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Ontario Northland and the End of the Northlander

steveintoronto

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ontc-fully-committed-to-rail-passenger-service
Bizarre...Someone is off their rails.

Addendum: Rereading this again, just in case I misread it first time.
Ontario Northland Transportation Commission President and CEO Corina Moore said the Crown agency and its partner, Metrolinx, another Crown agency, are “well into the development of a passenger rail plan” to revive the service which last ran in 2012.
One of the benefits of working with Metrolinx, she said, is that the crown agency “has a strong relationship with CN. They understand the intricacies of running a network from Toronto to North Bay.
Fedeli said it was unfortunate “a self-serving consultant is trying to invest themselves into very important Northern Ontario issues.
Quote after quote makes no sense, save for one glaring aspect:

Anything this regime says or does defies logic, let alone believability. I'll say this for Corina Moore, she's no more detached from reality than Verster is. Zombie words from zombie people.
 
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Northern Light

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Toronto to North Bay service is workable as a viable, well-utilized service with a modest operating subsidy and full capital subsidy.

But it needs to be run by a professional railway that gives a...........

a) The service should be contracted to VIA and branded as VIA
b) One-time coinvestments with CN and/or CP needed to establish better track speed, more reliable service
c) Brand new rolling stock, duel-ended, laid out to have the types of cars to serve the passengers that would use the service
d) Sensible departure times
e) Frequency MUST be a minimum of twice daily (allowing same-day return trips along portions of the corridor)

That said, at this point, much as I have nostalgia for this sort of thing, I would probably invest in better bus service instead.

If we're going to go the train route, we need to invest properly, including bringing back a network of routes and some supporting bus services to smaller communities and larger ones away from the railway.

A proper, base-line network for the near north/north-east and the north-west would mean.

North Bay - Toronto
Sudbury-Toronto
Sudbury-Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay-Kenora
Kenora-Winnipeg
Kenora-Timmins
North Bay - Timmins/Cochrane/Moosenee
Sault Ste Marie - Sudbury - North Bay
North Bay- Mattawa - Ottawa

The connection to Barrie also needs to be restored in some fashion.

All of that is rather costly, both capital and by way of subsidy.

Its tough to argue for not doing this principally by bus for the time being; and considering trains if the bus service generates enough demand.
 

lenaitch

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Toronto to North Bay service is workable as a viable, well-utilized service with a modest operating subsidy and full capital subsidy.

But it needs to be run by a professional railway that gives a...........

a) The service should be contracted to VIA and branded as VIA
b) One-time coinvestments with CN and/or CP needed to establish better track speed, more reliable service
c) Brand new rolling stock, duel-ended, laid out to have the types of cars to serve the passengers that would use the service
d) Sensible departure times
e) Frequency MUST be a minimum of twice daily (allowing same-day return trips along portions of the corridor)

That said, at this point, much as I have nostalgia for this sort of thing, I would probably invest in better bus service instead.

If we're going to go the train route, we need to invest properly, including bringing back a network of routes and some supporting bus services to smaller communities and larger ones away from the railway.

A proper, base-line network for the near north/north-east and the north-west would mean.

North Bay - Toronto
Sudbury-Toronto
Sudbury-Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay-Kenora
Kenora-Winnipeg
Kenora-Timmins
North Bay - Timmins/Cochrane/Moosenee
Sault Ste Marie - Sudbury - North Bay
North Bay- Mattawa - Ottawa

The connection to Barrie also needs to be restored in some fashion.

All of that is rather costly, both capital and by way of subsidy.

Its tough to argue for not doing this principally by bus for the time being; and considering trains if the bus service generates enough demand.
Lofty goals, especially between points where rails no longer exist.

Any Toronto-NB resumption should consider scheduling that attracts Muskoka weekend cottagers and would likely need to address capacity on the CN Bala sub.
 

steveintoronto

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What astounds me is not the logical case for or against this...but the totally contradictory statements coming from Fedeli, Moore and what she states as being Metrolinx' stance on this.

It totally flies in the face of the Bowmanville and other situations as per "business case" etc. All this does is add to unbelievability of anything coming from this regime. As much as Gormick is controversial in some of his positions, he was the one hired to investigate and *promote* doing this, and Fedeli states:
Fedeli said it was unfortunate “a self-serving consultant is trying to invest themselves into very important Northern Ontario issues.

“This is not at all helpful,” Fedeli said.
Just incredible...
 

steveintoronto

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I'm no fan of this government, but any initiative to restore or increase rail connections to cities and towns across the province is a big win in my eyes.

Now if they would just rebuild the track from Barrie to Collingwood/Wasaga...
At what price? And for that price, if fifty other better business cases can be made elsewhere?

No-one is holding the 'need for a business case' against this regime. What's totally illogical is how this regime applies that in polar opposite ways purely on the whim of the ballot box (and even that makes little sense, just ask Scheer)
 

Rainforest

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Its tough to argue for not doing this principally by bus for the time being; and considering trains if the bus service generates enough demand.
Not trying to dispute your points, I'm just wondering why operating a small train made of 2 or 3 DMUs with no loco is so much more expensive than operating a bus route of similar length.

The cost of track time is probably part of the equation (the lane time for the bus is "free", in the sense that highways are maintained from the general provincial revenue).

Maintenance of the passenger rail stations may be another reason (bus terminals are cheaper, plus the bus can stop at a local coffee shop etc with no terminal at all).
 

DHLawrence85

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I wonder what the odds are of ONR getting the tender for the SSM-Hearst service. If they're going to expand, it makes sense for that part to be added to the network too.
 

lenaitch

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If they get that, they really should work on a North Bay - SSM train run too.
The problem I see with a SSM-NB service is I don't think there is the potential ridership (I say that not really knowing any numbers - perhaps some bus numbers would be instructive). When you think of nodes, there is not a lot of connection between SMM, Sudbury and NB. They are each centres for their own catchment area but I'm not sure there is a lot of intercity dynamic. They each have air service, good sized health centres, adequate shopping, etc. and their isn't a lot of population along the line. The track would also need significant work to allow reasonable passenger speeds.

The biggest loser along the SSM-Hearst run was the remote hunting and fishing tourism industry, who had their businesses basically stranded by the cancellation. It's not Muskoka but it is big-bucks tourism, primarily from the US. There is also a smattering of on-line population. It's biggest challenge may come from the increased freight traffic from Oba (where the Soo sub. meets the e-w mainline) generated by the ferrochrome smelter announced for SSM. On the positive side. it will probably spur track upgrades.
 

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