News   Apr 20, 2021
 121     0 
News   Apr 20, 2021
 635     0 
News   Apr 20, 2021
 580     0 

Ontario Northland/Northern Ontario Transportation

HighIron905

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
36
Reaction score
45
Two quotes from the article:

Shortline railways, like HCRY, do not have the access to government funding programs to invest in railway infrastructure, which is our industry’s equivalent to highways for trucks.
This, I agree with 100%. If this is something the United States can do, it is something we can do.

It is therefore important to note the issue is not with the operator of this rail line, it is with the infrastructure of this rail line.
This, I have trouble coming to terms with. You, as the operator have a great deal of influence over how the unfrastructure is maintained. $30 Million is a lot of money and it is surprising that it wasn't enough to see indefinite operation in good condition. What went wrong? Be transparent HCRY. Where did the money go? Why wasn't the 2009 deal enough? If you can't guarantee that this won't happen again in 10 years, why would we go with you again instead of finding other options to keep the line in operation?
 

tmlittle

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 24, 2019
Messages
153
Reaction score
206
What would be the logistics of ONR operating it though? To use any of their existing equipment they'd need to use other railways' tracks, either the OVR or ACR/CN.

This, I have trouble coming to terms with. You, as the operator have a great deal of influence over how the unfrastructure is maintained. $30 Million is a lot of money and it is surprising that it wasn't enough to see indefinite operation in good condition. What went wrong? Be transparent HCRY. Where did the money go? Why wasn't the 2009 deal enough? If you can't guarantee that this won't happen again in 10 years, why would we go with you again instead of finding other options to keep the line in operation?

I think the only really substantive claims made is something about new Transport Canada regulations around crossings, but I've never seen anyone go into what these regulations are or if they exist. The HCR certainly has a lot of "sketchy" crossings without things like full barriers, warning lights/bells, etc. But even so, putting these up is not a project that costs tens of millions, and should be a drop in the bucket compared to track maintenance, which was the issue before.
 

lenaitch

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
2,805
Reaction score
2,369
What would be the logistics of ONR operating it though? To use any of their existing equipment they'd need to use other railways' tracks, either the OVR or ACR/CN.



I think the only really substantive claims made is something about new Transport Canada regulations around crossings, but I've never seen anyone go into what these regulations are or if they exist. The HCR certainly has a lot of "sketchy" crossings without things like full barriers, warning lights/bells, etc. But even so, putting these up is not a project that costs tens of millions, and should be a drop in the bucket compared to track maintenance, which was the issue before.

Absent running rights with OVR (CN Soo is really the long way 'round) they could operate it as a stranded service.

Branch lines are full of non-signalized crossings. I believe they have stop orders at some of them with poor sightlines. At the speed they operate at, probably not a huge ask.
 

crs1026

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
6,850
Reaction score
9,231
This, I have trouble coming to terms with. You, as the operator have a great deal of influence over how the unfrastructure is maintained. $30 Million is a lot of money and it is surprising that it wasn't enough to see indefinite operation in good condition. What went wrong? Be transparent HCRY. Where did the money go? Why wasn't the 2009 deal enough? If you can't guarantee that this won't happen again in 10 years, why would we go with you again instead of finding other options to keep the line in operation?

I would sure like to see an audit of the “millions of dollars” invested in this line. And, I’d like to see the SOGR strategy.

Raillways are constantly wearing out. There are 2000ish crossties in each mile of track. They last about thirty years. So if the railway isn’t replacing say a hundred ties per mile per year, every year, the line is degrading. It will run fine without tie replacement. for a few years....deferred maintenance will not immediately show as a problem. But go five years without a tie program, and the cost of restoring to previous SOGR slowly grows. Same with surfacing, ballast cleaning, brush clearing, culverts, bridges, crossings, etc. If standards slip, just lower the speed limit or institute slow orders over the rough spots. The train just takes longer to get from end to end. Few people notice the change. Everyone assumes the line is still in good shape. But maybe not.

A railway can continue to operate for a very long time, covering its labour and fuel bills, but without generating enough income to reinvest at a level that retains its one-time condition. Maintenance becomes the proverbial band aid.

Expressed as a lump sum, the millions of government support sounds like a lot of investment, but is it keeping up?

I don’t have any information about the condition of this particular line, but one suspects it has slid, as has ONR. Do not assume that it can be restored to pristine shape without gobs of further money.

- Paul
 
Last edited:

Allandale25

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
5,825
Reaction score
6,298
^
"continuing to move forward on plan for passenger rail services including advancing track audit work along the northeastern rail corridor"

Further:

Opportunity for improvements to rail service
Passenger rail services in Northern Ontario are provided by VIA Rail, CN operating as Algoma Central Railway and the ONTC. Passenger rail provides people in northern communities with access to healthcare, social services as well as connections to visit family and friends.

The Polar Bear Express from Cochrane to Moosonee, operated by the ONTC, provides an essential service where no other year-round ground transportation option exists. VIA Rail provides provincial rail service that connects northern communities to each other and to other provinces.

Freight rail service is vital to our national and provincial economies. In Northern Ontario rail is essential to our natural resources and agricultural sectors, providing cost efficient transport of large, heavy shipments over long distances. It connects Northern Ontario industries to customers and suppliers across the continental rail system.

The North needs an efficient and financially sustainable rail transport network to support and connect its industries and communities. The province continues to work with all partners, including the federal and local governments, and all our private partners.

Ontario has been actively exploring options for passenger rail services between Toronto, North Bay, Timmins and Cochrane. This includes working with the ONTC to accelerate work on a track audit in the North Bay area that will examine safety and infrastructure needs for a potential future train service. Actions in this plan will explore ways to enhance train and bus services in Northern Ontario to give people improved and more reliable options.

Goal 1: getting people moving and connecting communities
  1. Work with Metrolinx and the ONTC to finalize an initial business case for passenger rail service in Northeastern Ontario. The province is accelerating work on a track audit by working with the ONTC to begin an initial audit of ONTC-owned tracks on a section of the North Bay corridor. The track audit is an essential step to identify needs for safety and infrastructure improvements to support a potential passenger rail service expansion in the future.
 

lenaitch

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
2,805
Reaction score
2,369
^^ In a sense I'm not surprised. The CN trackage south of North Bay hasn't been used for passenger service in eight years so why would CN maintain this level of information? If they are talking about ONR trackage north of NB, perhaps the information would might be more readily available but, then again, until relatively recently when the possibility for renewal came up, why would the Commission spend money on a similar assessment? Just in case?
 

HighIron905

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
36
Reaction score
45
Huron Central extended their deadline AGAIN. This time to June 30th. What the heck is going on over there? I thought they were a railroad in bad shape on their last legs in need of being saved. They said they couldn't operate safely beyond December. This is just getting too fishy.

 

Bordercollie

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
224
Reaction score
166
Huron Central extended their deadline AGAIN. This time to June 30th. What the heck is going on over there? I thought they were a railroad in bad shape on their last legs in need of being saved. They said they couldn't operate safely beyond December. This is just getting too fishy.

They have the money to do the upgrades but don't want to spend their own money. They want the government to fork up the cash.

It's a scare tactic or bargaining tactic.
 

Top