News   Oct 06, 2022
 451     0 
News   Oct 06, 2022
 1K     0 
News   Oct 06, 2022
 1.1K     0 

General railway discussions

Northern Light

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
21,347
Reaction score
51,998
Location
Toronto/EY
One would think if any party in power would be open to investing and restoring the line it would be the NDP or the Greens but that appears not to be the case here.


Irrespective of the merits for restored freight/passenger service across the Island, the Victoria area needs some form of mass transit and/or commuter rail options. While that corridor could form part of the solution, there are other options; but none are cheap, and governments everywhere need to stop making excuses for deferring necessary investments.
 

crs1026

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
8,192
Reaction score
14,106
I don't understand why end customers don't have limited push-pull power on-site, the idea of having a mainline loco do on-property maneuvering seems needlessly painful.

For clarity, I'm not suggesting that on-site power needs to be an industry owned loco, there are lots of ways to shift cars around, you can use any number of forms of winch system (think pulling a roller coaster up hill); you can do this from under a train, alongside a train or overhead. You simply need the power, and a place to attach it to the lead car. Train car breaks should really have blue-tooth at this point.

Alternatively, one can obviously use much smaller powered vehicles (vs mainline locos) for small movements.

Also, looking at the runarounds has me wondering why turntables aren't more common. Seems like it was a very practical idea.

Many customers do this. There are plenty of "trackmobiles" (basically a tractor with rail wheels as well as rubber tires) in use by single customers. And larger industries have "critters" - a customer-owned locomotive resident at the industry. And plenty of winches, etc. Almost every classic prairie grain elevator had a winch system to shuffle cars.

The downside is having to have employees who are trained (and possibly Transport Canada certified) to handle the equipment. And potential red tape, er, regulatory environmental or safety requirements. If hazardous materials are involved, there will be an interface between plant staff and the plant's safety and environmental procedures and the railway's safety and environmental systems.

The problem is that many industries are on smaller properties that were build with only a small rail siding, and their business has outgrown that facility. It may be more economic to pay for shuffling railcars (and using them for short term storage) instead of relocating and rebuilding the plant at a new location to increase the railcar or storage (eg tank farm) capacity. Similarly, it may be cheaper to build a siding somewhere else down the line and pay to shuffle cars back and forth, rather than trying to buy land from neighbours to enlarge the local yard.

That's the shortline's niche - figuring out how they can offer customers the best service at lowest price, and basically being the contracted-out local car shuffler on behalf of customers. That may involve creating a small yard to service several customers, tailoring operations around particular customers' production, or stationing a dedicated crew and engine at a facility at the customer's beck and call. There is a fair bit of business planning required before one builds a siding or yard - will the business be there for long enough to pay back the investment? And a fair bit of expertise to get the needed approvals, hire a contractor, oversee the construction, etc before the siding or yard can be built.

At the other end, it may mean designing the interface with the Class 1 railway to collect and deliver traffic in a manner that meshes smoothly with a PSR-inclined bulk system.

- Paul
 
Last edited:

lenaitch

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
4,096
Reaction score
4,031
Excellent Video!

Of course, it also make a clear case for completely upending the entire rail industry in order to resolve such nonsensical dis-efficiency.
The moment the track is nationalized or otherwise becomes full-common carrier, you radically cut the complexity of such operations and the number of moves required.

This, of course, is how highways operate; imagine if trucks could only operate alone roads/highways owned by their trucking company? That sound absurd on its face; but then it can be no less absurd in rail.

Rail companies should own the cars, and manage the staff/logistics that operate them, but not the actual rail. A curiosity that it hasn't unfolded that way, since it would actually benefit the bottom line enormously.
Once the track is common carrier, it means that movements between different tracks can be optimized, including yard storage.

This would also improve competition and, in theory lower costs.

As an interim matter, I would argue for legislating universal running rights and a fixed fee so that trains can begin using anyone's tracks; existing runs get grandfathered preferential slots; but after that, first come, first serve.

Now, bear with me, I'm going to be marginally fanciful here, but this is not meant to be absurd over-reach, merely looking ahead a bit to where I think last movement should be....

I don't understand why end customers don't have limited push-pull power on-site, the idea of having a mainline loco do on-property maneuvering seems needlessly painful.

For clarity, I'm not suggesting that on-site power needs to be an industry owned loco, there are lots of ways to shift cars around, you can use any number of forms of winch system (think pulling a roller coaster up hill); you can do this from under a train, alongside a train or overhead. You simply need the power, and a place to attach it to the lead car. Train car breaks should really have blue-tooth at this point.

Alternatively, one can obviously use much smaller powered vehicles (vs mainline locos) for small movements.

Also, looking at the runarounds has me wondering why turntables aren't more common. Seems like it was a very practical idea.
In addition to what Paul said, there has to be a financial implication to nationalizing privately-held assets. Hasn't the UK gone through this (a couple of times?)?

Unlike trucks on roads, the way I understand it, train crews have to qualified/certified/whatever on a particular piece of track, so universal running rights might not be as smooth as envisioned.

