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General railway discussions

Northern Light

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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

A CBC article follows up on the above, and adds precious little:


It gets quotes from a couple of 'industry watchers', including a far less knowledgeable Paul than UT's own @crs1026
 

reaperexpress

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A CBC article follows up on the above, and adds precious little:


It gets quotes from a couple of 'industry watchers', including a far less knowledgeable Paul than UT's own @crs1026
Good ol' Paul Langan... He says "the aging tracks west of Kitchener are congested and without new, dedicated passenger tracks, there's no way more frequent trains can run."

I have a lot of choice words for the track (singular) west of Kitchener, but "congested" isn't one of them. For an "expert", Paul seems concerningly ignorant of the concept of double tracking existing railways.

Maybe we should make our own BS organisation so we can get our hot takes published in the CBC too. Between "TTC Riders" and "High Speed Rail Canada" the media has clearly demonstrated that all you need is an official-sounding name. Actual knowledge or expertise is superfluous.
 

wopchop

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Good ol' Paul Langan... He says "the aging tracks west of Kitchener are congested and without new, dedicated passenger tracks, there's no way more frequent trains can run."

I have a lot of choice words for the track (singular) west of Kitchener, but "congested" isn't one of them. For an "expert", Paul seems concerningly ignorant of the concept of double tracking existing railways.

Maybe we should make our own BS organisation so we can get our hot takes published in the CBC too. Between "TTC Riders" and "High Speed Rail Canada" the media has clearly demonstrated that all you need is an official-sounding name. Actual knowledge or expertise is superfluous.
And perhaps one day we too can gain a lucrative high speed rail consulting contact!
 

drum118

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One reason I refused to join groups after my short stay with a few as a few speak not for the whole group but themselves or goal. I join TTC Rocker Riders in the early days of 2000's that was under the control TEA and only someone from TEA could comment on transit based on which way the winds were blowing. It was more of a social group with most not wanting to do anything on various issues. Some only join to deal with their issue and were gone if anything was done about it or could not be done. I was gone by 2008 after working with a few other on sitting up another group only having a few say we need to be part of X and X would speak for our group.

I can't speak to the whole corridor as I have never taken the train east of Toronto nor look close at the line, but can going to Windsor.

To have any good service and speed, you need good infrastructure to handle speed up to 250 km min which RR's don't need in the first place. You need 2 tracks for 20 or less trains a day with sidings and 3-4 over 30 a day or with 5-10 mile sidings.

There are many places along the line where 3 tracks is all you are going to get for various reason, with a few being hard to even get 3.

As it stands today, VIA is competing with GO Transit on The Kitchener line as well Niagara Fall Line to the point by my view not worth it for VIA. The Maple Leaf train is an Amtrak train that runs once a day to/from the US. This leaves the Windsor corridor.

VIA is moving to a new fleet and have no issues with it, but not all trains need to be five cars if you are running trains hourly to 3 hours apart. From what I see, having 3 hour service will attract more riders than 1-3 train a day that take place today as well before COVID.

One needs to look where out of service lines can be restore to offer a few trips a day and will require a bucket of money to bring lines and corridors up to standard to offer 100km service along with replacing bridges to handle the new standards. Again, some of these lines only need 3 car trains that should be DMU, but prefer to see EMU until other sources can replace them.

Looking at a number of towns and cities along major rail corridors in Europe, a number act as a hub to service other towns. London and Hamilton would be good hubs

Rode a number of ICM3 trains that started off as a single train and end up being 3 trains since part of them became another train that branch off the line other when in another direction. Where the train came apart on the fly, the cabs folded out from the side and in place before the train came to a stop.

Changing the minds of RR in NA is a very hard nut to crack or even be open to having passenger trains on their line in the first place.

The only way we can do it in Canada is to built lines for passenger trains only at great cost and not close to towns that should see service in the first pace.
 

Allandale25

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Good to see.

 

Bordercollie

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We used to do this but it has changed to intermodal containers. Unfortunately railroads are not as flexible as trucks when it comes to pickup and delivery times.

It's better to use a combination of trucks for short distances and trains for long distances. Electric trucks can offset emissions for the last mile and is more realistic taking into consideration that electric vehicles are better suited for city use rather than on the highway.
 

just east of the creek

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We used to do this but it has changed to intermodal containers. Unfortunately railroads are not as flexible as trucks when it comes to pickup and delivery times.

It's better to use a combination of trucks for short distances and trains for long distances. Electric trucks can offset emissions for the last mile and is more realistic taking into consideration that electric vehicles are better suited for city use rather than on the highway.
I've often mused on the lack of 'piggyback' freight (tofc) services by most railways as a complement to Container shipping (cofc). In my exposure to some railways, there just seemed to be a distinct lack of interest, tofc did not seem to fit into precision railroading, private freight cars and a multiplicity of train movements. There have been a number of studies and follow up working projects in such places such as China and Russia (Siberia) and perhaps there is a reawakening interest due to such factors as driver shortages and apparently carbon emissions. I think the model would have great merit in a number of situations where it would mix in with more local last mile electric truck service.

And in this country with such long distances certain fixed models (e.g. Toronto - Montreal - Moncton) would seem to be worthy of study.
 

