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VIA Rail

MisterF

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Via Rail already serves several towns in the 5000 population ballpark in the Corridor. Casselman, Glencoe and Gananoque to name a few. Having barebones stations in towns of that size is hardly unusual. I don't know how many people use them but it's obviously more than 1-2 per train, and it's enough to make it worth having some basic service. That doesn't turn the overall service into crap at all; most trains just go through without even slowing down.
 

roger1818

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Here are the populations and old CPR mileposts of the significant communities between Smiths Falls and Peterborough (I used this old schedule to calculate the mileposts).

TownPopulation (2016)Milepost
Smiths Falls*8,7800
Perth5,93011.6
Central Frontenac (Sharbot Lake)**4,37336.8
Addington Highlands (Kaladar)**2,32361.7
Tweed6,04477.9
Havelock4,530109.1
Peterborough84,230133.4

* Based on the location of the old Smiths Falls station. The new station is about 1km (0.6 miles) north of the old one.
** I couldn't get recent populations for Sharbot Lake and Kaladar, so I had to use the populations of Central Frontenac and Addington Highlands instead.

As @crs1026 said, Perth and Tweed have similar populations and they aren't that much smaller than Smiths Falls. Other than being the closest town to the half way point (within 5 miles), I really don't see any value in a stop at Kaladar. If a halfway stop is needed, Tweed is only 11.2 miles from the halfway point and it has almost triple Addington Highlands' population.

As for Perth, having some trains stop there instead of Smiths Falls might be doable. They can't really add additional occasional stops since the position of the passing tracks will be designed to have the trains meet at exactly the same time and a small delay to one train would be cascaded to all of the oncoming trains and the delays to those trains will be cascaded to the trains behind the initially delayed train, and so on. Moving a stop 11.6 miles up the track shouldn't have much effect, especially since they will likely effectively have double track between Smiths Falls and Perth, assuming they can use CP's track occasionally.

Alternatively HFR trains could skip Smiths Falls altogether (it will still be served by the Kingston regional trains) and have HFR trains stop in Perth instead.

As for Sharbot Lake, I think it was less of a political decision and more that it (in combination with Tweed, divide the route in thirds nicely. As @crs1026 said, while its population is small, it is cottage country and could get some tourist use. For reasons stated above, it could be difficult to add or remove seasonally.

Once we eventually get to the point where we have also built HSR, the HFR route could continue to provide regional service, not only to serve these communities, but to provide a more affordable intercity option for those who don't want to pay for an HSR ticket. Keeping that in mind when building HFR isn't a bad thing.
 

crs1026

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As for Perth, having some trains stop there instead of Smiths Falls might be doable. They can't really add additional occasional stops since the position of the passing tracks will be designed to have the trains meet at exactly the same time and a small delay to one train would be cascaded to all of the oncoming trains and the delays to those trains will be cascaded to the trains behind the initially delayed train, and so on. Moving a stop 11.6 miles up the track shouldn't have much effect, especially since they will likely effectively have double track between Smiths Falls and Perth, assuming they can use CP's track occasionally.

I'm not so sure that CP will want any interconnection at all. I would be concerned if the siding locations are "designed" around a particular service pattern. That would tie VIA's feet to the floor in their whole operation. I would hope that the line is build with sufficient sidings, at a fairly close spacing, so that any variability in schedule (either by changing the plan, or through stuff that happens day to day) can be managed by moving meets ad hoc.

In the rougher areas, it makes sense to put the sidings where they were originally built - one would want to minimise the need for new grading that might imply blasting rock or adding fills. There were enough sidings in the steam era that there are wide, flat stretches where sidings can be restored at minimum cost.

If that's the case, then having trip times vary between runs is not such an issue, even without much double track.

- Paul
 

lenaitch

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Here are the populations and old CPR mileposts of the significant communities between Smiths Falls and Peterborough (I used this old schedule to calculate the mileposts).

