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407 Rail Freight Bypass/The Missing Link

steveintoronto

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After all, this bypass is going to open up the capacity of the Milton line, we should be seizing the opportunity to create denser downtowns in all GTA municipalities.
I don't see how. To do a by-pass around Milton, why not just add another track to the extant CP line? A by-pass around Milton further complicates a third/second track to Cambridge. (The CP leg to Cambridge becomes single track west of Guelph Junction) Perhaps I'm not fully understanding what extending a by-pass does for intensifying Milton downtown?
 

TOareaFan

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This was the aim of the second comment. I know Milton is a sprawl town and it's a friggin tragedy. But why would we forgo the opportunity to densify it downtown when it has already sprawled to its growth boundaries, and is approaching designated Greenbelt lands? After all, this bypass is going to open up the capacity of the Milton line, we should be seizing the opportunity to create denser downtowns in all GTA municipalities.
just not sure we should spend a lot of extra money creating the "opportunity to densify" a part of a town/community that has shown no interest in doing so and I have read of no plans/desire by the people of Milton to densify.
 

steveintoronto

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just not sure we should spend a lot of extra money creating the "opportunity to densify" a part of a town/community that has shown no interest in doing so and I have read of no plans/desire by the people of Milton to densify.
Completely agree. And as much as I see the originally envisaged By-Pass as expounded in the IBI report as being do-able, and ultimately cost neutral by savings from all the other cancelled projects (it's estimated that the cancelled need for the K-W line widening alone balances the cost, I think that's a little manic, but it's in that region), why complicate this by biting off more than is immediately needed? The challenge is in keeping third party (non Crown) property expropriation to an absolute minimum, and the simpler the concept, the easier it's going to be to do the multiplicity of trades around the table, CN, CP, Feds, Prov, municipalities, regions, VIA, Metrolinx...and private investors.

I agree with MD, stick to the basics for now, and that will be twin track most of the distance, albeit highly signalled and hopefully PTC. And with the present hydro towers staying intact. Dedicated passenger can be added later ostensibly when some/all of those hydro lines are buried, and release a lot more width in the corridor.

This concept has to be as simple as possible to sell it. And a twin common carrier does it. If need be, a third track lay-by can be added where needed, but I don't see it being necessary if the line is signalled and dispatched efficiently.

Another point, a very important one to keep this as the basic original concept:

Since the Feds are needed not just for funding, but for the immense power of the Railway and the Railway Relocation and Crossing Acts (and a few lesser ones), the Fed powers won't pertain to doing more than is what is considered meeting the terms of those Acts...to the word! The Feds might have to get 'heavy' (walk quietly, and carry a big stick) to make things happen, they're not going to squander that effort and risk nasty court cases to do the job of the province. The Acts pertain only to the basic by-pass as envisaged. And that, initially at least, is freight. Once that's done, then secondary plans can be discussed. The hard part is going to be knocking heads together with the threat of the big stick to make them all sit at the same table and talk, then barter. "Arbitration" I believe it's called. No agreement by shared will? Then the Feds mandate the outcome. It shouldn't have to come to that, this is win-win-win for all concerned, and especially so for Johnny Plebe.
 
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denfromoakvillemilton

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so what do people think here? should we do the missing link or bite the bullet and triple track Brampton and Milton lines?
I haven't gotten that detailed of a look at it, but the issues I can forsee from my idea of a corridor:



  • Navigating the commercial areas of Milton. Some expropriation will likely be necessary, and it may kibosh some elements of the vision for the business park being developed there. Might bump up pretty close to come major owners.
  • 401/407 interchange to Hurontario. This is the tightest section where the tracks will conflict with hydro lines and a pipeline. Relocation/burying will definitely be required for a 6-track corridor.
  • Proximity to residential uses around Mavis and McLaughlin roads.
How do you guys make these maps?
 
