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VIA Rail

crs1026

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^I’m a bit worried about the now-crippled air industry sputtering about “the unfairness of it all”.

Personally I am happy to see short distance travel move away from air, but I predict that any move to bless HFR will result in some pretty loud claims about how many flight attendants and ground crew are being put out of work.

The whole strategy of where Ottawa puts its money for the next couple years is going to be rethought, and while HFR is a no brainer for the long term, there will have to be lots of compelling data showing that it’s the best place to generate recovery and stimulus benefit in the short term - otherwise it may be parked yet again.

Edmonton-Calgery, however, might just attract enough stimulus points.....

- Paul
 

rbt

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^I’m a bit worried about the now-crippled air industry sputtering about “the unfairness of it all”.

That could be mitigated by offering a pro-rated codeshare to all domestic airlines. In a pro-rate agreement, the ticket revenue is split based on distance that each carrier takes the passenger; the airline would nearly always take the large bulk of that amount.

VIA, in an electrified format, has very low operating costs for adding a customer. A car full of $30 Ottawa-Pearson passengers on every train wouldn't hurt VIAs bottom line provided they have a bit of spare equipment to lengthen trains by a car or two. Airline makes larger profit for the USA/International leg, doesn't take a hit on the short domestic trip, and VIA breaks even while getting voter mind-share to warrant expansion.


Obviously there are a ton of details in the fine print and no 2 code-share agreements are the same; but VIA should be able to add capacity far cheaper than an airline and ought to leverage that and help the airlines make money by selling railway travel.
 
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kEiThZ

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@rbt

I've long said that HFR would do wonders for Ottawa and effectively turn it into a distant exurb of Montreal. Would boost Dorval substantially. There's a lot of Ottawa area travelers who already fly through YUL. That number would skyrocket with an hourly train from Tremblay that only takes an hour to Dorval. I expect the end of YOW-YUL air service. Also needs the REM connection to Dorval to be built though.

I don't think a lot of YOW-YYZ traffic will be diverted to HFR. A lot of YOW-YTZ traffic will definitely be diverted though.
 

kEiThZ

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The whole strategy of where Ottawa puts its money for the next couple years is going to be rethought, and while HFR is a no brainer for the long term, there will have to be lots of compelling data showing that it’s the best place to generate recovery and stimulus benefit in the short term - otherwise it may be parked yet again.

Let's be honest though. Their spending is 80% about votes. 20% about long term considerations. I'm hoping that HFR has enough feel good/long term vision projection to have the Liberals support it. I'm praying you're wrong. But really worried.

Edmonton-Calgery, however, might just attract enough stimulus points.....

This would be really curious. No background work done. No EA. No fleet purchased with options. And there will be all kinds of press showing how poor numbers will be. Long term this is a good plan. As stimulus? It would blow up in their faces as a boondoggle. Especially when the press ATIPs ridership projections to compare against TOMQ HFR.

Most infrastructure stimulus will simply be State of Good Repair and other capital spending that can be accelerated. I expect items like GO electrification and simply updating TTC stations would get funded quickly. I hope the TTC is compiling a list as we speak.
 

crs1026

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This would be really curious. No background work done. No EA. No fleet purchased with options. And there will be all kinds of press showing how poor numbers will be. Long term this is a good plan. As stimulus? It would blow up in their faces as a boondoggle. Especially when the press ATIPs ridership projections to compare against TOMQ HFR.

I wonder how much of the EA and related paperwork is proceeding at the moment for the Corridor. I hope this year is not time wasted for HFR, but there will be some delay imposed by COVID lockdown, I'm sure..

You make a good point about Calgary-Edmonton not having much value as a short term stimulus, as shovels can't go in the ground for a long time. But doing all the study work for C-E as an enhancement of the TOMQ study would have some value. Might as well let Alberta sit in suspense for a decade or more before building anything, like Ontario and Quebec have ;-)

If things get as bad in Alberta as one hears suggested, the numbers won't matter much. The politics of building something out there to get people employed will be enough reason to push it forward.

