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General railway discussions

Northern Light

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The one image there demands to be pulled forward:

1637091962241.png
 

DirectionNorth

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They're saying that it could take weeks for it to be reopened. After all, rebuilding culverts and bridges takes time (even if you really need speed). Meanwhile, Vancouver is totally cut off.

Bets on prices of necessities in Vancouver and cost of goods all over Canada over the next few weeks?
 

afransen

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Bets on prices of necessities in Vancouver and cost of goods all over Canada over the next few weeks?
I doubt prices will spike, but shelves will be empty.

There is going to be an absolute mountain of containers stuck at the port, too. Canada is a lot more vulnerable than the US in this regard. Maybe they can divert containers to flow through the US by rail, but that may be hard to scale.
 

roger1818

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There is going to be an absolute mountain of containers stuck at the port, too. Canada is a lot more vulnerable than the US in this regard. Maybe they can divert containers to flow through the US by rail, but that may be hard to scale.

Except BNSF's track is washed out as well.
 

Northern Light

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They're saying that it could take weeks for it to be reopened. After all, rebuilding culverts and bridges takes time (even if you really need speed). Meanwhile, Vancouver is totally cut off.

Bets on prices of necessities in Vancouver and cost of goods all over Canada over the next few weeks?

One thing about having a grocery oligopoly, you don't get a lot of places to hide if you overtly gouge.

I expect the price of necessities, where available will hold fairly steady in that category.

In part, this is also because relatively little food comes in from Asia, the key here for most non-perishable product is whether the chains in question have a major warehouse in the Vancouver area, that is not cut off from most stores.
If they do, they have at least some buffer zone.

Though perishables will probably thin-out fairly quick. Most perishables arrive by truck, not rail, so the key there, particularly at this time of year, will be the roads to the U.S. and points south.

The challenges will therefore be in absolute availability over price, I think, in that category.

As to other goods, all the majors began to get Christmas inventory in weeks ago; they may yet have some trailing supply due to well known bottlenecks occuring at the west coast ports.

But that will probably be ok, or at least no worse than it was, in respect of the Vancouver area.

However, where that trailing supply is either still on ships, or in containers at port, waiting to be shipped east............there may be some real headaches.

****

Put another way, maybe go Christmas shop in person, this week.

But wait a day or two......... to give me a head start!
 
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lenaitch

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One thing about having a grocery oligopoly, you don't get a lot of places to hide if you overtly gouge.

I expect the price of necessities, where available will hold fairly steady in that category.

In part, this is also because relatively little food comes in from Asia, the key here for most non-perishable product is whether the chains in question have a major warehouse in the Vancouver area, that is not cut off from most stores.
If they do, they have at least some buffer zone.

Though perishables will probably thin-out fairly quick. Most perishables arrive by truck, not rail, so the key there, particularly at this time of year, will be the roads to the U.S. and points south.

The challenges will therefore be in absolute availability over price, I think, in that category.

As to other goods, all the majors began to get Christmas inventory in weeks ago; they may yet have some trailing supply due to well known bottlenecks occuring at the west coast ports.

But that will probably ok, or at least no worse than it was, in respect of the Vancouver area.

However, where that trailing supply is either still on ships, or in containers at port, waiting to be shipped east............there may be some real headaches.

****

Put another way, maybe go Christmas shop in person, this week.

But wait a day or two......... to give me a head start!
We have been (sorry), and already have had some online orders cancelled. The missus was in town shopping today - Christmas and otherwise - and found that what is advertised on websites is not matching what's actually in the stores. It seems there is disconnect between IT and warehousing/shipping. Maybe what we are looking for is bobbing around the Pacific or bumping up against the Vancouver Island coast.

Tie-ups of container traffic will become a significant problem. The ports won't take what they can't move, and ships circling looking for another port with spare capacity is going to be very expensive. Additionally, we have outbound grain traffic. Price Rupert will only have so much spare capacity, Churchill is at the start of a two-year maintenance closure, and would be at end-of-season anyway, and the Seaway is scheduled to close around the new year. Whether the seaway can be kept open with emergency efforts is unknown, but there is still rail capacity to contend with. Shipping through US ports - perhaps, but a buyer might be looking at a price that is unattractive. Other bulk, and petrochemical imports and exports face similar problems.
 