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DonValleyRainbow

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just not sure we should spend a lot of extra money creating the "opportunity to densify" a part of a town/community that has shown no interest in doing so and I have read of no plans/desire by the people of Milton to densify.
With all due respect, that sounds a bit spiteful and downtown elitist to me. The provincial Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe identifies downtown Milton as an urban growth centre, and it requires them to a) "to serve as high-density major employment centres that will attract provincially, nationally or internationally significant employment uses"; and b) planned to achieve a density of 200 residents and jobs combined per hectare. Bypassing freight would be a huge help to that. Furthermore, the proposed amendments to it will link infrastructure investment to opportunities for higher-density investment in strategic growth areas.

Completely agree. And as much as I see the originally envisaged By-Pass as expounded in the IBI report as being do-able, and ultimately cost neutral by savings from all the other cancelled projects (it's estimated that the cancelled need for the K-W line widening alone balances the cost, I think that's a little manic, but it's in that region), why complicate this by biting off more than is immediately needed? The challenge is in keeping third party (non Crown) property expropriation to an absolute minimum, and the simpler the concept, the easier it's going to be to do the multiplicity of trades around the table, CN, CP, Feds, Prov, municipalities, regions, VIA, Metrolinx...and private investors.

I agree with MD, stick to the basics for now, and that will be twin track most of the distance, albeit highly signalled and hopefully PTC. And with the present hydro towers staying intact. Dedicated passenger can be added later ostensibly when some/all of those hydro lines are buried, and release a lot more width in the corridor.

This concept has to be as simple as possible to sell it. And a twin common carrier does it. If need be, a third track lay-by can be added where needed, but I don't see it being necessary if the line is signalled and dispatched efficiently.

Another point, a very important one to keep this as the basic original concept:

Since the Feds are needed not just for funding, but for the immense power of the Railway and the Railway Relocation and Crossing Acts (and a few lesser ones), the Fed powers won't pertain to doing more than is what is considered meeting the terms of those Acts...to the word! The Feds might have to get 'heavy' (walk quietly, and carry a big stick) to make things happen, they're not going to squander that effort and risk nasty court cases to do the job of the province. The Acts pertain only to the basic by-pass as envisaged. And that, initially at least, is freight. Once that's done, then secondary plans can be discussed. The hard part is going to be knocking heads together with the threat of the big stick to make them all sit at the same table and talk, then barter. "Arbitration" I believe it's called. No agreement by shared will? Then the Feds mandate the outcome. It shouldn't have to come to that, this is win-win-win for all concerned, and especially so for Johnny Plebe.
I'd agree with this sentiment, but two factors at play which may mitigate it:
  • Lac Megantic happened. I think that garners some federal interest in getting freight out of urban cores. Hate to use that as a trump card, but...
  • There are many more individual land owners adjacent to the current CP corridor through Milton, with more sensitive land uses, vs what I have drawn. Makes the acquisition/expropriation process more messy and drawn out.
But ultimately, all of us are arm-chairing the hell out of this. I'd like to see some concrete economic (not financial) analysis of this.
 

steveintoronto

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How does that fit with the Railway or Railway Relocation Act? And how could by-passing Milton be justified by an eventual neutral costing when balanced against the ability to cancel a number of very costly and major projects on the drawing board?

Milton has already had the alignment of the CN line through it moved some decades back. In all fairness, you're comparing a pop of 130,000 to twenty times that for impact of rerouting/realignment.
 
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DonValleyRainbow

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How does that fit with the Railway of Railway Relocation Act?
The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe has policies that can trickle down to a secondary land use plan. Alternatively, an area-specific transportation plan could be undertaken for Milton and any works on the bypass and GO line. Both of these would meet the definition of a "transportation plan" or an "urban development plan" under the Railway Relocation and Crossing Act.

Furthermore, Section 4(1)(a) stipulates that any plan must satisfy the Minister of Transport that it would contribute significantly to the improvement of the urban area. I believe it would reasonably meet that threshold.
 

steveintoronto

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Furthermore, Section 4(1)(a) stipulates that any plan must satisfy the Minister of Transport that it would contribute significantly to the improvement of the urban area.
Was it not you who made the 'need for densification in core of Milton' argument?

