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Peterborough Commuter Rail

Woodbridge_Heights

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Well of course a bus service would attract a lot fewer riders, for the same reason a streetcar line attracts more riders even if it's not any faster than the previous bus. Rail attracts more riders. Not to mention a bus to the Oshawa GO station, then GO train downtown would probably take twice as long a VIA train the whole way. If the track is improved, flag stops eliminated, and the ride is faster and smoother than the previous VIA line, ridership and financial performance will be vastly improved. Only in North America would the viability of a 120 km rail line to a metro of 117,000 be in doubt.
No one is really arguing the viability of the line more than the obvious political gift that the line is in light of many other projects that have priority over Peterbrough i.e. Go Bolton line. Unlike Europe, North America doesn't have much of a rail culture and history.

I remember visiting my grandparents in Italy in a town of 1000 people max and being able to catch an express bus (akin to go/Greyhound) to the nearest mid size town (pop maybe 30 000) and from there being able to catch the train to the regional capital and/or elsewhere in the country. Southern Ontario doesn't have anything close to this set up. Now if we did then I can see Peterborough as being an extension of this system.


*****

I think a truly forward thinking federal government would have tabled the long talked about HSR link across Ontario/Quebec instead of this vote buying Peterborough line.
 

JasonParis

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Agreed. Restoring service to Peterborough is sort of like putting a spoke back in the wheel. It doesn't necessarily make much sense as a priority of our federal government, but it could play a role in slowly changing the the way people in Southern Ontario get around.

Are there any other VIA lines that were cut in Ontario in 1990? Or was it more just service levels on existing lines?
 

ShonTron

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The Canadian via CP was cut. This included the CP daily Sudbury-North Bay-Ottawa-Montreal portion, as well as the Sudbury-Thunder Bay-Winnipeg route.

Otherwise, it was cuts to level of service. Toronto-Montreal, Toronto-Niagara Falls, Toronto-Kitchener-London (from 5 to 2 trains, now back to 3), Toronto-Ottawa, Ottawa-Montreal. Toronto-Barrie-Orillia-Sudbury via CN was cut to 3 days a week from daily, and then later moved away from Barrie.
 

Hipster Duck

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My preferred service would be two inbound morning trips at 5:30 and 7:30 from Peterborough to Toronto and two outbound services at 4:00 and 6:00.

Talents or Trainbuses would be the preferred rolling stock, and the stops would simply be:

Agincourt (renamed to Sheppard/Brimley), Locust Hill, Baldwin*, Pontypool**, Peterborough.

*Baldwin station is on Hwy 12 and has a bus link-up to Port Perry and Brooklin
** Pontypool has a bus link to Lindsay
 

ShonTron

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I would have a Peterborough downtown and a Peterborough Parkway station for those who have a need to drive.

Two round trips a day is ideal. If VIA runs the service, I would expect weekend service.

Friday Extra: Leave Peterborough 17:30. Leave Toronto 23:00.

Saturday: Leave Peterborough at 7:30 and 14:30. Leave Toronto at 10:00 and 23:00.
Sunday/Holiday Monday: Leave Peterborough at 8:30 and 20:00. Leave Toronto at 10:00 and 21:00.

That way you serve the student market and actually provide a useful train for weekend excursions like dinner, theatre, sports, shopping.
 

RedRocket191

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A moderator double posting? What is the world comming to!

Feel free to delete this post.

Seantrans: I will! - Mod.

42: No - I want to!
 

nfitz

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Are you talking about the funding that Paul Martin cancelled as soon as he took over, and that the conservatives reinstated a couple months ago?
No, that was the funding announcement on October 24, 2003 by Chretien, that Martin cancelled on December 18, 2003, and Harper recently reinstated.

I was talking about the May 23, 2003 funding announcement, and the Weston subdivision portion of the March 26, 2003 funding announcement, both of which are still in effect, and are the subject of the ongoing EA.

The Kitchener train is pretty terrible and needs some serious improvement. One time I took the train to London through Kitchener. It's slow, bumpy, and loud. The only reason I took it is because I missed the faster train through Aldershot...because the Greyhound from Peterborough was stuck in traffic.
Agreed, but given the feds committed 100's of millions of $ already to start upgrading that line, and Ontario is still pissing around with the EA on it over 5 years later, then it seems silly to commit more money, when there clearly doesn't seem to be an interest by Ontario to actually move ahead on it in a timely fashion.
 

