TransLink has released its new draft plans for a 16-kilometre stretch of SkyTrain running from Surrey to Langley, replacing the light rail plans thrown out by Surrey’s new city council.

It comes after the plans for the $1.65 billion Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT were scrapped by Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum and city council.

Instead, those funds are planned to help TransLink extend a SkyTrain route along the Fraser Highway.

But it's not actually clear when the train line would extend to Langley.

"What we're asking is the go ahead to go and study this. Take 13 months to a year to develop a detailed business case using the funding we already have for LRT," said Jill Drews, a spokesperson for TransLink.

Plans for B-Line buses along the Fraser Highway would be scrapped and the transit authority would instead develop a new plan for the highway that "addresses overcrowding and improves service quality."

The funds for those B-Lines would then be diverted to improving the B-Line services in the Surrey-Newton-Guildford area.

To date, the transit provider estimates that $56 million was spent on designs and planning for the LRT project -- down from the original estimate of roughly $77 million.

TransLink previously said that it would look at building the SkyTrain down the Fraser Highway, but it would need to be elevated and it could come with a hefty price tag.

"If we shift to Fraser Highway and need more funds to get all the way to Langley city, we’ll have to go back to the province and say how are we going to manage that? And if there’s an additional gap which there likely will be, we’ll have to have conversations with the government of Canada. At this point it’s all very speculative," TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said in November.

Drews reiterated that despite McCallum's promise to have a SkyTrain built to the city centre for the same price tag as the LRT, there was a billion dollar difference between McCallum's and TransLink's estimates.

"Our last estimate in 2017 said it would be $2.9 billion," said Drews.

The Fraser Highway extension plan would include:

  • 16 kilometres of an elevated Expo Line extension
  • Eight stations, with the potential for one future one
  • 55 SkyTrain cars
  • Bus exchanges at Willowbrook and Langley Centre

If the new proposed route is to proceed, the transit authority says it will need to work with Surrey, the city of Langley and Langley Township on land planning commitments.