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VIA Rail

Bordercollie

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The March 2022 press release shows that the project had been moved from VIA to Transport Canada. The backgrounder barely mentions VIA - and only in terms of existing operations. The website only says that VIA is only providing advice.

Didn't we have a discussion about this earlier - perhaps it was somewhere else?
So because of that you assume it's cancelled? Do you work as a consultant on the project?

Do you work in the minister's office?

Are you friends with the people on the inside?

You work for transport Canada?
 

Urban Sky

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I'd think now that the federal government has ended VIA's HFR project, that by getting rid of VIA, passenger rail service might improve.
If the Fed‘s wanted to cancel HFR, they would try to disassociate themselves from it as much as possible. Taking the project away from VIA and pursuing it as their own project is quite the opposite of that…
 
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nfitz

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So because of that you assume it's cancelled? Do you work as a consultant on the project?

Do you work in the minister's office?

Are you friends with the people on the inside?

You work for transport Canada
????

I said VIA's project was cancelled. I never said Transport Canada's HFR project was cancelled. This was a discussion about the future of VIA - and how pointless it now seems.

Did you read what you quoted? I literally said "the project had been moved from VIA to Transport Canada".

(I do have even less hope of it being completed with Transport Canada running things - even now they've pushed the schedule back to the 2030s - as much as I've criticized VIA's ineffectiveness over the years, surely Transport Canada is worse ... but that's an entirely different issue).
 

Bordercollie

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????

I said VIA's project was cancelled. I never said Transport Canada's HFR project was cancelled. This was a discussion about the future of VIA - and how pointless it now seems.

Did you read what you quoted? I literally said "the project had been moved from VIA to Transport Canada".

(I do have even less hope of it being completed with Transport Canada running things - even now they've pushed the schedule back to the 2030s - as much as I've criticized VIA's ineffectiveness over the years, surely Transport Canada is worse ... but that's an entirely different issue).
Transport Canada can still run the project and select VIA as the operator. Doesn't mean that the project is cancelled. It means it has shifted to a different party.
 

nfitz

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Transport Canada can still run the project and select VIA as the operator. Doesn't mean that the project is cancelled. It means it has shifted to a different party.
The Quebec ministry of transport could still have selected STM as the operator of their commuter trains, after they took them over from STM. But they didn't.

As a project within VIA rail, it's cancelled. But that wasn't really my point - which was the future of VIA Rail (as an independent company) - I suppose it could be retained as it was previously, as a branding exercise by CN.
 

crs1026

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The shift of the project to TC and the issuing of a RFI that puts the project under a P3 umbrella certainly removes any potential from VIA having a future role in it. VIA has no access to the capital that a proponent will need to underwrite a bid, and has no mandate to recruit a team and execute a project agreement - which is the whole point of that article, ie VIA has no legal autonomy in any respect. So no, HFr is unlikely to ever be handed back to VIA. More likely, the assets that VIA owns today will be transferred to whatever proponent emerges, on a 30ish year lease basis.

This is unquestionably a case of VIA being told that it won’t be attending the party, except maybe to pass around the hors d’ouvres.

Is the project dead? Not really, except that now that it has left the commercial realm, .it can generate promises for politicians and paper for bureaucrats for another five years without a contract getting signed. It’s as alive and well as it was in 2017.

- Paul
 

SaugeenJunction

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To end the pointless bickering here, HFR as VIA proposed it is dead. The project now is essentially a few key cities on the map (Toronto, Peterborough, Ottawa, Montreal, Trois Rvieres, and Quebec City) which the private sector will propose solutions to connect with a rail line (no route defined). This rail line must achieve minimum travel time reductions from today’s speeds (no maximum speed), and be electrified. The trains will most likely still be VIA branded, but the private sector will do the rest. VIA has been cut out completely from planning and operating the service. It is all in the publicly posted RFEOI for HFR here.
 

Darwinkgo

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I don’t really get why people are surprised (old news) or concerned (shed a tear for people with VIA loyalty points?).
 

rbt

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The shift of the project to TC and the issuing of a RFI that puts the project under a P3 umbrella certainly removes any potential from VIA having a future role in it. VIA has no access to the capital that a proponent will need to underwrite a bid, and has no mandate to recruit a team and execute a project agreement - which is the whole point of that article, ie VIA has no legal autonomy in any respect. So no, HFr is unlikely to ever be handed back to VIA. More likely, the assets that VIA owns today will be transferred to whatever proponent emerges, on a 30ish year lease basis.

This is very much in line with something David Collenette would, and has, pushed it the past. I hope it works out better than the original privatized UPX proposal.
 

crs1026

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This is very much in line with something David Collenette would, and has, pushed it the past. I hope it works out better than the original privatized UPX proposal.

It's also similar to how Ottawa has been trending with respect to other forms of transportation infrastructure, notably air, and how provincial transit is being packaged. So, really, I'm not surprised.

However, I have to say that as a public enterprise, VIA has done a very good job under far from easy circumstances, and has not racked up any notable adverse public reaction. Silver and Blue has been strategised and executed well, as has Corridor Business Class, and even corridor coach is quite acceptably run (if you ignore the host railways' impacts). I can't recall a bureaucratic blunder or area of public bad press (again, ignoring laments about how poor Canada's passenger rail is generally) which can be attributed to poor management within VIA itself.

So, I'm mostly disappointed that this good long service to the country by VIA's managers and workforce is being dis-rewarded. But I'm also disappointed in myself for not seeing this coming, because so many other things are done this way and any assumption that VIA would escape that trend may have been a bit myopic.

- Paul
 

ErieHall

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Where would this leave Windsor, London and Sarnia? GO is already piloting service to London, so having GO expand service to cover Windsor and Sarnia is only a few more steps from that, but at that point they'd really need to get separate trainsets and set up essentially a separate non-"commuter" service.
 

kEiThZ

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I'd think now that the federal government has ended VIA's HFR project, that by getting rid of VIA, passenger rail service might improve.

Service was better when the government required, and paid, for CN and CP to operate passenger service under their name and control.

I'd prefer a VIA Rail Act and a VIA-run HFR. But dissolving VIA might be the most pragmatic solution.

The TC RFEOI presentation says that HFR will be built and operated by a wholly own subsidiary of VIA Rail, run by a private sector contractor who will also take over existing Corridor operations. In effect, the government is using HFR as an excuse to split the Corridor from the rest of VIA. Dunno if that nominally counts as VIA run HFR? Does a GO line run by contractors count as a Metrolinx run service?

All the people that say VIA should be privatized or that VIA is too focused on the Corridor will get a huge part of their wish if the above comes to pass. Interesting times.
 
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