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  #261  
Old Posted Oct 29, 2011, 8:50 PM
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GeeCee GeeCee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aberdeen5698 View Post
U.S. Border Patrol quietly halts routine bus and train checks along Canadian border


I wonder if this applies to the Seattle/Vancouver run?

From: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle2218354/
This doesn't refer to transborder trips so much as vehicles within the US being randomly inspected.
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  #262  
Old Posted Oct 29, 2011, 9:01 PM
aberdeen5698 aberdeen5698 is offline
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Originally Posted by GeeCee View Post
This doesn't refer to transborder trips so much as vehicles within the US being randomly inspected.
Ah, interesting. I didn't take that meaning from the article, and upon rereading it I was a bit surprised to learn that the border service had those kinds of powers.

Thanks for the clarification!
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  #263  
Old Posted Dec 4, 2011, 3:04 AM
Nutterbug Nutterbug is offline
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Save Blaine Station and make it a stop on the Cascades route.

http://blainestation.com/Main.htm

It may be a good alternative stop for those of us who do not want to endure the slow long ride from Pacific Central.
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  #264  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2011, 1:57 AM
BCPhil BCPhil is offline
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Originally Posted by Nutterbug View Post
Save Blaine Station and make it a stop on the Cascades route.

http://blainestation.com/Main.htm

It may be a good alternative stop for those of us who do not want to endure the slow long ride from Pacific Central.
While I would like to see Blaine save it's 100 year old station for historical sake, I would much rather see them use the White Rock station as a station. Part of the point of taking the train across the border is that you avoid the potentially long wait in your car.
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  #265  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2011, 4:03 AM
Nutterbug Nutterbug is offline
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Originally Posted by BCPhil View Post
While I would like to see Blaine save it's 100 year old station for historical sake, I would much rather see them use the White Rock station as a station. Part of the point of taking the train across the border is that you avoid the potentially long wait in your car.
You can walk across the border on foot. All we need is for Translink to extend bus service 8 more blocks south right to the border.

Problem with White Rock is, there can only be one stop on the Canadian side.
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  #266  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2011, 7:13 AM
deasine deasine is offline
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Originally Posted by Nutterbug View Post
Problem with White Rock is, there can only be one stop on the Canadian side.
Why? As long as there are custom controls at the station itself, and service is not permitted for travel solely between White Rock and Pacific Central (meaning US bound train platform is only for boarding [no disembarking], and Pacific Central train platform is only for disembarking [no boarding]), I can't see there can't be a second station.
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  #267  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2011, 12:09 PM
BCPhil BCPhil is offline
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I thought they just did the checks on the train at the Border itself. I have yet to take the train, but I've been at the border a few times as the train stops and US customs agents inspect the train and passengers (it took less time than my wait at the border did).

Or you could do as they do on some trans-border ferries and just have customs officers on board. Maybe with our new border agreements we might see some relaxing of the stringent rules for crossing the border.
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  #268  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2011, 10:49 PM
Nutterbug Nutterbug is offline
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Originally Posted by deasine View Post
Why? As long as there are custom controls at the station itself, and service is not permitted for travel solely between White Rock and Pacific Central (meaning US bound train platform is only for boarding [no disembarking], and Pacific Central train platform is only for disembarking [no boarding]), I can't see there can't be a second station.
Because customs and immigration won't provide the extra personnel for it.

They already put up quite a fight to get the $1500 fee waived to staff Pacific Central.
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  #269  
Old Posted Dec 14, 2011, 4:08 AM
geoff's two cents geoff's two cents is offline
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I'd be curious to see the specs on having a new, grade-separated rail ROW go via King George through Surrey Central, and via the Stormont connector and Highway 1 to Vancouver.

Much of this route, even within Surrey itself, remains for the most part obstruction-free, and planning for a tunnelled downtown Surrey portion could occur in conjunction with the proposed KGB subway/skytrain between Guildford and Newton, Surrey Central station upgrades, as well as the planned Patullo bridge replacement and long-discussed Stormont connection to Highway 1.

Any increase in distance would be offset by the higher speeds made possible by avoiding the circuitous White Rock route. Such a plan would also go some way toward taking seriously Surrey's long-term emergence as an important center in its own right. Finally, it would give Surrey and Valley travellers to Seattle and Portland a serious alternative to their SOVs and thereby help boost Canada-side ridership on the line.

