Originally Posted by Bureaucromancer
Does anyone recall the specifics of the pre Skytrain plans for conventional light rail on the Expo Line corridor? I recall at some point seeing a detailed alignment study, but don't recall what it did beyond the end of the rail ROW at Commercial. Most particularly, what about downtown? Did they expect to use the Dunsmuir tunnel with light rail or was there something else (or something less specific)?
I read a huge book about it published in 1970 back in September, after having found it at the Metrotown BPL location. EDIT: That map above was in that book.
The plan would have created a Calgary-style light rail system running on the same Expo Line corridor today but with some major differences. Firstly, the alignment would have required a new tunnel from present Stadium up Cambie to Waterfront, not even touching the areas where Granville and Burrard Stations are today. Secondly, end-to-end travel time would have been made inevitably longer and reliability/expansion capacity compromised by several on-street sections.
Using the Dunsmuir Tunnel with light rail would have been more expensive, if not impossible. I for one think that the development of ICTS and linear motor propulsion - which not only at the time but even still today is a very low-height system - was essential in enabling cost-effective re-use of the Dunsmuir Tunnel for rapid transit. I don't think it's really ever been made known or visible but the Dunsmuir Tunnel and SkyTrain technology going hand-in-hand probably represented a savings of hundreds of millions of dollars in today's dollars.
The history is interesting (particularly that there was a temporary Abbotsford-Vancouver service launched for Expo 86), but don't trust the numbers in this.
I've seen this one posted on RFTV, and the author seems to have strong connections to that crowd. The numbers are extremely questionable. You can see that in how the author is desperately trying to put together SkyTrain's total capital costs from various local news sources, when this is is published information that is often found easily online (for example, the Millennium Line's exact capital cost to the dollar can be found by searching for RTP2000's annual cost reports), and how the old BCER system apparently managed to board 144,272,508 passengers in 1946 (a ridiculous prospect given today's region - populated at well over 2 million vs. just under 500,000 at the time - sees about 177,000,000 annual boardings; I actually think that this represents the total number of passengers carried since establishment, but it's being framed as an annual boarding number in this report)
This is interesting but very highly biased. The smug conclusion seems to be that we wasted 4 to 5 billion by building Skytrain instead of LRT, completely ignoring the fact that the comparison is of the original LRT proposal only vs. Skytrain plus several subsequent extensions, and also ignoring the fact that LRT would never have been able to get anywhere near the passenger volumes, frequencies and short travel times that Skytrain achieves.
The author doesn't even know how to compensate for inflation. The 1979 numbers quoted remain in 1979 dollars.