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VIA Rail

I had a closer look at the maps in the Alstom deck. Looks like almost all of the portions on freight rights of way use CP. The tracks into both Toronto and Montreal are all CP, and the only CN trackage is the approach into Quebec City where it's the only option. HFR benefits CP by rebuilding and significantly upgrading the Havelock sub, plus the mainline between Perth and Smiths Falls would have to get upgrades too. Pure speculation here, but that might be enough to make CP willing to play ball with HFR when it comes to the Toronto and Montreal parts of the passenger network. Electrification of their mainline that HFR would need in Toronto seems unlikely, but who knows what discussions have been going on behind the scenes.

Of course the Alstom plan is very conceptual at this point. Lots can change.
 
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I had a closer look at the maps in the Alstom deck. Looks like almost all of the portions on freight rights of way use CP. The tracks into both Toronto and Montreal are all CP, and the only CN trackage is the approach into Quebec City where it's the only option. HFR benefits CP by rebuilding and significantly upgrading the Havelock sub, plus the mainline between Perth and Smiths Falls would have to get upgrades too. Pure speculation here, but that might be enough to make CP willing to play ball with HFR when it comes to the Toronto and Montreal parts of the passenger network. Electrification of their mainline that HFR would need in Toronto seems unlikely, but who knows what discussions have been going on behind the scenes.

Of course the Alstom plan is very conceptual at this point. Lots can change.

The rumour I heard about the Havlock sub is that CP is happy to sell it. They barely use it and the cost to maintain it is more than worth what they get out of it. They would just want access at night to run a couple of trains
 
The rumour I heard about the Havlock sub is that CP is happy to sell it. They barely use it and the cost to maintain it is more than worth what they get out of it. They would just want access at night to run a couple of trains

The fly in Alstom's oatmeal being.... so long as CP retains a right to run freight, it will be unlikely/impossible to upgrade the line to HSR standard. Especially since the existing traffic is pretty heavily loaded covered hoppers.

- Paul
 
The rumour I heard about the Havlock sub is that CP is happy to sell it. They barely use it and the cost to maintain it is more than worth what they get out of it. They would just want access at night to run a couple of trains

I've heard that the CP Rail president is very bullish on the line and wants to try to get more traffic from the mines from the trucks. Plus, apparently Quaker has invested some money on their siding to get rail service back. They own it. So certainly they might be happy to run night trains because they still see value in the line.
 
The fly in Alstom's oatmeal being.... so long as CP retains a right to run freight, it will be unlikely/impossible to upgrade the line to HSR standard. Especially since the existing traffic is pretty heavily loaded covered hoppers.

- Paul

They would have to run new tracks beside existing and keep the existing track in a somewhat decent shape for CP.

Would be more expensive and brings up the issue of room in the corridor.
 
I've heard that the CP Rail president is very bullish on the line and wants to try to get more traffic from the mines from the trucks. Plus, apparently Quaker has invested some money on their siding to get rail service back. They own it. So certainly they might be happy to run night trains because they still see value in the line.
I saw an article last year (which, of course, I can't find now) that the unloading shed had to be torn down and rebuilt (it was built in 1917) and that was now done. At the same time they took the opportunity to do some maintenance on the sidings.
 
I've heard that the CP Rail president is very bullish on the line and wants to try to get more traffic from the mines from the trucks. Plus, apparently Quaker has invested some money on their siding to get rail service back. They own it. So certainly they might be happy to run night trains because they still see value in the line.
It makes sense. With faster speeds, each train can make the trip in a fraction of the time with lower costs. That could help CP land more clients. CP has way more power than Via could ever dream of, so if they're on board with HFR that could be its best chance at actually happening.

They would have to run new tracks beside existing and keep the existing track in a somewhat decent shape for CP.

Would be more expensive and brings up the issue of room in the corridor.
The curves on the line are way too tight and it has too many road crossings to put a high speed track next to the existing one. If a high speed line is ever built along that part of the route it would have to be a brand new right of way. But that would cost a lot more and remove the synergies with CP.
 
That could help CP land more clients
One problem is there aren't many potential clients enroute. GE is closed/closing, I don't know if they still service the feed mill in Cavan, the spur to the industrial area south of Hwy 115 has been lifted (even if there were customers there).
 
They would have to run new tracks beside existing and keep the existing track in a somewhat decent shape for CP.

Would be more expensive and brings up the issue of room in the corridor.
FRA regulations already allow mixed (i.e. shared tracks with freight trains) operations up to 160 mph [256 km/h] (the proposed increase from 150 mph seems to have been adopted in 2019):
C5D2809B-8866-4CDB-88E4-E9FE0FCAFECF.jpeg

Source: FRA (2017)
 
Those FRA reg’s are (for good reasons) somewhat focussed on crash scenarios and crash prevention..

This doesn’t imply that mixed operation is a good idea, or economically desirable….. just that it is technically safe.

If the plan is to extract speed by banking a heavily curved right of way, the freight-related wear and tear on those banked curves will raise the cost of maintaining the line, and require incremental work blocks to keep the surfacing in spec, possibly impacting passenger service availability, or causing slow orders until the related defects can be fixed..

That raises the question of who should pay….. CP, because they are causing wear on the passenger infrastructure,or VIA, because they are demanding an incremental “extra” that freight doesn’t need. ? One would hope the deal puts the onus on CP, but the purchase price will rise accordingly. I am good with that, as it is preferable to CP retaining the economic leverage over VIA.

- Paul
 

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