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VIA Rail: New Funding

unimaginative2

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Totally agree about Montreal-Ottawa. It's definitely becoming a top-flight property. I'd like to see them shave off another half hour. It shouldn't be that hard, especially since they own the tracks, and it would really blow the car and bus out of the water. If only they could get Air Canada to abandon its flights on the route and code share with VIA, like Lufthansa does on its Frankfurt-Cologne route. It'll be especially convenient when they build the loop that'll take the trains to the doorstep of the terminal.
 

TOareaFan

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I have also wondered about serving new places as well and how those could fit into the VIA network. Service to Mont Tremblant and some stops in between might be a consideration. Same with bringing places like Markham or Richmond Hill into the network. At the very last things are starting to change and VIA has finally stopped contracting.


I have often wondered if there would be much use of a VIA service that linked the GTA with Montreal but didn't go through Union. With the 905 population now exceeding the 416 population it would follow that not everyone who wants to go to Montreal lives downtown.....so could a service that scooted across the top of the GTA (Brampton, Vaughan,Markham) and then on to Montreal attract any passengers and make a decent service?

I ask that as a genuine question because it is something that I have wondered but there seem to be people on here who put a lot more detailed thought into this stuff than I do.
 

TOareaFan

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Totally agree about Montreal-Ottawa. It's definitely becoming a top-flight property. I'd like to see them shave off another half hour. It shouldn't be that hard, especially since they own the tracks, and it would really blow the car and bus out of the water. If only they could get Air Canada to abandon its flights on the route and code share with VIA, like Lufthansa does on its Frankfurt-Cologne route. It'll be especially convenient when they build the loop that'll take the trains to the doorstep of the terminal.


Are they building that loop? Everytime I go to Montreal by plane I wonder about how hard it would be to bring the trains to the airport.....it always seemed a bit daft that the train was "right over there" but not "right here"....it was just close enough to be seen but a wee bit too inconvenient to be used!
 

AnarchoSocialist

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I have often wondered if there would be much use of a VIA service that linked the GTA with Montreal but didn't go through Union. With the 905 population now exceeding the 416 population it would follow that not everyone who wants to go to Montreal lives downtown.....so could a service that scooted across the top of the GTA (Brampton, Vaughan,Markham) and then on to Montreal attract any passengers and make a decent service?

As of right now, I can't see something like that being financially sound. What would probably work is too start trains in the north of the GTA so that you have stops at say Richmond Hill, Markham, or wherever turned out to be the best location that would then go to Union and continue on their regular trips. This is what happens in Ottawa with trains to Montreal. A number of the trains start in Barrhaven and then pull into the main station. It has worked well in the case of Ottawa and I could see it working well in the GTA, if it was implemented right.

To take it a bit farther you could make 3 different starting points for VIA trains heading to Montreal. One starting in Niagara Falls/Hamilton, another in Kitchener-Waterloo, another in the northern GTA. Each city/region would basically see one in three Montreal (or Ottawa) trains departing from it. This way you can still offer service to the edges of the GTA, but not lose Union which in terms of filling up the trains with customers, is too important too lose.

Are they building that loop? Everytime I go to Montreal by plane I wonder about how hard it would be to bring the trains to the airport.....it always seemed a bit daft that the train was "right over there" but not "right here"....it was just close enough to be seen but a wee bit too inconvenient to be used!

The right of way for the loop will be built as part of the Highway 20/Dorval interchange rebuild project. So when you see that construction starting (and I am not sure what the timeline is on it right now), then you know that a line in to Trudeau is not far off.
 

Hipster Duck

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I have often wondered if there would be much use of a VIA service that linked the GTA with Montreal but didn't go through Union. With the 905 population now exceeding the 416 population it would follow that not everyone who wants to go to Montreal lives downtown.....so could a service that scooted across the top of the GTA (Brampton, Vaughan,Markham) and then on to Montreal attract any passengers and make a decent service?

I ask that as a genuine question because it is something that I have wondered but there seem to be people on here who put a lot more detailed thought into this stuff than I do.

We kind of already have stations like Oshawa, Oakville, Guildwood and Aldershot for that purpose, but, yeah, they could be improved.

