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407 Rail Freight Bypass/The Missing Link

dunkalunk

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#1
I know this idea is in no way new, however, not seeing a thread on the subject, I think its high time one was made.

This thread concerns the construction of a new rail corridor south of the 407 connecting the CP Galt sub to the CN York Sub.
CN and CP would share trackage between Milton and Pickering. All freight traffic could be re moved from the North Toronto Sub and Galt sub as well as a significant amount from the Weston Sub as well as the Lakeshore Line, allowing GO and VIA to run more frequent and quicker trains along these routes.
 
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doady

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#3
The 407 has transit as well. The GO bus routes there already serve over 10,000 riders per weekday. And there is aready a transitway planned along the 407, I'm nto sure how much room there will be left for freight rail traffic after that.
 
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#4
The problem

The problems with this idea are many.

First off, CP's main marshaling yard is at Agincourt is on this line.

The cost of relocating it is out of sight.

And the land largely isn't available.

Which means for at least the eastern leg of the CP main line it would have to remain a freight carrying line.

I don't think CP would care for having to send all trains from the west, east of the yard and then doubling back either.

The only N-S connections available in the core area, are the GO corridors, and while they may have room to fully twin track (not clear) they need that for their own purposes. Room to triple track or quad-track the Uxbridge Sub or the Bala Sub is non-existent.

You are also precluding any remaining freight customers (manufacturer's or warehouses) in Toronto from receiving rail service.

That would seem economically and ecologically unwise.

****

GO will get its mid-town corridor by quad-tracking the CP North Toronto Sub and by triple tracking (at least) its remaining mainline from Agincourt to Milton. East and West of there, twin track is probably sufficient.

CN is quite likely to divert more freights off of Lakeshore, though not reduce it to zero.

It is highly likely they will see the Kingston Sub between TTR and Durham Junction (the GO Sub) to GO Transit. They will send more traffic up along the north mainline.

I hear rumours this deal is close. GO has 1, maybe 2 corridor purchases close to being finalized.

I don't believe that CP North Toronto is on that list.
 

jwill

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#5
I think the idea has real merit in the west end, especially for CN. If we built a bypass along the 407 from the weston sub out to Milton (following the 407, then 401 corridors) we would have a bypass for the CN Halton sub through Brampton. It would allow GO/VIA to run a lot more service through here, by basically extending the York Sub westward, and running all CN freights through here.

CP could potentially use it as well, from the Galt Sub in Meadowvale to the Mactier sub, though that would require CP to lay its own tracks along the CN York sub from Halwest to Islington. Its useful because it cuts a lot of toronto and mississauga trackage off for trips between western canada and hamilton, as long as it didnt need to pass through Agincourt.
 

dunkalunk

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#6
I've abandoned my idea of removing CP traffic through the middle of Toronto given the above constraints. Unless a merger/bankruptcy/buyout happens, CP will never hand over its trackage.

Building a new freight rail line adjacent to the 401/407 would free up the entire Georgetown line to run frequent express and local passenger service on. Purchasing this corridor outright would also alleviate much of the bottleneck through Brampton.

In addition, if GO owns the corridor, it makes it much easier to electrify and straighten out some curves for future high-speed operation. This may be the only way that Kitchener would see any sort of higher speed rail service.



It would also be possible to construct an interchange yard between trucks and rail around the area of the 401/407 interchange to ferry freight through Toronto without occupying space on the 401.

The connection to the existing Halton sub would also not be as much of a constraint as a connection between the CP and CN corridors.



So, was this idea worth resurrecting?
 

reaperexpress

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#7
The 407 has transit as well. The GO bus routes there already serve over 10,000 riders per weekday. And there is aready a transitway planned along the 407, I'm nto sure how much room there will be left for freight rail traffic after that.
Don't forget that this proposal is only a western extension of the CN York Subdivsion, not a proposal for an entirely new line. The line already exists between Brampton and Pickering.

The initial segment (read: only likely segment) of the 407 transitway is between Jane and Kennedy, which is within the portion of the corridor where the parallel freight line already exists.

I've abandoned my idea of removing CP traffic through the middle of Toronto given the above constraints. Unless a merger/bankruptcy/buyout happens, CP will never hand over its trackage.

[...]

So, was this idea worth resurrecting?
Yes, I think so. The CP idea would be incredibly difficult for the reasons stated above, not to mention that there wouldn't be enough capacity on the CN York Subdivision to handle CP traffic anyway.

But with CP off the table, I think it looks pretty good.

I don't think people should underestimate the value of this project. At the moment, the CN's main line is shared with GO and VIA between Georgetown and Brampton, which will pose a severe threat to passenger services due to capacity constraints through Brampton Station. There are only 2 tracks to be shared among all these important trains, and no easy way to add any more.

Unless we fix that bottleneck, we will be suffering from terrible service on GO and VIA services through there for the foreseeable future. That would really suck, because there is huge potential for a frequent regional rail service from Toronto to London, serving cities such as Brampton, Georgetown, Guelph and Kitchener/Waterloo.

Although it would be expensive to build new freight tracks, it would also be expensive not to. We would have to spend piles of money building as many tracks as possible on the Weston subdivision to handle all that traffic (which would all get stuck going through Brampton anyway). With freight out of the picture, the Weston sub could work just fine as a double tracked line with some passing sidings allow express trains to pass locals. We would then only have to electrify 2 tracks, instead of 3 or 4, cutting electrification costs. Maintenance would also be lower because there would be fewer tracks and wires to maintain.

Northern Light, your concerns are certainly valid, but I don't think some are that severe.

