Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fraser River Rail Bridge - Congestion

As I've blogged about before, one of the priorities for goods movement in this region is the replacement of the 1904 Fraser River Rail Bridge. This has been identified by many groups like the Gateway Council and Port Metro Vancouver as an A1 priority, yet the federal government has done nothing about it. Besides freight, it also prevents the expansion of passenger rail service. BNSF, CN, CP, and Southern Rail's tracks all converge on this single tracked bridge that must be taken at a speed of 15km/h for fear of the thing failing and falling into the river. On top of that river traffic has priority over rail traffic, so whenever a barge comes to the bridge, it must be open. On Sunday, I personally experienced how bad the congestion is.

The Amtrak train I was on pulled up to the bridge and had to stop to let a CN train pass. After that, the bridge had to be opened for river traffic. As two barges went under the bridge another CN train cued on the opposite side of the bridge. Luckily after the two barges were clear of the bridge and it was put back into service, the Amtrak train was let through. All this took about 35min.

With all the money the federal government has put into the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, I don't understand why this A1 priority has not been dealt with. This bridge is owned by the federal government, so they are the only ones that can fix this serious issue.

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