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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Alberta & British Columbia > SSP: Local Vancouver > Transportation & Infrastructure

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  #61  
Old Posted Aug 21, 2010, 7:48 PM
go_leafs_go02 go_leafs_go02 is offline
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Amtrak’s long-range plans for trains into Vancouver could mean four trips a day instead of the current two.

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Da...#ixzz0xGuCg0Hj

If that's the case - planning for a new Fraser River Crossing, and a White rock bypass should begin with the ROW being preserved.
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  #62  
Old Posted Aug 21, 2010, 8:20 PM
whatnext whatnext is offline
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That's great news! Now its time for Gordo to put his money where his carbon-taxing mouth is, and use some of those funds for improvements on our side of the border.
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  #63  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 4:48 AM
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I took the route for a 2-day micro-vacation to Seattle last week and it was awesome! Service with Amtrak was so-so, but you don't need much on the train. Food was mediocre, as expected, but not terrible. The route was beautiful and very relaxing as it passed along the shore almost the entire way (80%?). Seats were comfortable and the train was well kept. Getting to downtown Seattle from the station there (East of Safeco Field) wasn't too bad, being 2-3 stations on the Light Rail from DT. Pricing was alright. We booked literally less than 12 hours before we left and paid something like $100 round trip, but I know that it would be $70-80 if we had booked at least 3 days in advance.

It was painfully slow at times, but 4 hours each direction isn't too bad when you consider that you would have to wait at the border anyways.

I would definitely take it again in the future!
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  #64  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 5:13 AM
go_leafs_go02 go_leafs_go02 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spork View Post
I took the route for a 2-day micro-vacation to Seattle last week and it was awesome! Service with Amtrak was so-so, but you don't need much on the train. Food was mediocre, as expected, but not terrible. The route was beautiful and very relaxing as it passed along the shore almost the entire way (80%?). Seats were comfortable and the train was well kept. Getting to downtown Seattle from the station there (East of Safeco Field) wasn't too bad, being 2-3 stations on the Light Rail from DT. Pricing was alright. We booked literally less than 12 hours before we left and paid something like $100 round trip, but I know that it would be $70-80 if we had booked at least 3 days in advance.

It was painfully slow at times, but 4 hours each direction isn't too bad when you consider that you would have to wait at the border anyways.

I would definitely take it again in the future!
Neat, I would love to do that one day.

Out of the 4 hours, how much of that trip was between White Rock and Vancouver?
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  #65  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 5:13 AM
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Stingray2004 Stingray2004 is offline
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Originally Posted by Spork View Post
It was painfully slow at times, but 4 hours each direction isn't too bad when you consider that you would have to wait at the border anyways.
Holy smokes. 4 hours to Seattle? That's about the same time that it takes me to get to Osoyoos/Penticton.

With Nexus, I'm in Seattle in ~ 1 1/2 hours.
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  #66  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 5:17 AM
go_leafs_go02 go_leafs_go02 is offline
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Originally Posted by Stingray2004 View Post
Holy smokes. 4 hours to Seattle? That's about the same time that it takes me to get to Osoyoos/Penticton.

With Nexus, I'm in Seattle in ~ 1 1/2 hours.
Downtown Vancouver to Downtown Seattle in the afternoon?

How fast were you going?
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  #67  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 5:19 AM
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Ahem... I leave from White Rock, which is just a skip, hop, and jump to the border.
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  #68  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 5:22 AM
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so now that someone here did it - can you explain the customs issues involved since most of what we get here is second hand...

you clear customs in vancouver right? and than the train stops at the border again? what do they do there if they do indeed stop?
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  #69  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 5:48 AM
Political_R Political_R is offline
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What needs to happen is a Fraser River Bridge-Bellingham high-speed line. This would eliminate the slowest section of the line and reduce travel times to at least 3 hours and 15 minutes if not less. While it would take away a chunk of the scenery, it would be worth the timesavings as it would be faster than by car or about the same time. Further time savings can be achieved by higher-speed track from Bellingham-Everett. Everett-Seattle will most likely never have the speed upgraded due to environemental impact issues.
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  #70  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 6:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpongeG View Post
so now that someone here did it - can you explain the customs issues involved since most of what we get here is second hand...

