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Toronto-Muskoka Rail Service

The 400 always seems to be under construction. Trying to take a piece for a rail corridor would likely hit serious opposition.
Ocne the land around Allendale gets more and more built up, I have a feel that Metrolinx will seriously consider building a big commuter parking station similar to Lincolnville to act as the park and ride for the region as well as a train storage area just west of the 400 in some brownfield.
Several grade crossings west of Allandale. All the hooting and clanging might cause local pushback.
 
GO does have lots of train sets sitting empty after 6pm.

Sure it does. But how many of those trains are in the right location to take a trainload of people northbound at that time?

If you continued an existing Richmond Hill train north that was out of service at the end of the day Friday then the capex would be minimal. It would only have operating costs.

Except that you'd also have to calculate what the ridership will be to Richmond Hill versus what the ridership will be to points north. Will another train be necessary because so many people are now getting on the train to overload its capacity?

Dan
Toronto, Ont.
 
In the near term I think this makes immense sense. The number of my friends, especially those who are a bit younger who don't hold driver's licenses is substantial, the number not even owning cars is greater. This is among folks who could afford such things for the most part.

That's s substantial market not merely for commuters, but regional tourism and of course connections for those in more rural areas to healthcare, and education as well.

The market in muskokas remains smaller, for now.

Serving it by bus from Allandale makes a great deal of sense.

But in the long term, I think a train connection probably should be re-established.

Using the Collingwood track to get to the 400 ROW then using that, followed by the 11 ROW to reestablish the connection to Bala makes sense to me.

But the cost justifications just aren't there right now, and the only thing for now should be buses and protection of future ROW.

I would highly recommend extending the tracks to Blue Mountain so it would stop at the base lodge area however. You might even be able to get InterWest to pay for the tracks and station, it would be a huge deal for them to offer train service from Union.

The type of clientele that go to Blue would not be willing to keep their car at home and take a train if it meant transferring all their gear and their kids gear to a shuttle bus.

Also you'd have to make a family rate like the UPX. Could also be combined with full ski packages.
 
I would highly recommend extending the tracks to Blue Mountain so it would stop at the base lodge area however. You might even be able to get InterWest to pay for the tracks and station, it would be a huge deal for them to offer train service from Union.

The type of clientele that go to Blue would not be willing to keep their car at home and take a train if it meant transferring all their gear and their kids gear to a shuttle bus.

Also you'd have to make a family rate like the UPX. Could also be combined with full ski packages.

Check out Bourge-st-Maurice Station in the French Alps to see imo of the coolest tourist stations in the Alps. The Eurostar runs direct overnight service from London during the winter months.
 
Blue Mountain could also be served by an extension of the proposed Bolton service. All that would be needed is a switch between the N-S CN (I think it's CN) line and the E-W line to Collingwood.
 

CP Mactier Sub

http://www.cpr.ca/en/community-site/Documents/spray-schedule-map.pdf

That connection, if done where the tracks meet now, would still involve restoring most of the old BCRY trackage.

That's a fairly busy sub, I expect a great deal of upgrading would be required to make that work.

If one were looking for a N-S alternative it would more likely be restoring track north of Orangeville to Owen Sound and spurring N-E at some point.

But again, a very costly exercise.

****

For those mentioning buses, I certainly agree w/the need to build demand for a such a rail service, and that it would not be a top priority currently. Just something to keep as a planning objective
and to ensure sure current or future ROW needs are protected.

I would add though, that rail has two advantages over bus that are important, one is not sharing local roads/highways, and therefore, where routing is reasonably direct, being able to offer faster service
which may induce greater demand.

The other is as much perception as reality; but people often perceive rail to be more 'middle class' than bus travel and therefore more desirable.

That doesn't mean we blow wads of cash on such an endeavour, but its important to factor that into any demand assumptions relative to what bussing might pull.
 
CP Mactier Sub

http://www.cpr.ca/en/community-site/Documents/spray-schedule-map.pdf

That connection, if done where the tracks meet now, would still involve restoring most of the old BCRY trackage.
I think you meant to quote this, not the link I posted to the Barrie-Collingwood string:
Blue Mountain could also be served by an extension of the proposed Bolton service. All that would be needed is a switch between the N-S CN (I think it's CN) line and the E-W line to Collingwood.
That rail line Woodbridge refers to is a CP one.
 
