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lenaitch

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Given this discussion of 200 km/h running, here's where I can see that happening based on my non-scientific look at the existing Havelock ROW in Google Earth:

Existing 200km/h-plausible segment

There is a 16 km (10 mile) stretch of the existing ROW just east of Tweed which could be plausibly upgraded to 125 mph (200 km/h), marked in blue on the image below. The existing Havelock ROW generally has lots of sharp curves in this area because they made only the bare minimum investment to overcome geographic obstacles, but this particular segment has quite gentle curvature because it is following a ridgeline which itself is curving very gently. There are two sharp S-bends which would need to be bypassed, but that's less than a kilometre of realignment in total.
View attachment 334104

Due to the remote location, this segment only includes two road crossings (both of Sulfide Road).

This little 200 km/h zone would bring no significant travel time benefit on its own, but there also seems to be a case for new 200+ km/h lines on both sides of it.

Tweed Bypass

Immediately to the west of this segment is the town of Tweed, which is a significant political and logistical obstacle to the alignment. The existing ROW makes a sharp curve through the middle of town and crosses numerous streets at odd angles. Trains would need to slow to a crawl, and even then they would still be extremely annoying to the town residents, who would certainly demand a station as compensation. Instead, an 8 km (5 mi) bypass could be built through relatively easy terrain north and west of the town.
View attachment 334103

This segment would need a bridge over the Moira River, and I figure we might as well build it high enough to grade separate the two adjacent roads while we're at it.
View attachment 334102

Combined with the possible 200 km/h zone along the existing ROW, this bypass would produce a 26 km (16 mi) 200 km/h zone if all 7 crossings are grade-separated, or a 22 km ( 14 mi) zone if the line is only the 4 easternmost crossings are grade separated (including the two Sulfide Road crossings along the existing ROW). In both scenarios, one of the crossings is a minor road which could alternatively be closed rather than grade-separated.

Sharbot Lake Bypass

East of that existing 200km/h-plausible segment is the notoriously squiggly segment which includes ploughing through the centre of the town of Sharbot Lake. As a few others here have suggested, there may be an opportunity to build a new bypass railway north of Highway 7. Since the ridgelines in this area have very gentle curvature and are running parallel to the route, the new railway line would rarely need to cross them. So there is a chance that a new high speed line here could be relatively affordable despite the rocky terrain.
View attachment 334101

If the bypass rejoins the existing ROW east of Sharbot Lake, the length of new ROW required would be 49 km (30 mi). Combined with the possible 200 km/h zone along the existing ROW and the Tweed Bypass, there would be 75 km (47 mi) of continuous 200 km/h running.

Blue: >=200 km/h
Green: 145-180 km/h
Yellow: 105-130 km/h
Orange: 65-100 km/h

View attachment 334105


This is of course the 6-billion dollar question. But it is plausible that the Havelock alignment still provides better bang-for-the-buck than a lakeshore alignment even with the need to build new ROW through the Shield. The two bypass lines described above only total 55 km (37 mi) of new ROW. The rest of the existing ROW is actually fairly decent and could sustain quite good speeds with some curve realignments.

It's also worth noting that the net cost of jumping from 110 mph to 125 mph is pretty low in the Shield since there are few road crossings anyway, but building a new line along the lakeshore would mean either building tons of level crossings (not future-proof) or tons of grade separations (extremely expensive). The new lines through the Shield would also be somewhat future-proof for HSR, since it wouldn't be a big deal for an otherwise 300 km/h high speed line to slow down to 225 km/h for those 75 km through rocky terrain.



