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Toronto-Muskoka Rail Service

I think extending the GO service to Collingwood/Wasaga/Blue Mountain as seasonal and weekend service would be useful. In the winter for skiing/snowboarding and in the summer for biking/hiking and beaches. It should be too expensive to rebuild the 50km from Barrie to Collingwood.
 
I think extending the GO service to Collingwood/Wasaga/Blue Mountain as seasonal and weekend service would be useful. In the winter for skiing/snowboarding and in the summer for biking/hiking and beaches. It should be too expensive to rebuild the 50km from Barrie to Collingwood.


While costs can vary, using $1M/mile, that would be $50M, probably not including station/terminal costs at the Collingwood end. Seems like a lot for seasonal/weekend service and you would still have the issue of the 'last mile' from railhead to the beaches or ski hills. It would interesting to see if a market study would support it.
 
$50M would not be that bad. The Blue Mountain restort is close by and could run shuttle service. Same goes with Wasaga. It would help reduce congestion on 400 on weekends by GTA residents seeking recreational activities. It would be a boon for Collingwood to become the hub of where large numbers of people arrive. So an economic opportunity. Plus there may even be a reverse market for retirees who live up there all year and want to visit the city.
 
$50M would not be that bad. The Blue Mountain restort is close by and could run shuttle service. Same goes with Wasaga. It would help reduce congestion on 400 on weekends by GTA residents seeking recreational activities. It would be a boon for Collingwood to become the hub of where large numbers of people arrive. So an economic opportunity. Plus there may even be a reverse market for retirees who live up there all year and want to visit the city.

Shuttle buses could work to the ski hills if the large corporations the run a lot of the hills see a business case (rolling stock would have to be able to accommodate ski equipment). Expecting local public transit to provide it would be a political non-starter since it would be of little direct benefit to the residents. Wasaga is a little different since, not counting cottages, it is a large, spread out public space (the beach) serviced by a large number of mom-and-pop businesses. The town is planning a major revitalization so that may change things. I just don't see a family schlepping coolers, umbrellas and all the other bits and pieces of a beach visit on a train. Maybe that would change - it is more common in Europe.
 
I think extending the GO service to Collingwood/Wasaga/Blue Mountain as seasonal and weekend service would be useful. In the winter for skiing/snowboarding and in the summer for biking/hiking and beaches. It should be too expensive to rebuild the 50km from Barrie to Collingwood.

That track was mostly taken out over the years.
 
it still exists but is in extremely poor condition from my understanding - most of it has 10mph orders I believe.
 
I'm not sure that it makes much of a difference how much of the track is still in place. It would all have to be taken out and rebuilt for passenger rail anyway. What matters is that the right of way is protected for a possible future service. It's worth protecting for even if there are no current plans. Blue Mountain, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach collectively generate a lot of tourist traffic year round.
 
Google street view, just north of Stayner on Highway 26, June 2018. looks like the rails have been pulled.
Stayner.jpg
 
The rails are largely in place. They have been lifted at some road crossings that have been re-built. You can actually see one peeking out near the gravel patch (the trail runs beside the ROW). Last I recall, the County of Simcoe was intending to buy the ROW for railbanking but I don't know if that went through. As well, the stretch from Collingwood to roughly Angus is a protected easement for a large water main. The line ended at some industrial spurs in the east end of Collingwood; it was pulled back from downtown many years ago.
 
The rails are largely in place. They have been lifted at some road crossings that have been re-built. You can actually see one peeking out near the gravel patch (the trail runs beside the ROW). Last I recall, the County of Simcoe was intending to buy the ROW for railbanking but I don't know if that went through. As well, the stretch from Collingwood to roughly Angus is a protected easement for a large water main. The line ended at some industrial spurs in the east end of Collingwood; it was pulled back from downtown many years ago.

Yup, the rails are pretty much all in place minus a few crossings. The County of Simcoe bought the corridor for use as a "future transportation corridor" from Collingwood. More here, from the BCRY thread:

Update on this rail corridor. Collingwood is wanting to sell it to Simcoe County, which intends to use it as a "transportation corridor", whatever that means. See the article below, and the newspaper ad. I've contacted the Town of Collingwood for more info and will post it here.

Rail sale opens doors for master plan (Barrie Examiner)

Newspaper ad courtesy of Charles Cooper, via Facebook
q0LRlW4.jpg
 
The rails are largely in place. They have been lifted at some road crossings that have been re-built. You can actually see one peeking out near the gravel patch (the trail runs beside the ROW). Last I recall, the County of Simcoe was intending to buy the ROW for railbanking but I don't know if that went through. As well, the stretch from Collingwood to roughly Angus is a protected easement for a large water main. The line ended at some industrial spurs in the east end of Collingwood; it was pulled back from downtown many years ago.

It was apart of the BCRY. Check the link to the thread someone else sent.
 
CN has a lot less hassle from passenger these days with 12 Northlander slots weekly gone and a reduction in Canadian to 4 slots weekly. They are adding track south of Washago. Not sure that it's going to be that much hardship to reinstate even a basic 1/direction/day service to Muskoka. I would much rather leverage VIA or GO as operator, given their fleet scale, and leave ONR with improving track, structures, and trackbed, raising track class to the maximum that terrain will permit.
 

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