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Ontario Northland/Northern Ontario Transportation

micheal_can

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Personally, I think that services like the Northlander, Toronto-Sarnia, and in the future Toronto-Kingston & Ottawa-Kingston (once the HFR corridor is finished) should be run by Metrolinx under a separate, Province-wide rail banner (i.e. not GO, maybe called ONrail or something). That would let VIA concentrate on the QC-Windsor corridor, and those communities wouldn't be beholden to the Feds to provide rail service.

It would also make things easier to be operating multiple lines under the same configuration, since you get consistency in terms of vehicles, maintenance, employees, etc.
If the $400+ subsidy per passenger for the train that the liberal government mentioned is true (with inflation might be $600 today). Wouldn't it be better to provide hourly bus trips every day instead of trains for now?

I assume this must have been discussed in this thread but nothing came up when I did a search.
The issue is weather. Trains don't stop in a blizzard. Trains don't stop when the highway is closed.
 

lenaitch

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If the $400+ subsidy per passenger for the train that the liberal government mentioned is true (with inflation might be $600 today). Wouldn't it be better to provide hourly bus trips every day instead of trains for now?

I assume this must have been discussed in this thread but nothing came up when I did a search.

I found it difficult to find a definite figure. One source said $257. The Liberals were quoting $400 when they were in 'sell mode'. I don't know if they were conflating the Northlander with ONTC's overall operating subsidy. I couldn't see anything in their 2012 Annual Report that identified a per-pax subsidy rate.

According to the 2018 Via Annual Report, the per-pax subsidy for Corridor averaged $31.65; Long Haul E & W $571 and Mandatory (remote) $673.
[/QUOTE]

Where is this link meant to lead us?
 

micheal_can

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I found it difficult to find a definite figure. One source said $257. The Liberals were quoting $400 when they were in 'sell mode'. I don't know if they were conflating the Northlander with ONTC's overall operating subsidy. I couldn't see anything in their 2012 Annual Report that identified a per-pax subsidy rate.

According to the 2018 Via Annual Report, the per-pax subsidy for Corridor averaged $31.65; Long Haul E & W $571 and Mandatory (remote) $673.

Where is this link meant to lead us?
[/QUOTE]

Should lead to a picture of a train with ON Rail on the side of it.
 

Catenary

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Personally, I think that services like the Northlander, Toronto-Sarnia, and in the future Toronto-Kingston & Ottawa-Kingston (once the HFR corridor is finished) should be run by Metrolinx under a separate, Province-wide rail banner (i.e. not GO, maybe called ONrail or something). That would let VIA concentrate on the QC-Windsor corridor, and those communities wouldn't be beholden to the Feds to provide rail service.

It would also make things easier to be operating multiple lines under the same configuration, since you get consistency in terms of vehicles, maintenance, employees, etc.
This might be one of the few things that Amtrak does well. Outside of the NEC and long-distance services, the states fund the services but Amtrak operates them. This gives the states some flexibility, but keeps the national ticketing and some economies of scale on the operations side. It would be great if VIA could do the same.
 

TRONto

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That makes sense. Train should have a much higher reliability vs bus.
I was thinking that because of total annual passenger count would be a low (relative) number that the total deficit for Ontario Northlander would not be too bad. The oldest budget I found was 2009-2010 and the deficit was $25M. If that was a normal deficit than the Northlander should have been kept. Providing 3X service whatever it was in 2010 would be reasonable.

If the polis don't care about the people living there at least keeping the northern communities connected and active is a form of risk insurance which is worth spending this much money on.
 

Bordercollie

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I think thar they should have looked at making the train more attractive with the same subsidy rather than kill it.
 

gweed123

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This might be one of the few things that Amtrak does well. Outside of the NEC and long-distance services, the states fund the services but Amtrak operates them. This gives the states some flexibility, but keeps the national ticketing and some economies of scale on the operations side. It would be great if VIA could do the same.
That’s an interesting model. I didn’t know that Amtrak did that. I assumed it was all funded at the national level, since most Amtrak routes cross multiple states.

I wouldn’t be opposed to that model either, as long as the Province had say in where the routes went, and how frequently.
 

ShonTron

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That’s an interesting model. I didn’t know that Amtrak did that. I assumed it was all funded at the national level, since most Amtrak routes cross multiple states.