Fritter

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I often check out Virtual Railfan channel on YouTube that shows many live feeds of railways across America including one in Revelstoke BC. I have noticed on the American railways, many trains with piggybacked UPS, FedEx, Wal-Mart and even Amazon trailers being transported by rail and I have wondered why I don't see this on Canadian Railroads. The closest I've seen on CN/CP are shipping containers that appear to be painted and owned by Canadian Tire and Giant Tiger.
 

just east of the creek

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I often check out Virtual Railfan channel on YouTube that shows many live feeds of railways across America including one in Revelstoke BC. I have noticed on the American railways, many trains with piggybacked UPS, FedEx, Wal-Mart and even Amazon trailers being transported by rail and I have wondered why I don't see this on Canadian Railroads. The closest I've seen on CN/CP are shipping containers that appear to be painted and owned by Canadian Tire and Giant Tiger.
Neat web site.
 

crs1026

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The issue is purely economic. Traditional Piggyback loading and unloading (ie by ramp) is less efficient than container loading (by lift). How is this difference resolved? By loading and unloading trailers by lift.…. just like a container. And once you load and unload by container, why haul the wheels and tires along, because the load can be secured better and even stacked if containers are used…Wheels and tires are always available at the destination.
And, assuming you will need an inventory of containers for transshipped goods (of which we have an awful lot in a world based economy) - having a whole separate and incompatible transport technology ie trailers is costly.
Why do some US railways still accept piggyback? Because well-paying customers insist on it. They want their goods to roll away from the terminal immediately. They won’t tolerate their goods standing still in a container stack. So they pay a premium. But the big variable is still whether the time taken to load and unload, and the fare charged, is better than the time and cost to put the trailer behind a cab and drive it all the way.
If Canadian shippers were willing to pay enough, we might see a return to piggyback.

- Paul
 

Bordercollie

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The issue is purely economic. Traditional Piggyback loading and unloading (ie by ramp) is less efficient than container loading (by lift). How is this difference resolved? By loading and unloading trailers by lift.…. just like a container. And once you load and unload by container, why haul the wheels and tires along, because the load can be secured better and even stacked if containers are used…Wheels and tires are always available at the destination.
And, assuming you will need an inventory of containers for transshipped goods (of which we have an awful lot in a world based economy) - having a whole separate and incompatible transport technology ie trailers is costly.
Why do some US railways still accept piggyback? Because well-paying customers insist on it. They want their goods to roll away from the terminal immediately. They won’t tolerate their goods standing still in a container stack. So they pay a premium. But the big variable is still whether the time taken to load and unload, and the fare charged, is better than the time and cost to put the trailer behind a cab and drive it all the way.
If Canadian shippers were willing to pay enough, we might see a return to piggyback.

- Paul
The beauty of containers is that they can be loaded and offloaded using a rubber tire crane.

Using 20-40 foot containers a train could leave Toronto for say Montreal at Midnight and stop along the way at places to load and unload containers. Build a siding with a road and use one of these cranes (https://www.google.com/search?q=mob...d=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#imgrc=08C3zaQ48IgxvM).

You can utilize commuter corridors as well. Often depots for the food industry are located in the city. And then fan out to deliver to McDonald's, Starbucks, TimHortons etc. If you had direct rail access you could load the containers during the day and then at midnight the train would leave and head to the destination.

The problem with this is that without a congestion fee into the city it's simply cheaper to use a truck from end to end unless it's for longer distances.
 

just east of the creek

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The issue is purely economic. Traditional Piggyback loading and unloading (ie by ramp) is less efficient than container loading (by lift). How is this difference resolved? By loading and unloading trailers by lift.…. just like a container. And once you load and unload by container, why haul the wheels and tires along, because the load can be secured better and even stacked if containers are used…Wheels and tires are always available at the destination.
And, assuming you will need an inventory of containers for transshipped goods (of which we have an awful lot in a world based economy) - having a whole separate and incompatible transport technology ie trailers is costly.
Why do some US railways still accept piggyback? Because well-paying customers insist on it. They want their goods to roll away from the terminal immediately. They won’t tolerate their goods standing still in a container stack. So they pay a premium. But the big variable is still whether the time taken to load and unload, and the fare charged, is better than the time and cost to put the trailer behind a cab and drive it all the way.
If Canadian shippers were willing to pay enough, we might see a return to piggyback.

- Paul
I have heard this and I think the time to re-examine those arguments.

The sheer volume of dry van trailers (and I think you would have some limitations on lifting technologies re bulk tankers, but maybe not flatbed units) should provoke the interest of almost any organization. I believe (although I do not see recent figures) that there are over 5 million commercial trailers in the USA (no breakdown by type) (Canadian figures I found suggest 9 million trailer registrations - but I am assuming this means every non-commercial trailer as well), of which the larger majority are dry van type.

In todays day and age I have a hard time believing that better, automated lifting or transfer technologies don't exist and cannot be implemented.

Work has been done on such concepts in Poland and the EU in general, in Russia, and in China that I am aware of. Combine tofc with cofc, add in a mix of electric and hydrogen fueled motive power, add in last mile electric trucks, and you should have a much more carbon efficient method of longer distance freight movements, plus a more efficient utilization of both railways and other scarce resources i.e. drivers.

Its quite possible the 'precision rail' acts as a barrier, but I understand that a movement or some movement from precision rail to a more service orientated service may be underway in some sectors of the rail industry.

If I could source some information on the number of movements between centers i.e. Toronto-Moncton, then I think we could really have a discussion.
 

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