Vancouver to Whistler in 30 minutes via high speed train? There’s a plan for that

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Ok, at the moment it’s a ‘proposal’ for a post covid-19 recovery plan for the south BC area and the plan is designed to allow for the affordable expansion in to the suburbs around Vancouver for the expected 1 million extra inhabitants by 2050. But with the nearest proposed station just a short taxi ride from the airport one benefit could be much quicker transfers from Vancouver to Whistler for mountain bikers and snow lovers. If it gets the go-ahead of course.

The proposal has been put forward, along with strong environmental and economic arguments, by a group calling themselves the Mountain Valley Express. The advocacy group consists of academics and urban planners who want to see a sustainable solution to the growing road based transport issues that are getting progressively worse year on year in the area. They group states in their proposal that the project would provide a “leaner, greener restart” for the area post Covid.

vancouver to whistler by high speed train

The route of the proposed rail link mostly covers existing rail infrastructure but would require new tracks to be laid to enable train speeds up to a whopping 300km/h. This would allow for transfer times from Waterfront station to the north of Vancouver city to Whistler in around 30 minutes. Current transfer times by road from Vancouver airport south of the city currently take around 2.5 hours via the Sea to Sky Highway.

Those with longer memories may remember that there was a train link from Vancouver to Whistler on a service called the Rocky Mountaineer, which was mostly a sight seeing journey up through the west coast mountains. It was slow and not cheap. That service was closed down several years ago but it remains the proposed route of the new high speed line.

Would the possibility of being in the lift line with your bike or snowboard around 2 hours from collecting your gear off the airport carousel appeal to you?

All we need now to be better environmentally aware travellers is for these hydrogen planes to hurry up and get invented.

If you want to read more about sustainable transport for mountain bikers who travel then check out our feature below on travelling to the alps by train.

View the MVX PDF proposal in full here (PDF)

Singletrack Issue 127 | Verbier By Train

Mark and Vic look at a different way of getting to play in the mountains with bikes. To the Alps by train. Words & Photography Mark As I start writing…


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Comments (7)

    If its work out as a net gain for the environment then I’m all for it, but the Sea to Sky highway is a fantastic drive!

    The bit from the airport through Vancouver is a bit of a drag though. Once you are on the highway you feel you are getting close, even if it is still an hour and half drive. I did once travel on the Whistler Mountaineer from Waterside. It took 2 hours but it was utterly spectacular.

    We went on the Rocky Mountaineer on our honeymoon about a decade ago. It was a beautiful (if relatively slow) way to travel and see the landscape. Sad to hear it shut down.

    As mattkitch said the Sea To Sky is just spectacular! Not quite as ” interesting” as the drive over the Hurley Pass

    It’s a pipe dream that comes up every few years. It would be great but cost would be enormous and I don’t think there would be enough users to make it pay. The route from West Van to Whistler is pretty rugged and twisty which is why trains currently go so slowly. I don’t think it’s reasonless possible to construct a route where high speeds are possible. Plus the article mentions sustainable growth which is an oxymoron. There are more important things to spend tax money on than a tourist train. Now a higher speed train for lower mainland commuters is more useful.

    A ferry to Squamish would be a slightly less stupid idea.

    I’m struggling to think of better trains as ‘stupid’.

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