In all due respect, what you are asking for would put Milton at the bottom of a list of some fifty other conurbations in Ontario. Many more in the rest of Canada.

Not to mention Milton itself is pioneering the very alignment in the IBI report that the Feds are now ostensibly considering. For some odd reason, the GTA (5+M population) has a more pressing case.

[...]
  • 3 (1) Where, in respect of an area in a province that includes or comprises an urban area, in this Part called a “transportation study area”, the government of the province and all the municipalities within that area have agreed on an urban development plan and transportation plan, in this Part called an “accepted plan”, for that transportation study area, the province or a municipality may, subject to subsection 4(1), apply to the Agency for such orders as the Agency may make under section 7 or 8 and as are necessary to carry out the accepted plan.
 

DonValleyRainbow

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Was it not you who made the 'need for densification in core of Milton' argument?

In all due respect, what you are asking for would put Milton at the bottom of a list of some fifty other conurbations in Ontario. Many more in the rest of Canada.
Yes, but I'm not following your argument of how it goes against that.
 

mdrejhon

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So what's the verdict with you guys?? Double track or Missing link
I have noticed most freuqent posters in this thread (albeit not all) are for the Missing Link versus trying to cram extra track in Brampton/Milton. It's pretty clear steveintoronto, Allandale25, is generally for it.

Missing Link at $5bn actually compares well with trying to add extra track/electrification to fully kit-out both Brampton/Milton corridors to enable all-day service. And begins to become cheaper when you account for extras like HSR, North Toronto, etc. Some of these things will not happen this generation, but could occur in your grandkids' generation.

As everyone in this thread should realize, this sets Toronto on a long-term path to free up so many rail corridors options for passenger use -- Milton, Brampton/Kitchener, Richmond Hill (extension), North Toronto, High Speed Rail. While simultaneously enhancing overall regional safety (on average). It moves a lot of heavy freight, away from near downtown Toronto, given what happened at Lac Magentic. There is also environment-related incentive in increasing rail passenger transport to reduce car/road dependance and reduce need for further widening freeways all the way out to Windsor, etc. Even just beginning with CN for Brampton/Kitchener and later adding CP for Milton would be worth it alone.
 
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TOareaFan

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With all due respect, that sounds a bit spiteful and downtown elitist to me.
I have been called many things (often on this board) but downtown elite is a new one for me ;) (I more often get "suburban hick/whiner")

The provincial Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe identifies downtown Milton as an urban growth centre, and it requires them to a) "to serve as high-density major employment centres that will attract provincially, nationally or internationally significant employment uses"; and b) planned to achieve a density of 200 residents and jobs combined per hectare. Bypassing freight would be a huge help to that. Furthermore, the proposed amendments to it will link infrastructure investment to opportunities for higher-density investment in strategic growth areas.
I understand the whole places to grow thing....but if the local folks have shown no interest in executing/implementing the plan.....how much do you spend providing "huge help" to it? It may be a circular argument (IDK) but it is worth thinking about.



I'd agree with this sentiment, but two factors at play which may mitigate it:
  • Lac Megantic happened. I think that garners some federal interest in getting freight out of urban cores. Hate to use that as a trump card, but...
  • There are many more individual land owners adjacent to the current CP corridor through Milton, with more sensitive land uses, vs what I have drawn. Makes the acquisition/expropriation process more messy and drawn out.
But ultimately, all of us are arm-chairing the hell out of this. I'd like to see some concrete economic (not financial) analysis of this.
Like you, I would have thought Lac Megantic would have (should have?) had a bigger impact on our national sensibility than it has.....but since then we keep fighting pipeline projects while continuing to move oil (and other dangerous products) by the only other methods we have....namely rail and truck. Since LM....there have been many freight rail accidents involving oil containers....but we still see pipelines as, somehow, "evil" and dangerous.
 

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