My most optimistic interpretation of the newly-discussed 200 km/h top speeds and 3h00 Toronto-Ottawa travel times is that the analysis showed that the HFR 1.0 plan wouldn't actually achieve 3h15 travel times in practice once those other factors are considered (urban slow zones, schedule padding etc). But if we do actually shell out for a 200+ km/h bypass of those really bad segments around Tweed and Sharbot Lake, it would become possible to actually beat that 3h15 target by a decent margin, even accounting for those factors.
Interesting desk top analysis. A couple of points:

- The original O&QR wasn't built with "bare minimum investment"; it was built in the 1880s with the technology of the day and in regard to the technology and speeds of the day,
- If any road, even a minor road, is a public road with property owners along it, they would have to be bought out if the road was severed without alternative. You can't strand them.
- There are many place enroute where buildings are quite close to the ROW, both in villages/settlements or simply randomly scattered. Given that we don't yet have a standard for trackage over 95mph (Class 5), I would think that, in developing that standard, there would be setback limitations.
 

EnviroTO

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Do you have any idea with which fleet and funding VIA should introduce such a Corridor night train service? The Ocean (not: Atlantic) operates with 2 sets, the Canadian with 4 and the Churchill service with 3 sets, for a total of 9 sets. Just for your Corridor night train service you'd need 2 additional sets (unless you don't want to run it daily, but even for one frequency per week you'd need one additional set, as the cycling of neither transcontinental services has enough layover in Montreal or Toronto to fit in an two-nights-round-trip across the Kingston Sub)...
Point taken. VIA may have let its fleet size dwindle since the days of 7 days a week Halifax and Super-Continental service. Preferably they would find a way to use the Renaissance equipment which was originally designed for Nightstar service to provide night service which extends to the Halifax or comes from Halifax. It would be nice to see track laid between Fredricton Junction and McGivney.
 

reaperexpress

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Interesting desk top analysis. A couple of points:

- The original O&QR wasn't built with "bare minimum investment"; it was built in the 1880s with the technology of the day and in regard to the technology and speeds of the day,

The Ontario & Quebec Railway opened in 1884. That makes it 43 years newer than the Great Western Mainline in southwestern England, which today permits 200 km/h operations without tilting trains or realignment. That line was built fully grade-separated and with very wide curve radii from day one, which required extensive use of embankments, viaducts, bridges and tunnels. The lead engineer, I.K. Brunel, was actively future-proofing for trains which were far faster than technologically possible at the time, and even used a 7' (2134mm) broad gauge to improve stability at high speeds. That broad gauge turned out not to be necessary for high-speed operations, but the rest of the over-engineering proved highly useful.

640px-Wharncliffe_viaduct_wideview.jpg

Wharncliffe viaduct

640px-BoxTunnelScape.jpg

Box Tunnel

- If any road, even a minor road, is a public road with property owners along it, they would have to be bought out if the road was severed without alternative. You can't strand them.
The road in question (Hollister Road) is accessible from both ends, so no properties would be severed. That's why I mentioned it. There are other very minor roads along the segment, but did not suggest cutting them off them because doing so would have stranded properties.

- There are many place enroute where buildings are quite close to the ROW, both in villages/settlements or simply randomly scattered. Given that we don't yet have a standard for trackage over 95mph (Class 5), I would think that, in developing that standard, there would be setback limitations.
This segment is extremely remote. There is barely any human habitation of any sort, let alone closely-spaced buildings. The only places where the alignment traverses inhabited areas is on the outskirts of Tweed and Sharbot Lake where buildings are spaced quite far apart and there would not be any setback issues. Indeed this is a point in favour of building bypasses around those towns because the existing ROW does pass uncomfortably close to existing buildings.
 

Urban Sky

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Point taken. VIA may have let its fleet size dwindle since the days of 7 days a week Halifax and Super-Continental service. Preferably they would find a way to use the Renaissance equipment which was originally designed for Nightstar service to provide night service which extends to the Halifax or comes from Halifax. It would be nice to see track laid between Fredricton Junction and McGivney.
Jesus, you really seem to be stuck in the very early VIA times, as the Super Continental hasn't operated east of Winnipeg since 1981. Every taxpayer dollar invested into more than State-Of-Good-Repair of the rotting Renaissance fleet would be a waste of money, just like relaying tracks through Fredericton would be. That train has long left the station...
 