In many larger European cities, intercity and high speed trains stop at suburban stations that are massive by themselves. Some of them you might have even heard of, like Ashford International (London), or Marne-la-Vallee-Chessy (Paris). A Thornhill station, for example, on the CN bypass would be pretty useful for people in York Region and North York going east to Ottawa/Montreal or west toward Kitchener and London. Something tells me, however, that if a station were to be built it would be just an Amshack, rather than a proper intercity terminal with proper mass transit connections like the ones in Europe.
 

TOareaFan

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As of right now, I can't see something like that being financially sound. What would probably work is too start trains in the north of the GTA so that you have stops at say Richmond Hill, Markham, or wherever turned out to be the best location that would then go to Union and continue on their regular trips. This is what happens in Ottawa with trains to Montreal. A number of the trains start in Barrhaven and then pull into the main station. It has worked well in the case of Ottawa and I could see it working well in the GTA, if it was implemented right.

To take it a bit farther you could make 3 different starting points for VIA trains heading to Montreal. One starting in Niagara Falls/Hamilton, another in Kitchener-Waterloo, another in the northern GTA. Each city/region would basically see one in three Montreal (or Ottawa) trains departing from it. This way you can still offer service to the edges of the GTA, but not lose Union which in terms of filling up the trains with customers, is too important too lose.

It just seems to me that our entire transit system is a bit too "Union Centric"....I understand that it is a big trip generator but if all inter-city travel has to go through Union I wonder how many potential users get turned away by the additional time they have to spend getting to Union.

I happen to live in Brampton....we actually have a nice little Via station....every time, however, I have looked into the train to go to either Ottawa or Montreal the connection through Union is a time issue.

I was thinking of going to Montreal recently so I checked, the schedules. On top of the 35 minute or so VIA trip from Brampton to Union, the minimum connection time was another 45 minutes (it was often longer). When you add those together, that is an hour and 20 minutes before you even set off for Montreal...........how far east could a train have gotten in that time if it just went across the top?

The hour and 20 also has to factor into the consumer's decision when they compare flying/driving/training.......by car, in that time I could easily be past Coburg and facing clear sailing to Montreal....before the train from Union has even left.

By plane, well allowing 15 minutes to drive to the airport....and arriving 45 minutes before flight.....I could be 20 minutes into a 50 minute flight.

So, while Union is a great trip generator, I imagine a "North Union" (perhaps in Vaughan where the subway is going {note: not even sure how close there are rail tracks to that}) could be an equally strong generator for people who don't live close enough to Union for it to make sense.

Like I said, just a thought that I had and I thought I would throw it out there to people who seem to have thought this stuff through better than me.

The right of way for the loop will be built as part of the Highway 20/Dorval interchange rebuild project. So when you see that construction starting (and I am not sure what the timeline is on it right now), then you know that a line in to Trudeau is not far off.


Great, thanks. I look forward to knocking that off of my list of "things that don't make sense".
 

Coruscanti Cognoscente

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I'd rather see the Union to Montreal train service improved first before worrying about serving the northern GTA. Mississauga doesn't even have a VIA station, but I don't mind. I don't expect VIA to be GO. Oakville has a VIA station, which is fine, but it's pretty convenient for me to get to Union via GO and then take the VIA train from there.
 

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TOareaFan:

I agree that connections at Union for anyone wanting to travel to some point in the GTA but not necessarily Union are a problem. In Ottawa it works well because anyone who wants to travel from Barrhaven too Montreal can stay on the same train and the stop at the main station is about 15 minutes.

They could be a lot of reasons why this is not done more in the GTA. When you consider operational aspects such as catering, refuelling, location of conductors and service personel to the departure location, etc, then simply having a train start 50 - 100 km on the fringes of the GTA could become problematic. In Ottawa the Barrhaven option works because the trains always start at the main station and have a short trip out too the edges before they begin revenue service so accomodating all the above services is possible. In th GTA this would be much more challenging. Though it seems like a small detail, once you actually examine it more then just that one operational change would require a still substantial investment in track improvments, and logistics systems to work. Not too say that it shouldn't happen, and it may well be something that they are examining right now, but when it does happen it will actually be one of those unsxy but very critical changes to moving the VIA network forward.