IRT_BMT_IND

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BNSF has crews repairing their line right now and will apparently have the line open pretty soon, which is not surprising given that railways are pretty experienced in fixing washouts quickly. The biggest problem with diverting trains through the US is probably the bottlenecks in Chicago. CN apparently has told investors that service will be restored in "days", they could be blowing smoke, but it also could be the damage is less severe on their side of the Fraser Canyon.

Maybe this is a message for Canada to pull the bandaid off and spend the money to build the kind of infrastructure seen in Europe and Japan over the Rockies. It's not like the extreme weather situation will get better, and if the alternative is rebuilding the Coquihalla every year it's probably cheaper in the long run.
 
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Northern Light

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Maybe this is a message for Canada to pull the bandaid off and spend the money to build the kind of infrastructure seen in Europe and Japan over the Rockies. It's not like the extreme weather situation will get better, and if the alternative is rebuilding the Coquihalla every year it's probably cheaper in the long run.

That would be one seriously expensive bandaid ripping.

If you avoided (nearly) all risk of flooding or landslides with extensive tunnels .......

The Gothard Tunnel in Switzerland opened 5 years ago, after 17 years of construction, and having expended roughly $12.5B US
That's for roughly 57km of track.

The rough distance through Canada's Mountains is ~600km from just east of Canmore to just west of Vancouver.
Now, clearly, not every section would meet the criterion for tunnelling.......

Still, if you went with that for even 1/2 the distance, where it would mitigate the most risk, or generate the most travel savings...........
You're looking at well north of $100B USD in today's $ on a go-forward basis.

That makes HSR in the corridor look like pocket change!

Which is not to say we shouldn't look at tunnelling some sections of key road and rail infrastructure in the west......
But the costs involved, mean it would be decades before we saw a material benefit.

Just sayin.
 
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Kitsune

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.. straight line from Downtown Calgary to Downtown Vancouver is about 650km. Would need a bunch of 10km tunnels - and then bridge between them. Once you get over the rockies there is large break in the mountains .. that is prolly the tricky point: Getting it from 1400m in elevation to 0m in 250-300km. Also consider 4km of four laning highway 1 in the kicking horse pass is costing 600 million... so HSR would be untold hundreds of billions.
 

crs1026

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But the costs involved, mean it would be decades before we saw a material benefit.

Just sayin.

I will admit having looked at the CP line on a map and wondering what the numbers might be behind a Gothard-length tunnel or two, say one from Canmore to Field, another from Glacier to Golden. The goal being, both operational savings through a straight weather-protected line, and energy/carbon savings from cutting off the tops of the worst grades on the route. I don't know what the savings might be, but at even $250M per year, a $10B tunnel has a credible payback period given it's a piece of infrastructure with a 100-year life cycle.

I'm not sure that slide protection alone would justify that expense, but it might be a consideration, especially if this kind of event appears likely to recur more often.

I'm not sure that anyone - shareholders, executive, or politicians - has thought through the "what if" scenarios associated with climate change sufficiently. If our national system for moving goods, that was previously thought to be relatively reliable and maintainable, is going to see this degree of disruption going forward, we ought to be having the discussion about tunnels etc.

- Paul

PS - Couldn't have happened at a worse time for the global supply chain, which is already stressed. But why are we shipping so many commodities such a distance? Maybe the pendulum is about to swing backwards on the idea of sourcing things overseas....here's the current situation off the coast of Los Angeles

Screen Shot 2021-11-16 at 6.15.00 PM.png
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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That would be one seriously expensive bandaid ripping.

If you avoided (nearly) all risk of flooding or landslides with extensive tunnels .......

The Gothard Tunnel in Switzerland opened 5 years ago, after 17 years of construction, and having expended roughly $12.5B US
That's for roughly 57km of track.

The rough distance through Canada's Mountains is ~600km from just east of Canmore to just west of Vancouver.
Now, clearly, not every section would meet the criterion for tunnelling.......

Still, if you went with that for even 1/2 the distance, where it would mitigate the most risk, or generate the most travel savings...........
You're looking at well north of $100B USD in today's $ on a go-forward basis.

That makes HSR in the corridor look like pocket change!

Which is not to say we shouldn't look at tunnelling some sections of key road and rail infrastructure in the west......
But the costs involved, mean it would be decades before we saw a material benefit.

Just sayin.

Not necessarily tunnelling - but monitoring and if necessary strengthening the slopes; designing for greater peak flows for bridges, culverts, etc. Extreme events like these are likely going to be more frequent going forward - and this is a wakeup call.

AoD
 
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