Obviously this would be a long-term plan - Even Surrey Centre still feels too much like a suburb of Vancouver to warrant this kind of investment at present. Having a long-term plan in place, however, would at least ensure that KGB construction doesn't impinge on a future rail ROW, and might even help attract investment dollars to Surrey's emerging city center.

I admit to being inspired by the time I spent in Ontario, where just about any urban center of significance has at least an upgradeable rail ROW, or even several. Wellington, New Zealand, where I am at present, also has a very developed intercity rail hub. IMO, planning along these lines is still possible along the KGB corridor.
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  #270  
Old Posted Dec 14, 2011, 4:40 AM
go_leafs_go02 go_leafs_go02 is offline
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Originally Posted by geoff's two cents View Post
I'd be curious to see the specs on having a new, grade-separated rail ROW go via King George through Surrey Central, and via the Stormont connector and Highway 1 to Vancouver.

Much of this route, even within Surrey itself, remains for the most part obstruction-free, and planning for a tunnelled downtown Surrey portion could occur in conjunction with the proposed KGB subway/skytrain between Guildford and Newton, Surrey Central station upgrades, as well as the planned Patullo bridge replacement and long-discussed Stormont connection to Highway 1.

Any increase in distance would be offset by the higher speeds made possible by avoiding the circuitous White Rock route. Such a plan would also go some way toward taking seriously Surrey's long-term emergence as an important center in its own right. Finally, it would give Surrey and Valley travellers to Seattle and Portland a serious alternative to their SOVs and thereby help boost Canada-side ridership on the line.

Obviously this would be a long-term plan - Even Surrey Centre still feels too much like a suburb of Vancouver to warrant this kind of investment at present. Having a long-term plan in place, however, would at least ensure that KGB construction doesn't impinge on a future rail ROW, and might even help attract investment dollars to Surrey's emerging city center.

I admit to being inspired by the time I spent in Ontario, where just about any urban center of significance has at least an upgradeable rail ROW, or even several. Wellington, New Zealand, where I am at present, also has a very developed intercity rail hub. IMO, planning along these lines is still possible along the KGB corridor.
Not a fan of your idea. Whatever High Speed Rail corridor also will be a major freight corridor either. Surrey doesn't need boxcars travelling down King George Highway through City Centre.

If we're planning high speed rail from Vancouver to Washington State, with Vancouver being the only stop, why not put a new rail line somewhere between 248 Street and 264 Street and crossing the Fraser at a new river crossing just east of where the Albion Ferry is. It can use the CP tracks on the northshore through Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, and Coquitlam.

There's just too much of a land impact for anywhere else - man, there used to be a rail-line essentially following Highway 15 (176 Street) and Harvie Road from the US border up to Port Kells. It's just too bad that wasn't retained.
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  #271  
Old Posted Dec 14, 2011, 4:29 PM
geoff's two cents geoff's two cents is offline
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Boxcars weren't quite what I had in mind. Freight could still be routed via White Rock or some other corridor.

source: Wikipedia:
"High-speed rail (HSR) is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic [my emphasis]."

While Vancouver is and will be the most significant urban center in the region for the foreseeable future, one would do well to consider the longer-term projections for Surrey's emergence as a vital commercial and residential hub for the region in its own right.

As for the land impact you mention, there's plenty of underutilized land lining the majority of the corridor south of the Fraser, and almost the entirety of KGB downtown is destined to be rezoned anyway. Moreover, this is not a question of building HSR straightaway, which in any case wouldn't happen under today's federal government, but of taking account of a future HSR ROW for present-day planning in Surrey (especially Surrey Centre) and New West (Patullo bridge and Stormont connector) at both municipal and provincial levels of government - at least until a more HSR-friendly federal government comes along.
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  #272  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2011, 4:48 AM
BCPhil BCPhil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoff's two cents View Post
I'd be curious to see the specs on having a new, grade-separated rail ROW go via King George through Surrey Central, and via the Stormont connector and Highway 1 to Vancouver.