you clear customs in vancouver right? and than the train stops at the border again? what do they do there if they do indeed stop?
I took the Cascades to Seattle from Vancouver last December. You get your bags scanned at Pacific Central station, but just across the US border in Blaine, the train stops, and the US immigration/customs agents pull up in their cars and come on board to check passports and ask questions. They have quite a few agents, so the whole process takes about 15 minutes for the whole train. I didn't come back to Vancouver by train, so I'm not sure how the RCMP works on the Canadian side.
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  #71  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 6:19 AM
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15 minutes isn't so bad than better than the bus
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  #72  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 9:45 AM
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I haven't been on it, but the train would go past my place in White Rock (east end) about an hour to 1h30m after scheduled departure time. It's not that bad when taking transit to go Downtown to White Rock historical Station takes about 1h 45m. Driving takes 45minutes on a much more direct route; if you were to drive across the Pattullo it could easily take over an hour.

The travel time would be improved if the train didn't slow down as much as it does through the White Rock waterfront. The freight trains that go through there don't slow down nearly as much (actually they don't slow down at all). But the Amtrak crawls through there. Also it seems to slow down quite a bit when it crosses the old trestle over the Boundary Bay mud flats.
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  #73  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 3:47 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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Also it seems to slow down quite a bit when it crosses the old trestle over the Boundary Bay mud flats.
They had to do some emergency repairs on that bridge recently and suspended train service for a couple of days. Probably why it crawls across.
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  #74  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 5:09 PM
go_leafs_go02 go_leafs_go02 is offline
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Originally Posted by BCPhil View Post
I haven't been on it, but the train would go past my place in White Rock (east end) about an hour to 1h30m after scheduled departure time. It's not that bad when taking transit to go Downtown to White Rock historical Station takes about 1h 45m. Driving takes 45minutes on a much more direct route; if you were to drive across the Pattullo it could easily take over an hour.

The travel time would be improved if the train didn't slow down as much as it does through the White Rock waterfront. The freight trains that go through there don't slow down nearly as much (actually they don't slow down at all). But the Amtrak crawls through there. Also it seems to slow down quite a bit when it crosses the old trestle over the Boundary Bay mud flats.
I heard a blurb somewhere that the BNSF was fencing the track through White Rock in order to block tourists from crossing it anywhere.

When that's complete, train speeds will rise along that segment.

What I'm curious about is whether or not White Rock or Surrey could essentially bar the railway access, and force BNSF to re-route somewhere through the ALR to the east of South Surrey.

How it is today is just idiotic, and there used to be a railline from Blaine directly to Cloverdale along 176 Street back in the 1920s.
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  #75  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 6:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by go_leafs_go02 View Post
I heard a blurb somewhere that the BNSF was fencing the track through White Rock in order to block tourists from crossing it anywhere.

When that's complete, train speeds will rise along that segment.

What I'm curious about is whether or not White Rock or Surrey could essentially bar the railway access, and force BNSF to re-route somewhere through the ALR to the east of South Surrey.

How it is today is just idiotic, and there used to be a railline from Blaine directly to Cloverdale along 176 Street back in the 1920s.
It's kind of hard to tell a company, that's been doing business there for a hundred years, to abandon their privately owned property, at least without compensation, which White Rock could not afford. And the value of the land would be impossible to recoup because it's so narrow and right on the beach it can't be developed. It's worth a hundred times more as a railway than anything else. It's also a little short sighted to get rid of a profitable railway that helps drive the economy of the lower mainland year round, just so the area could be a tiny bit more tourist friendly the 2 months a year it's really popular there. Not only does the Amtrak now go through there 4 times a day, but there are at least that many freight trains daily as well.

