South Fraser Community RAIL

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

Is the Interurban owned by CP and Southern Railway?

The Interurban corridor and passenger rights, from Patullo Bridge to Chilliwack, are owned by the people of BC, as stated in the Master Agreement, signed in 1988 and renewed in 2009.

Freight rights for the length of the corridor are owned by Southern Rail, while freight rights for the Joint Section are owned by CP Rail.

Would there be any ridership demand?

No ridership study has yet been done; however, the West Coast Express had 2.3 million boardings last year. A simple extrapolation to the larger population South of the Fraser River results in 5.5 million estimated boardings.

How does the SFCR proposal protect the environment?

One passenger train removes up to 177 cars from Highway #1 – a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The high performance hydrogen train is also CO2 emissions-free. Powered by Canadian hydrogen fuel cell technology, its only emission is steam and condensed water, while operating with a low level of noise. Our proposal also eliminates the need to clearcut new land, as the rail corridor already exists.

Does Hydrogen rely on using ”dirty energy” sources to make it and compress it?

There is absolutely no need to use ”dirty energy” sources to create hydrogen. One of the best ways to make hydrogen is through electrolysis, making it a great candidate to convert energy made from renewable sources into a widely useable form. Hydrogen and hydrail is the pathway to cleaner air in the Fraser Valley, and an investment in technology that will serve to inform and train our workforce in the future clean transportation industry.

Is Hydrogen fuel safe? Can it explode?

Compressed hydrogen stores a lot of energy. In the event of a ruptured hydrogen tank, hydrogen gas quickly escapes to air and rapidly disperses, while gasoline or diesel envelops the immediate area in an inflammable and potentially explosive liquid. We have all seen horrendous truck and car fires on TV. 

While we can thank the famous images of Hindenburg Zepplin consumed by flames in New Jersey for shaping the old perception of hydrogen, the truth is that when managed and stored correctly, hydrogen is even safer than traditional fuels. This is what the Germans had this in mind when they sought the development of the new operational hydrogen powered iLint railcars.

What are the costs compared to other options?

The SFCR is less than 8% of the cost per km of the proposed Surrey to Langley LRT skytrain option. The public has right-of-way for passenger use on this corridor, representing an incredibly valuable opportunity.
SFCR option: $12,500,000. per km
Surrey LRT: $157,142,857. per km

How will passenger rail solve the transportation challenges of the Fraser Valley?

The Interurban rail line runs from Scott Rd Station in Surrey to Chilliwack, with 12 stops in communities along the way.

The SFCR will create a Spine (main rail line) and Rib (road network feeding the rail line with buses) transportation system for our region.

Reactivating the interurban will create a new network of park and rides, and providing the backbone to a functioning transit system.

The interurban rail corridor is a major freight route. How will a passenger service affect business? 

The Master Agreement plainly states that the track is reserved for passenger use and that any requirement to double track for freight use would be at the expense of CP Rail.

In many ways the rail freight business has had a free ride while the passenger rights were not being utilized at all. This line was designed in 1910 as a mixed use passenger/freight corridor. Mixed-use corridors are favored all around the world as an economically viable model for rail. Sharing the corridor will involve balancing the needs of both freight and passengers, to ensure the best overall use is met.

Which communities will be connected by the train?

The South Fraser Community Rail proposal will serve 1.2 million residents, 14 post-secondary campuses, Abbotsford International Airport and 16 cities & communities including:

  • Surrey
  • Kennedy
  • Newton
  • Cloverdale
  • Langley
  • Fort Langley
  • Aldergrove/Gloucester
  • Abbotsford
  • Sumas
  • Yarrow
  • Sardis
  • Chilliwack

Why is the SFCR interurban hydrail proposal better than Skytrain to Langley or an LRT down King George Blvd?

Firstly, it is deliverable in a shorter time frame and at a fraction of the cost. It will be more passenger friendly, (comfortable – you get a seat!) serve far more people, and be a huge economic boost to the South of Fraser municipalities.

The Interurban connects far more communities across the region, and will create a true South of Fraser transportation network, reaffirming Surrey as our regional Metropolis, rather just serving as a funnel into downtown Vancouver.

The SFCR also connects directly to the Skytrain at Scott Road.

Will there be long travel times? TransLink cites estimates of 53 minutes from Langley to Scott Road.

Our research shows 90 minutes total from Chilliwack to Scott Road, resulting in a 30 minute trip from the Langley to Scott Road portion. This is in line with West Coast Express travel times.