I don't think the intention of this line is to entirely remove freight trains from the central railway lines, but rather to divert the main line traffic. It's fine to have a few local freight trains to serve industries, but having major transcontinental freight traffic share tracks with passenger trains is much more problematic. I think that the two biggest destinations for CN trains in the GTA are the Brampton Intermodal terminal and MacMillan Yard. Both are located on the freight-only CN York Sub, so if we extended the line further west, all the mainline freight traffic would be completely separated from passenger trains.

It's true that we can add capacity by adding more tracks to existing rail lines, but that's not that easy, and it's nowhere near as effective. Two single-use double tracked railways have higher capacity than a single quad-tracked railway shared between freight and passenger uses. There would also be higher maintenance cost and more disruptions. Most rail corridors don't have enough room for all the trains we'd like to run through them. Expanding the corridors themselves is outrageously expensive because it involves acquiring urban properties, much more expensive than a new greenfield route. Construction is also much more difficult in active rail corridors because slow and wasteful methods have to be used in order to allow trains to keep running.
 
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dunkalunk

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#8
I've made a few revision on my vision of what a 407 rail freight bypass could look like.


Here's the Google Map.

Instead of following so closely to the 407, the alignment instead swings north to run on a straight alignment between Steeles Ave and No. 5 Sideroad. This would simplify the route and construction costs by not having to reconfigure 401 onramps.

An intermodal freight facility could continue to be constructed near Trafalgar Road. I could also see additional facilities built near Pearson and Bowmanfille to take freight traffic off the 407 and 401.

The line would then connect back to the Halton Subdivison at the 401 in Milton.

I would see the line funded as part of a joint venture between Metrolinx, CN, and the Federal and Provincial Governments. CN's portion would be largely funded by the purchase of the rest of the Georgetown Line by GO/Metrolinx.

The benefits for various interested parties remain the same:

FOR CN:
-a faster freight mainline
-additional revenues from an intermodal freight centres near the 401. (increased further if 401 in the GTA is tolled past the 407)

FOR GO/METROLINX
-Ability to easier upgrade and electrify the Kitchener Line
-Track expansion can be be largely avoided through built-up areas in Brampton and Georgetown
-Able to run it's own schedules for many different types of service using the same corridor
-The potential for new GO Train Route (eventually, if CP decides to kick GO off it's mainline in Milton to improve freight operation)

FOR ONTARIO/FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
-Reduced need to expand highways through the GTA by means of removing cars from the road with increased transit and freight rail operation.

Everyone is a winner (except for CP, which maintains its status quo)
 

DSC

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#9
Though I suspect there is another more appropriate thread fo this, I was wondering if there was any news or any ideas about the Don Branch of the CPR Belleville subdivision? This is the track that was bought by GO/Metrolinx in 2007 and runs up the Don Valley from Cherry Street to Leaside. It is unused. There was an interesting article on it in Torontoist http://torontoist.com/2010/09/don_rail_branch_stays_gold/
 
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#10
A 407 freight line would be useful, but more to bypass the Georgetown line than the Milton line. The latter is mostly wide enough to accommodate regional rail and CP's freight service. For the Georgetown corridor, the section through Brampton is quite crowded and the demands place on it are much greater given that it has more freight trains, intercity trains, and potentially high-speed trains. Getting the freight trains out of Downtown Brampton would be very useful.

Getting CP entirely out of the city might be nice for passenger service but I don't think it's necessary. The North Toronto line is also wide enough to accommodate four tracks, two for CP and two for regional rail/CityRail. I don't think it's very likely either. The ship sailed when CN and CP decided not to merge their eastern operations. Using the CN Toronto bypass would make them very reliant on their competitor, and it would make accessing their main yard in Etobicoke very difficult.
 
P

Paolo

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#11
don't forget the buffer land to the north and south of the 401 west bound is reserved for future expantion of the 401, so the problem with proposing such, is that you have to to take into consideration future expantion of the 401 and their schedule to do this is possibly going to interfere and take presedence of your proposal.

also the rainroad tracks next to the 401 at salim might be re-located due to the 401 widening as well. so they have to move the tracks somewhere else, or maybe even above ground? yikes
 

dunkalunk

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#12
don't forget the buffer land to the north and south of the 401 west bound is reserved for future expantion of the 401, so the problem with proposing such, is that you have to to take into consideration future expantion of the 401 and their schedule to do this is possibly going to interfere and take presedence of your proposal.

also the rainroad tracks next to the 401 at salim might be re-located due to the 401 widening as well. so they have to move the tracks somewhere else, or maybe even above ground? yikes
I am not sure what you are getting at here...

First, I swung the rail line far north of the 401 in part for this reason. In the 407 corridor, there would be plenty of room for a 407 widening on the south side if a 2-track rail corridor were built adjacent.

Second, Where/What is salim?
 
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smallspy

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#14
If I was more cynical, I would suggest that virtually no thought went into this idea beyond what land might be available to plop down a coloured line representing a railway line.

If you want to be more serious about this, get the line away from the highway. On a freight line you want to minimize the vertical grades, and running alongside a super highway is not the way to do that. Horizontal curves are not an issue operationally (although they are in terms of land use).

Dan
Toronto, Ont.
 

dunkalunk

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#15
If I was more cynical, I would suggest that virtually no thought went into this idea beyond what land might be available to plop down a coloured line representing a railway line.

If you want to be more serious about this, get the line away from the highway. On a freight line you want to minimize the vertical grades, and running alongside a super highway is not the way to do that. Horizontal curves are not an issue operationally (although they are in terms of land use).

Dan
Toronto, Ont.
Previous high speed rail studies have a high speed rail line using the exact same corridor. One of the conditions of the leasing of the 407 was to allow the construction of an adjacent railway line. I am not sure what grade issues a freight line would have in the same corridor if one were constructed. Grades can be smoothed out south of the 407, especially considering that the line would run adjacent to a hydro corridor.
 

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