- Paul
 

crs1026

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Urban Sky

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This is going to be one hell of a bad year for VIA. From the pipeline protests to Covid, I feel for our national rail operator and its employees. I sincerely hope we see HFR as part of the stimulus plan. VIA needs some good news.
You have to see the positive side of everything: after the spectacular growth demonstrated in the last 5 years, it was getting increasingly difficult to continue growing at a comparatively pace, so having a correction by a couple of percentage points will at least create more than enough room for renewed spectacular growth! :cool:

In all seriousness: I can't stress enough how lucky and privileged I am to work for such a highly caring employer and to the best of my knowledge, none of the permanent employees (unionized or management) should have had reason to apply for any government aids like Employment Insurance payments. Also, I'd rather have blockades and CoVid-19 in the same year than in different years and regardless of how steep the fall will be this year (and it will of course be steep), I don't think that anybody (not even the opposition leaders) will demand cuts into VIA's services...

^I’m a bit worried about the now-crippled air industry sputtering about “the unfairness of it all”.

Personally I am happy to see short distance travel move away from air, but I predict that any move to bless HFR will result in some pretty loud claims about how many flight attendants and ground crew are being put out of work.
I would hope that these shouts will be muffled considerably by the foreseeable scale of taxpayer payouts (and bailouts) the aviation industry will receive... ;)

That could be mitigated by offering a pro-rated codeshare to all domestic airlines. In a pro-rate agreement, the ticket revenue is split based on distance that each carrier takes the passenger; the airline would nearly always take the large bulk of that amount.

VIA, in an electrified format, has very low operating costs for adding a customer. A car full of $25 Ottawa passengers on every train would boost VIAs bottom line provided they have a bit of spare equipment. Airline makes larger profit for the USA/International leg, doesn't take a hit on the short domestic trip, and VIA breaks even while getting voter mind-share to warrant expansion.
@rbt

I've long said that HFR would do wonders for Ottawa and effectively turn it into a distant exurb of Montreal. Would boost Dorval substantially. There's a lot of Ottawa area travelers who already fly through YUL. That number would skyrocket with an hourly train from Tremblay that only takes an hour to Dorval. I expect the end of YOW-YUL air service. Also needs the REM connection to Dorval to be built though.

I don't think a lot of YOW-YYZ traffic will be diverted to HFR. A lot of YOW-YTZ traffic will definitely be diverted though.
That's also what I'd expect: extend HFR to a new Pearson Hub and extend the REM to Dorval (so that it can serve at least one of the limited purposes for which "Light Metros" are actually well-suited: as a people mover between Airport terminals) - and you'll be able to free Airlines from close to all fixed costs associated with operating connections between YYZ or YUL and YOW...

This would be really curious. No background work done. No EA. No fleet purchased with options. And there will be all kinds of press showing how poor numbers will be. Long term this is a good plan. As stimulus? It would blow up in their faces as a boondoggle. Especially when the press ATIPs ridership projections to compare against TOMQ HFR.

Most infrastructure stimulus will simply be State of Good Repair and other capital spending that can be accelerated. I expect items like GO electrification and simply updating TTC stations would get funded quickly. I hope the TTC is compiling a list as we speak.
Agreed on Edmonton-Calgary and to provide an example for intercity rail stations which could be modernized: Ottawa (especially the non-raised platforms)...

You make a good point about Calgary-Edmonton not having much value as a short term stimulus, as shovels can't go in the ground for a long time. But doing all the study work for C-E as an enhancement of the TOMQ study would have some value. Might as well let Alberta sit in suspense for a decade or more before building anything, like Ontario and Quebec have ;-)

If things get as bad in Alberta as one hears suggested, the numbers won't matter much. The politics of building something out there to get people employed will be enough reason to push it forward.

- Paul
Agreed, but it won't be ready for construction for maybe another decade and given that it only serves one province, the case for having the federal taxpayer take much more of the financial burden than the provincial one is rather thin...
 

SaugeenJunction

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I like this section, and the quote from the Minister:

“Someone of his expertise and knowledge and experience is extraordinarily helpful and we’ve already had very good conversations,” she said. The minister said Mr. Sabia is considering how the bank could support short-term projects, in addition to longer-term projects that the bank is already studying, such as Via Rail’s plan for a new dedicated passenger rail line between Quebec City and Toronto.

“We need to do big projects. We need to think big," she said. “If we are going to be competitive, if we’re going to improve the quality of life for people, also, if we’re going to transition to a clean economy, projects like that are incredibly important."
 

DSC

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In particular the G&M report says:

"Ms. McKenna said she is speaking with Mr. Sabia for advice on broader infrastructure issues in addition to how the bank will play a role in the recovery.