Allandale25

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Estimated cost of high-speed passenger Toronto-Peterborough rail service:

- Renew rail: $32 million

- Renew other track material, crossings, warning systems: $42 million

- North Toronto sub fly-under at Leaside and Toronto yard capacity: $50 million-60 million

- Don branch renewal: $6 million

- Passenger equipment (depending on Via Rail choices): $20 million

- Stations, platforms, parking lots: $10 million
Source: http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=921133&auth=BRENDAN+WEDLEY

I saw this description of some of the costs and am curious about the "North Toronto sub fly-under at Leaside and Toronto yard capacity: $50 million-60 million". Does that mean the line to Peterborough has to go under or over the CP main line due to high volume? Also, why would the Toronto Yard need increased capacity? Couldn't the trains be stored at an existing yard?
 

RedRocket191

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Toronto Yard (the official name for CP's major yard in Agincourt) upgrades lends itself to the rumours floating around about the government helping CP upgrade their Toronto-Montreal capacity.
 

JasonParis

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The rapid route to boom town
March 01, 2008
Robyn Doolittle
Staff Reporter



VIA Rail axed the previous line to Peterborough due to crumbling rails and low ridership. MP Dean Del Mastro estimates at least 900 commuters would use the new high-speed train. FRED THORNHILL PHOTO FOR THE TORONTO STAR

There are only a handful of shops along Millbrook's main drag; a local hardware shop, a pharmacy, one coffee shop, a florist, a crafts store – and five real estate offices.

This tiny village, about 20 kilometres southwest of Peterborough, is on the cusp of a housing boom.

"If you want to know what's coming, just take a look at this street. There are five of us here – all preparing," said realtor Steve Paul.

So to those who think a proposed rail link to Peterborough is a waste of money, Paul and other locals say, "Take a look at the numbers."

There are three major housing projects underway in Millbrook. Housing prices and land values are skyrocketing. Last summer, a 2,000-acre farm that might have sold for $500,000 a few years ago was purchased for $2 million.

"It was bought by a developer. A farmer can't afford to pay that to plant on. This developer is prepared to sit on that property and wait for another seven years or so when there's a demand," said Paul.

In a move that surprised many, and drew criticism from others, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty pledged to subsidize a passenger train between Peterborough and Toronto during Tuesday's budget speech. While the proposed route will undoubtedly drive demand up, developer interest has been mounting for five years.

When Ontario put development restrictions on the Oak Ridges Moraine, investors hopped over to Cavan Monaghan Township, Paul said. Last year, it was announced that Highway 407 would be extended to connect with Highway 115 – the route to Peterborough.

"Now there's talk about a high-speed railway. This will only mean good things for the area. Think of how many cars are going to come off the road," Paul said.

It's 5:45 a.m. Friday, and a dozen sleepy-looking folks clutching coffee cups board a bus bound for Toronto at the downtown Peterborough Greyhound station.

A few are heading to the airport. One, a Trent University student, is heading to a job interview. The rest are going to work. It's a commute Brian Hamilton has been making for a year and a half.

"I did the car thing for two years, and then the GO (train) thing for two years – you have to drive to Oshawa first. This is the easiest. On a good day, it's two hours there, then two hours back," said the 50-year-old, who works with the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs.

"But is that really that crazy? I work with people who live in Mississauga and it takes them an hour and a half to get to work every day."

On a typical morning, about 30 people from Peterborough make the trek by bus to downtown Toronto. Most work from home at least one day a week. Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro estimated at least 900 Durham and Peterborough commuters would use a high-speed train.

Miriam McFadyen, a nurse at St. Michael's Hospital, says she would be one. McFadyen moved to the area because of her husband's job with the Ministry of Natural Resources. She works part-time now because of the long trip.

"A train would be unbelievable, but only if it had regular runs," McFadyen, 50, said. Currently, there are two commuter buses to Peterborough – one at 4:30 p.m., the other at 4:45 p.m. The next bus leaves at 7:30 p.m.

"That means you get home at 10, just in time to go to bed and get up the next morning at 4 a.m. to go back to work," added Hamilton.

Residents say limited service was the problem with the previous rail system, which Via Rail axed in the 1990s due to crumbling rails and low ridership. "One (train) would go down at 7 a.m., and then you couldn't get back until that night," said Dan Smith, sipping java at Millbrook's only coffee shop.

