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Peterborough Commuter Rail

Rainforest

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There are almost 500 Peterboro residents who work in Toronto, plus another 400 working in Whitby and Oshawa. To put that in perspective, there are only 400 Niagara Falls residents working in TO.

Not arguing either way, rather making a comparison to another far flung area that did receive a GO rail connection. What I do think a priority should be going east is a GO service along the CP line to about Brock in Whitby (as mentioned at the top of the page). Makes sense. Three lines in Peel, three in York, but in Durham just one? That's insufficient.
It should be possible to get two birds with one stone.

Looking at the Havelock sub west of Peterborough: it runs parallel to Hwy 115 till the 115 joins Hwy 35 and veers south (https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Pe...x5037b28c72318e0!8m2!3d44.309058!4d-78.319747).

Looking at the CP Belleville sub as it runs east and passes Bowmanville: it veers north a bit (https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Bo...49991bfc2abf863!8m2!3d43.9126042!4d-78.688019).

A new track connecting the two CP lines would be about 12 km long, and there isn't much in the way to make that new track particularly costly. And then, Whitby / Oshawa / Bowmnaville / Peterborough could share the same rail service.

Say, two trains daily in each direction, running all the way to/from Peterborough. Plus, two or three peak-time trains running between Toronto and Bowmanville only, taking some pressure off the Lakeshore East line.

The CP Belleville service would be pretty useless for Pickering and Ajax (the line runs way too far north). So, it could run express from Agincourt in Toronto all the way to the new station in Whitby (perhaps at Brocks St or Annes St). Then, a couple of stations in Oshawa, plus one in Bowmanville, and then express to Peterborough. Not much of a delay / detour compared to staying on the Havelock sub, but substantially more riders served.

The other part of the puzzle is the Toronto terminus, and the route to reach it. Dupont; Summerhill; Union via the old Don branch; Union via the Uxbridge sub are the options on the table.
 

crs1026

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A new track connecting the two CP lines would be about 12 km long, and there isn't much in the way to make that new track particularly costly. And then, Whitby / Oshawa / Bowmnaville / Peterborough could share the same rail service.
That's an interesting idea. I make the distance a little longer - from the northmost point of the curve in Bowmanville to the west end of Pontypool is 18 km, but that's still not a huge amount to build, especially when you figure that the alternative might require a similar amount of new trackbuilding along the Belleville Sub from Pickering west to Leaside. Connecting the havelock line to LSE might delay or eliminate that need.

What's more of an issue is - there is an awful lot of wetland in there, lots of creeks. And a very significant rise in elevation particularly as one climbs the ridge from Leskard north. That would be a rise of 122m in five miles as the crow flies, or about 1.5% grade end to end.

But (digressing a bit) it raises an interesting question - are there rail routes outside the Toronto core that might still be buildable, especially if the land were set aside and the corridors enshrined in Official Plans, and which ones might be worth building? If we don't plan them now, we will be in bad shape in 20 years when there may be new subdivisions in the way. While personally I'm not a fantasy map kind of guy, perhaps we need a fantasy rail corridor thread,

I suspect we will need the North Toronto Corridor sooner than we think. The question is what it will cost to shift CP or gain shared access to that corridor. The (shelved) Bypass plan could be instrumental to both that idea and getting RER on the Milton line. Expensive, but eventually there may be no option. Union Station and LSE/LSW can only expand so much.

- Paul

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Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 9.06.00 AM.png
 

gweed123

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That definitely is an interesting idea. Service patterns for Bowmanville would likely be pretty similar to the service patterns for Peterborough too, so combining those onto one service would make sense.
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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^I would be curious about the potential demand along the CP Belleville Sub, at least as far as Whitby. It has the potential to syphon off a lot of demand from LSE, in the same way that the Milton line is popular despite LSW being not so far away. Even as a peak only line, it would probably have a lot better business case than the Peterborough line, for similar cost. On a gut level, that's a better use of money than GO to Peterborough.

Taunton is already a very congested street, but a GO line terminating with a station near Brock or Church might convince a lot of people to drive west to get on there, as opposed to south to LSE.

