News   Jun 14, 2024
 1.7K     1 
News   Jun 14, 2024
 1.3K     1 
News   Jun 14, 2024
 736     0 

Roads: Ontario/GTA Highways Discussion

The cost is certainly not net zero, and getting more so. it that still begs a question - why do railways not move more truck based freight Toronto to Montreal, Moncton, Chicago, Winnipeg for example. Turn more long distance trucking into regional trucking.
No doubt one of the railway pros will drop by, but my guess is largely timing and possibly cost. CP used have what I think was called the RoadRailer and I assume CN had something similar. If you are a manufacturer in Montreal, you have a driver and tractor to take you trailer to a railway loading yard. Rail crews will load the trailer on a suitably equipped car. It will sit there until a train is assembled. It will travel to Toronto (freight travel time unknown). In Toronto, rail crews will unload the trailer and drop it in a yard where another driver can pick it up and drive it to its destination. I imagine all of this took a couple of days. Each strt/end point needs ralatively specialized facilities.

Or you can drive it yourself; one driver in, what, 6-7 hours.

Longer distances probably make more sense which is why we see container unit trains.
 
The cost is certainly not net zero, and getting more so. it that still begs a question - why do railways not move more truck based freight Toronto to Montreal, Moncton, Chicago, Winnipeg for example. Turn more long distance trucking into regional trucking.
They don't move more regional freight for many reasons. A big one is because the vast majority of companies are operating on a just-in-time warehousing philosophy, and that does not jive well with the way railways operate.

[
You are missing my point and I'm not sure if it's intentional or otherwise. So, moving on...
I don't get it. Response seems a bit rude. Perhaps your original statement isn't as clear as you think it is.
 
Last edited:
No doubt one of the railway pros will drop by, but my guess is largely timing and possibly cost. CP used have what I think was called the RoadRailer and I assume CN had something similar. If you are a manufacturer in Montreal, you have a driver and tractor to take you trailer to a railway loading yard. Rail crews will load the trailer on a suitably equipped car. It will sit there until a train is assembled. It will travel to Toronto (freight travel time unknown). In Toronto, rail crews will unload the trailer and drop it in a yard where another driver can pick it up and drive it to its destination. I imagine all of this took a couple of days. Each strt/end point needs ralatively specialized facilities.

Or you can drive it yourself; one driver in, what, 6-7 hours.

Longer distances probably make more sense which is why we see container unit trains.
One thing I can say with certainty is that “Just in Time” is becoming a much more difficult concept to follow and the drift to adequate cushions of supply is well underway.

secondly, and it may be my extreme naivety, but in reply to the idea that it can take a couple of day to move a trailer from Toronto to Montreal or Moncton or Winnipeg, I simply would say ‘why’? Outside of mileage, in todays age of tech and engineering, with the proper technology for rapidly loading dry vans (I think you have to exclude tankers, bulk carriers, at least at start up), why cannot you assemble trains and express them to destination on a same day basis? Even containers. We regularily express containers from Halifax / Montreal and it’s always the same story - delay, delay, delay. It’s faster to truck them from those destinations. And why? You ask your railway sales guy and that’s just the way it is. But why? Is it the precision railway manifesto? Is it railway rules? Are they not that interested in this type of cargo as it’s just too much work compared to bulk? Is it just ‘railway‘ management? Is it in investment? There has to be a business case over longer haul trucking that railway could exploit with efficiency and profit.
 
One thing I can say with certainty is that “Just in Time” is becoming a much more difficult concept to follow and the drift to adequate cushions of supply is well underway.

secondly, and it may be my extreme naivety, but in reply to the idea that it can take a couple of day to move a trailer from Toronto to Montreal or Moncton or Winnipeg, I simply would say ‘why’? Outside of mileage, in todays age of tech and engineering, with the proper technology for rapidly loading dry vans (I think you have to exclude tankers, bulk carriers, at least at start up), why cannot you assemble trains and express them to destination on a same day basis? Even containers. We regularily express containers from Halifax / Montreal and it’s always the same story - delay, delay, delay. It’s faster to truck them from those destinations. And why? You ask your railway sales guy and that’s just the way it is. But why? Is it the precision railway manifesto? Is it railway rules? Are they not that interested in this type of cargo as it’s just too much work compared to bulk? Is it just ‘railway‘ management? Is it in investment? There has to be a business case over longer haul trucking that railway could exploit with efficiency and profit.
You ask valid questions and I'm sorry that I don't have definitive answers, and hopefully some of the railroaders will chime in. In my simple assessment, if I have a container full of widgets, as soon as it is locked on the truck, in my yard, it can be on the road. A couple-of-kilometer train will carry hundreds of containers and that alone magnifies the complexities of gathering, loading, train assembly, etc.

It sounds like you have some knowledge regarding some shifting of industrial views regarding JIT and ,if true, will be a good thing. I've never agreed with industry essentially foisting their warehousing onto public highways. I got some sense that they were spooked by COVID disruptions and the highway/border crossing blockades.
 
I know a fair amount about a large national shipper. Out of the GTA, rail is only used for Winnipeg and further west, and Moncton and further east. Ontario and Quebec is 100% road. The savings rail would offer are too marginal to offset the additional time and complexity of rail.
 
