South Fraser Community RAIL

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

Reviving Community Rail for a Sustainable Fraser Valley

“Organizing Affordable Housing and Mobility around the Interurban Rail Line”

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

We are entering a NEW world post COVID-19, both our economy and our environment. As important and impactful as CleanBC (the Provincial Government’s signature environmental legislation) was prior to our new normal, today it is essential to a long-term prosperous future.

How does the reactivation of the Interurban fit into the equation?

In a coordinated effort to obtain an objective look at the merits or lack thereof, to reactivate the Interurban Rail Line for Passenger Service, the South Fraser Community Rail Society solicited the service of Professor Patrick M. Condon – James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Liveable Environments at the University of British Columbia.

Patrick Condon utilized the services of a variety of local experts with a working knowledge of the Interurban Rail Line (est. circa 1910) with the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture Master of Urban Design Program, Class of 2019.

In short, the cities and towns South of the Fraser are growing at a fast pace – 7.5% in five years – compared to Vancouver’s modest 4.8%. At the current pace, the population south of the Fraser will double by 2060 to over 2.5 million people.

Much of this growth is fueled by families fleeing the City of Vancouver in search of affordable homes within which to raise families. Employers are following, happy to hire them and in search of affordable land with good transportation access.

But there is a problem. The first 1.2 million people to populate the valley have bought into an auto-dominated urban landscape, bringing with it a daily gridlocked highway #1, and an exhaust polluted, and therefore toxic and unhealthy, Fraser Valley airshed.

The Fraser Valley has no other options besides highway #1 – with one big exception, that of a readily available operating rail line that is available to our population at no cost. This PRICELESS TRANSIT OPPORTUNITY has, so far, been ignored by our political decision makers.

Coupled with this opportunity is the emergence of proven Canadian Hydrogen Technology, European developed (and now operating) state-of-the-art Hydrail Passenger Rail Service.

As a result of Patrick Condon’s and his students’ energetic and comprehensive study, a book has been released, which reviews this rail line, it’s community relationship, and connection to the City of Surrey, City of Langley, The Township of Langley and the City of Abbotsford.

The 17 Masters students were tasked with adding 500,000 dwelling units within a ten-minute walk of this rail line, and to add an equivalent number of job sites. They were asked to provide a variety of home types to support housing affordability for different family types. They were asked to create urban amenities and to protect and connect natural systems. And they were asked to do this largely within the existing urban footprint of these communities, protecting and enhancing existing productive Agricultural lands.

The results are exciting. Vibrant urban places rise out of mall-parking lots. New transit ways connect to the Interurban Line to feed and distribute a new transit using population. But to make this happen we must lay the spine for this transformed region today.

Infrastructure always leads urban development, it cannot adequately follow. Later is too late. Our region that grew first around the rail, and later around the car, can grow sustainably around rail again.

It is crucial that we initiate this urban development process by reviving the Interurban Rail Line now, which will dramatically improve availability of affordable housing.

Recap of the Benefits of the South of Fraser Community Rail Passenger Project:

  • NEW South of Fraser Reality In 2002 70% of trips starting South of the Fraser ended North of the River, today 70% of trips start and stop South of the Fraser – Surrey Center is our downtown.
  • Cost Effective
    • A Passenger Rail Line using the existing Inter-urban Corridor represents less than 10% of the cost per Km of the Surrey to Langley SkyTrain proposal, while serving 10 times the population.
    • The entire 99 Km state-of-the-art South Fraser Hydrogen Community Rail passenger service connecting industrial parks, 14 Post Secondary Institutions and the Abbotsford International Airport could be fully operational for the same cost as 7 Kms of Surrey to Fleetwood SkyTrain
    • 99.23 kms from Scott Road to Chilliwack that is FREE for the Province to use for passenger service. Unlike the Westcoast Express (North of the Fraser) that costs taxpayers in excess of $20,000,000 per year in leased time
  • Protecting the Environment
    • Eliminates need to clear cut some of Green Timbers Urban Forest Surrey
    • 1 Train removes ~177 cars on Hwy #1 from the Fraser Valley Airshed
    • NEW Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology advances the B.C. Government’s CleanBC signature legislation
  • Economic Growth
    • Directly BOOSTS economic growth through the low-cost movement of residents and goods South of the Fraser
    • Direct access to the Abbotsford International Airport for passenger and employment access up and down the valley
    • Direct access to jobs throughout the Fraser Valley currently with no or very limited transportation options.
  • Ease of Movement
    • Would support and form an integral part of a coordinated and comprehensive transportation network for 1.2 million South of Fraser residents and/or a combined close to 3 million residents to be able to move between North and West Vancouver, Vancouver out to Chilliwack using Seabus, Skytrain and Light Rail
    • Connects 16 Cities, Municipality Population Centers Communities, plus Indust. Parks, International Airport and Special Interest venues that Surrey Center to Langley City SkyTrain does not
  • Promoting Fraser Valley Tourism
    • Open up the Fraser Valley and it’s attractions (Wineries / theme parks / Game Farm) to Tourism with access from Vancouver to Chilliwack
    • Open up transportation access to a growing Agri-Tourism business and industry throughout the Fraser Valley
  • Access to Post Secondary Education
    • Connecting Fourteen University Campuses and 58,000 Students and Staff daily South of the Fraser between Surrey and Chilliwack!

South Fraser Community Rail Society

Contact Rick Green / 604 866-5752

Order a physical copy of this unique publication today “Reviving Community Rail for a Sustainable Fraser Valley” by sending us an email. Cost is $45.00 CDN, which covers the costs of production from

Or download a .pdf of the book for free.

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