South Fraser Community RAIL

An environmentally friendly hydrogen powered passenger train connecting the Pattullo Bridge in Surrey to Chilliwack

Breaking News – B.C. Government “Fraser Valley Regional Rail Pre-Feasibility Draft Study”

The Good News: Study Supports Passenger Rail Transit South of Fraser. The Bad News: Surrey and North Delta are ignored.

A Freedom of Information request filed on October 30th, 2023, initially due by December 12th, 2023, was extended to January 26th, 2024, and then further delayed to March 11th, 2024. Surprisingly, the draft study was unexpectedly delivered to us in December 2023.

The Good News Confirmed
“Study Supports Passenger Rail Transit South of Fraser”
For two decades, advocates for reactivating the Interurban Corridor have highlighted its significant benefits for the South of Fraser Region. The unanimous endorsement by South of Fraser Municipalities in 2009, the introduction of Hydrogen Rail technology from Canada in Germany in 2017, and an 88% approval rating from the public have significantly heightened interest. The government’s mixed responses have necessitated this press release.

Despite past studies by entities like the B.C. MoT and TransLink, which sought to discredit our findings for their own interests, this study vindicates the South Fraser Community Rail Society (SFCRS). However, it does contain several inaccuracies that need addressing:

The Study Reveals the Following Facts:

  • The publicly-owned Interurban Rail Line, with protected passenger rights, is a viable choice for interregional passenger transit from the Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack, satisfying all criteria.
  • Contrary to previous studies, the Interurban Corridor connects all major population centers south of the Fraser, unlike Highway #1.
  • Utilizing the Interurban Corridor supports agricultural land preservation and community resilience.
  • Over 70% of trips originating south of the Fraser conclude within the same area, a figure now approaching 80%.
  • Reactivating the Interurban Corridor as an interregional transit service is the most cost-effective solution for addressing the region’s transit needs.
  • This corridor will alleviate some vehicular traffic and congestion on Highway #1.

Important Additional Facts – Necessary Corrections:

  • The study’s initial focus was skewed towards the Langley SkyTrain extension, neglecting Surrey and North Delta’s transit needs.
  • Ignoring the needs of 351,000 residents in Surrey and North Delta not served by skytrain overlooks the potential economic benefits for the South of Fraser.
  • Cost comparisons highlight the efficiency of the Interurban over the Langley SkyTrain expansion: 16 kms of Langley SkyTrain est. @ $5.2 Billion ($325 million per  km) vs 99 kms of the Interurban est. @ $1.65 Billion ($16.62 million per km).
  • The proposed Mission Rail Connection to the interurban is unnecessary; an express bus service would suffice.
  • Current congestion issues and the long timeframe for proposed highway expansions underline the immediate need for rail transit solutions.
  • New BC Provincial Government housing legislation is likely to worsen congestion on Highway #1 significantly.
  • Connects two new Rapid Bus Transit Routes (King George Blvd. & 200th St).
  • A full feasibility study should be initiated immediately with experienced international rail engineering firms.
  • Issues regarding double tracking and track conditions are manageable within the existing agreements. These are conditions of maintenance and requirements within their 1988 freight use sales agreement between Southern Rail & CP Rail with B.C. Hydro/B.C. Government. 
  • The Interurban Corridor offers a publicly owned, cost-effective solution with no need for additional private land acquisitions.
  • The study was dated July 8th 2022. 15 months later it has still not released to the public. Why not? What are the next steps? The government has been silent.

The Study’s Background:
Initiated by the SFCRS and discussed with then-candidate, Premier John Horgan, in March 2017, this study, announced in the 2020 Throne Speech, was supported by SFCRS extensive lobbying efforts that have been entirely self funded by the volunteer-run SFCRS, and our generous donors. The SFCRS was identified as a key stakeholder of this study.

Our Request to the Government:
We seek an immediate in-depth meeting with Minister Fleming and staff for post-study engagement. Despite multiple requests, our requests have been postponed, which is unsatisfactory, especially in an election year.

