News   Jun 21, 2024
 4.4K     6 
News   Jun 21, 2024
 1.7K     3 
News   Jun 21, 2024
 1.9K     1 

General railway discussions

The previous residents may not have had the leverage or organization to mount much of a protest. I suspect the site had been residential for long enough that those who remained had acclimatised. I’m not sure that we should “grandfather” a zoning decision that might not meet today’s standards.. The political climate has changed and anyone moving in today - and at today’s housing prices - would likely be much more assertive in complaining about CN’s presence, and in a way that did not give any ground to CN’s seniority or commercial interests.

The issue for CN is likely that any serious restriction of their use of the trackwork in that location would make the entire yard useless.

There is certainly precedent for moving a railway yard out of the centre of the city - both Toronto and Vancouver have done so - but that would require a much bigger planning effort, and the railway would have the opportunity reap the benefit of the underlying land value. I can appreciate CN’s concern that this development would leave CN holding the bag - putting a lot of leverage on CN to move but not enabling the transition in a manner that allows CN to monetise their departure.

IIRC Past articles had suggested that CN wanted “full disclosure” to prospective buyers, and some sort of covenant in title that restricted rights to object to CN’s ptesence, so there was no erosion of CN’s operating practices.

The proper solution may well be to move the yard altogether, but that would require much more skin in the game from Ms Horvath and others….. nobody wants to be next door to a rail yard, so some other residents in the Hamilton area will need to be won over.

- Paul

A great example of this is residents who complain about Toronto Pearson's flight paths despite yyz being nearly 60 yrs old the the communities complaining being recent developments (in the last 20 to 30 yrs)
 
  • Like
Reactions: PL1
Maybe this incident will change that. They say that every rule is written in blood. Maybe a new rule is written.
Doubt it. No blood was shed and railways are huge lobbyists when it comes to influencing government policies. They will put profit over safety everytime. Look at what's going on with NS down south? They haven't learned anything after all of those incidents.
 
Regardless, the hand brakes must be tested prior to leaving the engine. Whether the engineer moves it or a conductor, the rule include the need to testing the brakes.

The report is fairly clear that the crew followed the rules and did what they were required (on paper) to do. The rule (apply five handbrakes) did not establish a sufficient safety margin.
Plus, a "shove test" under the conditions described is not as precise or simple as it sounds. Shoving 63 cars - with all that slack action - to check the handbrake on the 64th car - it's fairly easy for the worker doing the test to misjudge how much force is being applied to the train. The test only proves so much.
There's possibly a lesson here about the weakness of imposing rules as the primary element in a safety system - ie it is possible to follow rules mechanically without spotting or analysing all the details that may indicate an unsafe condition. In comparison to other safety critical industries, railway brake systems (and other aspects of railway operations) leave a lot more in the hands of human performance than we accept elsewhere.

- Paul.
 
If I recall the Lac Megantic incident correctly, it wasn't just the hand brakes. The train was parked (at the top of a grade) with the engine running to keep the air brakes pressurized, but their was a fire and the fire crew shut the engine down when they couldn't contact the train crew (or company, I can't recall).

*****
The was a similar incident in Barrie a number of years ago when a cut of rail cars travelled from up around the old Molson's plant down to the Allendale area. If you can picture the grade change from the NB service centre down to Dunlop, that's quite the change. There were no incidents and I recall it was in the early hours of the morning.
 
If I recall the Lac Megantic incident correctly, it wasn't just the hand brakes. The train was parked (at the top of a grade) with the engine running to keep the air brakes pressurized, but their was a fire and the fire crew shut the engine down when they couldn't contact the train crew (or company, I can't recall).

Lac Megantic was a good case study for the "Swiss Cheese" model. There were multiple barriers that were supposed to independently and collectively assure safety. One was handbrakes (which proved to be inadequate), another was the air brakes (which worked, until the power was removed), another was the placarding of the contents (which were assumed to be benign, but proved to be highly flammable). The weak rules which did not address parking trains on top of a hill (and which thereby bred a complacency that implied that doing so was "safe") was another failure.

*****
The was a similar incident in Barrie a number of years ago when a cut of rail cars travelled from up around the old Molson's plant down to the Allendale area. If you can picture the grade change from the NB service centre down to Dunlop, that's quite the change. There were no incidents and I recall it was in the early hours of the morning.