TownPopulation (2016)Milepost
Smiths Falls*8,7800
Perth5,93011.6
Central Frontenac (Sharbot Lake)**4,37336.8
Addington Highlands (Kaladar)**2,32361.7
Tweed6,04477.9
Havelock4,530109.1
Peterborough84,230133.4

* Based on the location of the old Smiths Falls station. The new station is about 1km (0.6 miles) north of the old one.
** I couldn't get recent populations for Sharbot Lake and Kaladar, so I had to use the populations of Central Frontenac and Addington Highlands instead.

As @crs1026 said, Perth and Tweed have similar populations and they aren't that much smaller than Smiths Falls. Other than being the closest town to the half way point (within 5 miles), I really don't see any value in a stop at Kaladar. If a halfway stop is needed, Tweed is only 11.2 miles from the halfway point and it has almost triple Addington Highlands' population.

As for Perth, having some trains stop there instead of Smiths Falls might be doable. They can't really add additional occasional stops since the position of the passing tracks will be designed to have the trains meet at exactly the same time and a small delay to one train would be cascaded to all of the oncoming trains and the delays to those trains will be cascaded to the trains behind the initially delayed train, and so on. Moving a stop 11.6 miles up the track shouldn't have much effect, especially since they will likely effectively have double track between Smiths Falls and Perth, assuming they can use CP's track occasionally.

Alternatively HFR trains could skip Smiths Falls altogether (it will still be served by the Kingston regional trains) and have HFR trains stop in Perth instead.

As for Sharbot Lake, I think it was less of a political decision and more that it (in combination with Tweed, divide the route in thirds nicely. As @crs1026 said, while its population is small, it is cottage country and could get some tourist use. For reasons stated above, it could be difficult to add or remove seasonally.

Once we eventually get to the point where we have also built HSR, the HFR route could continue to provide regional service, not only to serve these communities, but to provide a more affordable intercity option for those who don't want to pay for an HSR ticket. Keeping that in mind when building HFR isn't a bad thing.


It's pretty hard to get settlement populations in many rural areas because of amalgamation. Sharbot Lake is generally considered to be around 1400-1500 (wife used to live there). Kaladar was trickier but I did find a real estate profile that said around 500-600 which, from my observations, might be using generous boundaries.
 

dowlingm

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CP Belleville somewhat parallels the Havelock route between Perth and the town of Sharbot Lake. Would there be any utility in HSR trying to coexist on a widened CP Belleville beyond Perth to Meisel Woods Conservation Area (bottom right of picture below), then building a connecting track for about 7km to west of Sharbot Lake, rather than maintain 40km of winding separate route between Sharbot Lake and Perth, and the impacts on Sharbot Lake of having the trains traverse the town? About 3km could follow the former K&P, but given the terrain I wouldn't want to underestimate the difficulty of building a new alignment. Just seemed like something worth considering at least.

1618508935664.png
 

crs1026

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^Very interesting suggestion. I had never taken out a measurement and noticed how close the CP Belleville Sub comes as the crow flies to the K+P south of Sharbot Lake.

The problems I would see with the idea are
a) adding a track alongside the CP mainline is more expensive than rebuilding the old Havelock line on an existing roadbed. It's 20 miles from Glen Tay to the closest cutoff point on the Belleville versus 21 miles Glen Tay to Sharbot Lake on the Havelock. So costs on that section alone would favour the Havelock route.
b) The new section to reach the K+P could be as little as 3 miles as the crow flies, but I count three lowland areas and a hefty amount of swamp to cross. So either a very winding route would be needed, or an awful lot of blasting and fill. More cost.
c) The stretch between Sharbot and Glen Tay, while far from straight, is not the worst section of the Havelock line. So the time saved by taking the CP route, and heading north, would not be that significant for the money spent. 21 miles at 60 mph versus 20 miles at 100 mph plus 5 miles at 60 mph - a difference of maybe 3 minutes.
d) The Belleville Sub does run alongside some lakes with cottage properties....trading opposition in one location for opposition in other areas

The old junction was further south at Tichborne. I don't think that following the Belleville Sub all the way to Tichborne and then heading north would be faster and it's certainly much longer, therefore more expensive still.