While the draft study illustrates our point as to the merits of community rail for the region, eliminating Surrey and Delta from the study area is of grave concern.

Rick Green, President, South Fraser Community Rail Society
Directors: Roy Mufford, Lee Lockwood, Brit Gardner, Scott Thompson, Peter Holt, Gery Warner
(Contact: 604-866-5752)

Township of Langley endorses South Fraser Community Rail Proposal

Press Release: We are pleased to announce the Township of Langley has taken the significant action of stepping forward and publicly endorsing and fully supporting the reactivation of the existing active Interurban Rail Line with Passenger Rail over 99 Kms between the Pattullo Bridge SkyTrain Station and Chilliwack!

The following resolution was supported unanimously and will be presented to theUBCM AGM general convention in Vancouver in September:

Township of Langley

Union of British Columbia (UBCM) South of Fraser Resolution


  1. The Township of Langley has the highest growth rate in Metro Vancouver and public transit has not kept up with population growth, resulting in inadequate services to support current and future Township of Langley residents and businesses;
  1. Communities south of the Fraser, including Delta, Surrey Township of Langley, City of Langley, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack have a combined population over 1.2 million and there is no Interregional public transit connecting these respective Fraser Valley communities; and
  1. Capacity on existing transit routes and Highway #1 continue to be congested within these respective communities south of the Fraser River, and without greater investment in public transit infrastructure and service congestion will continue to worsen;

Therefore be it resolved that Council hereby authorizes the Township of Langley to submit to the Union of BC Municipalities a motion in support of the Province of BC re-activating the interurban rail corridor along the existing rail corridor that connects Delta, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

-June 26, 2023 Council Meeting

NOTE: The following communities are Signatories by Council Resolution for renewal of the CP Rail/B.C. Hydro Master Agreement for Passenger rights on the Interurban Corridor at no cost for its use.
Approved Spring of 2009 – Cities of Delta, White Rock, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford and Township of Langley.
Chilliwack by resolution of support and referral to the FVRD Board April 2019.

For more information contact:

Nick Hosseinzadeh
Township of Langley Intergovernmental Relations and Communications Coordinator
Tel: 777 777-7777

Rick Green
South Fraser Community Rail Society President
Tel: 778 705-9282

Alstom Coradia iLint

First green hydrogen-powered passenger train in North America coming to Quebec 

  • Coradia iLint will carry passengers in a commercial service demonstration on Quebec’s Reseau Charlevoix network, at the heart of a UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve, during 2023
  • In partnership with the Government of Quebec, Chemin de fer Charlevoix, Harnois Énergies and HTEC, the project will test a first-ever green hydrogen ecosystem dedicated to rail transportation in America
  • Alstom’s innovation centre in the Americas is dedicated to the development of rail mobility solutions with low or zero emissions for the North American market

Full Press Release:

2 February 2023 – Alstom, global leader in smart and sustainable mobility, in partnership  with the Government of Quebec, Chemin de fer Charlevoix, Train de Charlevoix, Harnois Énergies and HTEC, has announced a passenger service demonstration project for its Coradia iLint hydrogen-powered train. During summer 2023, the Coradia iLint will carry passengers on the Réseau Charlevoix rail network, along the St. Lawrence River, between Parc de la Chute-Montmorency and Baie-St-Paul. The train will be powered by green hydrogen produced by Harnois Énergies at its Quebec City site.

The province of Quebec will be the first jurisdiction in the Americas to run a train with zero direct emissions powered by green hydrogen, demonstrating its leadership in the transition to a low-carbon economy and the set-up of ecosystems dedicated to hydrogen. The operation of this train with passengers on board will allow Alstom and its partners to better assess the subsequent steps for the development of hydrogen propulsion technology and its penetration into the North American market.

