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VIA Rail

Allandale25

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Any discussion on HFR from him always characterizes the project as unambitious. His last video compared the project to a rail line being built in Ethiopia. This kind of talk only provides fodder to those who oppose the project. "Hey look. Even railfans think this is useless."

He'll caveat this by saying something is better than nothing. And I agree with that. But he seems to have no idea of the history of HSR developed elsewhere, or that lines can be improved progressively. Instead, he simply suggests anything less than the government committing to tens of billions in HSR is unambitious. This is ignorance. And when it comes from someone with a large platform, it should be called out.

Thanks. One part of the project that I certainly consider ambitious is the relaying of track that was ripped out in the 1960s and the proposed length in kilometres. I mean, in most of Europe and the US, how often does that happen? I realize this might be going a little off topic but was it the case that a lot of those HSR lines in Europe built new corridors or they upgraded existing ones? It's also an apples and oranges comparison for the level of ambition for VIA's HFR to Europe's HSR if people consider that HSR in Europe doesn't have to tangle with to major freight railways (I believe) and has had decades of a head start. Also, was there really a lot of privately owned land next to the line, multi-layer governments and approval processes in Ethiopia? That definitely seems like apples and oranges. Canada is huge and has major regional competition for investment.
 

nfitz

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Imagine where we'd be if they had just built something like HFR instead of constantly pushing for HSR as minimum. If we built HFR instead of holding out for ViaFast two decades ago, we'd probably be talking about HSR upgrades today.
Would we? Cost is similar. And ViaFast was more incremental.

Perhaps if we'd built VIA Fast back then, we'd be in a position to add more track to increase frequency - instead of dropping a huge amount of money that will do little to improve travel times.

I'm not unconvinced that HFR won't hurt VIA, with longer travel times, unanticipated costs, overstated benefits.
 

Urban Sky

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Thanks. One part of the project that I certainly consider ambitious is the relaying of track that was ripped out in the 1960s and the proposed length in kilometres. I mean, in most of Europe and the US, how often does that happen? I realize this might be going a little off topic but was it the case that a lot of those HSR lines in Europe built new corridors or they upgraded existing ones? It's also an apples and oranges comparison for the level of ambition for VIA's HFR to Europe's HSR if people consider that HSR in Europe doesn't have to tangle with to major freight railways (I believe) and has had decades of a head start. Also, was there really a lot of privately owned land next to the line, multi-layer governments and approval processes in Ethiopia? That definitely seems like apples and oranges. Canada is huge and has major regional competition for investment.
The ambition in HFR doesn’t lie in any of its infrastructure characteristics, but that it would be the first major investment in dedicated intercity passenger rail infrastructure in Canada since (I believe) the construction of Montreal’s Gare Centrale (opened 1943) and of the present-day VIA station in Ottawa (opened in 1965) - and I struggle to think of any dedicated intercity passenger rail lines having been built in this country during the last hundred years. Why certain people (who all supposedly want to see intercity passenger rail improve) insist that the first major dedicated passenger rail project in Canada also needs to rival major HSR nations in terms of network density is beyond me. Just take a look at the chart from the video on HSR in Spain which was posted recently here:
70E810D0-D016-4658-A0EE-D853B6695379.jpeg

Source: Youtube (at 4:41)

Now consider that dividing a HSR network length of 580 km (i.e. Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto) by Canada’s population (37.1 million in 2018) yields a higher HSR network density (15.6 km per million inhabitants) than Italy (15.2 km). Add Montreal-Quebec for a network length of 850 km and we are at a HSR network density (22.9 km) higher than Germany (19.0 km). Now add Toronto-Windsor for a total network length of 1210 km and we are at a HSR network density (32.6 km) which is only exceeded by France (40.9 km) and Spain (64.3 km)!

[Update 04:30 (02/27)]
I woke up in the middle of the night and realized by some reactions that I was overly harsh and not entirely fair towards a fellow member in my final paragraphs. I don’t have the time and mental capacity to review my original comments right now and therefore decided to remove for now the entire reference before it causes more preventable upset or offence to anyone. In the meanwhile, please send me any comments you might have by private message. Thank you!
 