Much of this route, even within Surrey itself, remains for the most part obstruction-free, and planning for a tunnelled downtown Surrey portion could occur in conjunction with the proposed KGB subway/skytrain between Guildford and Newton, Surrey Central station upgrades, as well as the planned Patullo bridge replacement and long-discussed Stormont connection to Highway 1.

Any increase in distance would be offset by the higher speeds made possible by avoiding the circuitous White Rock route. Such a plan would also go some way toward taking seriously Surrey's long-term emergence as an important center in its own right. Finally, it would give Surrey and Valley travellers to Seattle and Portland a serious alternative to their SOVs and thereby help boost Canada-side ridership on the line.

Obviously this would be a long-term plan - Even Surrey Centre still feels too much like a suburb of Vancouver to warrant this kind of investment at present. Having a long-term plan in place, however, would at least ensure that KGB construction doesn't impinge on a future rail ROW, and might even help attract investment dollars to Surrey's emerging city center.

I admit to being inspired by the time I spent in Ontario, where just about any urban center of significance has at least an upgradeable rail ROW, or even several. Wellington, New Zealand, where I am at present, also has a very developed intercity rail hub. IMO, planning along these lines is still possible along the KGB corridor.
I think the hill up King George from the river would be wayyyyyyy to steep for HSR. To get the preferred grade you would end up having to tunnel under Surrey City Center. Skytrain makes it up the hill because Skytrain can do that (that is why we use it instead of conventional metro). The trains go around Delta because it's flat. So going around on flat land makes up time for having to climb grades. It might seem like it is longer, but travelling around Delta for a train probably takes less time than travelling through Surrey on the BCER (hence why SYR uses the tracks and not anyone else).

The main things slowing the trains down is the infrastructure. The rail bridge across the Fraser is over 100 years old, and the trestle across Mud bay can't be much newer.

Right before the Olympics I raced the Royal Hudson (a freakin' steam train) from Crescent Beach to Downtown (in my car) and it beat me to the Fraser River (I could see the steam upriver near the docks when I was crossing the AFB). I only beat it to Broadway by less than 10 minutes.

While the Amtrak goes pretty slow, when I lived in White Rock, at night (and even during the day) the freight trains would tear past the pier area at around 50-60km/h. They go slower in the summer as people illegally cross the tracks to get to the beach (because there are no provided crossings). I have actually seen people stand on the tracks posing for pictures as the freight train is barrowling down on them, with its emergency horns blasting. If proper infrastructure was set up around White Rock, trains could pass through there pretty fast, but if they stopped at the station there would be no need anyway.

I've been at Braid and see freight trains rip through the crossing there before (the Amtrak makes good speed too). Remove that crossing (with the united overpass) and trains could go faster.

The trains would make it from Pacific Central to White Rock in about an hour and 10 minutes or so (+-15 minutes). That's only 20 to 30 minutes longer than driving. Replace the 2 bridges, remove some level crossings, and double some of the track, and the current Amtrak train could probably shave 30 minutes or more off its trip without a new ROW being built.

There is a reason the track is where it is. When it was built there was nothing in the area, the engineers could have built anywhere. Building along white rock even required extensive blasting and excavation. But they chose that route because even though it zig zags a bit, it was much faster for the trains to build with as little grade as possible than a more direct, hilly route.

King Goerge blvd climbs and descends several significant hills.
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  #273  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2011, 5:35 AM
geoff's two cents geoff's two cents is offline
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Originally Posted by BCPhil View Post
I think the hill up King George from the river would be wayyyyyyy to steep for HSR. To get the preferred grade you would end up having to tunnel under Surrey City Center.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCPhil View Post
King George blvd climbs and descends several significant hills.
You're right, of course, and I should qualify my post by acknowledging that it's more fantasy than reality.

The need for grade-separation or tunnelling, of course, didn't stop cities like Vancouver or Hamilton (and most older Ontarian cities) from implementing sophisticated rail networks when these cities were planned in the golden age of rail travel - networks for the most part still in use today. Were Surrey planned as a "second metropolitan core" 100 years ago, a first-class rail corridor connecting it to New West, Vancouver and Seattle - and implemented at fantastic expense - would be a given. Despite all the talk of returning to pre-SOV days, or at least the need for real alternatives (which I'm personally in favor of), I personally doubt municipal, provincial or federal governments in Canada at present have anywhere near the fortitude to plan alternative transportation infrastructure on this kind of scale.