“Someone of his expertise and knowledge and experience is extraordinarily helpful and we’ve already had very good conversations,” she said. The minister said Mr. Sabia is considering how the bank could support short-term projects, in addition to longer-term projects that the bank is already studying, such as Via Rail’s plan for a new dedicated passenger rail line between Quebec City and Toronto.

“We need to do big projects. We need to think big," she said. “If we are going to be competitive, if we’re going to improve the quality of life for people, also, if we’re going to transition to a clean economy, projects like that are incredibly important."
 

SamStar

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Some nice refurbished HEP cars. I really like the blue and yellow look.

I found a picture of what the new interior will look like on VIA's website
seat_comfort.jpg


 

kEiThZ

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In particular the G&M report says:

"Ms. McKenna said she is speaking with Mr. Sabia for advice on broader infrastructure issues in addition to how the bank will play a role in the recovery.


“Someone of his expertise and knowledge and experience is extraordinarily helpful and we’ve already had very good conversations,” she said. The minister said Mr. Sabia is considering how the bank could support short-term projects, in addition to longer-term projects that the bank is already studying, such as Via Rail’s plan for a new dedicated passenger rail line between Quebec City and Toronto.

“We need to do big projects. We need to think big," she said. “If we are going to be competitive, if we’re going to improve the quality of life for people, also, if we’re going to transition to a clean economy, projects like that are incredibly important."

They aren't getting credit from me unless they deliver. The Trudeau Liberals talk a big game, but all their plans have largely amounted to simply cutting deficit funded cheques to the public. The CIB has been around for years now. Name one massive project that they have supported from the beginning and delivered. If they can't deliver something of real national significance after this crisis, they don't deserve to exist.
 

kEiThZ

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If things get as bad in Alberta as one hears suggested, the numbers won't matter much. The politics of building something out there to get people employed will be enough reason to push it forward.

There is no amount of infrastructure work that can make up for $20 oil. Zero political reward for the federal Liberals. And the timelines involved mean that by the time a shovel got into the ground, oil will probably have rebounded to $50/bbl. There'll be other shovel ready projects there. I just can't see this one being it. That said, I hope the Liberals at least act in good faith and fund the same kind of "pre-procurement" study for Calgary-Edmonton as they did for the TOMQ corridor. Get the detailed business case and even an EA done. Could easily be launched inside 10 years once TOMQ HFR is running and there's better knowledge and experience.

That's also what I'd expect: extend HFR to a new Pearson Hub and extend the REM to Dorval (so that it can serve at least one of the limited purposes for which "Light Metros" are actually well-suited: as a people mover between Airport terminals) - and you'll be able to free Airlines from close to all fixed costs associated with operating connections between YYZ or YUL and YOW...

Mostly my point was that there's no point trying to target YOW-YYZ pax. Those flights might well exist even if there was HSR (albeit on smaller aircraft). To eliminate feeder service, there has be to a real boost in convenience and cost. For Ottawa, that can really only happen at Dorval. The REM extension can be built and finished the same time as HFR even. Along with all the work at Dorval on airport renewal, this seems like an effort that could be facilitated largely by federal dollars from different pots aimed right.

Toronto is far more complex. Running through HFR service there is complex. Building that extended people mover to Malton will be complex. Not really all that worthwhile when UPE is still around and is an easy transfer at Union. Through service will make sense when the Pearson hub happens.

I am really hoping that part of the post-covid stimulus package is funding for the Pearson Hub, Dorval's renewal plans, the REM Dorval extension and HFR. But admittedly that kind of integrated transportation strategy is a tall order for our governments in this day and age.

Agreed on Edmonton-Calgary and to provide an example for intercity rail stations which could be modernized: Ottawa (especially the non-raised platforms)...

Tremblay station. So much potential. Makes me mad that they don't develop it. There's an easy shovel ready project. Fund the platforms. New sheds. Spruce up the interior. And I don't care what the bus depot owner says, VIA should build a small bus terminal in the small lot beside the transit station. And then build a nice parking structure in the other one. This can all be done in anticipation of HFR.

More broadly, I think VIA needs to get more aggressive with communities along the Corridor on co-locating bus services at VIA stations and turning them into hubs. Should be a precondition of any expanded service.
 

micheal_can

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I wonder what effect this mess will actually have on flying. Right now, only the most essential travel is happening. People are learning to do meetings on line. Except for inspections, would there really be much of a need to fly for business anymore?
 

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