The Coradia iLint first entered commercial service in Germany in 2018 and has travelled more than 220,000 kilometres in eight European countries. The train is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell that emits only water vapour during operation, while ensuring a quieter environment for passengers and those close to tracks. On September 15, 2022, the Coradia iLint travelled the record distance of 1,175 kilometres without refuelling. Coradia iLint has a top speed of 140 km/h and acceleration and a braking performance comparable to a standard regional diesel train – but without the noise and the emissions. Coradia iLint stands out for its combination of innovative features: clean energy conversion, flexible energy storage in batteries, smart traction and energy management. Designed especially for non-electrified lines, it allows for safe, clean and sustainable operations. To date, 41 trainsets have been ordered by clients in Europe.

“As early as 2018, Alstom was the first to put a hydrogen train into service in Europe and we aim to be the first in the Americas as well,” explains Michael Keroullé, President Alstom Americas. “With only 1% of the networks electrified in our region, this technology will provide an alternative to diesel. This project will demonstrate our capabilities to provide more sustainable mobility solutions to customers, agencies and operators, as well as to passengers. It will also provide an extraordinary showcase for Quebec’s developing green hydrogen ecosystem.”

“Quebec is positioning itself as a centre of expertise in sustainable transportation on the continent,” says François Legault, Premier of Quebec. “Promising innovations such as Alstom’s will not only help us achieve our ambitious climate change targets, but they will also be able to be exported elsewhere in the world. I am convinced that our nation has everything it takes to become one of the international leaders in the green economy!”

“We are pleased to leverage our infrastructure for this exciting project. This initiative is not only a perfect fit with our corporate social responsibility plan, which includes a sustainable mobility component, but it also generates significant reach for the Charlevoix region, which is at the heart of our organizational vision”, mentions Claude Choquette, President of Groupe Le Massif and of Chemin de fer de Charlevoix.

“Harnois Energies is very proud to be the green hydrogen supplier for this green transition project,” said Luc Harnois, Executive Vice President and shareholder of Harnois Énergies. “Our participation in this project in a logical continuation of our decision to invest in the construction of a hydrogen station in 2018. Harnois Énergies is more than ever actively participating in the coexistence of energy and vehicle types to meet the needs of consumers.”

Commercial service of the Coradia iLint in Quebec is the first mandate of Alstom’s new innovation centre in the Americas, which is dedicated to sustainable mobility solutions. This is the first milestone in the development of an ecosystem around Alstom’s rail solutions with zero direct emissions. The primary mission of this centre, located in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec, is the development of future platforms with hybrid, battery or green hydrogen propulsion specifically adapted to the North American market, leveraging the proximity to the more than 700 Alstom engineers currently working in the city to help accelerate the decarbonisation of the rail sector. For the Coradia iLint demonstration project, the centre’s engineers will work closely with key players in Quebec’s research and innovation sector, as well as with industrial partners in the Quebec battery and hydrogen industries.

Alstom is the world leader in innovation for sustainable mobility. The company employs 1,800 people in Quebec and its Americas headquarters is in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec. Alstom provides rolling stock, signalling solutions, services, infrastructure and turnkey systems, notably in Montreal for the Réseau express métropolitain project, the Société de transport de Montréal and EXO, as well as in Canada’s largest cities and major rail networks. Alstom is a proud Canadian player and has been certified “Top Employer 2023” in Canada, for the third year in a row, by the Top Employers Institute.

Alstom™, Coradia™ and Coradia iLint™ are protected trademarks of the Alstom Group.

More coverage:

Six Communities Endorse South Fraser Community Rail Project – Research Co.

PRESS RELEASE | South of the Fraser Communities

Six Communities Endorse South Fraser Community Rail Project – Research Co.

Almost four-in-five residents say they are likely to rely on the service for work or leisure, including 81% of those who drive a vehicle.

Vancouver, BC [May 20, 2021] – A proposal to reactivate a rail corridor for daily passenger service using hydrogen powered trains is very popular among residents of six British Columbia municipalities, a new Research Co. poll conducted on behalf of the South Fraser Community Rail Society has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of residents of six provincial communities, 88% of respondents say they support the South Fraser Community Rail project.

At least three-in-four respondents in each community are in favour of the project, including:

93% in Abbotsford
89% in Chilliwack
85% in North Delta
83% in North Surrey
82% in the Township of Langley
and 76% in the City of Langley.