If we had a Barack Obama, on the other hand, ideas like this might seem slightly less far-fetched. Still far-fetched, but less so.
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  #274  
Old Posted Dec 23, 2011, 1:42 AM
AverageJoe AverageJoe is offline
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Blaine Station

Efforts are being taken in Blaine, WA, in trying to get its old passenger station refurbished.

Quote:
By Jeff Nagel - Surrey North Delta Leader
Published: December 20, 2011 4:00 PM
Updated: December 21, 2011 11:10 AM

Efforts to get a White Rock stop for Amtrak passenger trains have so far failed, but a new push is now on to use Blaine's historic train station just a short stroll across the border.

The idea is that Canadians – particularly from cities like Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford – could park near the Peace Arch border and board trains there to Seattle.

"It would have heavy Canadian usage as they could cross the border by foot or bike even," predicts Bill Becht, one of the Blaine residents behind the campaign to restore the shuttered station.

The issue has become urgent in Blaine since BNSF Railway applied for a permit to demolish the old station building.

The city has postponed the decision one year while the building's significance is assessed.

"I just want to get more awareness and hopefully there will be a groundswell of support," Becht said. "Tearing a historic train station down is an asinine thing to do."

He thinks Canadians will be key allies in the fight.

The current Vancouver-Seattle service, which has no intermediary stops north of Bellingham, is much less convenient for the 600,000-plus South of Fraser residents who must first get to Vancouver's Main Street train station to board Amtrak or else wait in border lines and drive to Bellingham to connect.Blaine station pictured in 2010, courtesy blainestation.com

Surrey resident Gordon Hall notes Amtrak's morning trains leave Vancouver too early for anyone from Surrey to get to the station on public transit.

"If we could park north of the border, walk to customs and get on the morning train headed south, then return on the evening train, it would work very well," he said.

Numerous Canadian supporters have already posted on the blainestation.com website.

"This concept would bring hundreds of BC residents into Blaine for travel to Seattle and further," predicted White Rock's Christy Grant.

"We would love to take the train south but driving to downtown Vancouver or Bellingham doesn't make sense," added Bill Hughes.

"It would be far more efficient and convenient to use my Nexus pass to cross the border and hop on a train to Seattle, or points south, than to catch a plane from Vancouver International Airport where I would have to spend two hours or so clearing security," wrote Kane Scott.

Metro Vancouver residents also suggested TransLink buses run an extra eight blocks east from White Rock to the Peace Arch to support the service.

Others said the stop may even reduce pollution and lineups at the Peace Arch crossing.

Amtrak now runs two daily trains in each direction between Vancouver and Seattle.

Amtrak has opposed adding another stop because it would lengthen run times.

A proposed stop in White Rock was even more challenging because of the need for passengers to clear customs – a problem that would not exist in Blaine.

"They'd have a leg up there," White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin said. "But it's certainly not going to be a cakewalk."

He noted hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to upgrade the passenger rail line to reduce the travel time.
Source: http://www.surreyleader.com/news/135967553.html
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  #275  
Old Posted Dec 23, 2011, 7:21 PM
officedweller officedweller is offline
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That would solve the problem associated with a Surrey stop -
i.e. a new Canadian Border Services outpost is not required for Blaine.
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  #276  
Old Posted Dec 23, 2011, 9:58 PM
Millennium2002 Millennium2002 is offline
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I agree... that's not a bad idea at all.

And Amtrak's argument about not wanting to lengthen commute times is rather silly when one considers that they built a new unmanned station at the village of Stanwood, WA in the middle of nowhere between Bellingham and Everett...
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  #277  
Old Posted Dec 24, 2011, 9:18 AM
AverageJoe AverageJoe is offline
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If local commuters wouldn't mind forking out $10/year for a Nexus card just to get across the border, the commute would be a breeze. There's ample parking in Blaine and I'm sure Blaine wouldn't mind the extra business Canadians would bring.

I still think it's too bad that there isn't the political will to put another station in the Canadian side. Blaine would surely benefit greatly from this.
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