March 4th Information Event

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cost of SkyTrain

So, I receive a book the other day call "On Track: The SkyTrain Story", it's a book publish by TransLink on the wonders of SkyTrain. The book is full of useful statics including the following:

Phase I (Original Expo Line)
Length: 21.4km
Started Construction: 1981
In Service: 1986
Cost: $854.3m (1986)
Cost: $1,601.15m (2012)
Cost per km: $74.8m (2012)


Phase II (Columbia to Scott Road)
Length: 3.1km
Started Construction: 1986
In Service: 1990
Cost: $179m (1990) 
Cost: $281.69m (2012)
Cost per km: $90.9m (2012)

Phase III (Scott Road to King George)
Length: 4.4km
Started Construction: 1990
In Service: 1994
Cost: $148m (1994)
Cost: $207.48m (2012)
Cost per km: $47.1m (2012)

Phase IV/V (Millennium Line)
Length: 20.5km
Started Construction: 1999
In Service: 2002
Cost: $1,167m (2002)
Cost: $1,443.21 (2012)
Cost per km: $70.4m (2012)

Canada Line
Length: 19.2km
Started Construction: 2005
In Service: 2009
Cost:  $2,000m (2009)
Cost: $2,136.28m (2012)
Cost per km: $111.3m (2012)

Evergreen Line
Length: 11km
Started Construction: ?
In Service: ?
Cost: $1,400m (2012)
Cost per km:  $127m (2012)

Average per km cost of SkyTrain: $86.9m

What I found interesting about this information is that when adjusted for inflation the Expo Line and Millennium Line essential cost the same, but costs started to get out of control for the Canada Line and almost doubled for the Evergreen Line. The reason why the Canada Line and Evergreen Line cost so much is because of the high cost of building bored tunnels. If the rich residents of west Vancouver hadn't forced the Canada Line to be put in a tunnel or the Evergreen Line didn't shift from light rail to SkyTrain in a tunnel, I have to wonder if we'd be building light rail already for Surrey and the South of Fraser.

6 comments:

robert luis rabello said...

Elevated and bore-tunnel rail rank high among the most expensive options for public transit. Given that existing right-of-ways could be used for street level light rail, I'm puzzled why this option isn't being promoted.

We desperately need better public transit on the east end of the valley. It's nigh well impossible to get anywhere without driving.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is the Evergreen Line would have required a tunnel for the LRT option as well.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the reason why the Canada Line appears to cost so much is because the $2 billion cost you reference is a mis-stated value.

$2 billion describes the total life-cycle cost of the line including the annual operations & maintenance costs over 35 years, and not the actual capital costs only.

The actual capital costs of the line were approximately $1.5 billion in 2012 dollars. $80 million per km. This includes the cost of 9km of underground section, two major river crossings, a new operations and maintenance centre (OMC), and more stations per km than any other SkyTrain line.

Read more at: http://skytrainforsurrey.org/2012/03/17/canada-line-did-not-cost-2-billion-to-build/

The Light Rail option along the NW corridor of the Evergreen Line would have indeed also required a tunnel in order to smoothen the grade of a slope, which is why it would cost nearly as much as a SkyTrain-type implementation that would both integrate with the Millennium Line and provide better service.

The $1.4 billion cost of the Evergreen Line also includes a second train yard to facilitate more fleet expansion. The train yard will be expandable and cater in the future to trains that may service the Broadway corridor and Surrey.

Anonymous said...

Actually I was wondering since I don't have the source, do those figures include the trains or is it just the tracks etc.?

Nathan Pachal said...

It includes trains and tracks

Anonymous said...

Original UTDC - ICTS construction Waterfront to New Westminster Stn 21.4km.
BC Cost $854 Million - City Making in Paradise - M. Harcourt, BC Provincial Grant $275 Million to cover half of construction costs? by designating Rapid Transit as a highway - 1986 Skytrain Expo 86 Guide - BC Government, Dunsmuir Tunnel East Portal reconfiguration $40 Million - 1986 Skytrain Expo 86 Guide - BC Government, BC Provincial Cost paid to CPR - unknown; Province of Ontario owned UTDC - ICTS Cost $300 Million; Canadian Government Cost $300 Million.
Hope this helps.