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VIA Rail

lead82

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Lots of people use to take these trains for regular medical appointments and to shop or patronize other big city services, as one can spend the day in Toronto and then commute back without staying overnight. Via should bring more service to the line. Given the population density it’s a crying shame we don’t have hourly service between Toronto and Ottawa / Montreal. Price it right and the demand is there.
 

Bordercollie

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Lots of people use to take these trains for regular medical appointments and to shop or patronize other big city services, as one can spend the day in Toronto and then commute back without staying overnight. Via should bring more service to the line. Given the population density it’s a crying shame we don’t have hourly service between Toronto and Ottawa / Montreal. Price it right and the demand is there.
There isn't enough equipment or track slots.

When GO brings their service to the Belleville sub it will provide an option for those people. In which case Metrolinx should partner with someone to build a shuttle to the GO train, or run their own buses.
 

lead82

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GO wont bring service there any time soon. We are talking 10+ years. VIA should have purchased more train sets and slot time or got government to invest in extra dedicated tracks. Our rail system is grossly inadequate for a G7 country. It’s embarrassing.

All talk about cutting carbon emissions yet we do nothing to improve our land transportation options in the densest part of the country. People fly or drive. Those are the two options.
 

Bordercollie

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GO wont bring service there any time soon. We are talking 10+ years. VIA should have purchased more train sets and slot time or got government to invest in extra dedicated tracks. Our rail system is grossly inadequate for a G7 country. It’s embarrassing.

All talk about cutting carbon emissions yet we do nothing to improve our land transportation options in the densest part of the country. People fly or drive. Those are the two options.
I think it was someone on this board that mentioned that the current fleet replacement is a 1 to 1 ratio interns of number of seats.

Just an increase of one seat would cause an uproar and would require an overhaul of the entire funding structure.

But since they will be more reliable you may be able to get more runs per day assuming track slots are available. That is the number one problem. Track capacity.
 

lead82

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Agreed. I don’t get why we are only just replacing trains and not increasing capacity to run more trains. Rail capacity can be organized with CN or to build track. HFR has been talked about for 10yrs and still zero action on it except more reports. Sad.
 

Urban Sky

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I think it was someone on this board that mentioned that the current fleet replacement is a 1 to 1 ratio interns of number of seats.

Just an increase of one seat would cause an uproar and would require an overhaul of the entire funding structure.

But since they will be more reliable you may be able to get more runs per day assuming track slots are available. That is the number one problem. Track capacity.
VIA’s RFP documents had an explicit provision to provide additional trainsets in the case that HFR get’s approved one day, which is the only realistic scenario where that extra seat capacity could be utilized…
 

lead82

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Even with HFR there is still a growing population along the Lake Ontario corridor and into SWO. VIA should be increasing service. In fact many years ago there were plans to run more trains for SWO that went nowhere.
 

lead82

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You build new track. It’s really not that hard or difficult. Yes it takes some investment. GO is able to invest in its own track why can’t VIA. The leaders at VIA put everything in HFR and no other plans exist for any other investment. There was once talk about more service in the maritimes to say connect St John and Halifax via Moncton. Lots of possible new services if one did some thoughts on how to drive business through new services. VIA is irrelevant because of lack of service and investment.
 

lenaitch

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You build new track. It’s really not that hard or difficult. Yes it takes some investment. GO is able to invest in its own track why can’t VIA. The leaders at VIA put everything in HFR and no other plans exist for any other investment. There was once talk about more service in the maritimes to say connect St John and Halifax via Moncton. Lots of possible new services if one did some thoughts on how to drive business through new services. VIA is irrelevant because of lack of service and investment.
In addition to being a lot more expensive than you probably realize (not counting that fact that it is private property and therefore any new infrastructure has to be negotiated, or perhaps legislated - and good luck with that), you make it should like VIA just lacks initiative. VIA Rail depends on the largess and policy direction of the federal government.
 