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roger1818

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I'm not unconvinced that HFR won't hurt VIA, with longer travel times, unanticipated costs, overstated benefits.

Longer travel times? Even if you ignore the projected travel times, VIA's route with by far the largest ridership (Ottawa-Toronto) will have a far more direct route, dropping from the current 446 km to an estimated 404 km. That is a reduction of 13%. Combine that with not having to compete with freight trains and you will end up with a significantly faster and more reliable service.

Why is this route so much more popular that second best Montreal-Toronto route? Part of it is significantly higher frequency of service and part of it is improved reliability from VIA owning about 1/3 of the track on the route, but a lot of it is a better synergy between the cities for VIA's target market. HFR will reinforce and grow much of their existing market base. HSR will be too expensive for a large portion of their existing market, thus it would have to look for a new riders to succeed.
 

2transpo

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The ambition in HFR doesn’t lie in any of its infrastructure characteristics, but that it would be the first major investment in dedicated intercity passenger rail infrastructure in Canada since (I believe) the construction of Montreal’s Gare Centrale (opened 1943) and of the present-day VIA station in Ottawa (opened in 1965) - and I struggle to think of any dedicated intercity passenger rail lines having been built in this country during the last hundred years. Why certain people (who all supposedly want to see intercity passenger rail improve) insist that the first major dedicated passenger rail project in Canada also needs to rival major HSR nations in terms of network density is beyond me. Just take a look at the map from the video on Spain which was posted recently here:
View attachment 302329
Source: Youtube (at 4:41)

Now consider that dividing a HSR network length of 580 km (i.e. Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto) by Canada’s population (37.1 million in 2018) yields a higher HSR network density (15.6 km per million inhabitants) than Italy (15.2 km). Add Montreal-Quebec for a network length of 850 km and we are at a HSR network density (22.9 km) higher than Germany (19.0 km). Now add Toronto-Windsor for a total network length of 1210 km and we are at a HSR network density (32.6 km) which is only exceeded by France (40.9 km) and Spain (64.3 km)!

Which of course brings me to @Reecemartin and I don’t know what I expected of the depth of his research and analysis after the cringeworthy experience of enduring a 9 minute video in which the name of the German ICE was incessantly mis-pronounced like the actual word for frozen water instead of an acronym (I’m pretty sure its Wikipedia entry features the name “Inter City Express” rather prominently, but I also don’t recall it being mentioned even once in his video). That said, I found it particularly hilarious that he slammed HFR simply for not satisfying the UIC definition of HSR, while citing countries like Britain, Denmark or Sweden as examples to follow, when according to the UIC’s own figures neither of these three countries has as much HSR network built, under construction or even in “long-term planning” than what he wants Canada to build now (i.e. a 850 km long HSR corridor from Toronto to Quebec):
CountryHSR lines in operation... under constructionPlanned"Long-term plannning"Total
United Kingdom113 km230 km320 km-663 km
Sweden-11 km150 km589 km750 km
Denmark56 km---56 km
Source: UIC (2020)

And in true HSR-fanboy fashion, Spain is hailed as Europe’s leading rail nation rather than the living proof that you can simultaneously account for a unbelievable 32.3% of the European Union’s HSR network, 9.1% of its population and a pathetic 6.1% of its rail ridership, as despite all the HSR bonanza in Spain, people in the EU still travel on average 50% more by rail than those just in Spain (931 vs. 609 km in 2018). It would be comical, if you couldn’t apparently finance an entire professional Social Media presence with such lazy click-bait videos...
See now, I get where you are going with this post, but was there any possible way you could have talked about this without being rude and making accusations of clickbait and fanboyisms?

I assume the usual BNBR policy applies on UrbanToronto, right?
 
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Urban Sky

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See now, I get where you are going with this post, but was there any possible way you could have talked about this without being rude and making accusations of clickbait and fanboyisms?

I assume the usual BNBR policy applies on UrbanToronto, right?
Thank you very much, I truly appreciate your honest feedback and the answer to both of your questions is “Yes, of course!”, which is why I have removed the entire passage, so that it doesn’t cause more unnecessary offence or upset to anyone. I really have to go back to bed, but I will reflect on my original comments over this weekend...

Have a good night/morning!
 
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