The South Fraser Community Rail project would rely on a publicly owned 99 km operating corridor (known as the Interurban Corridor) available with passenger rights saved and protected by a previous provincial government at no cost for its use between the Pattullo Bridge SkyTrain Station and the City of Chilliwack.

The South Fraser Community Rail project would connect 16 cities and communities, eight First Nations communities, 14 post-secondary Institutions, Industrial Parks and the Abbotsford International Airport.

Almost four-in-five respondents in the six communities (78%) say they are “very likely” or “moderately likely” to rely on the service once it becomes operational—including 88% of those who commute using public transit and 81% of those who drive to school or work.

In the survey, only 32% of respondents think the Express Bus being used on the Highway 1 corridor from Chilliwack to the Carvolth Exchange in Langley fits the needs of the community and no other public transit alternative is required at this time. Nine-in-ten respondents who have taken the Express Bus on Highway 1 (90%) support the South Fraser Community Rail project.

More than half of respondents say they are more likely to support the project because it will be good for the environment since it relies on a Hydrogen propulsion system, with zero greenhouse gas emissions (56%) and because it would allow for a commute time of 90 minutes from Chilliwack to the Pattulo Bridge—a significantly quicker commute time than the 135 minutes plus transfer time to cover the same distance with existing transit services (53%).

Practically half of respondents say they are more likely to support the project because one South Fraser Community Rail train would potentially remove 160 vehicles from Highway 1 (49%) and because the project will take three years to implement—a significantly quicker delivery timeframe than any other potential option (also 49%).

More than two-in-five respondents (44%) say they are more likely to support the project because it will cost an estimated $1.38 billion for 99 km —significantly less expensive than any other Inter-regional transit option.

Almost nine-in-ten respondents (87%) believe there must be a reactivated environmentally friendly Interurban passenger rail transit option while Highway 1 is currently being widened in stages.

About Research Co.
Simply put, we are curious about what people think and the
decisions they will make. Some call it public opinion, others call it
polling or public affairs. We never compromise facts for profit. Our
agenda is the truth.
We have a global network of partners in the qualitative, data
collection and data visualization specialities.

Media contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

South Fraser Community Rail Proposal – Hydrail

NEW Interview Series: “The Rail Choice”

South Fraser Community Rail Society recently premiered a new series on the proposal to bring passenger rail back to the South of Fraser.

The 4 part interview series, hosted by chillTV News Director, Don Lehn, examines the veracity of reactivating an existing 100 year old community rail line, with hydrogen powered trains, and features interviews with former Mayor of the Township of Langley, Rick Green, former Premier of BC, Bill Vander Zalm, millenial and SFCR vice-president Brit Gardner, and UBC Urban Design professor Patrick Condon.

Viewership was significant, with 20,0000-30,000 views per episode during the facebook premiere event.

All four episodes are now uploaded to our YouTube channel for watching and sharing:

Episode 1

In this first episode, aired on Sep 19 2020, we learn about the history of the “interurban corridor” linking Surrey to Chilliwack, and how some intrepid sleuthing ensured that the 99 km community rail line is readily available to use today.

Episode 2: “Connecting Population Centres”

In Episode 2, Former Langley Mayor Rick Green and UBC Urban Design Professor Patrick Condon join host Don Lehn to examine how this 100 year old existing rail line would connect population centres within the valley, where a lot of people live and travel.

Episode 3: “A No Brainer?!”

In Episode 3, our vice president Brit Gardner joins Rick Green and host Don Lehn to weigh in with an overview on the metrics and discussion of the proposed new hydrail service, and lend a millennial perspective. Activating the entire 99 km Interurban Rail Line with hydrogen passenger trains would cost less than extending Skytrain 14 km to Langley.

Episode 4: “Making Community Rail a Reality”

We’ve seen the history behind this hundred year old line, we’ve seen where it goes and how it could connect the population centre’s in the Fraser Valley, and we’ve even seen how modern technology and green hydrogen power could reactivate the 99 km of the Interurban Rail Line between Surrey & Chilliwack. Now, how does it get done? Maybe with your help.

