Launching our new Rail For the Valley website and blog…….

In brief: We have a new website and blog!

From now on, please go to for the main website, or, for blog articles,

Please change your bookmarks accordingly. Thank you!

I am extraordinarily pleased to present to you the new Rail For the Valley website:

Make sure to check out all the sections. In addition to a new professional layout, there’s:
  • lot of new content on our campaign and related issues, that has already been posted
  • Continual news updates posted to much more frequently than before
  • A suggestion: Go to the main page and subscribe to receive more frequent updates from the campaign trail. (you can unsubscribe at any time.)
If you like what you see on the new website, a small donation to our campaign would be greatly appreciated.

Watch for our new blogger

As well, I am delighted to announce that, together with the launch of our new website, we have a new regular blogger we’re adding to the mix: He goes by Cardinal Fang…..

Watch for his first blog entry, at, in the days to come.

By the way, if you’re impressed with what you see on the new website, you’ll be interested to hear that our website was created by local designer Matthew Vogt. You can visit Matt’s website at If you or your business have a project in mind, I highly recommend him. In addition to giving us a top-notch design, he’s been a pleasure to work with.
John Buker
Rail for the Valley


Bringing Back the Interurban Line: Key to our Transportation Future Lies in the Past (By John Vissers and Alexandria Mitchell, for The Common Sense Canadian) [click here to view the full article on The Canadian]

The BC provincial transportation plan is running out of political fuel, dollars and sense. How long can we continue to promote, finance and build 1970’s infrastructure, expecting it to meet the needs of our rapidly changing 21st century communities?

Extravagantly expensive and monolithic elevated rail systems like Skytrain can serve only Metro core areas, while heavily subsidised by taxpayers who can never benefit from them. FAIL

No urban region has ever successfully built its way out of traffic congestion by expanding freeway capacity. This only invites “induced traffic” and encourages car dependent sprawl . EPIC FAIL

Today, our needs and our cities are changing. Density and sustainable, walkable community plans are the norm. Traffic patterns and lifestyles are changing. Fuel costs climb inexorably year after year. Many would happily keep the thousands of dollars they spend each year on car travel. But for almost a million people south of the Fraser, this is not an option. The only viable way of getting to school, to work, or to socialize is by car.

Incredibly, a solution to long term affordable and efficient public transportation has been in place and ready to use for many years, but completely ignored by a BC provincial plan dedicated to road building and mega-project mentalities better suited to the previous century.

Turns out we own a railroad. A really long railroad. One hundred kilometres of track, connecting all the major urban areas south of the Fraser. It starts conveniently, at the Scott Road Skytrain Station. From there it travels through the heart of Surrey, to Cloverdale, then Langley City, on to Abbotsford, and finally Chilliwack. Not only does it connect all the downtown centers, it passes within walking distance of five university/college campuses and through several industrial parks. One hundred years ago an electric tram train travelled daily on this corridor, moving people, freight and farm produce efficiently across the region. It was called the BC Electric Interurban. Fifty years ago the service was abandoned as road systems improved and our North American car culture took hold. With rare foresight, the Provincial government of the day, through BC Hydro, retained the right to re-establish passenger rail when they sold the use of the line to a private freight rail company.

Community groups interested in sustainable public transportation have been petitioning the BC government to consider re-activating the Interurban Train. We already own the line, it’s underused, and for the cost of about four kilometres of Skytrain, we could have a full service connecting all the urban cores, education and employment centres south of the Fraser. How do we know this? A study was recently completed by a professional transit consulting firm from England. They see the Interurban Rail as a diamond in the rough, and are astonished that we have not yet embraced this system as the core of a community rail-based public transportation plan. The 85 page report, commissioned by the rail advocacy group RAIL FOR THE VALLEY, is available on-line at

Rail for the Valley In The News

The Rail for the Valley/Leewood TramTrain study has had region wide reporting, with most of the weekly papers featuring this historic news release. Here are some links. (Stay tuned for more!)

CBC News Video: Light rail recommended for Fraser Valley

Chilliwack Times: Report supports light rail: ‘An honest accounting’ of the potential transit system

Abbotsford Times: All aboard: Report reviews Fraser Valley Interurban light rail

Surrey Leader, Richmond Review, Delta Leader, Langley Times & Chilliwack Progress: More ammo for light rail service through Valley

North Shore News: Valley residents on track with light rail

Vancouver Province: Valley light rail all go, twin groups claim

Groundbreaking report on Interurban light rail – released TODAY

Rail For The Valley is extremely excited to announce the release of a comprehensive independent analysis of the potential for light rail service on the existing and publicly owned Interurban Rail Corridor, connecting communities from Chilliwack to Vancouver with an affordable, sustainable public transportation system. The study, now complete, was performed by Leewood Projects.