The old ROW didn't really follow 176 street, because 176 street leaving the boarder is one giant ass hill. Trucks leaving the Pac crossing can barely do 40km/h up it. The old tracks used to curve eastward to go around the top of the hill and lessen the grade, which I imagine is now someone else's property. I also think the original reason for building the current ROW to replace the old one is that going around White Rock was actually faster (otherwise why do it). The cost and challenge of building it through White Rock (they had to blast/remove large portions of rock from the cliffs) was the only reason it wasn't through there originally. The entire route from the boarder to the Fraser River Crossing has almost no significant grade change, thus allows trains to operate faster and more efficiently.

I think they are putting up fences along the East end of the beach, close to the reserve. People cross the tracks there from the park to the beach, and there is no controlled access point, people just cross anywhere and everywhere.

I've actually see people stand on the track there taking pictures of the train approaching, not really realizing that the train was moving quite fast. The train had to blow it's emergency whistle to scare them away (and those things are deafening).

Along the popular part of the beach/boardwalk, access is a lot more controlled and very safe. There is a fence blocking direct access over the tracks, and there are a limited number of crossing points to get access from the parking lots to the beach and Boardwalk. And at the Pier, the crossing is actually controlled by a standard rail crossing signal. I hope they are extending that kind of principle to the rest of the beach. It would be a lot safer if there was one well built, marked path from the parking lot (at the WAG) to the beach.

But BNSF can't ban people from crossing the tracks, or else it would be impossible to get from the parking lots to most of the Boardwalk and the Famous White Rock Pier. But the fence that is there is pretty good. It doesn't look like much, but what it does is makes people think "I shouldn't stand on the tracks because this fence will keep me from jumping out of the way last minute and I'll be stuck".
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  #76  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 7:36 PM
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I'm pretty sure it was decided over a hundred years ago that the city has no jurisdiction over the railways, that's why CN and CP had (has) their own police, etc.

In one episode, Poco city hall wanted to expropriate a former round house to be used as a mall, from CP. CP actually demolished it just to spite them.
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  #77  
Old Posted Sep 9, 2010, 5:57 PM
tybuilding tybuilding is offline
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You can see the old right of way on Google maps (satellite) http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ie=...54159&t=h&z=14

I am looking at booking the train for tomorrow to Seattle, it is supposed to have the 25% discount but it still is supposed to cost $100.
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  #78  
Old Posted Sep 9, 2010, 8:28 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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Can you time how long it takes to get to the New West train bridge and how long any stops you make are? I'd love to see a "speed profile" of that route and where the main bottlenecks are.
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  #79  
Old Posted Sep 9, 2010, 9:41 PM
SpikePhanta SpikePhanta is offline
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Originally Posted by twoNeurons View Post
Can you time how long it takes to get to the New West train bridge and how long any stops you make are? I'd love to see a "speed profile" of that route and where the main bottlenecks are.
I dunno about amtrak, but with Via rail, it took 10-16 mins from Pacific central to sapperton.

But coming back it takes longer because they need to pull back into Pacific Central, like once at the rail yards next to home depot they start backing up and from there it takes like 15 mins, including boarding off. But i'm not sure if it takes longer with amtrak cascades because they dont need to split the train.
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  #80  
Old Posted Sep 10, 2010, 7:00 AM
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Originally Posted by SpikePhanta View Post
I dunno about amtrak, but with Via rail, it took 10-16 mins from Pacific central to sapperton.

But coming back it takes longer because they need to pull back into Pacific Central, like once at the rail yards next to home depot they start backing up and from there it takes like 15 mins, including boarding off. But i'm not sure if it takes longer with amtrak cascades because they dont need to split the train.
At Gilmore the Amtrak trains are clipping along a fair bit faster than the VIA trains.
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