Bill Vander Zalm, and Rick Green, are back with host Don Lehn for the finale of the 4 part series.

Express Buses NOT the answer to Inter-Regional Transit

Let’s be factual and honest with the public:

An Express Bus is not a real Inter-regional transit solution.

Just as Mayors, Councillors, MLAs and MPs past and present have promised Highway widening to their constituents, they have implemented the Express Bus on Highway #1, as if what they propose is a viable transit solution for the entire Fraser Valley.

Unfortunately, as common sense will tell you, the Express Bus gets caught up in the same daily congestion that we are trying to mitigate. This post will show visuals of what that looks like numerous times each day.

Express Buses on Highway #1 are simply not the answer to a crisis situation.

Remember – the idea of Highway widening being some kind of panacea is NOT reality! It will take 30 years at best, and by the time we are finished traffic will be worse than it is today – The Facts!

  • Distance, Langley to Chilliwack is 56 kms @ 3.25 kms per 2 years equates to finishing an HOV lane each way by 2051, over 30 years from now!
  • The exponential increase in growth and traffic will out strip the benefits of widening three times what it is today
  • The above projection assumes that all Provincial, Federal, and Municipal budgets align annually, and that planning would start now and not stop until finished.
  • Estimated total cost of widening in 2018 dollars is over $1.2 Billion, and it will NOT solve our problem!

Do you want to continue to put up with this?

Highway 1 today

Stalls and/or Accidents, 4 – 5 times a day,
frequently causing 3 to 4-hour commute times!

OR have the option of NEW Hydrail Service:

Alstom Coradia iLint

Some Hydrail Facts: 

  • 1,000 Kms per refuel
  • 15 minutes to fill a tank
  • Up to 300 passengers per train
  • The COMPLETE Green Alternative to heavy polluting diesel
  • Emissions Free
  • Perfect case, showing leadership with CleanBC, Provincial legislation
  • Incredibly quiet service
  • 30 minutes from Langley City to Pattullo Bridge, or less
  • 30 minutes from City of Abbotsford to Langley City or less
  • 45 minutes from City of Abbotsford to Newton, or less
  • 90 minutes travel time from Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack, or less

The Interurban Corridor holds the Solution

The 99 KM Rail Corridor, protected for passenger use, at no cost for its use, serves 16 Communities, 14 Post Secondary Institutions, Fraser Valley First Nations, Tourism, Agi-Tourism, and more.

Despite the fact Hydrail on the Interurban is a perfect environmentally friendly CleanBC solution, there is simply no other reasonable and affordable option that provides access to affordable housing and supports an improved quality of family life.

Interurban Passenger Rail is the common sense 99 KM inter-regional transit SOLUTION for 1.2 million residents South of the Fraser.

The Hidden Cost of TransLink

TransLink has once again made an appeal to our Provincial Government for access to MORE taxation sources in the region. This is Shorthand for taking more tax dollars out of your pocket.

We say NO, until two things happen:

  1. Determine the NET COVID-19 effect on Transit. What are our needs and priorities, for lower mainland inter-regional transit? What are the value options?
  2. Hold TransLink to a stringent financial oversight review, measuring value for money before considering any request for more tax dollars!

Let’s glance back in history – A short 5 years ago the people of Metro Vancouver went through a then provincial government mandated plebiscite on TransLink.

The Mayors of the region wanted support for a $7.5 Billion regional transportation plan. They asked for support for a a 0.5% sales tax to fund Metro Vancouver’s share of major infrastructure projects. A Mail in ballot was called – 759,696 votes were cast!

The answer?


(2015 plebiscite, 61.7% no / 38.4% yes)

TransLink Tax and Spend is out of control.

Why the push to spend $3,200,000,000 of public dollars when $252,500,000 (just 8%) would provide better service, better value and serve more people South of the Fraser? Yes, the Interurban Rail would accomplish all that and more.

The Hidden Cost of TransLink: Did You Know?

