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VIA Rail

kEiThZ

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Your statement about rail being inefficient if using diesel, what do you propose as an alternative?
It is more efficient than trucking which is its main competitors.

We are discussing passenger rail here. It is the VIA thread after all. Not freight. Yes, rail is more efficient to ship freight. It's not more efficient at shipping people. In no small part, because people people require a ton of support when going long distances. Airlines don't need to bring days worth of food and full kitchens to cook in, when flying from Toronto to Vancouver. Drivers don't do that either, unless they are RVing.

As for alternatives? We've had long discussions on how they can decarbonize. You can go through the thread and read those. No point rehashing and regurgitating. My only point here is that current climate policy is going to make diesel long haul more expensive over time. This will happen while electric vehicles are getting cheaper to acquire and more capable. Both on the road and in the air. If there's no change to policy or technology, long haul passenger rail will face some terrible economics and competitive disadvantages. Entirely possible, we see electric coach buses, for example, become very cost competitive on routes like Toronto-Winnipeg or Halifax-Montreal.
 

ssiguy2

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As for alternatives? We've had long discussions on how they can decarbonize. You can go through the thread and read those. No point rehashing and regurgitating. My only point here is that current climate policy is going to make diesel long haul more expensive over time. This will happen while electric vehicles are getting cheaper to acquire and more capable. Both on the road and in the air. If there's no change to policy or technology, long haul passenger rail will face some terrible economics and competitive disadvantages. Entirely possible, we see electric coach buses, for example, become very cost competitive on routes like Toronto-Winnipeg or Halifax-Montreal.

We have been discussing this decarbonizing issue for ever and clearly, I am a strong supporter of hydrogen and if you think that is lunacy that's fine and we can respectfully agree to disagree. The issue is that you continually rake me over the coals for my belief that hydrogen is our best option but don't offer an alternative. If you were in charge of VIA and were told by Ottawa that you had to decarbonize the network by 2050, what exactly would YOU do?
 

crs1026

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We have been discussing this decarbonizing issue for ever and clearly, I am a strong supporter of hydrogen and if you think that is lunacy that's fine and we can respectfully agree to disagree. The issue is that you continually rake me over the coals for my belief that hydrogen is our best option but don't offer an alternative. If you were in charge of VIA and were told by Ottawa that you had to decarbonize the network by 2050, what exactly would YOU do?

We don’t rake you over the coals because you believe in hydrogen. Some of us think it’s quite promising.

We rake you over the coals because you ignore the many practical, pragmatic, logistical, and business related variables that will determine whether hydrogen ever becomes prevalent, and how fast it can be deployed. You describe it as if it’s a sure thing, that can justify making big investment decisions today……. when it’s simply an option that still has many obstacles to overcome and prerequisites to fulfil…… and you disregard the possibility that other technologies may solve their issues and become deployable sooner - and may seize market share or be procured in some places before hydrogen is market ready.

And you don’t seem to recognise that decisionmakers and investors need much more data and comfort before they will be ready to commit to a choice, even if hydrogen is a good bet.

There’s nothing magical about 2050. This will take as long as it takes. We aren’t at a tipping point yet. (Yes, I wish it would move faster, but it will be what it will be.)

- Paul
 

Bordercollie

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We have been discussing this decarbonizing issue for ever and clearly, I am a strong supporter of hydrogen and if you qthink that is lunacy that's fine and we can respectfully agree to disagree. The issue is that you continually rake me over the coals for my belief that hydrogen is our best option but don't offer an alternative. If you were in charge of VIA and were told by Ottawa that you had to decarbonize the network by 2050, what exactly would YOU do?

I think for starters let's be clear there are zero 100% hydrogen locomotives in service in North America today. There are also zero 100% hydrogen long distance trucks in service today except for a few pilot projects.

So to go from zero to a viable solution is going to take sone time.

Possibly a way to start is doing a pilot project for Bio fuels or hybrids with bio fuels.

Now for hydrogen there are some fuel systems that mix hydrogen with diesel which result in some fuel savings. This may be an option but it's not being used by any railway so you would need to do a pilot. Convert two locomotives that are based out of Montreal or Toronto and run in the corridor. But you need to understand that incase of a faliure you would need two locomotives until you can prove that it works. Who's going to pay for the pilot project?

I'm just saying that it has to be a proven off the shelf solution. What if it doesn't work and we spend millions on hydrogen locomotives and they only meet the service level 5% of the time? What good does that do?

This application is already used in commercial trucks and could be adapted to locomotives.
 

kEiThZ

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The issue is that you continually rake me over the coals for my belief that hydrogen is our best option

Not really. I call you out on your continued insistence at conflating national net zero goals with some imaginary corporate policy at VIA to eliminate all emissions.

We have been discussing this decarbonizing issue for ever and clearly, I am a strong supporter of hydrogen and if you think that is lunacy that's fine and we can respectfully agree to disagree.

I have never once said hydrogen is "lunacy". I think it's just fine in certain applications. I'm mostly concerned with the cost of it, which as of yet, doesn't seem to be panning out. And that's aside from the technology itself, which still seems to be competing with batteries and biofuels to establish itself. I'm rather tech agnostic. Best tool for the job. Whatever wins on cost and performance is my choice. And in this case, compatibility with the freight cos is a major driver.

If you were in charge of VIA and were told by Ottawa that you had to decarbonize the network by 2050, what exactly would YOU do?