If one were looking for a N-S alternative it would more likely be restoring track north of Orangeville to Owen Sound and spurring N-E at some point.

But again, a very costly exercise.

****

For those mentioning buses, I certainly agree w/the need to build demand for a such a rail service, and that it would not be a top priority currently. Just something to keep as a planning objective
and to ensure sure current or future ROW needs are protected.

I would add though, that rail has two advantages over bus that are important, one is not sharing local roads/highways, and therefore, where routing is reasonably direct, being able to offer faster service
which may induce greater demand.

The other is as much perception as reality; but people often perceive rail to be more 'middle class' than bus travel and therefore more desirable.

I think that bus service going out of Barrie would be the best method of approaching transit to both Muskoka and Collingwood. It would be a more flexible and point to point type of service.

As for trains I don't think there is the demand to justify the costs. I drove from Barrie to Collingwood about a month ago, and the BCRY tracks were completely overgrown and in terrible shape. I'm pretty sure they'd have to relay the entire line. Muskoka rail service (as others have already mentioned) would be impractical because of how spread out the different cottaging areas are. Plus it's a seasonal thing, and ridership would plummet between September and June. Demand during the middle of the week might also be lower.

Of course there is a part of me that wants GO to assemble train sets with F59s and upgraded Bilevel cars (perhaps with a few converted to bike/luggage cars like some US agencies have done) and run them to Collingwood in the Winter and Muskoka in the summer, but I'm skeptical about the demand for such a service. I know a lot of people hate driving up the 400 on a Friday night, but I'm just not sure how many would willingly choose a longer train ride over the convenience of a car.
 
I think that bus service going out of Barrie would be the best method of approaching transit to both Muskoka and Collingwood. It would be a more flexible and point to point type of service.

As for trains I don't think there is the demand to justify the costs. I drove from Barrie to Collingwood about a month ago, and the BCRY tracks were completely overgrown and in terrible shape. I'm pretty sure they'd have to relay the entire line. Muskoka rail service (as others have already mentioned) would be impractical because of how spread out the different cottaging areas are. Plus it's a seasonal thing, and ridership would plummet between September and June. Demand during the middle of the week might also be lower.

Of course there is a part of me that wants GO to assemble train sets with F59s and upgraded Bilevel cars (perhaps with a few converted to bike/luggage cars like some US agencies have done) and run them to Collingwood in the Winter and Muskoka in the summer, but I'm skeptical about the demand for such a service. I know a lot of people hate driving up the 400 on a Friday night, but I'm just not sure how many would willingly choose a longer train ride over the convenience of a car.

I do think the cost of relaying the tracks wouldn't be extremely expensive, due to a right of way existing. Rail service could also be a catalyst for growth in Collingwood. The line is also very straight, meaning trains could operate at higher speeds on newer track.

You might be interested that the Town of Collingwood is selling the line to Simcoe County for a "transportation corridor". I've posted information in the Barrie Collingwood Railway thread here.
 
yup. I could see the train, with a rebuilt track bed, doing Collingwood to Barrie in around 25 minutes. A rebuilt trackbed would allow for 160km/h speeds, the track is dead straight. That is a 50 minute drive today.

The question is more so demand and whether it would be worth completely rebuilding 50km of track.

I could eventually see express GO trains making their first stop in Newmarket and getting to Collingwood in about an hour 45 after departing Union. That is time competitive with driving in free flow traffic, and trust me, it isn't usually free flow.
 
yup. I could see the train, with a rebuilt track bed, doing Collingwood to Barrie in around 25 minutes. A rebuilt trackbed would allow for 160km/h speeds, the track is dead straight. That is a 50 minute drive today.

The question is more so demand and whether it would be worth completely rebuilding 50km of track.

I could eventually see express GO trains making their first stop in Newmarket and getting to Collingwood in about an hour 45 after departing Union. That is time competitive with driving in free flow traffic, and trust me, it isn't usually free flow.
So why not a connecting coach from Barrie to Collingwood?
 