Bordercollie

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You build new track. It’s really not that hard or difficult. Yes it takes some investment. GO is able to invest in its own track why can’t VIA. The leaders at VIA put everything in HFR and no other plans exist for any other investment. There was once talk about more service in the maritimes to say connect St John and Halifax via Moncton. Lots of possible new services if one did some thoughts on how to drive business through new services. VIA is irrelevant because of lack of service and investment.
I guess you didn't read the HFR report. Back in the Harper days they build passing tracks and overpasses for Belleville, Cobourg and renovated Kingston Station. But travel times actually didn't get any better. It actually got worse.

Now it may have been naive to spend the money without an agreement from the railway.

In anycase it was determined that the best way to do it would be to own it and manage it yourself.

Hence why the building of a new corridor exclusive for Passenger trains.
 

lead82

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No I didn’t read that. That is too bad that our national passenger railway can’t own the tracks. Maybe it’s high time to build its own. At this point I’m not holding my breath HFR will ever happen. 7 years of Lineral governance and nothing to show for it except empty words.
 

Urban Sky

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You build new track. It’s really not that hard or difficult. Yes it takes some investment. GO is able to invest in its own track why can’t VIA. The leaders at VIA put everything in HFR and no other plans exist for any other investment.
All the tracks Metrolinx (and VIA: COTO-OTTW-SMTF-BRKV and CHAT-WDON!) were able to purchase from CN or CP were corridors where these freight railroads only run some local freight services. At all the other main corridors, Metrolinx has been facing the same fierce resistance as VIA, since you can’t buy something if the current owner has no intention of selling (because it is an integral and indispensable part of its main business).

There was once talk about more service in the maritimes to say connect St John and Halifax via Moncton. Lots of possible new services if one did some thoughts on how to drive business through new services. VIA is irrelevant because of lack of service and investment.
The less you understand the complexity of a problem, the easier it is to come up with plausible-sounding solutions. (#beentheredonethat, as my early contributions to this forum will attest)
 

crs1026

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^GO was unusually fortunate that the railways had corridors in the GTA that they no longer needed and were willing to sell. And even more fortunate that Toronto’s original rail system was built with spokes radiating from the city centre in so many directions. If one compares to say Ottawa, or Montreal, their original as-built rail network is not aligned to current development and movement needs and so the regional rail network is not as robust and transit routes have had to be carved out elsewhere..

It’s high time that Canada began planning passenger rail corridors at the federal and provincial level, even if the need or affordability for such corridors hasn’t arrived. Those corridors should inform municipal level zoning and development plans.

If you look at the planning that goes into the 400 series highways, the layout of routes and the acquisition of land is a multiple-decade process. Pickering Airport was planned 50 years ago, and remains a possibility if the economics eventually justify it. With rail, the best we seem to do is trail-bank old abandoned rail lines, but again there may not be a rail line where we will need it, and the lines that are being abandoned are not where we intend to build.

Getting back to Toronto, the planning for today’s GO network happened in the late 1950’s…. the public debate over the construction of CN’s bypass acknowledged that CN would no longer need all its central infrastructure, and the notion of a regional passenger network was explicitly discussed. That’s a remarkably foresighted bit of history…. sometimes we lose sight of how good that original vision and decisionmaking was, because people thought along a 50-75 year timeline instead of ten years.

So, yes, we need to plan for new rail corridors in lots of places…. we just don’t need to build them all yet.

The HFR proposal has made a huge impact, IMHO, because it has moved government and political thinking from debating whether we need better rail infrastructure to what kind we need and when do we need it. That’s a huge reversal from the Jack Pickersgill mentality when VIA was born. We may not be ready to commit yet, and personally while I’m not a HSR advocate I do hope that we will continue to look for better places to build a new line than through Sharbot Lake. But we definitely need to stop looking at existing lines on the map and dreaming about how we can cram a passenger network onto somebody else’s freight infrastructure when the two need to each operate efficiently without getting in each others’ way..

- Paul
 

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