Depends on the budget. If I have the budget I build a dedicated and fully electrified corridor (HFR) from Quebec City to Windsor, and I deploy BEMUs for Lakeshore service, that can charge on GO, AMT or VIA owned tracks. This covers 90% of VIA pax. Everything else, I'd convert to biodiesel as quickly as possible (even increasingly blend over time to 100% by 2040). New services would only be CalEd and Halifax-Moncton-Saint John. Those are all distances that BEMUs would be fine and would run at frequencies where station charging would work. Heck, CalEd could justify a fully electrified corridor at launch.

Hydrogen is only a substitute for biodiesel if the freight rail cos sign up. Ultimately, they'll decide for VIA.
 
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PL1

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Your example should tell you why nobody takes the train to get across the country.

I've taken the Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver twice (2013 and 2019): Once with my wife, and once with my wife and 2 teens. People do take the train. It does not compete on speed with airlines. But it's a sightseeing tour plus hotel plus restaurant rolled in one.

I hope it stays around. And I hope they can improve the carbon cost
 

kEiThZ

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People do take the train. It does not compete on speed with airlines. But it's a sightseeing tour plus hotel plus restaurant rolled in one.

That's my point. It's not really transportation for most people. It's a land cruise. Nothing wrong with that. But increasing subsidies from the taxpayer (necessitated by rising carbon taxes driving up operating costs) will be hard to justify.
 

kEiThZ

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1) Why is this article in the VIA Rail thread when half of it is talking about oil pipelines and is written by an oil exec?

2) The constant comparison to the railroad era is such a fallacy. They expropriated land at will and exploited Chinese migrants to build those railroads (with a 4% fatality rate for the CPR). We simply cannot do that today.

When it comes to rail projects, the reviews aren't nearly as much of an issue as commitment and funding. The Trudeau government has been in office for 7+ years. They could have completed all reviews and bid out any rail project they wanted by now.
 

cplchanb

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1) Why is this article in the VIA Rail thread when half of it is talking about oil pipelines and is written by an oil exec?

2) The constant comparison to the railroad era is such a fallacy. They expropriated land at will and exploited Chinese migrants to build those railroads (with a 4% fatality rate for the CPR). We simply cannot do that today.

When it comes to rail projects, the reviews aren't nearly as much of an issue as commitment and funding. The Trudeau government has been in office for 7+ years. They could have completed all reviews and bid out any rail project they wanted by now.
yup they continually do these "studies" and long winded RFQ/P processes that are all smoke and mirrors to buy them time to the next election cycle. The cold fact is, the feds either are too broke to fund this and are just feigning / stalling for time or they dont actually care about it enough to fast track.
 

kEiThZ

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The cold fact is, the feds either are too broke to fund this and are just feigning / stalling for time or they dont actually care about it enough to fast track.

They've run hudreds of billlions in deficit over their time in office. Heck, $100B before Covid. $12-15B for HFR spread out over a decade is a rounding error on the federal budget. I don't buy that they are out of cash at all. Like all governments, they simply look at what $15B could deliver in votes and then decide against rail. For conservatives that money goes to tax cuts. For liberals that will go to social spending. There's no party in Canada that really wants to prioritize infrastructure.

The real irony in all this is that Doug Ford plowing ahead on so many transit projects, is increasingly looking like the real visionary for Central Canada, compared to the feds.
 

Jayson9999

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Does anyone know when the second Siemens set will go into service and when both will be in full service rather than the one day a week the sets doing now ?
 

Bordercollie

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They've run hudreds of billlions in deficit over their time in office. Heck, $100B before Covid. $12-15B for HFR spread out over a decade is a rounding error on the federal budget. I don't buy that they are out of cash at all. Like all governments, they simply look at what $15B could deliver in votes and then decide against rail. For conservatives that money goes to tax cuts. For liberals that will go to social spending. There's no party in Canada that really wants to prioritize infrastructure.

The real irony in all this is that Doug Ford plowing ahead on so many transit projects, is increasingly looking like the real visionary for Central Canada, compared to the feds.
Likely that those contracts for transit play into votes because the companies that get those bids are Ford supporters. Hence why he is allowing development in the protected Greenspace. The developers are his base of votes and fund his campaign. Follow the money.
 

kEiThZ

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Likely that those contracts for transit play into votes because the companies that get those bids are Ford supporters. Hence why he is allowing development in the protected Greenspace. The developers are his base of votes and fund his campaign. Follow the money.

That may be true. But when GO RER, the Ontario Line and the SSE is built, who do you think will get credit? And how many people do you think will care that the Greenbelt got eroded? People who don't like Ford and his party will never say anything positive about him. But the majority of voters aren't that partisan. It's why they voted him in.

Infrastructure has broad appeal across the middle class. Even people who drive will eventually appreciate transit when they are stuck in traffic. This is something the McGuinty/Wynne Liberals didn't understand when they prioritized social programs over infrastructure. And they lost to Doug Ford. There's a similar sentiment now brewing against the federal Liberals who have jacked up immigration rates without due consideration to the impact on housing, healthcare and infrastructure. I shudder at the thought of Pierre Poilievre becoming Prime Minister. But the Trudeau Liberals seem almost determined to make it happen at this point.
 
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lead82

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Ford has done more for transit building in 4 years than the Liberals have in 15 years. Yes Line1 was extended and Eglinton and Finch were started but the rest of their plan was stalled and delayed and deferred for years. At least Ford is committed to a downtown relief line that is much better than the original proposal due to its length. Look at how badly the Liberals have waffled on VIA HFR. It should have been a no brainer - funded and under construction now. Instead it’s studied to death for what reason? Just make a decision and get on with it.

I fear that if HFR is not build, VIA will just die out as an irrelevant service. It is already that today unfortunately given the price, low frequency and super slow service.
 

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