Stations in Scarborough on the south side of the CP yard might be useful also.

- Paul
I'd vote for this plan over any Peterborough plan.
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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There are almost 500 Peterboro residents who work in Toronto, plus another 400 working in Whitby and Oshawa. To put that in perspective, there are only 400 Niagara Falls residents working in TO.

Not arguing either way, rather making a comparison to another far flung area that did receive a GO rail connection. What I do think a priority should be going east is a GO service along the CP line to about Brock in Whitby (as mentioned at the top of the page). Makes sense. Three lines in Peel, three in York, but in Durham just one? That's insufficient.

Source for these numbers?
 

robmausser

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That's an interesting idea. I make the distance a little longer - from the northmost point of the curve in Bowmanville to the west end of Pontypool is 18 km, but that's still not a huge amount to build, especially when you figure that the alternative might require a similar amount of new trackbuilding along the Belleville Sub from Pickering west to Leaside. Connecting the havelock line to LSE might delay or eliminate that need.

What's more of an issue is - there is an awful lot of wetland in there, lots of creeks. And a very significant rise in elevation particularly as one climbs the ridge from Leskard north. That would be a rise of 122m in five miles as the crow flies, or about 1.5% grade end to end.

But (digressing a bit) it raises an interesting question - are there rail routes outside the Toronto core that might still be buildable, especially if the land were set aside and the corridors enshrined in Official Plans, and which ones might be worth building? If we don't plan them now, we will be in bad shape in 20 years when there may be new subdivisions in the way. While personally I'm not a fantasy map kind of guy, perhaps we need a fantasy rail corridor thread,

I suspect we will need the North Toronto Corridor sooner than we think. The question is what it will cost to shift CP or gain shared access to that corridor. The (shelved) Bypass plan could be instrumental to both that idea and getting RER on the Milton line. Expensive, but eventually there may be no option. Union Station and LSE/LSW can only expand so much.

- Paul

View attachment 233521View attachment 233522
I dont really agree with this TBH. So because the CP track to Peterborough goes in the middle of nowhere you want to BUILD a track thats in the middle of nowhere? It just seems to be making a bad situation worse.

Far cheaper to buy out the CP track with VIA and run express trains to Toronto from Peterborough in between VIA scheduling.
 

crs1026

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I dont really agree with this TBH. So because the CP track to Peterborough goes in the middle of nowhere you want to BUILD a track thats in the middle of nowhere? It just seems to be making a bad situation worse.

Far cheaper to buy out the CP track with VIA and run express trains to Toronto from Peterborough in between VIA scheduling.
I agree that if VIA is rehabilitating the Havelock line to Agincourt and then buying capacity through Leaside to Union, there's no value in GO building another line.

However....if HFR does not proceed......it's 43 miles from Pontypool to Kennedy, and 12 miles more Kennedy to Union. That's a lot of track to refurbish just for GO. The comparative cost of 12 new miles of track (constructed in a rural environment with no need for grade separation etc) versus heavy rebuild of 43 miles and adding a new track for 12 miles of track in an urban environment with much grade separation, might tip in favour of the new line. If any land is needed for those 12 miles of urban track, land acquisition prices alone could tip the balance.

I wonder if this alignment might actually interest VIA as opposed to the Havelock west of Pontypool. With a bridge over the 401 at Courtice, VIA could end up back on the Kingston Sub just east of Oshawa. Perhaps ML would prefer to see them reduce, not increase, their presence on LSE.

I wonder if the economics are closer than one might think. New railway lines are a hard sell anywhere, but maybe we are ready for that.

- Paul
 

Fritter

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I dont really agree with this TBH. So because the CP track to Peterborough goes in the middle of nowhere you want to BUILD a track thats in the middle of nowhere? It just seems to be making a bad situation worse.
Just to be devil's advocate, as the past few weeks have shown, maybe some backup redundancy in our rail system might be a good thing.
 

crs1026

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Just to be devil's advocate, as the past few weeks have shown, maybe some backup redundancy in our rail system might be a good thing.
There were lots of detours on other routes in the latest event, but the throughput was nowhere near enough. It's a fair point to ask how much of an annual expense would have been required to insure against that. I will stick to some less controversial circumstances as food for thought.