I wouldn’t be opposed to that model either, as long as the Province had say in where the routes went, and how frequently.

Amtrak California is the most independent of the state-financed Amtrak services, to the point that there's a dedicated fleet and staff. The short and medium distance Midwest system, out of Chicago Union Station, is slowly going this way as well, with new Siemens Charger equipment similar to what VIA is getting. Parts of the Chicago-Detroit route are upgraded for 110 MPH operation (175 km/h).
 

Catenary

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Amtrak California is the most independent of the state-financed Amtrak services, to the point that there's a dedicated fleet and staff. The short and medium distance Midwest system, out of Chicago Union Station, is slowly going this way as well, with new Siemens Charger equipment similar to what VIA is getting. Parts of the Chicago-Detroit route are upgraded for 110 MPH operation (175 km/h).
Amtrak Cascades in Washington/Oregon is the other good example, especially where there's a partnership between two states.
 

2transpo

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There have been a lot of discussions relevant to this topic in the VIA thread and also urban sky's new thread.

In my opinion, the Northlander shouldn't be brought back because if it is, it will be detrimental to mobility for northerners. The great increase in subsidy required to operate the train service without counting any of the additional up-front costs is much greater than bus services. Those funds would be better off spent providing additional bus frequencies to these communities.

Most of the people still advocating to bring back the Northlander have let their love of trains detach them from reality. This includes Transport Action Canada, despite the fact that they also advocate for better bus service. The reality is that these are mutually exclusive goals and we need to pick the one that best serves communities.
 

Catenary

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There have been a lot of discussions relevant to this topic in the VIA thread and also urban sky's new thread.

In my opinion, the Northlander shouldn't be brought back because if it is, it will be detrimental to mobility for northerners. The great increase in subsidy required to operate the train service without counting any of the additional up-front costs is much greater than bus services. Those funds would be better off spent providing additional bus frequencies to these communities.

Most of the people still advocating to bring back the Northlander have let their love of trains detach them from reality. This includes Transport Action Canada, despite the fact that they also advocate for better bus service. The reality is that these are mutually exclusive goals and we need to pick the one that best serves communities.
Yes, a bus would probably provide better service than a train by some metrics for the same amount of money. That doesn't mean they're comparable though. First, the train has significantly better optics than a bus, and while that might be semantics when it comes to LRT vs. bus in an urban context, it is a big difference on a 5 hour bus trip. The train is more likely to attract choice riders, doesn't rely on northern highways in the winter, and is generally considered to be more comfortable. We see a growing shift to remote work, and people moving out of Toronto. They're moving to places along the highway 11 and 69 corridors because they're still a short drive from Toronto a couple of times a month when they have to be in the office. A train could attract these riders out of their cars in a way that a bus won't.

Sure, what I suggest is speculation, but so is politics and that is the real issue. There is no pot of money for northern transportation waiting for us to decide what to use it for. This money has to be budgeted, and balanced against the other things we could be using it for. If it doesn't win votes, it isn't going to happen, which is why a train is always going to attract more money from politicians than a bus system.
 

micheal_can

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There have been a lot of discussions relevant to this topic in the VIA thread and also urban sky's new thread.

In my opinion, the Northlander shouldn't be brought back because if it is, it will be detrimental to mobility for northerners. The great increase in subsidy required to operate the train service without counting any of the additional up-front costs is much greater than bus services. Those funds would be better off spent providing additional bus frequencies to these communities.

Most of the people still advocating to bring back the Northlander have let their love of trains detach them from reality. This includes Transport Action Canada, despite the fact that they also advocate for better bus service. The reality is that these are mutually exclusive goals and we need to pick the one that best serves communities.
How will bringing back the train be a detriment? Realize that we have something that can close a highway for a day with no reasonable EDR.
 

lenaitch

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How will bringing back the train be a detriment? Realize that we have something that can close a highway for a day with no reasonable EDR.

I support the return of the train, but your EDR argument loses me. Neither Hwy 11 or 69/400 are prone to weather closures - certainly can happen but it is not typical. North of Sudbury/NB there is 144 and through Quebec (admittedly bit of a scenic route). Between the two there are several cross routes. If you're in the middle of a closure, well, you're in it. To the n/w, Hwys 17 and 11 are prone to weather closures.
 

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