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General railway discussions

A 300km Gotthard? ; Gotthard is only 57km! LOL

I assume your're meaning that the distance on the existing trackage is 300km and that a tunnel would shave that considerably?
Draw some lines from Calgary to Vancouver as well as Edmonton to see what the distance is and that will give you an idea how long the tunnels will be. It will take several decades to build at great cost. Same for other places on the west coast.

The Brenner Base Tunnel at 64KM will be a longer tunnel than the Gotthard that is currently under construction in Europe today at a cost of $10 Billion Euros.

Building an HSR Line across the prairies will be a lot faster than when the first line was built, but more costly. It needs to be able to handle 350Km up for future technology trains, but at the bottom of my list that needs to be done first.
 
This tunnel project sounds like a fine undertaking for the for-profit freight railways and their financiers.

Well, if the project made sense to investors and the business case held a rate of return, it would probably already be under way.

The reasons why it might not happen, despite making sense, are
- the need to study, consult, and secure public consensus and approval is beyond what investors can pursue
- the risks and uncertainties are beyond what an investor based enterprise can responsibly accept or commit their shareholders' money towards
- the amount of money to be raised is beyond the credit rating or borrowing (asset) base of the business
- the project requires things that the state is legally able to acquire where private enterprise cannot - ie expropriation

To be clear, I am not suggesting that this should be pursued. But I have sympathy for the state looking further into the future than investors, and seizing on things that investors would not attempt.

One has to wonder - if the CPR were proposed under today's legal regimes and social attitudes, would it ever have happened? A lot of the CPR's history is regrettable, and some is even patently corrupt.... but at its core it was a damn good idea. Likewise the St Lawrence Seaway, and lots of other things.

So I think it's Ok to have mental exercises that go beyond what investors would accept. You can be sure that if a tunnel did magically appear that offered to move goods faster and at lower cost than today's CPKC offers, people would embrace that.

- Paul
 
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It’s clear that I didn’t express my point properly.

It wasn’t that we immediately attack national high-speed rail. It was that - often - we stop ourselves before we even start, saying “the overall goal is too hard, so let’s not bother even with smaller projects”.

We don’t have a vision, so every project is considered piecemeal, and as a result fails the value for effort test.
 
It’s clear that I didn’t express my point properly.

It wasn’t that we immediately attack national high-speed rail. It was that - often - we stop ourselves before we even start, saying “the overall goal is too hard, so let’s not bother even with smaller projects”.

We don’t have a vision, so every project is considered piecemeal, and as a result fails the value for effort test.
But a vision needs to be rational. It can’t depend on the entire populations of Prairie towns or Maritime villages to take 1000km trips weekly. All of the successful HSR projects out there, even the ones essentially built as national stimulus projects, are rooted in access to large (millions) population centres, and you have to find ways to get those high speed trains into the centre of those cities without bumbling along behind commuter services
 
Quick reminder that the main motivator for building HSR was capacity, not speed: the existing double-tracked (!) corridors were maxing out and only once it was identified that intercity trains (as the most disruptive, due to their higher average speeds, conpared to freight or local/regional/commuter rail services) would need their seperate tracks, it became evident that it might be more economic and efficient to find a seperate, more optimal alignment for these trains rather than trying to force a third or fourth track through medieval villages and cities.

In contrast, most capacity shortages here in Canada can be solved by adding the missing second track and expanding yards. We are not France in 1970, but 1870…
 
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Has there been any further update on the situation with the York Durham Heritage Railway? Is their rolling stock in situ pending disposal by the bankruptcy process, or has it already been removed elsewhere?
 
Some news for the rail line to Churchill. $60 million investment.

Gov press release: https://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=62078

Most amount of details in this article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/churchill-railway-port-redevelopment-1.7124129

Key highlights (@Northern Light style):
  • Premier Wab Kinew said the funding will support capital investments for repairing and ongoing maintenance of the rail line.
  • The funds will also be put toward work on the port to ensure it is up to standard for shipping critical minerals and agricultural goods internationally, and to help explore new trade routes.
  • Arctic Gateway Group — a partnership of dozens of First Nation and Bayline communities that own and operate the rail line — reached an agreement in late 2023 to send up to 20,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate mined by Hudbay Minerals Inc.
  • Spence said Friday freight services are expected to expand this spring, with shipment of critical minerals expected to begin this summer.
Look forward to the first railfan picture of the rail shipment of minerals. I wonder what type of rolling stock they'll use? cc @crs1026 @smallspy
 

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