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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2018, 10:46 PM
canucklehead2 canucklehead2 is offline
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HSR: High Speed Rail in the West

So obviously a few of us are fans of high-speed rail for the obvious advantages it brings. I'm personally advocating for a Canadian Dream 2.0 which would be to upgrade all the main Canadian rail lines owned by CN, CP and others to double-tracked service capable for operating at 230 km/h for high speed passenger rail and 160 km/h which is the standard speed of freight in Europe.

Just think of being able to not only zip between places in the east like Montreal and Toronto, but Edmonton and Calgary, Vancouver and Seattle, etc.

While the concept may seem pie in the sky, the reality is that upgrading existing freight isn't that expensive but few companies are willing to do it because of the huge upfront investment and disruption to services, yet China shows us time and time again that these types of projects are not only possible but affordable. Heck, if places in Africa and Central Asia now have high speed services as do existing creaky services like in ye olde England, surely Alberta and British Columbia which contain almost 9 million or so people together can. Know better, do better!

Next post, I'm going to find the best resources for other rail fans...
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2018, 10:49 PM
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2018, 10:53 PM
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On the the other side of the Bering Strait China is planning a One Belt One Road Initiative and Russia has hopes of building a system to each Alaska. Meanwhile in Canada, a study already exists to extend the former Northern Alberta Railways from Peace River and Fort McMurray to Fairbanks, with Alaska needing just a quick link to join up both systems... Here was the pre-feasibility study... http://www.vanhorneinstitute.com/wp-...lity-Study.pdf
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  #4  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2018, 11:27 PM
milomilo milomilo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canucklehead2 View Post
So obviously a few of us are fans of high-speed rail for the obvious advantages it brings. I'm personally advocating for a Canadian Dream 2.0 which would be to upgrade all the main Canadian rail lines owned by CN, CP and others to double-tracked service capable for operating at 230 km/h for high speed passenger rail and 160 km/h which is the standard speed of freight in Europe.

Just think of being able to not only zip between places in the east like Montreal and Toronto, but Edmonton and Calgary, Vancouver and Seattle, etc.

While the concept may seem pie in the sky, the reality is that upgrading existing freight isn't that expensive but few companies are willing to do it because of the huge upfront investment and disruption to services, yet China shows us time and time again that these types of projects are not only possible but affordable. Heck, if places in Africa and Central Asia now have high speed services as do existing creaky services like in ye olde England, surely Alberta and British Columbia which contain almost 9 million or so people together can. Know better, do better!

Next post, I'm going to find the best resources for other rail fans...
Upgrading the existing lines isn't a good idea. Firstly, you have to deal with the most powerful, self-interested, asshole-ish companies in Canada, CN and CP. They will never fully cooperate in prioritising passenger rail and will extort us when it comes to neccesary track upgrades. Second, upgrading railways while they are running is always more difficult and expensive than expected. Third, once you have upgraded lines, they are still much crappier than segregated passenger rail lines. You can have the fastest track on the planet, but your trains can still go no faster than the 80km/h freight train in front.
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2018, 12:13 AM
canucklehead2 canucklehead2 is offline
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Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
Upgrading the existing lines isn't a good idea. Firstly, you have to deal with the most powerful, self-interested, asshole-ish companies in Canada, CN and CP. They will never fully cooperate in prioritising passenger rail and will extort us when it comes to neccesary track upgrades. Second, upgrading railways while they are running is always more difficult and expensive than expected. Third, once you have upgraded lines, they are still much crappier than segregated passenger rail lines. You can have the fastest track on the planet, but your trains can still go no faster than the 80km/h freight train in front.
I didn't know you were a rail insider? Do tell about what's going on in CP these days, please! ;-)
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2018, 12:23 AM
milomilo milomilo is offline
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I didn't know you were a rail insider? Do tell about what's going on in CP these days, please! ;-)
I'm not, of course. But you can see with how they deal with cities when it comes to their property that they have no interest in the public good. And why the hell should they? They are private companies, lucky enough to have monopolies and special status, that answer to no-one but their shareholders. It is their duty to extort us as much as they possibly can.
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2018, 3:24 PM
craneSpotter craneSpotter is offline
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I would agree HSR needs to have a dedicated (ROW) line. There are enough delays and backups with the current CN and CP lines which have a priority for bulk cargo trains.

The most feasible HSR line that could impact Western Canada would be Metro Vancouver to Portland, Ore. Called the Cascade Line it would run ~310mi/500km from downtown Vancouver, BC to downtown Portland, Ore. I suppose the first phase could run from DT Vancouver to DT Seattle (~230km) or from DT Portland to DT Seattle (~270km). There are roughly 11 million people along this corridor.

This proposed line is estimated to be very expensive at ~$25-45 Billion USD, depending on technology used, so likely won't happen in the near future. Plus, it has its opponents saying HSR is expensive requiring large taxpayer subsidies and point to point transportation is dated thinking.

Personally I would like to see it go ahead - but $25-45 Billion is a lot!

There was a recent feasibility study released in Dec 2017 by WSDOT:

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/sites/defaul...highlights.pdf

A new business case study for the proposed line has been initiated by Washington State which will see three governments (BC, Washington & Oregon) involved, so the concept does have some legs:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/britis...ysis-1.4570387

http://vancouversun.com/news/local-n...led-for-friday

http://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-e...y-extravagance
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  #8  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2018, 8:12 PM
canucklehead2 canucklehead2 is offline
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The last Van Horne HSR cost update from 2013 has the the Alberta HSR project costing...