As for a Union North station and general GTA bypass, it is not a terrible idea. I think under a situation where the GTA had a proper and flexible passenger rail network and opening a bypass route like you recommended ment little more than rerouting some trains and building a few stations, it could be worth a try. But when you start factoring track and general infrastructure upgrades into the cost, then it very quickly becomes a project with high investment costs and low revenue generation. I think the only way you could operate a northern bypass route and actually produce enough revenue from it is if Pearson (and by that I mean an actual stop on airport grounds, under the terminal), Kitchener-Waterloo, a station roughly in the Markham or Vaughan area, and maybe one or two other smaller stations (such as Guelph, Brampton, Oshawa, Pickering, or whatever happens to be chosen) where able to be served. But without an onsite Pearson station and a fast connection too Kitchener-Waterloo then the idea of a bypass makes no sense.
 

doady

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I have also wondered about serving new places as well and how those could fit into the VIA network. Service to Mont Tremblant and some stops in between might be a consideration.

Too bad the rail line to Mont Tremblant was torn up and replaced with a bike path.

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TOareaFan

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TOareaFan:

As for a Union North station and general GTA bypass, it is not a terrible idea. I think under a situation where the GTA had a proper and flexible passenger rail network and opening a bypass route like you recommended ment little more than rerouting some trains and building a few stations, it could be worth a try. But when you start factoring track and general infrastructure upgrades into the cost, then it very quickly becomes a project with high investment costs and low revenue generation. I think the only way you could operate a northern bypass route and actually produce enough revenue from it is if Pearson (and by that I mean an actual stop on airport grounds, under the terminal), Kitchener-Waterloo, a station roughly in the Markham or Vaughan area, and maybe one or two other smaller stations (such as Guelph, Brampton, Oshawa, Pickering, or whatever happens to be chosen) where able to be served. But without an onsite Pearson station and a fast connection too Kitchener-Waterloo then the idea of a bypass makes no sense.


Thanks for the very reasoned response......I recognize it might be expensive....and I guess I should have included that as much as I think it is a good idea I do recognize that on the list of priorities it is probably pretty low (given how much neglect our entire transit system has suffered)....I just wonder with our population balance being shifted more to the 905 how much sense it makes to continually try and force trains/people to Union.?
 

MisterF

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Downtown is the highest concentration of residents and transit riders. It's where it's easiest to get to by transit, both GO and TTC. It attracts more riders than existing VIA stations in Brampton, Scarborough, Oakville and Oshawa. Connections through Union are pretty poor but suburban options do exist.
 

Disparishun

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A Thornhill station, for example, on the CN bypass would be pretty useful for people in York Region and North York going east to Ottawa/Montreal or west toward Kitchener and London. Something tells me, however, that if a station were to be built it would be just an Amshack, rather than a proper intercity terminal with proper mass transit connections like the ones in Europe.

TOareaFan said:
So, while Union is a great trip generator, I imagine a "North Union" (perhaps in Vaughan where the subway is going {note: not even sure how close there are rail tracks to that}) could be an equally strong generator for people who don't live close enough to Union for it to make sense.

For what it's worth, YRT seems to be imagining the Langstaff ("Richmond Hill Centre") station as a Union Station style facility with subway, GO train, VIVAstation, and other YRT buses interconnected. Some of the questions on their recent survey about the Yonge subway extension were specifrically about this.
 

unimaginative2

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CN's Toronto bypass line will cross the Yonge subway extension a few blocks north of Steeles. It would be very easy to integrate a station with a Clark subway stop. I think it's an excellent idea for when we get decent, frequent rail service.
 

Disparishun

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That would be a good idea to throw into their mix. Received today:

Thank you for your interest in vivaNext and the Yonge Street subway extension. For those of you who attended our July workshop, we appreciate the time you took to share your views. The in-depth discussions and feedback we received were truly valuable.

Please join our next technical workshop, where we will discuss our preliminary recommendations for the Yonge subway extension.

When: August 26 from 7 - 9pm

Where: Premiere Ballroom and Convention Centre
9019 Leslie Street, Richmond Hill
 

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