Parking Tax
Now 24% (adds 15 cents/hr. to average $5/hr. per Parking Stall

Property Tax
7% (Incr. 3% per yr. of the TransL. Prop. Tax base per yr.)

Gas Tax
18.5 cents a litre (Highest gas taxes in North America)

Transit User Fees
Single use +5 cents to 10 cents/Day Pass +25 cents/monthly passes + $2 – $3.

BC Hydro Transit Levy
TransLink brought the regional trans. levy (utility tax on monthly B.C. Hydro Bill) back in 2006. Today that amount is $0.0624 cents per day for a regular single-family dwelling or $1.87 month. There are 960,890 occupied private dwellings in the region equaling $1,798,786. per month or $21,585,432. per yr.

Development Cost Charges (NEW Metro Vancouver)

effective Jan. 15th, 2020effective Jan. 1 st , 2021
Single family$2,100 / unit$2,975 / unit
Duplex$1,900 / unit$2,470 / unit
Townhouse$1,900 / unit$2,470 / unit
Apartment$1,200 / unit$1,545 / unit
Retail/serv$1.25 / ft2$1.25 / ft2
Office$1.25 / ft2$1.25 / ft2
Institutional$0.50 / ft2$0.50 / ft2
Industrial$0.30 / ft2$0.30 / ft2

Note: Introduced in 2018, rates come into effect Jan.15 2020 and increase in 2021. This Development Cost Charge fee is just another tax, which makes housing that much more unaffordable to hard working residents trying to afford their first home.

TransLink does not have a revenue problem.

TransLink has a SPENDING problem.

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The Truth about Widening Highway #1

Highway #1 Widening will happen over time BUT it is not the Solution, even if you want to wait 30 years.

Here is Why.

Mayors, Councillors, MLAs and MPs, past and present, have promised us Highway Widening, suggesting it is the priority, that it will happen soon, and solve our problems. 

This is totally disingenuous.

Two present examples of the realities of widening: first, 202nd to 216th, and second, the newly added 216th to 264th phase. All discussion has been about adding 1 HOV lane each way, which is what the below calculation is based on. IF it were about two lanes, you could double the time and cost required.

The following is the time reality, in terms of financial, planning and construction phases. These are real numbers and not a politician’s dream. Their promises are impossible.

While the widening is inevitable, and it will happen over time, it WILL take multiple decades. By the time we are finished, we will be worse off than we are today.

That is, unless we initiate an affordable and effective public transit option spanning our region, such as Passenger Rail.

Express Buses on Highway #1 do not work, as they get tied up in the same congestion we are complaining about and trying to solve.

Highway numbers:

  • 202nd to 264th = 13 kms at a total cost of $294 million (cost shared, Prov., Feds and TOL) started in 2017 due to finish in 2025 (8 Years).

  • Distance, Langley to Chilliwack is 56 kms @ 3.25 kms per 2 years equates to finishing an HOV lane each way by 2051, over 30 years from now!

  • The exponential increase in growth and traffic will out strip the benefits of widening by three times than what it is today! Based on projected growth, in 8 years, by 2025 (completion of first project above) traffic will still be worse than it is today!

  • The above assumes that all Provincial, Federal, and Municipal budgets align annually, and that planning would start now and not stop until finished.

  • Estimated total cost of widening in 2018 dollars – over $1.2 Billion! It will not solve our problem!

  • The Township of Langley contributed $41,433,000 on the two projects above. is a precedent now set for Provincial/Federal projects? What will it cost Abbotsford and Chilliwack to do the same? Are they prepared to commit those dollars?

Do you want to continue to put up with this?

OR have the option of NEW Hydrail Service!