About Leewood Projects:

Leewood Projects is a British-based company that has professional expertise in light rail solutions, providing comprehensive project management and planning services to the international railway industry. Leewood Projects has in the past had involvement in prestigious rail projects such as the Channel Tunnel.

Highlights of the the report:

  • TramTrain technology: Track-sharing the existing Interurban rail line with freight operations.
  • 20 minute (peak), 30 minute (off-peak) all-day service.
  • An analysis of the track and needed upgrades.
  • Railway stations designed as community gathering points. 10 full stations and 8 Tram Stops.
  • A detailed Journey Time matrix for stops along the line.
  • Total journey time between Surrey Scott Rd. SkyTrain Station and downtown Chilliwack: 90.5 minutes.
  • Future proposed expansions of the line: Downtown Vancouver (Stage 2) and Rosedale (Stage 3).
  • A detailed capital cost breakdown for the entire project.
Total capital costs:
Stage 1 Phase 1 (Diesel Light Rail) 98 km Scott Rd. – Chilliwack: $492 million
Stage 1 Phase 2 (Electrification) 98 km Scott Rd. – Chilliwack: $114 million
Stage 2 Proposal – 28 km Extension to Downtown Vancouver: $363 million
Stage 3 Proposal – 12 km Extension to Rosedale: $28 million

This is the most comprehensive light rail study ever undertaken in this province, performed by a company with professional expertise in light rail solutions. This report at long last provides us with an honest accounting of the potential for light rail service on the Interurban corridor.
-John Buker, Founder, Rail For The Valley

Shaw Cable Documentary

An excellent Shaw documentary focussed entirely on the potential of the old BC Electric rail line running through the Fraser Valley will be shown over the next few weeks. The times are shown below. Among other things the documentary features a helicopter ride along the Fraser Valley and interviews with Township of Langley Mayor Rick Green and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts. Don’t miss it.

Tues   Sept 14   6:30pm
Fri       Sept 17  8:30pm
Mon    Sept  20  3:30pm
Tues   Sept 21   8:30pm
Sun     Sept 26   3:30pm
Mon    Sept 27  11:30am

Streetcars: The Missing Link? Sept. 29, 2010

For Immediate Release – Please circulate!

Lawrence Frank, PhD, CIP, ASLA

Bombardier Chair in Sustainable Transportation University of British Columbia

604-822-5387 ph / 604-822-1628 fx

Bombardier Active Transportation Lab


UBC School of Environmental Health and the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning are pleased to inform you of our upcoming symposium:


September 29, 2010 (Wednesday)

Program:  8:30 am – 5:15 pm

Reception: 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel, Vancouver BC.


The Olympic Line – Vancouver’s 2010 Streetcar demonstration project held during the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games saw urban streetcars return to Vancouver for the first time in almost half a century. The project proved extremely popular and has ignited the idea of reinvesting in streetcars as part of a broader sustainable transportation system for the City of Vancouver and the entire Metro Vancouver region.


Streetcars: The Missing Link? brings together decisions makers, academics, and community leaders to explore, discuss and debate the potential role of streetcars as a critical link within the transportation system and the idea of bring streetcars back to Vancouver. Key topics of this symposium include:

  • Historical role of streetcars in Vancouver
  • Implementation costs
  • Streetcar impacts on urban form and mobility
  • Urban design and modal integration – lessons learned in other regions
  • New data and information from the Olympic Line demonstration project.

DETAILED AGENDA is available here:

REGISTER AT:   Please register early as space is limited.

A hosted reception will follow the program at the revolving Vistas 360 restaurant/lounge on the 20th floor of the Renaissance Vancouver Hotel Harbourside. Join delegates for complimentary refreshments, appetizers, and additional network opportunities while taking in a 360-degree panoramic view of the city and harbour. Information from UBC students in the Schools of Community and Regional Planning, Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and Environmental Health on streetcar systems and their impacts will be shared at the reception.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:  decision makers, municipal staff, developers, community leaders, media, academics, organizational leaders.

This event is sponsored by the J. Armand Bombardier Chair in Sustainable Transportation at UBC.


Lydia Ma

UBC School of Environmental Health

Phone: (604) 822-9599



Open House July 8th