I guess it's how much money one is willing to spend to remove the political opposition of the town. I wonder what the market value of the entire town's real estate is worth. Might be cheaper to just buy out some people.

- Paul

Screen Shot 2021-04-15 at 2.05.27 PM.png
 

NY99

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That means the huge expense of HSR in the Corridor will have to be backed up by a clean nationwide fleet and when the costs are tabulated most Canadians will bulk at the idea.

to be fair, decarbonization is a medium-term project. And while I get the whole bAtTeRy TrAiNs aRe ThE fUtUrE discussion has been done to death on this site, battery technology has genuinely been progressing at a blistering pace -- they're rapidly getting both better and cheaper. It's possible that at some point, a switchover to battery trains will be the most economic option -- regardless of environmental concerns.
 

ssiguy2

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Battery trains are useless for long distance travel and will be for probably over half a century. Ya in 20 years they will be able to go from Union to London at high speeds and maybe even Windsor. Then however they will have to sit and re-charge for hours on end and time is money. It's not just getting to the destination but also the down time. Batteries for true long-distance travel on VIA's massive network is out of the question and almost laughably so. Hydrogen, for such applications, is the only option.

The good news is that freight railways realise this which is why they are not at all looking into battery but exclusively hydrogen just like the airlines, cargo, agricultural, and manufacturing sectors are. The good news is that if Ottawa FORCES CN/CP to switch to a totally carbon neutral power, which is de-facto hydrogen, then they will have to build the nationwide infrastructure to support it and VIA could 'piggy-back' onto their infrastructure............it would require new/renovated trains but the massive infrastructure costs would be born by the freight companies.
 

roger1818

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CP Belleville somewhat parallels the Havelock route between Perth and the town of Sharbot Lake. Would there be any utility in HSR trying to coexist on a widened CP Belleville beyond Perth to Meisel Woods Conservation Area (bottom right of picture below), then building a connecting track for about 7km to west of Sharbot Lake, rather than maintain 40km of winding separate route between Sharbot Lake and Perth, and the impacts on Sharbot Lake of having the trains traverse the town? About 3km could follow the former K&P, but given the terrain I wouldn't want to underestimate the difficulty of building a new alignment. Just seemed like something worth considering at least.

View attachment 312832

Interesting thought. Another option would be to continue to follow the Belleville Sub past Tichborne and then use the old Bay of Quinte Railway to cut over to the Havelock Sub just south of Tweed, thus bypassing both towns. Parts of it has become Marlbank Rd. though, so that would need to be addressed. In the end, I am not sure if it would be that much better.

HFR Bay of Quinte Railway.png
 

Frank_Lee

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Battery trains are useless for long distance travel and will be for probably over half a century. Ya in 20 years they will be able to go from Union to London at high speeds and maybe even Windsor. Then however they will have to sit and re-charge for hours on end and time is money. It's not just getting to the destination but also the down time. Batteries for true long-distance travel on VIA's massive network is out of the question and almost laughably so. Hydrogen, for such applications, is the only option.

The good news is that freight railways realise this which is why they are not at all looking into battery but exclusively hydrogen just like the airlines, cargo, agricultural, and manufacturing sectors are. The good news is that if Ottawa FORCES CN/CP to switch to a totally carbon neutral power, which is de-facto hydrogen, then they will have to build the nationwide infrastructure to support it and VIA could 'piggy-back' onto their infrastructure............it would require new/renovated trains but the massive infrastructure costs would be born by the freight companies.
Agree on the battery front, but is it not inconceivable that electrification of sections of at least the Prairies is not that far off given the levels of traffic they're running at? I'm imagining it would be pretty natural for hydrogen locomotives to be dual mode units. Electrification for any of the mountain grade sections is probably impossible from what little I've read, though. The kind of power that 10,000 ton freight trains require to get moving from a standstill on any kind of a slope would be more load than contemporary electrical grids could flexibly provide, least of all in remote mountain passes.
 

lenaitch

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Interesting thought. Another option would be to continue to follow the Belleville Sub past Tichborne and then use the old Bay of Quinte Railway to cut over to the Havelock Sub just south of Tweed, thus bypassing both towns. Parts of it has become Marlbank Rd. though, so that would need to be addressed. In the end, I am not sure if it would be that much better.

