News   May 07, 2021
 258     0 
News   May 07, 2021
 568     1 
News   May 06, 2021
 578     0 

VIA Rail

Darwinkgo

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Messages
525
Reaction score
187
Sabia knows that money is being made with private tracks and lower operating costs. HSR makes sense since it reduces operating costs by nearly half for the trip due to speed and will probably have higher priced tickets. So even with a triple the price HSR project, you can make it work with more efficient operating costs. He basically applies the REM to VIA Rail (if it's still VIA that would run the service). People are too attached to infrastructure costs. He is definitely not.
It is possible. The JPO should have at least costed that as well as a screen.
 

kEiThZ

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
10,160
Reaction score
4,086
I would argue that HFR has better ROI, both economically and politically. The $200-300 tickets for HSR would substantially limit the customer base. Not to mention the backlash from spending that much in just Ontario and Quebec and still ending up with high fares, and skipping Ottawa as Sabia apparently wants.

There is probably a sweet spot between the original HFR proposal and HSR, where some portions are upgraded, such that the overall design allows for a travel time which draws the most passengers at a still reasonable fare, with paths to upgrade in the future. And if article is true, it is possible that the JPO has recommended something like this.
 

Darwinkgo

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Aug 9, 2009
Messages
525
Reaction score
187
Not to mention the backlash from spending that much in just Ontario and Quebec and still ending up with high fares.
But it could be less public money as subsidy even with spending more. We don't know. In Alberta it would be less. With the geology of Ontario - I doubt it would be less.

But you can also see the case: maybe you up your subsidy from $2 billion to $4 billion, but that ups spending from $6 billion to $18 billion. Which option do you choose?
 

ManyQuestions

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 1, 2020
Messages
45
Reaction score
46



This means HFR is all but dead. RIP. Is everyone ready for another 5 years of studies?
IDK how you conclude that from reading the article. Literally everyone interviewed or quoted supported HFR.

The article really says is that the new infrastructure minister, McKenna, privately supports building a highspeed railway between Montreal and Toronto despite publicly endorsing the VIA HFR plan. However, It also says that the HFR plan was submitted to the government. This seems like really good news for HFR and suggests that the announcement is either being delayed until the budget or they are still deciding on a specific option if the JPO planned several. The only new information from the article is that there are some backroom LPC discussions about HSR. The extra stuff about HSR seems to just be pulled from Langan to give context to the backroom talk.

What I am confused about though is that it seems that despite the subtitle, there is no information about Sabia/infrabank having changed their positions. However, this could likely just be attributed to being a JDM article.....
 
Last edited:

nfitz

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Messages
23,884
Reaction score
4,052
Location
Toronto
It doesn't sound like anything is going to be announced soon. Are we any further ahead than in 1983 when it was hoped there'd be an announcement before the 1984 election?
 

innsertnamehere

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
15,209
Reaction score
10,770
To me the article reads that the report refined the HFR proposal to be HSR for Toronto-Montreal and HFR for Montreal - Quebec.

I mean they were already planning 200km/h electrified service - is it hard to believe that they decided a better return came from upping that to 250-300km/h, as they basically need a new construction corridor anyway?

the HFR scheme under via was never fleshed out properly as far as I know, it was very back of the napkin. And costs were way lowballed given the amount of infrastructure needed.

HFRs problem as proposed by VIA was also always that it delivered still terrible travel times for Toronto-Montreal. I mean trains were doing it in 4hrs in the 70’s and 80’s but you are proposing to spend $5b and give use a travel time of 4:45?!
 

kEiThZ

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
10,160
Reaction score
4,086
To me the article reads that the report refined the HFR proposal to be HSR for Toronto-Montreal and HFR for Montreal - Quebec.

I mean they were already planning 200km/h electrified service - is it hard to believe that they decided a better return came from upping that to 250-300km/h, as they basically need a new construction corridor anyway?

I think this is unlikely.

Going above 201kph/125 mph requires lots of grade separation which vastly increases the costs.

What is likely that they looked at stretches where they could get speeds closer to 200 kph. And more importantly they looked at where they could remove portions of slow running (<100 kph). Removing slow running sections actually has a greater impact on average speed per dollar than trying to facilitate short burst of very high speed. Keep in mind that an average speed of 150kph would get them from Toronto to Montreal in ~4 hrs. And that's achievable just by enabling stretches of 200 kph running, along with removing sections of very slow running.

As a rough thought exercise, consider that if they can have 300 km where they can run at 200 kph, the rest can be run at 100 kph, and they'd still reach in Montreal in 4 hrs.