Turntables pretty much died with stream locomotive, which were, for all intents and purposes, uni-directional except for yard switchers. I imagine their upkeep and labour costs doomed them. In some cases, the locomotive needs to get at the other end of the train, so a turntable wouldn't solve much. Also, I think this is a bit of an extreme example - not all drops require a run-around.
 

roger1818

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
736
Reaction score
1,335
Location
Ottawa
One would think if any party in power would be open to investing and restoring the line it would be the NDP or the Greens but that appears not to be the case here.


From listening to the clip, it seems to me that it isn't that Horgan doesn't want to, but that he can't find a path forward. Given the costs involved, he needs federal buy in, and he probably isn't getting the support he needs.
 

kalis0490

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jun 29, 2022
Messages
37
Reaction score
73
From listening to the clip, it seems to me that it isn't that Horgan doesn't want to, but that he can't find a path forward. Given the costs involved, he needs federal buy in, and he probably isn't getting the support he needs.

Victorian residents when An old twig is cut down, "ahh save the trees"
Victorian residents when a profitable rail proposal is mentioned "crickets"

Maybe Victoria doesn't deserve its reputation as an "eco friendly place" when even London has a better rapid transit goal
 

crs1026

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
8,192
Reaction score
14,106
Victorian residents when An old twig is cut down, "ahh save the trees"
Victorian residents when a profitable rail proposal is mentioned "crickets"

Maybe Victoria doesn't deserve its reputation as an "eco friendly place" when even London has a better rapid transit goal

Victoria has a decent public transit system, which is well used.

Victorians own, and use, cars - especially when going up island.

That makes them pretty similar to many other places.

- Paul
 

Allandale25

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
7,635
Reaction score
11,186
Not really railway related but interesting that this happened and I'm sure something to be mindful of for the industry for transit/railway capital projects.


cc @crs1026 @smallspy
 

roger1818

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 25, 2020
Messages
736
Reaction score
1,335
Location
Ottawa
Victorian residents when An old twig is cut down, "ahh save the trees"
Victorian residents when a profitable rail proposal is mentioned "crickets"

Maybe Victoria doesn't deserve its reputation as an "eco friendly place" when even London has a better rapid transit goal

While the E&N railway was built in the Victorian era, I don't know how the opinions of residents back then matters. ;)

All joking aside, Victoria's residents are generally in favour of preserving the rails (there are some who would rather a trail, but active mobility is also eco friendly, and you could have both). It is the federal government that is reluctant to spend the money. Having said that, I don't know where you get the idea that it is profitable.
 

Bureaucromancer

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 7, 2010
Messages
600
Reaction score
616
While the E&N railway was built in the Victorian era, I don't know how the opinions of residents back then matters. ;)

All joking aside, Victoria's residents are generally in favour of preserving the rails (there are some who would rather a trail, but active mobility is also eco friendly, and you could have both). It is the federal government that is reluctant to spend the money. Having said that, I don't know where you get the idea that it is profitable.
That is what the business case indicates, bearing in mind we are talking operationally; no hope of it covering capital.
 

crs1026

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
8,192
Reaction score
14,106
^The Victorians I know speak fondly of the train as a potential tourist attraction, clearly without any intention of ever using it themselves. The issue is the last mile (or last dozen miles) at the north end of the journey - any place they would be heading northwards to visit requires a car to get all the way there.

It’s the folks who live or want to live in cheaper real estate north of Victoria and commute to the city who really want to see it happen. The congestion on the highway running north is a real impediment to getting into and out of Victoria..

- Paul.
 

Bordercollie

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
1,220
Reaction score
889
^The Victorians I know speak fondly of the train as a potential tourist attraction, clearly without any intention of ever using it themselves. The issue is the last mile (or last dozen miles) at the north end of the journey - any place they would be heading northwards to visit requires a car to get all the way there.

It’s the folks who live or want to live in cheaper real estate north of Victoria and commute to the city who really want to see it happen. The congestion on the highway running north is a real impediment to getting into and out of Victoria..

- Paul.
Is there no freight service on the line? Wouldn't that be a benefit to take trucks off the road? Carry containers from one part of the island to the other?
 

crs1026

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
8,192
Reaction score
14,106
Is there no freight service on the line? Wouldn't that be a benefit to take trucks off the road? Carry containers from one part of the island to the other?

Again, one has to understand where the line sits in its life cycle.

If there were a modern, up-to-date, properly-maintained rail line available, one might - I say might, not can - generate scenarios that might - not would, just might - be competitive to existing highway and marine transport.

The obstacle is that the line is worn out and needing end-to-end renewal, before even a single customer can be sought.

There is no “start small and grow the business“ opportunity here. No investor - even government - would drop so much startup money in the blind hope that it might pay off some day.

Even McKenzie and Mann would laugh at that proposal.

- Paul
 
Last edited:

Bordercollie

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
1,220
Reaction score
889
Again, one has to understand where the line sits in its life cycle.

If there were a modern, up-to-date, properly-maintained rail line available, one might - I say might, not can - generate scenarios that might - not would, just might - be competitive to existing highway and marine transport.

The obstacle is that the line is worn out and needing end-to-end renewal, before even a single customer can be sought.

There is no “start small and grow the business“ opportunity here. No investor - even government - would drop so much money in the blind hope that it might pay off some day.

Even McKenzie and Mann would laugh at that proposal.

- Paul
Surely if the Churchill line can be economically viable this one can. Right?
 

Top