View attachment 312860

It certainly wouldn't cheap. It was built to late 1800s standards of alignment and has been out of service since the 1930s. The ROW would most certainly have to be entirely expropriated.
 

ssiguy2

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Agree on the battery front, but is it not inconceivable that electrification of sections of at least the Prairies is not that far off given the levels of traffic they're running at? I'm imagining it would be pretty natural for hydrogen locomotives to be dual mode units. Electrification for any of the mountain grade sections is probably impossible from what little I've read, though. The kind of power that 10,000 ton freight trains require to get moving from a standstill on any kind of a slope would be more load than contemporary electrical grids could flexibly provide, least of all in remote mountain passes.

Of course they could electrify the entire network but the cost would be ridiculously high while just changing the power systems on the trains themselves much cheaper. This is why CP recently announced that they are teaming up with Ballard to create a prototype hydrogen locomotive.........they know batteries are a non-starter and electrifying the entire system would bankrupt them. This mean CN/CP will have to create a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure system which VIA could take advantage of. Also, transforming over to hydrogen trains does not actually require new trains but rather just a retrofit as they have done in the UK and the actual passenger cars themselves don't require any work at all.

CN/CP will NEVER go catenary due to the astronomical cost and decades to build out and batteries are a laughable idea for freight. Hell the sheer weight of the batteries would probably crush the tracks beneath them. They know that hydrogen is their only alternative and VIA could take advantage of that................if you can't afford something, let someone else pay for it.
 
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Bordercollie

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Of course they could electrify the entire network but the cost would be ridiculously high while just changing the power systems on the trains themselves much cheaper. This is why CP recently announced that they are teaming up with Ballard to create a prototype hydrogen locomotive.........they know batteries are a non-started and electrifying the entire system would bankrupt them. This mean CN/CP will have to create a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure system which VIA could take advantage of. Also, transforming over to hydrogen trains does not actually require new trains but rather just a retrofit as they have done in the UK and the actual passenger cars themselves don't require any work at all.

CN/CP will NEVER go catenary due to the astronomical cost and decades to build out and batteries are a laughable idea for freight. Hell the sheer weight of the batteries would probably crush the tracks beneath them. They know that hydrogen is their only alternative and VIA could take advantage of that................if you can't afford something, let someone else pay for it.
I'm sure that people said the same thing about having a device more powerful then the computer that send mankind to the moon fit in the palm of your hand. And that was only 50 or so years ago.
 

DSC

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Via Rail already serves several towns in the 5000 population ballpark in the Corridor. Casselman, Glencoe and Gananoque to name a few. Having barebones stations in towns of that size is hardly unusual. I don't know how many people use them but it's obviously more than 1-2 per train, and it's enough to make it worth having some basic service. That doesn't turn the overall service into crap at all; most trains just go through without even slowing down.
Yes, the Express trains do not stop in these small places (only the 'milk run) BUT this means they have very few trains every day.
 

ssiguy2

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Certainly in 50 years you maybe able to drive your car 200 km on a Duracell but we don't have 50 years. Despite the dizzying rate of battery development, the idea of a freight train with 100 cars behind it plying it's way thru the Rockies is probably a century away. This is the same with air planes, cargo ships, agricultural equipment, ferries, and heavy manufacturing. NONE of these sectors are even contemplating battery systems as they know that hydrogen is the only zero emissions alternative they have. Think about it...........the Tesla SUVs are ILLEGAL on the Brooklyn Bridge because they weigh more than the bridge allows.
 

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