Only a few years ago CP had a derailment on the Stoney Creek Bridge in BC. The derailment wasn't a huge affair as wrecks go, but it was in exactly the wrong place.... right on the bridge. It wasn't immediately clear whether the line could be reopened without completely rebuilding the bridge.

CP had to consider a Plan B which would have involved rerouting all of its Pacific traffic both over CN and over US railroads to the south for months rather than weeks. The redundancy does exist, and freight would have reached its destination, but the financial impact to CP from that contingency would have been a body blow.

Happily, the bridge wasn't damaged, and service was restored promptly.... but the point is, the potential threat to the company was obvious to all and gained a lot of discussion inside and outside - ie with shippers and financial analysts. When railways don't keep an obvious backup available, I don't think they are just putting their heads in the sand, nor would their investors let them. The point is that keeping a redundant line "just in case" is so hugely expensive, that contingency plans don't go there.

As for the hypothetical replacement to the Havelock Sub, if VIA does not rebuild the line for HFR, it's not clear how long freight service will continue. That line is on life support. 18 km of new line to replace rebuilding 50 km of old line, plus added track construction in Toronto, is what the HFR/GO business case would consider. I don't see redundancy being a factor considered in that debate - it's just about how to link T with P.

- Paul
 
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lenaitch

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^^ Similar to calls that either CP or CN should have kept one of their Ottawa Valley lines, 'just in case'. There have been a few major outages in Northern Ontario but I'm guessing volumes on the competitor's line, plus US routing allowed the afflicted company to get by. With the volumes to the west coast through the mountains, that incident must have been corporately frightening, and it is only one of many, many bridges and tunnels out there.
 

micheal_can

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^^ Similar to calls that either CP or CN should have kept one of their Ottawa Valley lines, 'just in case'. There have been a few major outages in Northern Ontario but I'm guessing volumes on the competitor's line, plus US routing allowed the afflicted company to get by. With the volumes to the west coast through the mountains, that incident must have been corporately frightening, and it is only one of many, many bridges and tunnels out there.
Right now CN is running trans both ways on ONR between North Bay and Englehart. It takes the long way to Montreal, but it works for them.
 

lenaitch

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Right now CN is running trans both ways on ONR between North Bay and Englehart. It takes the long way to Montreal, but it works for them.
True (actually, to Swastika [Kirkland Lake] then east to Rouyn-Noranda), although I don't know if they still are now that the blockade has been lifted. The limited press I saw on it was some locals complaining about the number of trains. It is truly the 'long way 'round' and likely has weight and speed restrictions, but it does (did) move product.
 
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micheal_can

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True (actually, to Swastika [Kirkland Lake] then east to Rouyn=Noranda), although I don't know if they still are now that the blockade has been lifted. The limited press I saw on it was some locals complaining about the number of trains. It is truly the 'long way 'round' and likely has weight and speed restrictions, but it does (did) move product.
They have been running 5 trains a day, and today was no different.
 

Fritter

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They have been running 5 trains a day, and today was no different.
I guess that means there has been more trains than normal on the Newmarket Sub between Washago and North Bay. If this was summer, then there might have been more complaints with the cottagers in Huntsville, Bracebridge and Gravenhurst.
 

lenaitch

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I guess that means there has been more trains than normal on the Newmarket Sub between Washago and North Bay. If this was summer, then there might have been more complaints with the cottagers in Huntsville, Bracebridge and Gravenhurst.
Not necessarily. Some trains could could be diverting from the west via the OVR at Sudbury to NB, although I do not know traffic patterns. There is no s/b Bala to n/b Newmarket connection at Washago. I would think if they are originating in Toronto there would be increased traffic on the Bala sub. Having said that, five trains is not a lot, although more than two which I think is the normal traffic on the Newmarket sub.
 

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