Passenger Rail – Not Buses – Is The Answer

By October 28, 2013Guest Columns, Issues

Submitted. There is no argument that our two communities badly need connecting public transit. The count of 27200 daily trips is a bit shocking to read. (Re: Abby council puts brakes on bus, Chilliwack Times, October 24, 2013) Buses are a great short term solution but very costly compared to another solution thats ready to be developed right now. I’m talking about the unused passenger designated rail line that runs right into the very heart of both communities, crossing major roads and local transit lines, as well as going through Yarrow and nearby Greendale.

Editor’s note: The picture is of an Interurban, a restored Interurban train that used to run between New West and Chilliwack can be seen at the Burnaby Village Museum.

Thats right, we have designated passenger rail ready to go between Abby and the Wack. You drive over those rails every day on Vedder and Evans Road in Chilliwack. All thats needed is development of passenger stations and parking, and a few road crossing upgrades, and purchase of the train(s).

It’s been proven that light rail (at grade, not Skytrain) is the most cost effective transit system in the world that can pay for itself over time! ( Yes the initial first time cost for this will be very expensive. But compared to buses, light rail lasts for many decades with much lower long term upkeep and operating costs. Trains can also run in all kinds of weather including snow and when the highway is blocked. Electric light rail systems aren’t held hostage by fuel costs, and they’re also great for our environment. One train can move many people with one driver, and trains almost always run on time!

There are many benefits to developing the rail line between our two communities. I haven’t even touched on the health issues, universal access, and economic growth benefits to local small businesses that surrounds rail stations. Why our councillors are not seriously considering light rail is a mystery. Light rail should be tabled as the best way to building a sophisticated and permanent solution to our congested and dangerous highway!

Robbin Yager – Friends of Rail for the Valley, Chilliwack

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