News   Feb 06, 2023
 1.4K     2 
News   Feb 06, 2023
 442     0 
News   Feb 06, 2023
 1K     0 

General railway discussions

Urban Sky

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
1,513
Reaction score
3,567
Location
Montreal
I mean while you're not WRONG, I don't think fighting this is really worth any significant amount of time or energy...

We are, more or less, a democratic society and that means that at times we're going to do things based more on feeling than anything objective. It's pretty bloody obvious where the feeling we should do something about Lac-Mégantic comes from, and hard to argue with from anything but the kind of technocratic perspective that really doesn't assuage that feeling.
Don’t get me wrong: the residents of Lac-Megantic have all rights to expect the country who benefits from the shipments of weaponized crude oil to ensure that such a tragedy will never again devastate their community. I’m just lambasting our federal government for rather building what is - by any economic standards - a grotesquely superfluous and wasteful project, just because they can’t be asked to do their job, which is to protect all citizens in this country by ensuring that such an entirely preventable disaster won’t happen again anywhere in this country.

As “Railway Age” has commented on the third anniversary of the disaster, “The probability of future, entirely avoidable oil train calamities approaches the inevitable.”

For anyone who thinks that this assessment is sensationalist or overly pessimistic, I highly recommend the book “The Lac-Mégantic Derailment: Public Betrayal - Justice Denied” by Bruce Campbell:

As it happens, the Toronto Public Library has 8 copies available:
 

lenaitch

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
4,469
Reaction score
4,565
But isn't this just the way all governments respond when they are caught wanting, in this case, the abject failure to properly regulate the transportation of dangerous goods - toss money at it. Given enough incidents in enough communities and we'd have a pretty safe network. It probably wouldn't go anywhere near communities, though. Railways went through towns or towns emerged near railways back when they were the primary non-marine method of transportation. What we have now is the legacy of that.

With CP re-acquiring the line, one would suspect that the traffic will increase to some degree.
 

reaperexpress

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 20, 2009
Messages
2,732
Reaction score
4,443
Location
the original Holland Marsh
As someone who has visited Lac-Mégantic less than two months ago with its old CP station which couldn’t be more central (200 meters walk to the lakefront), I can’t think of a more wasteful rail project like this one (has anyone seen a cost-benefit ratio? Can’t imagine it can possibly be higher than one-fith for what is maybe a once-daily freight train…), just because the only way we can imagine to ensure that such a catastrophe won’t reproduce itself at the same place is to make sure that no trains run anymore at that place and just because we lack the confidence or determination to make sure it will never happen again anywhere in this country.

In a nodd to a famous series of articles published by a certain “honest news” outlet in the US, I have to think of “‘No way to prevent this!’ says only country where this happens all the time” whenever we hear of a new derailment - they are just taken as an inevitable side effect of modern life - just like mass shootings in the US or cars killing pedestrians or cyclists in any country…

You're certainly right that the cost-benefit is dubious and this project isn't any more likely to prevent future incidents than similar infrastructure upgrades elsewhere. However, this type of infrastructure does help to improve safety by eliminating level crossings. It also improves the quality of life in the town by eliminating the noise of the trains and enabling new north-south bicycle/pedestrian connections in places where there currently isn't a level crossing.

There are probably other places along other lines where you could make a bigger infrastructure improvement with the same money but I don't mind bumping Lac Mégantic to the top of the list given the hardship they have endured.
 

dowlingm

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
3,957
Reaction score
1,824
the bypass doesn’t remove the trains from the Lac Megantic district, merely skirts the town centre, linking up with an existing storage yard. It still keeps the noise of passing locomotives within earshot, and probably much of the vibration too. I wouldn’t blame Lac Megantic residents, who had neighbours and their town centre destroyed, for thinking this the least that could be done for them, since a passenger service to Sherbrooke and Montreal isn’t on the cards either..

the one thing that gives me pause is the dismantling of the existing rail. It would have been nice to see something like a heritage tramway funded to operate on the railway, to give some local use and enjoyment to what was previously hauling private goods and profits from inland to tidewater.
 
  • Like
Reactions: T3G

lenaitch

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
4,469
Reaction score
4,565
the bypass doesn’t remove the trains from the Lac Megantic district, merely skirts the town centre, linking up with an existing storage yard. It still keeps the noise of passing locomotives within earshot, and probably much of the vibration too. I wouldn’t blame Lac Megantic residents, who had neighbours and their town centre destroyed, for thinking this the least that could be done for them, since a passenger service to Sherbrooke and Montreal isn’t on the cards either..

the one thing that gives me pause is the dismantling of the existing rail. It would have been nice to see something like a heritage tramway funded to operate on the railway, to give some local use and enjoyment to what was previously hauling private goods and profits from inland to tidewater.

Heritage railways struggle to operate, particularly in Canada and what would be the marketing hook; 'come ride a train that burned down the town'? Without knowing, perhaps the locals would rather not have the reminder of the rails through the downtown.

Unless there was a lot of marshaling going on, I suspect most locals never noticed the trains. I lived across the road from a signalized crossing on the CP Mactier sub, working shifts. After the first or second night, I never heard a thing. Grade and power settings make the difference.
 
