News   May 24, 2024
 286     0 
News   May 24, 2024
 244     0 
News   May 24, 2024
 1.2K     3 

Newfoundland Rail Connection

Admiral Beez

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
12,283
Reaction score
6,396
The folks running VIA want to offer comprehensive rail nationwide. There’s no point working there if all you want is to reduce yourself to a niche service. It comes down to money from the governments.

I’d like to see a train bridge from Gaspe or Labrador to Newfoundland, linking every province to the national carrier. Sorry PEI, it’s the VIA bus for you https://media.viarail.ca/en/press-r...16-via-rail-expands-its-network-through-marit
 
Gaspe to Newfoundland. Now that would be an engineering marvel - 200km across the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There have been studies around a bridge/tunnel between Newfoundland's northern peninsula and the mainland and they have confirmed that the economics simply aren't there. Once you're on the mainland, you are still many sleeps across rugged terrain to the Rest of Canada.
 
Gaspe to Newfoundland. Now that would be an engineering marvel - 200km across the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The 200 km crossing of Gulf of St. Lawrence is likely impossible, but there has been study of bridging the Strait of Belle Isle, with a more manageable width of 18 km. The NB-PEI Confederation Bridge is 13 km, for comparison.

It does seem like a massive and daunting project, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newfoundland–Labrador_fixed_link and such a 20 km or so long bridge would be the longest in a subpolar climate, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_bridges
 
Last edited:
The 200 km crossing of Gulf of St. Lawrence is likely impossible, but there has been study of bridging the Strait of Belle Isle, with a more manageable width of 18 km. The NB-PEI Confederation Bridge is 13 km, for comparison.

It does seem like a massive and daunting project, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newfoundland–Labrador_fixed_link and such a 20 km or so long bridge would be the longest in a subpolar climate, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_bridges
Such a bridge would be near useless. It's a 33 hour drive from Quebec City to the Labrador side of the highway, and another 10 hours to St. Johns on Newfoundland. 43 hours of driving to avoid a ferry, compared to 28 hours with the ferry (all according to google maps). The connection just wouldn't serve much use.
 
I’d like to see a train bridge from Gaspe or Labrador to Newfoundland, linking every province to the national carrier. Sorry PEI, it’s the VIA bus for you https://media.viarail.ca/en/press-r...16-via-rail-expands-its-network-through-marit
Gaspe to Newfoundland. Now that would be an engineering marvel - 200km across the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There have been studies around a bridge/tunnel between Newfoundland's northern peninsula and the mainland and they have confirmed that the economics simply aren't there. Once you're on the mainland, you are still many sleeps across rugged terrain to the Rest of Canada.
I was sure that the "train bridge from Gaspe [...] to Newfoundland" was just a satirical suggestion, but let it suffice for comparison purposes that the underwater section of the Eurotunnel is only 37.9 km...
 
Last edited by a moderator:
The 200 km crossing of Gulf of St. Lawrence is likely impossible, but there has been study of bridging the Strait of Belle Isle, with a more manageable width of 18 km. The NB-PEI Confederation Bridge is 13 km, for comparison.

It does seem like a massive and daunting project, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newfoundland–Labrador_fixed_link and such a 20 km or so long bridge would be the longest in a subpolar climate, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_bridges

The Strait of Belle Isle is deeper and more heavily impacted by sea ice (including icebergs) than the Northumberland Strait. Regardless, it's just such a long circuitous route to reach such a small, scattered population, even if they made the TLH and year-round passible hardtop.

When Newfoundland had it's railway it couldn't maintain profitability and it didn't run up the northern peninsula. The rail line to Labrador City (QNS&L) is isolated from the rest of the network. The nearest non-Maritime rail on the network is Clermont QC.

Extending Quebec 138 would be a significant undertaking and, given that it would benefit mostly non-Quebecers, they would demand that the feds pay for it (like finally expanding 185 to NB).

I just don't see the economics of a connection. The entire province is only ~525K people with about half of that in the Greater St. John's area.
 