One hears about some of these. Most happen in situations where the impact is minimal.... for example, if the handbrake on a car fails when the car is in an industrial siding that slopes away from the mainline, the car just rolls to the bumper and stops, where if the slope were towards the mainline, the car might travel further and faster and cause some harm.
Rail workers are trained a lot about the importance of handbrakes, and they do apply them effectively 99.999% of the time. My point is, the risk tolerance of the railway industry is out of date . If airplane landing gear had the same frequency of "rare" failure as railway handbrakes, none of us would fly.

- Paul
 
I would count on a new bridge. Minimum clearance on the Trent Canal is 6.1m over water level.

- Paul
Ya, high speed won't play nice with a moveable bridge and high frequency would play havoc with canal traffic. Given the approach leads needed for a fixed bridge I foresee a ROW relocation away from city's built-up area.
 
Ya, high speed won't play nice with a moveable bridge and high frequency would play havoc with canal traffic. Given the approach leads needed for a fixed bridge I foresee a ROW relocation away from city's built-up area.

The current route thru Central Peterborough is also problemmatic at grade, as it would require a slow order of a couple miles in length.
That’s not to say a bypass would be cheap, either. For comparison, the road clearance provided at Wallace Ave on the Davenport Flyover is 4.8m - so the Trent bridge would be even higher.

- Paul
 
Last edited:
Ya, high speed won't play nice with a moveable bridge and high frequency would play havoc with canal traffic. Given the approach leads needed for a fixed bridge I foresee a ROW relocation away from city's built-up area.
If we assume high frequency, they could time the bridge to move at regular intervals.If that area is double track, it could work to allow enough flow both ways when closed. All of this is moot if it is High Speed.
 
If we assume high frequency, they could time the bridge to move at regular intervals.If that area is double track, it could work to allow enough flow both ways when closed. All of this is moot if it is High Speed.
I'm just not sure if moveable bridges and high frequency traffic are great partners. It would have to be closed with sufficient lead to accommodate advanced signaling and I would think choreographing e/b and w/b traffic to cross at close to the same time might be a big ask.

Bridge movements - opening and closing - are inherently slow, so the total amount of time the canal would be impeded for each cycle would be fairly long. I don't know the numbers but the economic impact of the Trent Severn Waterway, particularly in Peterborough, is not insignificant, and I suspect Parks Canada would not be a favour of having boat traffic impeded on a regular basis.

As Paul mentions, the entire ROW through Peterborough is a bit problematic for any kind of speed or frequency.
 
Depending on what ship volumes are, this might be a potential site for the world’s second “drop lock”, as suggested by @lenaitch some while back:
Depending on things like scheduling, frequency, signalling, etc. I can foresee a conflict between VIA and Parks Canada, unless they can come up with a fast enough turning mechanism.

Maybe they can build a 'drop lock' like they have in Dalmuir Scotland!

View attachment 249670
 
I wouldn't take the GO train or GO bus as often as I do if it wasn't for the parking at Oakville GO station. It would take 15-20 minutes for me to get to a GO station via Oakville transit (not including time to walk and wait at the bus stop) vs 5-7 minutes just to drive to the station.

Last mile transit seems to be the biggest issue in Canada. I guess part of the reason is the design of our suburbs which force our city buses to drive along windy roads that make for longer trips. I was just thinking how transit is actually pretty good in the GTHA, so long as you have a car to drive to the stations and parking is available.

There is a bit of a catch 22 with suburban bus service to GO stations. It is infreqent and inconvenient because most people drive and most people drive because the bus service is infrequent and inconvenient. Of course the car dependance of our suburbs doesn't help (mostly caused by R1 zoning, which was created as a form of legal segrigation to make the suburbs too expensive for anyone who wasn't white). If you are taking transit anyway, and can get away with one fewer car in your household at the time of purchase, you would likley save over $10,000 per year when you add up depreciation (the total price you paid for the car, including interest, minus the money you receive when you sell, divided by the time you own it), insurance, fuel and maintanance.
 
Depending on what ship volumes are, this might be a potential site for the world’s second “drop lock”, as suggested by @lenaitch some while back:
Ha. There's probably a reason the one in Dalmuir is unique. It only has a 10' clearance, so digging to Trent-Severn standards of 6.1 meters (~20') would be quite a pit. It apparently takes about 40 minutes to traverse, since the water has to be pumped out then back in rather than the traditional use of gravity in a 'pound lock'.
 

Back
Top