Last edited:

Bordercollie

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
1,624
Reaction score
1,120
I'm not a conductor, I work in the Intermodal yards as an equipment operator. Shunt trucks, cranes, etc.

IMO it all comes down to the scheduling. Railroads are terrible for work/life balance. The only people who do well and stick it out are the ones who are motivated to make money.
When you first start out, you have to go on the "spare board" which basically means you're "on call". CN is unionized, and when it comes to bidding on a shift, the most senior guys get the day shifts with Sat/Sun off, where as the most junior guys get stuck working nights with Tues/Wednesday off. When it dawns on them that they're not going to have a Saturday off (unless they use vacation days) for the next 5 years, they decide to quit and go work another job for less money with weekends off. I've been at CN for 4 years now, and I've manage to score a day shift with Tues/Wednesdays off. Everyone is counting on Milton getting built. We're hoping it'll open up a bunch of Sat/Sun shifts.
Money wise the railroad is great! I'm in the best financial shape of my life. I couldn't make this type of money anywhere else, cause I only have a high school education. I try to tell new hires to tough it out. I explain to them how important the pension is, but these young guys in their early 20's care more about going out on Fri/Sat nights than early retirement. They get called at 2am on Sunday morning to report to work for 4am, and they don't show up. Who can blame them? I probably would have done the same thing when I was their age.
Now when it comes to conductors. It's an even worst situation. They get paid more, but I feel bad for them. I can make Tues/Wednesday work for me. But their schedules are absolutely messed up. If they didn't pay these guys the most, they wouldn't have anyone driving these trains.
But other organizations like public transit use a similar model and it doesn't seem to be an issue retaining staff.
 

Bordercollie

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
1,624
Reaction score
1,120
As someone who has visited Lac-Mégantic less than two months ago with its old CP station which couldn’t be more central (200 meters walk to the lakefront), I can’t think of a more wasteful rail project like this one (has anyone seen a cost-benefit ratio? Can’t imagine it can possibly be higher than one-fith for what is maybe a once-daily freight train…), just because the only way we can imagine to ensure that such a catastrophe won’t reproduce itself at the same place is to make sure that no trains run anymore at that place and just because we lack the confidence or determination to make sure it will never happen again anywhere in this country.

In a nodd to a famous series of articles published by a certain “honest news” outlet in the US, I have to think of “‘No way to prevent this!’ says only country where this happens all the time” whenever we hear of a new derailment - they are just taken as an inevitable side effect of modern life - just like mass shootings in the US or cars killing pedestrians or cyclists in any country…
I'm sure that there are ways of mitigating the same thing from happening again, but I think the point is that's what they WERE SUPPOSED to be doing in the first place. The company operating the train should have lost their license many times over. But profits take priority and moving the tracks is the only way to ensure that it doesn't happen again.
 

reaperexpress

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 20, 2009
Messages
2,732
Reaction score
4,443
Location
the original Holland Marsh
I'm sure that there are ways of mitigating the same thing from happening again, but I think the point is that's what they WERE SUPPOSED to be doing in the first place. The company operating the train should have lost their license many times over. But profits take priority and moving the tracks is the only way to ensure that it doesn't happen again.
I think the point is that moving the tracks doesn't ensure that it doesn't happen again. All it does is ensure that it doesn't happen in that particular location again. It does nothing to actually address the root causes of the disaster.
 

Bordercollie

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
1,624
Reaction score
1,120
I think the point is that moving the tracks doesn't ensure that it doesn't happen again. All it does is ensure that it doesn't happen in that particular location again. It does nothing to actually address the root causes of the disaster.
Well the railway operator that caused the incident got bought by CP and they have new rules on how to tie down a train. But yes it doesn't guarantee it from happening elsewhere.
 

Northern Light

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
23,277
Reaction score
59,122
Location
Toronto/EY
Today we have an exciting Federal news release......... LOL

The government has retained external consultants to advise on possible and plausible improvements to rail service in south western Ontario, with that report due by the end of next year.

Thank goodness for Ottawa leading with decisive action!


From the above:

1668098656686.png
 

Bordercollie

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
1,624
Reaction score
1,120
Today we have an exciting Federal news release......... LOL

The government has retained external consultants to advise on possible and plausible improvements to rail service in south western Ontario, with that report due by the end of next year.

Thank goodness for Ottawa leading with decisive action!


From the above:
Really a year to do the study?
 

Towered

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
7,847
Reaction score
8,200
Today we have an exciting Federal news release......... LOL

The government has retained external consultants to advise on possible and plausible improvements to rail service in south western Ontario, with that report due by the end of next year.

Thank goodness for Ottawa leading with decisive action!


From the above:

View attachment 438457
Perhaps the study might even figure out a way to re-connect "railway city" to the system!
 

crs1026

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
8,636
Reaction score
15,753
I wondered who CPCS are - So I looked them up. Their team is here.

Only name I recognised is - Michael Schabas. Lots of international depth to their team.

- Paul

PS - Schabas is quite familiar with the route - see here
 

Bordercollie

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
1,624
Reaction score
1,120
Perhaps the study might even figure out a way to re-connect "railway city" to the system!
This corridor is selected likely because the Biden administration is investing in Amtrak and may be looking at brining a cross border train back. So they would need to upgrade the Canadian side to provide Amtrak with better travel times.
 

Top