Hydrail Passenger Rail…. Some Facts: 

  • 1,000 Kms per refuel
  • 15 minutes to fill a tank
  • Up to 300 passengers per train
  • The COMPLETE Green Alternative to heavy polluting diesel
  • Emissions Free
  • Perfect case, showing leadership with CleanBC; Provincial legislation
  • Incredibly quiet service
  • Estimate 90 minutes travel time, Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack, or less
  • 30 minutes from Langley City to Pattullo Bridge, or less
  • 30 minutes from City of Abbotsford to Langley City or less
  • 45 minutes from City of Abbotsford to Newton, or less

…. 99 KM Rail Corridor, protected for passenger use, at no cost for use!
…. Serves 16 Communities and 14 Post Secondary Institutions
…. Serves Fraser Valley First Nations, Tourism and Agi-Tourism

The Interurban Passenger Corridor:

Despite the fact Hydrail on the Interurban is a perfect environmentally friendly CleanBCsolution,

There is simply NO other reasonable and affordable option that provides access to affordable housing and supports an improved quality of family life.


Rick Green
President of SFCRS
Former Mayor of the Township of Langley (2008 – 2011)

On Behalf of the South Fraser Community Rail Society


Contact Rick Green for any additional information: 604-866-5752

Please FORWARD this newsletter to ALL friends relatives & neighbors!

It is time for Interregional Transit South of the Fraser

Reactivating the Interurban Corridor with state-of-the-art Hydrogen Rail

CleanBC for the Fraser Valley Airshed; fast to reactivate & very cost effective!

Alstom Coradia iLint

It is long past time that our Transit Providers, TransLink, and BC Transit focus on the reality of Post COVID-19, regarding costs, affordable transit expansion solutions, and the practical transit and affordable housing needs South of the Fraser.

We cannot continue pushing forward with constructing Mayoral vanity projects that are outdated, vastly too expensive, not economical in capacity and DO NOT address our real needs.

For example, “Fraser Highway SkyTrain”, is an example of the complete misuse of the scarce financial resources of our region. It was bad enough Pre-COVID-19, but it would be a monumental mistake to continue now, by pretending we are back to normal.

We do not know what our NEW normal will be like!

All indicators suggest our Post COVID-19 period will embrace a new way of doing business and a big new world in Transit.

Specifically, what transit needs will look like, what will the numbers in transit look like; and, equally as important, what will Transit expenditures for capital projects look like, to meet those numbers and that need?

Transit governance in the lower mainland is vastly outdated. We cannot continue to have two Transit providers (TransLink and BC Transit) operating in a region that is quickly becoming one. 

I spoke about this at the TransLink Mayors Council Board Table when I was the Mayor of the Township of Langley. It was clear then, during debate, that there is a parochial mindset with TransLink, the Mayors Council, and the Board of Directors at Translink, that their legislated responsibility only concerns supplying transit service to meet the goals of Metro Vancouver.

Since then, we have had direct and indirect comments from TransLink that indicate that this is still the mindset.

BC Transit, on the other hand, has indicated that the Community Rail discussion is not part of their mandate! 

A review of the “South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority” provincial legislation defines its mandate and responsibility. For the record, their responsibility does not go beyond Metro Vancouver, so any talk that somehow their new Regional Transportation Strategy development “Transport 2050” will deal with anything beyond Metro Vancouver borders is a complete fallacy, it just is not true, it is disingenuous.

So, what about the Westcoast Express train, which crosses the Regional District Boundary?

West Coast Express is a division of TransLink BUT is the exception to the rule. It must be remembered that the West Coast Express was designed, negotiated, and activated in the mid 1990s, long before the new TransLink Legislation of 2014.

The West Coast Express costs us taxpayers, for its lease of CP Tracks alone – 5 Trains in and 5 trains out each day, only on business days – $20,000,000 (that’s $20 million per year) just for lease on use of the rail line.

The Interurban on the other hand, NO COST for its use! As was already negotiated and guaranteed in the terms of purchase.

That agreement includes:

  1. A 21 Year Agreement, renewal at either party’s option, including the renewal clause. Renewed in July of 2009, next renewal by August 26th, 2030.
  2. Passenger Rights are protected at no cost up to 33% of the total wheelage on Joint Section tracks.
  3. Traffic on this section shall be shared equally between Passenger and Freight Traffic.
  4. The Railway Operations Easement Area shall encompass the tracks and an area sufficient to enable CP Rail to double track, construction of such double track to be at the sole cost of CP Rail including the cost of removal and relocation of the works on the lands required to double track.
  5. CP has agreed not to apply for this rail line to fall under the National Railway Act regulations.

