train, each passenger must have a ticket or pass. If a fare inspector finds someone without, that person receives a fine similar to a parking ticket. The fine can be up to $250US so most people have tickets. The train is a push-pull operation: there is an operator cab at each end of the train (similar to the RDC cars now operating on the E & N) except that each train has 5 cars. Some trains are express and don't make all stops, others are locals that make every stop on the line between San Jose and San Francisco. Again, since the price of gasoline has risen, the ridership on CALTRAIN has also increased. The CALTRAIN line is double tracked to allow concurrent movement in both directions. This would cost money on the E & N as the right of way is pretty narrow over the Malahat. Still, it would be a worthy investment as it would make the RR relevent as to frequency of service for the present day. The current E & N service is simply too infrequent to be useful to commuters.

#13 ressen

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 02:48 PM

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:28 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Density is the answer to making LRT feasible. I envision an ultra light rapid transit system based on roller coaster technology. Initiating at Malahat station where south bound train pasengers from communities North of the Malahat will transfer onto the ULRT. The line from there will then flow East; past Langford lake and West Hills, Hulls and West shore Town Center, Golldstream, Colwood Corners, Fort Rodd,over the pedestrian, cycle and rail bridge to Duntze Head (DND), Admirals, Esquimalt, Victoria and then East and North to UVIC and Gorden Head. As the tracks are based on Roller coaster type systems they are much lighter and less obtrusive than standard elevated concrete rail beds.High density is sure to follow.The bridge will be built at Victoria ship Yards then towed into place where it will be pulled up to the top of the two towers and affixed.
_________________

#14 van-island

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 02:13 AM

Density is the answer to making LRT feasible.


So it is. Too bad about the whole "chicken and the egg" problem which plagues density and rail though. Without proven density no one wants to build rail, and without rail density is tough to do. What it's going to require is a complete vision, something our hapless leaders shrink at creating, as it would require sticking their neck out and going against the current "growth" status quo.

Hopefully the traffic keeps getting worse and the anger keeps growing. There never was a better impetus for change. :evil:

#15 Caramia

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 09:19 AM

[url=http://islandtransformations.org/files/IT%20LRT%20Study%203%20Dec.pdf:f0447]Here is Litman's Light Rail Economic Opportunity Study (2002) of the Langford – James Bay corridor[/url:f0447]

During the 2020 process we heard that the way to make LRT economical is to identify the corridor and then greatly boost density zoning along it, with nodes of commercial zoning at targetted intervals (based around existing nodes). Save a little land in each node for a station. After development fills out the corridor, light rail becomes a foregone conclusion, but it takes some advance planning.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
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#16 Holden West

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 11:32 PM

Train scheme getting untracked

By Edward Hill
Victoria News
Nov 08 2006

An ad-hoc group pushing for a commuter train between Langford and Victoria plans to launch a feasibility study, but area politicians say unless the province gets on board, the entire project could become derailed.

The commuter rail working group wants to get more than just tourist trains moving on the E&N tracks, now owned by the Island Corridor Foundation, the body that brought the 234-kilometre rail line back to public ownership.

The group has no formal status but has been meeting since the summer, and includes politicians from Langford, View Royal, Esquimalt and Victoria, representatives from the ICF, BC Transit, the West-Hills development and the operator, Southern Railway.

Langford Mayor Stew Young confirmed the group is aiming to launch a study to gauge public interest in commuter rail, costs for track upgrades, rail cars, and operating budgets.

The study will cost up to $30,000, with funding likely to be split among the municipalities. Young said Langford has committed funding for it. [...]

[Link to original article no longer available]
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-City of Victoria website, 2009

#17 G-Man

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 06:51 AM

Yup that is what is needed a study!

This city f&@!ing insane with the amount of studies it does when it doesn't want to go ahead with somehting. Ridiculous.

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#18 Mike K.

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 11:27 AM

Better schedule blocked
by E&N breakdowns


Re: “Better schedule would boost rail,” letter, Dec. 26.

The writer is correct and a schedule like the one she suggests would be good.

The big problem is that of the three Budd Rail Diesel Cars assigned to the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway, Via Rail Canada can hardly keep one running.

One car at the moment is in Moncton, N.B., for repairs, due to be released for return on Jan. 10. One of the other cars was damaged several months ago and has not been repaired yet.

That leaves one car to limp along. The federal government has traditionally underfunded Via Rail Canada and I am told Via will have no funds to deal with the problems until the new fiscal year. Paul J. Crozier Smith,

Victoria.

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#19 brianwil

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 02:05 PM

There should be an hourly shuttle (6am to midnight) on the E & N line between downtown Langford and downtown Victoria with a stop in Esquimalt near the base. If people know that there will always be a train at N minutes after the hour, they can plan their activities around the departure time and know that there will be another train an hour later if their plans change through the day.

The scheduled time of the existing Dayliner service is 21 minutes outbound and 26 minutes inbound (which is much faster than the current time of an express bus inbound mornings taking 40 minutes and 50 minutes outbound in the evening). One Dayliner car could do this shuttle very easily.

The track is already in place. It shouldn't be that hard to get at least 2 of the 3 existing cars running on any given day.

The key is that we already have all these resources and could get a basic system up and running almost overnight.

Fairly quickly, there would have to be road bed improvements and rolling stock improvements, but there would be a political will for that if there were a popular service already running.

Take a look at some current technology as in the Ottawa O-train which runs from a nowhere busway stop near the Ottawa River through Carleton University to another nowhere busway stop near (but not at) the airport. These train-sets would be perfect on the E&N.

http://www.octranspo...train_menue.htm

I've never met a light rail system I didn't like; but planning, funding, and building one would take decades around here.

Meanwhile, we have the parts for a great starter system already in hand.

#20 G-Man

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 02:12 PM

I agree. Actually about 6 or 7 years ago Siemens offered a free train for a year if we wanted to test doing exactly that.

The best way to do what you are planning is schedule it so that the current dayliner works on the same schedule. So put the train to bed in Langford at night. Then say first train leaves there at 6am gets into town at 6:30 the 6:30 outbound could be the up island dayliner makes it stops and than proceeds up-island. A second train would continue until the other train returned. The Dayliner could then makes its route into town drop off and then be the last train back out to Langford at night.

It does make a lot of sense. But oh well :)

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