Gaspe to Newfoundland. Now that would be an engineering marvel - 200km across the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There have been studies around a bridge/tunnel between Newfoundland's northern peninsula and the mainland and they have confirmed that the economics simply aren't there. Once you're on the mainland, you are still many sleeps across rugged terrain to the Rest of Canada.
Yikes, Justin wants a tunnel? https://nationalpost.com/news/polit...to-labrador-is-a-bad-one-his-father-knew-that
 

Another chicken-in-every-regional-pot promise (they all do it - Harper promised a year-round arctic naval base). Toss a couple of mil at a friendly consultant until they decide to confirm there is no business case or it falls off the radar. Anybody who thinks it could be done for 1.7B is delusional. Nothing like a link at farthest reach of the Island's population connecting to a sub-standard circuitous highway. If the marine link is a bottleneck, improve the link.
 
Another chicken-in-every-regional-pot promise (they all do it - Harper promised a year-round arctic naval base). Toss a couple of mil at a friendly consultant until they decide to confirm there is no business case or it falls off the radar. Anybody who thinks it could be done for 1.7B is delusional. Nothing like a link at farthest reach of the Island's population connecting to a sub-standard circuitous highway. If the marine link is a bottleneck, improve the link.

$1.7B does indeed seem low. Why would they come out with such a low number? I'm just thinking of the cost in comparison to what it costs to build subway tunnels in Toronto but maybe there's a difference I'm not thinking of? cc @crs1026 @smallspy
 
$1.7B does indeed seem low. Why would they come out with such a low number? I'm just thinking of the cost in comparison to what it costs to build subway tunnels in Toronto but maybe there's a difference I'm not thinking of? cc @crs1026 @smallspy

There are no stations, emergency exits, etc. under water. TBMs, without any supporting infrastructure, are actually pretty cheap. The first 6.2-km twin-bore for Eglinton LRT was $320M (in 2012).

I completely believe that a 17km bore through stable bedrock can be done for under $2B. Supporting infrastructure (highway or railway connections, power feed, etc.) would likely be the more expensive component.
 
^I would also assume that the bore is single track, hence half the price of a transit bore per km.

The real sticky business case issue is the cost of transporting so many goods 500 miles across Newfoundland by road, after transhipment upon leaving the tunnel Currently there is a healthy container traffic by ship today between Montreal and St John's. That will remain hugely cheaper than the tunnel/truck option. And how many people will drive all the way across Newfoundland, and then on through the mainland, where they fly today?

Or maybe the next step would be rebuilding the railway across NL.... *guffaw*.... they sure have a great sense of humour down east.

- Paul
 
^I would also assume that the bore is single track, hence half the price of a transit bore per km.

The real sticky business case issue is the cost of transporting so many goods 500 miles across Newfoundland by road, after transhipment upon leaving the tunnel Currently there is a healthy container traffic by ship today between Montreal and St John's. That will remain hugely cheaper than the tunnel/truck option. And how many people will drive all the way across Newfoundland, and then on through the mainland, where they fly today?

Or maybe the next step would be rebuilding the railway across NL.... *guffaw*.... they sure have a great sense of humour down east.

- Paul

The Channel Tunnel cost about 21B for roughly 50km through comparatively soft chalk, although I couldn't find an isolated figure just for the boring. I don't know how that would translate into a ~35km bore through granite. If it carried humans, I can't envision a tunnel that long without some sort safety contingency (the Chunnel uses a smaller central service tunnel as an escape route). All that to create a roughly 2200km land route from St. John's to Montreal via Labrador City - it's 650km just from St. John's to St. Anthony. All that for a population (incl. mainland Labrador) slightly larger than Hamilton (~535K). They couldn't keep a railway profitable - I can't imagine how this would be.
 
The Channel Tunnel cost about 21B for roughly 50km through comparatively soft chalk,

That's not the best example.

First because it was actually 5/6 tunnels (6 TBMs on English side, 5 on the French side; not at all sure how that works but that's what was done).

Second because 1980's TBMs are very different from today; much higher levels of automation and performance (impacts cost).

Finally, that's a 1980's quote which if scaled using the GTA construction inflation rate (7% on average; I'm not sure what UK/France construction inflation rate is) would make it a ~$200B project to do today with the same tools/processes. Crossrail, which is fairly comparable in scale (21km tunnel, but numerous station pieces) was 1/10th that price.


The NL connection isn't good value; additional ferries would be both more direct and cheaper (even with carbon offsets). Battery/electric is still ~10 years away for long-distance vessels, though I'll be taking new batt-electric Amherst Island ferry when it launches in 2020.
 
Last edited:

Back
Top