Our need South of the Fraser: 

We must bring Transit and its governance into the 21st century by introducing affordable, convenient and accessible INTERREGIONAL Transit that will serve 1.2 million residents in 16 communities, 14 post-secondary institutions, employment access, industrial parks, Abbotsford International Airport, Tourism, Agri-Tourism and much more! 

This is the latest edition of our regular South Fraser Community Rail Newsletter. Please subscribe to stay in the loop of the latest updates! 

Important Update – Fundraising request!

To our Rail supporters:

Our activity has been low key publicly during COVID-19; however, we have been extremely active on a number of fronts behind the scenes.

Your have been receiving our weekly newsletter focusing on on activities and the issues that we feel are important to our supporters and ALL elected politicians, Municipal, Provincial and Federal, South of the Fraser.

Within the next few weeks, we will be doing a segment on “Commentary that Matters” which will be available on-line as well as a Chill TV Interview (Chilliwack TV) telling the real story and opportunity of the Interurban Rail Corridor.

Our success in getting the Interurban reactivated will lie in our ability to inform the community, our politicians, and believe it or not our Transit providers.

As one of our recent Newsletters indicated, TransLink in its report to the Mayors Council, and subsequent public interviews conducted by CEO Kevin Desmond, makes it clear that TransLink is dealing with the reality of a very NEW normal.

What will our NEW Normal look like? A few things are for sure, there will be a serious shortage of senior government funds, the Fraser Highway SkyTrain project is firmly on hold, and we are pushing for it to be reconsidered, ensuring our limited financial resources are spent wisely.

We are in good shape to achieve our goal, and now is the time to act.

Our weekly email is being distributed to over 3,500 registered supporters and growing weekly. We have had recent successes behind the scenes, with the Provincial Government and the South of Fraser Business community. They are –

  • The Provincial Government identified passenger rail South of the Fraser in this year’s throne speech with more detail provided within the budget that was posted later. Specifically, the B.C. Government under the Minister of Transportation will be conducting a South of Fraser Transportation and Housing Study, which will be underway shortly. There will be a public input component, it will not be driven by TransLink or B.C. Transit. You will be asked to provide input into this study, stay tuned and be ready, we will be calling on all supporters.
  • We have the support of the Surrey Board of Trade and all Chambers of Commerce for this study.

We need your help and donation now to achieve our collective goals.

What do we need it for?

  • We are on Twitter and are going to activate an Instagram account designed to host a very creative 3-minute video. We are considering a radio and TV campaign depending on donations.
  • Creating and publishing promotional material, including briefing binders for our elected decision makers. An example of costs to-date – Ink, paper and required postage for hard copy mailings in 6 months run close to $800.00
  • Holding public meetings and rallies
  • Multiple research initiatives underway

We are pulling out all stops. We are determined like never before to see a state-of-the-art Hydrail Passenger service between the Pattullo Bridge SkyTrain Station and the City of Chilliwack become a reality.

We invite you to join us and play an integral and a positive role in our campaign by making a donation today.

If you can help by donating, any amount, we really would appreciate your help and support, you can donate by paypal, credit card, or cheque:

1. Donate Via PayPal – This is a secure opportunity to donate by credit card through PayPal!


2. Cheque payable to: South Fraser Community Rail Society
Please mail cheques to: 
SFCR c/o 1473 272 Street, 
Aldergrove B.C.
V4W 2N2

… every dollar received is gratefully acknowledged and publicly accounted for.

Bill Vander Zalm
Former Premier of British Columbia
Former B.C. Minister for Municipal Affairs and Transit
Former Mayor of the City of Surrey

Rick Green
President of SFCRS
Former Mayor of the Township of Langley (2008 – 2011)

On Behalf of the South Fraser Community Rail Society

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Contact Rick Green for any additional information: 604-866-5752
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Rick Green, Patrick Condon, and Bill Vander Zalm hosting Abbotsford’s 2019 Rally for Rail