Peterborough-Smiths Falls is about 200 km. And Ottawa-Coteau is about 140 km. $3-5B on these two segments would achieve their goals. $1B on the rest of Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal.
 
Last edited:

innsertnamehere

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
15,209
Reaction score
10,770
I think this is unlikely.

Going above 201kph/125 mph requires lots of grade separation which vastly increases the costs.

What is likely that they looked at stretches where they could get speeds closer to 200 kph. And more importantly they looked at where they could remove portions of slow running (<100 kph). Removing slow running sections actually has a greater impact on average speed per dollar than trying to facilitate short burst of very high speed. Keep in mind that an average speed of 150kph would get them from Toronto to Montreal in ~4 hrs. And that's achievable just by enabling stretches of 200 kph running, along with removing sections of very slow running.
Between Peterborough and Smith Falls is mostly uninhabited Canadian shield with minimal road crossings, with the existing rail corridor being a terrible alignment for even medium speed passenger service. My bet is most of it needs to be new corridor for HFR or HSR - so they figure they may as well go all the way and build HSR for the stretch.

I mean we'll have to see, but my bet is the report penciled out a much higher cost for HFR than Via was claiming, meaning that HSR is a more marginal upgrade cost wise.
 
Last edited:

SFO-YYZ

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 21, 2016
Messages
296
Reaction score
826
Location
Montreal, QC
IDK how you conclude that from reading the article. Literally everyone interviewed or quoted supported HFR.

The article really says is that the new infrastructure minister, McKenna, privately supports building a highspeed railway between Montreal and Toronto despite publicly endorsing the VIA HFR plan. However, It also says that the HFR plan was submitted to the government. This seems like really good news for HFR and suggests that the announcement is either being delayed until the budget or they are still deciding on a specific option if the JPO planned several. The only new information from the article is that there are some backroom LPC discussions about HSR. The extra stuff about HSR seems to just be pulled from Langan to give context to the backroom talk.

What I am confused about though is that it seems that despite the subtitle, there is no information about Sabia/infrabank having changed their positions. However, this could likely just be attributed to being a JDM article.....
Key context for folks from Ontario/outside of Quebec.
JDM is the Montreal tabloid equivalent of Toronto Sun.
 

kEiThZ

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
10,160
Reaction score
4,086
Between Peterborough and Smith Falls is mostly uninhabited Canadian shield with minimal road crossings, with the existing rail corridor being a terrible alignment for even medium speed passenger service. My bet is most of it needs to be new corridor for HFR or HSR - so they figure they may as well go all the way and build HSR for the stretch.

I updated my post as you were writing you. And to some extent I agree. They need to remove the slowest running portions. And get some stretches where they can run closer to 200 kph/125 mph. The obvious stretches to upgrade are Peterborough-Smiths Falls and Ottawa-Coteau. As documented by @reaperexpress in this article there are plenty of stretches where some minor upgrading could achieve 110 mph/177 kph. It's the 102 km from Kaladar to Smiths Falls that is problematic. It would require a new alignment. Looks like the JPO probably reached the same conclusion too. The thing is they upgrade this stretch 200 kph and they could get Toronto-Ottawa to at or under 2:45 hrs.

I mean we'll have to see, but my bet is the report penciled out a much higher cost for HFR than Via was claiming, meaning that HSR is a more marginal upgrade cost wise.

Sort of. I think you're right that HFR probably came in more than the initial estimate. But I don't think the HSR came in as marginal so much as HPR came in as marginal. If the only whole new segment they need is 100 km from Kaladar to Smiths Falls and that alone gets the entire TOM line closer to 4 hrs, it becomes worthwhile to spend the extra $1-2B on it. I'm also convinced that they can get Ottawa-Coeau up to 177 kph for most of its length for some reasonable cost ($4-5M per km).
 

kEiThZ

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
10,160
Reaction score
4,086
I think the real question is what does going from the old $4B diesel HFR proposal to $6-8B achieve in terms of service, ridership, and return on investment.

Personally, I think full blown 300 kph HSR is useless. It'll be unaffordable to most. Could actually hurt support for further investment if that happens. But there's a trip time-value proposition that most of the public would accept. I would argue that it's current fares for Toronto-Montreal at about 4 hrs. And slightly higher fares (10-20% more) if that trip got down to 3.5 hrs. So I think the question is how much improvement in trip time can they get per dollar invested and what's the point at which marginal return starts dropping quickly? I would guess that's somewhere around $6-8B for Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal and $1.5-2B for Montreal-Quebec.
 

Top