I know a fair amount about a large national shipper. Out of the GTA, rail is only used for Winnipeg and further west, and Moncton and further east. Ontario and Quebec is 100% road. The savings rail would offer are too marginal to offset the additional time and complexity of rail.
That would explain why so many trucking yards are opening up in Southern Caledon every year(even though 60% are illegal and no one is putting a stop to it) anyways, I still firmly believe we need to expand our highway infrastructure to accommodate the massive increase in truck trailers on the road.

The current road network in Southern Caledon is not adequate for the future.
 
That would explain why so many trucking yards are opening up in Southern Caledon every year(even though 60% are illegal and no one is putting a stop to it) anyways, I still firmly believe we need to expand our highway infrastructure to accommodate the massive increase in truck trailers on the road.

The current road network in Southern Caledon is not adequate for the future.
Not surprising with two intermodal terminals nearby.

How are they illegal? Zoning?
 
I would sooner believe we should adopt a new way to ship freight via rail to nearer destinations than continue the status quo of using highways, especially when the corridor travelled is so linear. Just because modern freight rail is poorly suited to closer trips, does not mean it must be forever.
 
That would explain why so many trucking yards are opening up in Southern Caledon every year(even though 60% are illegal and no one is putting a stop to it) anyways, I still firmly believe we need to expand our highway infrastructure to accommodate the massive increase in truck trailers on the road.

The current road network in Southern Caledon is not adequate for the future.
Isn’t this precisely where Hwy 413 comes into play, even ignoring those doing it illegally, the amount of big warehouses that popped up along Coleraine Drive in the last 10 years is astounding.

To be fair, Caledon forbids trucks to go through the heart of Bolton but rather must use a bypass using Coleraine which avoids most of Bolton, to say that there is no road capacity whatsoever surrounding southern Caledon which I assume meant Bolton is simply not true right now.

You identify as being in Caledon East, how would you define Southern Caledon? Anything south of King Street?
 
They don't move more regional freight for many reasons. A big one is because the vast majority of companies are operating on a just-in-time warehousing philosophy, and that does not jive well with the way railways operate.

[

I don't get it. Response seems a bit rude. Perhaps your original statement isn't as clear as you think it is.
I apologize if my reply came across as short.

Let me preface that I'm well aware that there are costs involved in the starting up of a freight company, be it truck or rail (licensing, vehicle acquisition, fuel, etc, etc), and I'm not naïve enough to suggest that the cost in starting a trucking business even comes close to the cost in starting up a rail business.

HOWEVER, when you consider that outside of a few toll roads in the country the cost of taking a truck out on to the road is virtually nil. Compared to rail which you must pay to access CN or CP's lines.

FURTHERMORE. I'm fully aware that there are differences between road and rail freight (a train can't simply change lanes like a truck would on a congested highway) but as we've seen with GO Transit's experience with CN/CP neither company is really all that motivated to share their trackage with any other entity (or move outside their existing, successful, business models)

All I was saying is that we treat roadways as a public good/asset and so for the most part hold it in the public realm. Meanwhile railways are still permitted to act as their own fiefdoms despite the fact that railways ALSO offer a public benefit.
 
HOWEVER, when you consider that outside of a few toll roads in the country the cost of taking a truck out on to the road is virtually nil. Compared to rail which you must pay to access CN or CP's lines.
A 53' truck costs about $2-3/km to operate. Not free.
 
Sigh... 🙄

And how much does it cost to operate a freight train.

This is why I didn't want to get into an extended discussion on the issue
Substantially less per tonne km, at least for long distances. Rail is about half the cost depending on the origin/destination.
 
I apologize if my reply came across as short.

Let me preface that I'm well aware that there are costs involved in the starting up of a freight company, be it truck or rail (licensing, vehicle acquisition, fuel, etc, etc), and I'm not naïve enough to suggest that the cost in starting a trucking business even comes close to the cost in starting up a rail business.

HOWEVER, when you consider that outside of a few toll roads in the country the cost of taking a truck out on to the road is virtually nil. Compared to rail which you must pay to access CN or CP's lines.

FURTHERMORE. I'm fully aware that there are differences between road and rail freight (a train can't simply change lanes like a truck would on a congested highway) but as we've seen with GO Transit's experience with CN/CP neither company is really all that motivated to share their trackage with any other entity (or move outside their existing, successful, business models).

All I was saying is that we treat roadways as a public good/asset and so for the most part hold it in the public realm. Meanwhile railways are still permitted to act as their own fiefdoms despite the fact that railways ALSO offer a public benefit.
I *think* I get what you are trying to say, but some of the comparative statements confuse me.

Roadways aren't treated as public assets - they *are* public assets, paid for by general revenue taxes and user fees. Railways are private property owned and operated by for-profit companies that pay taxes on their assets and business income. They might provide a public benefit (a term not legally used in Canada), but it could be argued that so does Amazon or Air Canada.

Stepping away from the cost of taking a truck out onto the road, accessing CN or CP lines means you are using their property, facilities and staff.

or move outside their existing, successful, business models
If you were a business, would you?
 

Back
Top