One such trip is one of Mary Ellen McCamus' favourite memories. "Every Christmas, we used to get the kids and get on the 7 a.m. train. We'd spend the day shopping and walking around downtown, looking at the holiday windows at Eaton's, then come home that night. They had such a great time," she said. "This is an area that's attracting young families. Wouldn't it be nice to get that train back for them?"
 

JasonParis

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Rail report proving elusive
TheStar.com
March 01, 2008


It's the report that is supposed to have persuaded Ottawa to announce unspecified millions to restore a rail link between Peterborough and Union Station that would carry an estimated 900 riders daily.

But the solid business case Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro says clinched the support of federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has proved elusive.

Asked Wednesday if the report was available, a spokesperson said none could be found in the Ottawa office. Later, he said Del Mastro wanted the weekend to update it. On Thursday, Robert Lynch said in an email his boss would be taking his time but "would be in touch."

"All I know is a lot of things have changed. It's actually better," Lynch said yesterday.

Peterborough Mayor Paul Ayotte, who says the restoration of a service discontinued by VIA in 1990 has been greeted with enthusiasm in his city, said he had a copy. He just needed to ask Del Mastro if it was okay to turn over the report, but he never got back to the Star. Calls to Flaherty's office were not returned.

The announcement of the project in Tuesday's budget has evoked partisan accusations.

"The minister's pet project sails right through, and coincidentally, it will benefit his own riding," charged Liberal MP Mark Holland (Ajax-Pickering), whose constituents also stand to benefit.

"Minister Flaherty knows very well that Durham Region is desperate for infrastructure investments. But rather than expand the 407 or expand GO services, he's chosen to make this announcement, which is at the very bottom of the priorities for improving Durham infrastructure," Holland said in a release yesterday.

Del Mastro attempted to defuse criticism with a news release of his own yesterday, listing 14 other ridings the Union Station-Peterborough rail route would pass through – many held by Liberals.

"These facts," the release said, "emphasize the non-partisan nature of this project which is intended to benefit the people of all these ridings while reducing our carbon footprint and contributing to the economic benefit of the communities involved."

Tess Kalinowski
 

JasonParis

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Opposition blasts plan for rail line
DANIEL LEBLANC
With a report from Jennifer Lewington in Toronto
March 1, 2008


OTTAWA -- The opposition yesterday branded the Harper government's plans for a train line from Toronto to Peterborough, Ont., as the "pork-barrel express."

Liberal and NDP MPs said the surprise pledge, contained in this week's federal budget, is loosely defined and would use financial resources that are more needed elsewhere.

NDP MP Paul Dewar said it's not a coincidence that the proposed train line would run in a number of swing seats that are currently in Conservative hands east of Toronto.

"This is what I'd call a pork-barrel express," he said.

Mr. Dewar and Liberal MP Mark Holland said it's strange that Conservative minister John Baird undermined a light-train proposal in Ottawa, while Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is pushing for a line that would go through his riding.

"I'm from Durham. I can tell you we have a lot of infrastructure priorities; I want to see things done," Mr. Holland said. "But this train to Peterborough would be number 64 out of 65 things on my list. This is not a priority."

Toronto Mayor David Miller said the federal budget failed to propose a national transit strategy.

"If you are going to build rail infrastructure in this country, which you should, the train to Peterborough is one thing. What about the fast train from Montreal to Toronto?" he said.

The plan to revive passenger-rail service along tracks owned by Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. from Toronto's Union Station to Peterborough - closed by Via Rail in 1990 - has been championed by Peterborough's Conservative MP, Dean Del Mastro.

"There has always been a business case for it. There continues to be a business case for it," he said this week. Mr. Flaherty denied this week that politics played any role in the project.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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Hmm, perhaps the province should step in go for a regional review of land uses along the line. That ought to take awhile while this thing simmers.

AoD
 

unimaginative2

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It's not my pet project, and I've been to Peterborough all of three times in my life, but I think this is a great idea, and I'd love to see more VIA lines revitalized in this way. This doesn't preclude any other transit projects (which the Harper Tories are infuriatingly ignoring) and it's the kind of thing that had to be built at some point. Hopefully it'll happen even after the Tories are long gone.
 

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