Bordercollie

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Do you have any idea with which fleet and funding VIA should introduce such a Corridor night train service? The Ocean (not: Atlantic) operates with 2 sets, the Canadian with 4 and the Churchill service with 3 sets, for a total of 9 sets. Just for your Corridor night train service you'd need 2 additional sets (unless you don't want to run it daily, but even for one frequency per week you'd need one additional set, as the cycling of neither transcontinental services has enough layover in Montreal or Toronto to fit in an two-nights-round-trip across the Kingston Sub)...
They dont have to be sleepers. But in Europe they have cabins for intercity trains, would that be possible in North America?
 

DirectionNorth

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They dont have to be sleepers. But in Europe they have cabins for intercity trains, would that be possible in North America?
It would be possible on 8-hour routes, but sleeper trains for 5 hours aren't convenient enough. I want to get on a train at 9/10 PM (or whatever) and wake up in the morning in the next city. I don't want to get up at 2 AM to go on a sleeper train, nor get off the train at 2 AM.
 

Urban Sky

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They dont have to be sleepers. But in Europe they have cabins for intercity trains, would that be possible in North America?
I don't believe there is anything preventing manufacturers from selling such a design in North America, but at this moment, I am not aware of any such design being FRA/TC-compliant and either offered by any manufacturer or in servicable condition at any railroad. Also, having a second (or fourth, if you count the three Siemens Economy car layouts - 1A, 1B and 4A - separately) Economy car type in fleet goes against VIA's desire to standardize its fleet, which includes minimizing the number of speciality cars types owned in minimal number.

Finally, if you believe that Sleeper accommodations are dispensable for an overnight intercity service: what customer profiles exactly are you trying to target?
 
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MisterF

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If it actually gets built a 12am departure for a 6 am arrival at each end is ideal. If it arrives early, leave the option for the passengers to stay on board until 6am. The issue now is that union station doesn't open until 6am.
5g8ke6.jpg


This segment is extremely remote. There is barely any human habitation of any sort, let alone closely-spaced buildings. The only places where the alignment traverses inhabited areas is on the outskirts of Tweed and Sharbot Lake where buildings are spaced quite far apart and there would not be any setback issues. Indeed this is a point in favour of building bypasses around those towns because the existing ROW does pass uncomfortably close to existing buildings.
There's a lot of farmland around Tweed that could generate the same kind of opposition to a by-pass that the HSR proposal to London did. That's not to say it's a bad idea though. The area from there to Sharbot Lake seems the easiest place to build a new right of way and increase speeds.
 

reaperexpress

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There's a lot of farmland around Tweed that could generate the same kind of opposition to a by-pass that the HSR proposal to London did.
And yet somehow we keep managing to build 400-series expressways...
 

DSC

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It would be possible on 8-hour routes, but sleeper trains for 5 hours aren't convenient enough. I want to get on a train at 9/10 PM (or whatever) and wake up in the morning in the next city. I don't want to get up at 2 AM to go on a sleeper train, nor get off the train at 2 AM.
That's why the overnight trains between Montreal and Toronto departed at 11pm (if I remember right); stopped for several hours en route and arrived ca 7.am. I often took it and the 'couchette" berths were very comfortable. I tended to take the overnight train TO Toronto so I could attend a full day meeting (often after a good breakfast at the Royal York) and catch the 5pm express home. Cheaper and less time wasting than taking a train the day before, staying in a hotel the night before the meeting too.
 

Bureaucromancer

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My impression is that an overnight service would still be valuable, but that in the modern environment everyone involved would be far better served by airline style lie-flat seats in an enhanced business class like product than traditional sleeper arrangements.
 

cplchanb

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My impression is that an overnight service would still be valuable, but that in the modern environment everyone involved would be far better served by airline style lie-flat seats in an enhanced business class like product than traditional sleeper arrangements.
I wonder if something along the lines of the Sunrise Izumo type of train would work as a sleeper. Cheap cublicles for most and more premium berths.for the luckier few.
 

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