News   Jun 13, 2024
 77     0 
News   Jun 13, 2024
 327     3 
News   Jun 12, 2024
 2.5K     3 

Newfoundland Rail Connection

A tunnel to Newfoundland is a terrible idea for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that there's no road leading up to it in Quebec. Sure, there's a road through Labrador but it's extremely indirect (over 2000 km to Quebec City, the first major city on that route) and most of it isn't even paved. Building a billion+ dollar tunnel in a nearly uninhabited wilderness with very poor infrastructure leading to it would give new meaning to the phrase putting the cart before the horse. It would benefit almost noone.
 
He probably just wants their votes. And then the project will be quietly abandoned after the election, just like with Wynne's high speed rail to London.
More push for the tunnel.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/pov-fixed-link-food-security-1.5520172
1586120521693.png
 
Sorry, I don't see the economics of it. The Confederation Bridge - shorter and shallower water) cost #1.3B in 1990s dollars. In addition to the bridge, I doubt Quebec would fund a very long and expensive highway (about 500km through very rugged terrain) that has very little benefit to Quebecers.
Given how Quebec shafts Nfld on energy projects in Labrador I’m surprised Nfld wants to work with Quebec on another province defining mega project. Better for Nfld to wait for oil prices to increase and then pay for their own fixed link.
 
Last edited:
Is there a business case anywhere? I wonder how many trucks per day would use the route, and how many days a year a weather-free routing would actually be added. If you consider that roads would not be open 365 days a year, one might be trading days of sea closure for a comparable number of days of road closure. And what the transportation cost of a truck by land would be, if all those new roads are paid for by user fees.
Sea delivery may face interruptions, but carrying a few days' extra inventory to mitigate interruptions might be far cheaper than building this thing.

- Paul
 
Is there a business case anywhere?
IDK, but you'd think that would have been the first step. I would think a rail link would be the smarter move, but even that requires a railline into Labrador.

CN-Class1-Railroads-map-EN.jpg


The only rail in the area is below, and it's north-south with no connection to ROC.

rTZ5kqAN06W0m8h9opzi3Au8i8AEuLtaxBTL7QyYnvtXUtsIwQzyzf3LlKTFej6BqOsvPkpOGoevRNZlLf3GtliDlSFqb-k
 
^The biggest long term benefit (be kind, I'm trying to look for an up side here) would be for bulk and resource traffic, not for tourism or food delivery. (How many tourists would drive that far through the bush when they can hole up in Sydney and wait for a ferry?) So definitely a railroad that can handle bulk commodities and resource traffic would be preferable to a highway. I would want to see some sort of rail passenger service, even if it's a mirror of the Churchill train which helps support local communities. Perhaps there are mineral deposits in Labrador which might one day justify a north-south line somewhere east of the QNSL.

I'm sure the shore road along the north shore of the St Lawrence will one day push even further east, but that will be gradual. Maybe this will make sense in 50 years, but it's not where I would invest capital today.

Relaying the railway in NL would probably be cheaper than the tunnel, and the related highway construction in NL.

- Paul
 
Even if they could connect QNS&L to the rest of the network, a link through Labrador would face winters like this:

1586180627678.png


The former Newfoundland railway was deemed not financially viable back when it was abandoned and faced its own weather related problems in the interior of the province, and never ran up the North Penninsula. For all the public money that would be sunk into this, they could offer free ship-borne shipping for less.
 
The former Newfoundland railway was deemed not financially viable back when it was abandoned and faced its own weather related problems in the interior of the province, and never ran up the North Penninsula.
They did get a little northward. It’s the south shore, with the towns with no landward access that need a railway I’d think.
DIlCvxDXoAUN0rJ.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: rbt
Is there a business case anywhere? I wonder how many trucks per day would use the route, and how many days a year a weather-free routing would actually be added. If you consider that roads would not be open 365 days a year, one might be trading days of sea closure for a comparable number of days of road closure. And what the transportation cost of a truck by land would be, if all those new roads are paid for by user fees.
Sea delivery may face interruptions, but carrying a few days' extra inventory to mitigate interruptions might be far cheaper than building this thing.

- Paul
There's isn't a business case; it's a vote buying project by the federal and provincial Liberals. Even with weather delays from Cape Breton. A truck driving through Labrador is going to take longer to get to Newfoundland.

However, as a railfan, I love the idea of taking a Canadian train like journey from Montreal through Saguenay, Sept Iles, Labrador City, Goose Bay, under the strait and onto St John's. I could see St John's having a container terminal similar to Prince Rupert but the cost of construction of said railway line and tunnel far outweighs economic benefits. I've been to Labrador before and the landscape is truely beautiful - it's called Big Sky Country for a reason. If the climate was more moderate like Norway or costal BC the area would have a far higher population and more tourism.
 
Is there a business case anywhere? I wonder how many trucks per day would use the route

According to the updated pre-feasibility study, most truck traffic from Quebec and Ontario would use the route.

"An examination of the TCOD data suggests that 81% of the shipments originating outside of Maritime Provinces or an estimated 60% of the total would potentially be diverted to the Fixed Link tunnel route"

apSvGNM.png


"when factors associated with “long‐haul trips”, described above, are accounted for the travel time for the Fixed Link route is on average 4.9 hours less than the road travel and ferry crossing combined."

5yXxonp.png



I doubt Quebec would fund a very long and expensive highway (about 500km through very rugged terrain) that has very little benefit to Quebecers.

Some parts of it (in red) are already funded ($100M) and prep work is under way.

ncGE269.png

The two remaining segments (in green) are expected to cost ~$100M each and have recently been added to Quebec's 10 year infrastructure plan.
 
If the climate was more moderate like Norway or costal BC the area would have a far higher population and more tourism.
Give it 50 years or so and it'll be balmy in Nfld and Labrador. Just don't build permanent settlements until the high water mark is established.

According to a 2010 study by the Geological Survey of Newfoundland and Labrador, sea-level rise in this province could be as high as 40 centimeters by 2050, and 100 centimeters by 2100 (compared to 1990 levels).

map-expanded-sea-level.jpg


 
On a purely nationalistic basis, I would argue there's a case for a link. Forget road though. Make it a rail link. And do something like the Eurotunnel to get cars across. Make some kind of deal with CN or CP and have a joint track for cargo and pax into NFLD.

But yeah that's a lot to pay for. And I can see Ontario and Alberta howling about the cost at a time when they are bleeding badly.
 
On a purely nationalistic basis, I would argue there's a case for a link. Forget road though. Make it a rail link. And do something like the Eurotunnel to get cars across. Make some kind of deal with CN or CP and have a joint track for cargo and pax into NFLD.

But yeah that's a lot to pay for. And I can see Ontario and Alberta howling about the cost at a time when they are bleeding badly.

Well at least the tunnel will be a railway itself, regardless of if rail connects to it on each end. It allows for a connection to the North American rail network in the future.
 
The idea to connect the island of Newfoundland to the mainland has been out there for a while. The common thought is a tunnel under the straight of Belle Isle. The good reason for a tunnel is the fact that a bridge would be potentially taken out by icebergs.

The real question is what is the demand for it. If the tunnel was built as a road tunnel, and if you finished the north shore highway, from Quebec City, it would still be faster to take the current route with the ferry, as apposed to this. The line, even if it went to St John's, would still have very low demand, and would be extremely long.
 

Back
Top