The System in 2030 - Rail
Three class 1 rail carriers link the Gateway
to North American destinations: Canadian Pacific(CPR), Canadian National (CNR)
and Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF). Together with shortline carrier,
Southern Railway of BC, they are the backbone of the freight rail system feeding
the Gateway seaports and operate on three main corridors:
Spurred by forecast growth in freight rail
traffic and increasing demands for passenger rail service on the network, the
Gateway Council carried out a detailed assessment of rail capacity in the Region.
The study identified a set of priority
infrastructure investments to ensure adequate rail capacity for future growth in
both cargo and passenger volumes. Many of these priorities have now moved to the
engineering design phase. The largest single investments identified were
replacements for the New Westminster and Pitt River rail
Rail Network Improvements
New Westminster Rail Bridge
Est. cost ~ $110 million. The New
Westminster Rail bridge was constructed in 1904. It carries some 30 million
tonnes of cargo to and from the Burrard Inlet in addition to AMTRAK, VIA Rail
and Rocky Mountaineer services.Pitt River Rail Bridge replacement
The Pitt River Bridge on the CPR main line
carries East - West cargo to and from the seaports in addition to the West Coast
Express commuter service. A preliminary estimate for its replacement is ~ $250
million.Rail Corridor Improvements
Est. cost ~ $127 million. Double tracking,
sidings, and grade separations for rail and road traffic at a number of
locations on the three main rail corridors.
Making the best use of existing
infrastructure is essential to Gateway competitiveness. A variety of innovative
approaches are being used in the Gateway, including:
Co-production agreements are commercial
arrangements that allow railways to better coordinate train movements. This
increases capacity on key sections of track and improves the fluidity of rail
operations. Co-production agreements between CNR and CPR and between CNR and
BNSF to serve the terminals in the Burrard Inlet, and directional running on CPR
and CNR tracks through the Fraser Canyon are significantly improving service
levels to the marine terminals.
Moving containerized goods by rail to and
from the seaports and to inter-modal yards East of the Port Mann bridge reduces
truck traffic on the roads in the densely populated urban core and provides
better service for shippers.
Multi-modal Operations Co-location of
container import and export operations reduces or eliminates drayage costs on
empty container movements and takes thousands of trucks off the road.
Multi-modal operations, such as Modalink, are served by road, rail and
waterborne transportation.Passenger Rail
10 trains per day, year round. Mission /
Vancouver. 2.0 million passengers were carried in 2004.
2 trains per day, year round, between
Seattle and Vancouver. 129,000 passengers were carried in 2004.
VIA Rail Canada
6 trains per week, year round
6 trains per
week during the period from May through October, and on an occasional basis over
the balance of the year. 78,000 passengers were carried in
Presently there are four passenger rail
services operating up to 76 trains per week on the Gateway freight rail network.
Some 2.3 million passengers were carried on the Gateway rail system in 2004.
Although passenger trains represent a small fraction of the overall Gateway rail
traffic (22,400 freight trains in 2003), they make up a significant proportion
of trains over key rail bottlenecks. For example, the New Westminster Rail
when open to rail traffic, carries ~ 46 freight trains / day
with an estimated capacity of ~ 60 trains / day. Scheduled passenger service
however requires a window of operation over the bridge that effectively closes
it to other traffic for a much longer period than the actual train crossing.
While the Gateway Council supports expansion of AMTRAK service to 6 trains per
day, steps must be taken to ensure cargo service to the Burrard Inlet over the
NWRB is unaffected.