I've been drawn to this site when searching transportation topics so decided to jump in. I'm not a GTA resident (escaped in '73) but thought I'd share some thoughts. Apologies in advance as I am referencing comments found on this threat as well as the ones discussing the 'Barrie-Collingwood Railway' and 'Ontario Northland'

In no particular order:
- It seems Simcoe County is landbanking the Utopia to Collingwood right-of-way. It has to be retained as an infrastructure corridor anyway since a large water line supplying the Alliston area occupies a large length of it.
- There is no reasonable way tracks could be extended to the ski hills. Collingwood has grown out too much for that. The issue of 'the last mile' is a valid point limiting the success of getting people out of their cars.
- While the right-of-way could be upgraded for passenger service, any type of 'high speed' service would be out of the question. The line goes right through the middle of two towns.
- It is highly unlikely that passenger rail could be added to the CP Mactier Sub without massive upgrades. It is their sole corridor to western Canada and also has daily service to the Honda plant. Like the line through Richmond Hill (CN Bala Sub), it would require additional trackage.
- I find it interesting that contributors envision untold millions of dollars be spent so that urban dwellers can recreate, but in the Ontario Northland (Northlander) thread, any consideration for reinstating that service was met with detailed discussion of cost/revenue per passenger mile and levels of government subsidies. All forms of public transportation, including road, is subsidized. Is there some thought that ski-trains to Collingwood and cottage trains to Muskoka would be self-sustaining? Northerners have limited transportation options and significant distances to deal with in order to travel both to the GTA as well as between points in the north. Admittedly, higher population densities make public transit more cost-effective, but the government and its agencies allegedly exist to serve all residents of the province. Simply saying that everybody should just move to the GTA is not a constructive position. I don't any of the mineral or forestry products that we consume are found in the GTA.
 
I've been drawn to this site when searching transportation topics so decided to jump in. I'm not a GTA resident (escaped in '73) but thought I'd share some thoughts. Apologies in advance as I am referencing comments found on this threat as well as the ones discussing the 'Barrie-Collingwood Railway' and 'Ontario Northland'

In no particular order:
- It seems Simcoe County is landbanking the Utopia to Collingwood right-of-way. It has to be retained as an infrastructure corridor anyway since a large water line supplying the Alliston area occupies a large length of it.
- There is no reasonable way tracks could be extended to the ski hills. Collingwood has grown out too much for that. The issue of 'the last mile' is a valid point limiting the success of getting people out of their cars.
- While the right-of-way could be upgraded for passenger service, any type of 'high speed' service would be out of the question. The line goes right through the middle of two towns.
- It is highly unlikely that passenger rail could be added to the CP Mactier Sub without massive upgrades. It is their sole corridor to western Canada and also has daily service to the Honda plant. Like the line through Richmond Hill (CN Bala Sub), it would require additional trackage.
- I find it interesting that contributors envision untold millions of dollars be spent so that urban dwellers can recreate, but in the Ontario Northland (Northlander) thread, any consideration for reinstating that service was met with detailed discussion of cost/revenue per passenger mile and levels of government subsidies. All forms of public transportation, including road, is subsidized. Is there some thought that ski-trains to Collingwood and cottage trains to Muskoka would be self-sustaining? Northerners have limited transportation options and significant distances to deal with in order to travel both to the GTA as well as between points in the north. Admittedly, higher population densities make public transit more cost-effective, but the government and its agencies allegedly exist to serve all residents of the province. Simply saying that everybody should just move to the GTA is not a constructive position. I don't any of the mineral or forestry products that we consume are found in the GTA.
All valid points. However, I presume that most people here know that none of the things proposed in the thread will actually happen in the foreseeable future. I have never been on the Northlander thread, but I think that service actually makes a lot of sense, so people there are more serious.
 
All forms of public transportation, including road, is subsidized.

This is true, but it's often more efficient to use that road subsidy for both private and public transit than to have a separate railway subsidy for public transit. The Northlander train was great - I'd taken it several times before it was cancelled - but it wasn't any faster than bus service and served fewer communities (Barrie, Orillia, Port Sydney and Kirkland Lake being some of the notable ones). If it can survive as a tourist service that doesn't require more than a small subsidy, I'm all for it, but I don't see any point spending lots of money on it.
 
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