Option 1: CPR at 200/230 km/h @ $2.5B
Option 2: Greenfield @ 250 km/h @ $3.9B
Option 3: Greenfield electric @ 320 km/h @ 5.1B

With those numbers I'd love to throw up a poll and see what people would support... I'm personally a fan of going whole hog and developing a proper 320 km/h line but the cost would be double the CPR option (which the company has been on board with since the mid 1990's even in the study itself) and I think that's a tough sell for a project that already is pushing the limits of what people will accept in a Reagan/Trumpenomic era...
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  #9  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2018, 1:47 AM
Jaspertf Jaspertf is offline
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Originally Posted by canucklehead2 View Post
The last Van Horne HSR cost update from 2013 has the the Alberta HSR project costing...

Option 1: CPR at 200/230 km/h @ $2.5B
Option 2: Greenfield @ 250 km/h @ $3.9B
Option 3: Greenfield electric @ 320 km/h @ 5.1B

With those numbers I'd love to throw up a poll and see what people would support... I'm personally a fan of going whole hog and developing a proper 320 km/h line but the cost would be double the CPR option (which the company has been on board with since the mid 1990's even in the study itself) and I think that's a tough sell for a project that already is pushing the limits of what people will accept in a Reagan/Trumpenomic era...
Sorry to burst your bubble but the numbers cited by the Van Horne Institute are chronically under valued, High Speed 2 in the UK, which is 70km short of the distance between Calgary and Edmonton, is projected to cost over $27 billion. OVER $27 BILLION!
Also there are very few operationally profitable high speed rail services, one of the most profitable is the Eurostar, this connects London, Paris and Brussels, and recently extended services to Amsterdam. The population of Amsterdam is larger than the combined populations of Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary, the population in the service area of Eurostar is greater than the population of the whole of Canada.
High speed rail in even the Montreal-Toronto corridor is decades away, in Alberta we need to learn to walk before we start running, which is the main reasoning to my idea. Once the population number justify, maybe then we can start thinking about High Speed Rail.
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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2018, 12:40 AM
milomilo milomilo is offline
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Originally Posted by Jaspertf View Post
Sorry to burst your bubble but the numbers cited by the Van Horne Institute are chronically under valued, High Speed 2 in the UK, which is 70km short of the distance between Calgary and Edmonton, is projected to cost over $27 billion. OVER $27 BILLION!
Also there are very few operationally profitable high speed rail services, one of the most profitable is the Eurostar, this connects London, Paris and Brussels, and recently extended services to Amsterdam. The population of Amsterdam is larger than the combined populations of Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary, the population in the service area of Eurostar is greater than the population of the whole of Canada.
High speed rail in even the Montreal-Toronto corridor is decades away, in Alberta we need to learn to walk before we start running, which is the main reasoning to my idea. Once the population number justify, maybe then we can start thinking about High Speed Rail.
The Van Horne numbers probably are low, but you can't compare costs to HS2. HS2 is an infinitely more complex railway than what we would have to build in Alberta, including 2 deep bore tunnels on the approaches into Manchester and London, and miles upon miles of tunnel and viaducts elsewhere. The distance between London to Manchester is similar to between Edmonton and Calgary, yet you've got about the population of Canada crammed in there, as well as having to thread the railway amonst the existing infrastructure. HS2 will be vastly more expensive than the very simple railway we would need to build here.
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2018, 3:08 PM
Jaspertf Jaspertf is offline
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Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
The Van Horne numbers probably are low, but you can't compare costs to HS2. HS2 is an infinitely more complex railway than what we would have to build in Alberta, including 2 deep bore tunnels on the approaches into Manchester and London, and miles upon miles of tunnel and viaducts elsewhere. The distance between London to Manchester is similar to between Edmonton and Calgary, yet you've got about the population of Canada crammed in there, as well as having to thread the railway amonst the existing infrastructure. HS2 will be vastly more expensive than the very simple railway we would need to build here.
I'm sorry I used such an extreme example, looking through my notes a more applicable example would be LGV SEA.

The Ligne a Grande Vitesse Sud Europe Atlantique is the new high speed line between Tours and Bordeaux, opened in 2017. The high speed line is 302km long and cost over $12billion, working out to $40million/km. This does not include station construction, connection to the regional rail network, and other infrastructure, there are also no long viaducts or deep tunnels. France, and the rest of Europe has lots of experience and expertise in building and operating high speed rail, Canada and North America next to non-existant. In my opinion (Civil/Structural Engineer) high speed rail between Calgary and Edmonton will cost upwards of $20billion, look at the debacle of California High Speed Rail. The Cascades line will be the next high speed rail line in the "West", it is already operational and well used, along most of the line the service runs in the "higher speed rail" category.
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 22, 2018, 3:08 PM
Jaspertf Jaspertf is offline
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Transpod Calgary - Edmonton

Hyperloop/Transpod will work, but will it cost CAD 6 billion?

In layman's terms what is Hyperloop/Transpod? It is an object travelling at high speed in a vacuum. Why a vacuum? A vacuum has little to no air, air creates resistance (aerodynamic drag), if there is no air there is no drag and objects can travel at much high speeds. Think of space travel.

However when it comes to passengers, we need air to breathe, so for passengers Hyperloop/Transpod becomes a pressurized vehicle travelling in a vacuum tube.

What is an object that operates with an interior pressure greater than the exterior? An aeroplane.

What is an object that operates with an interior pressure less than the exterior? A submarine.

What is the fastest form of propulsion? Electro-magnetic.

So an aeroplane propelled by mag-lev, inside a submarine.

As temperatures get colder, all metals and materials become more brittle and susceptible to fracturing. Over the past winter both CP and CN have been operating their trains at slow speeds to prevent breaking rails, causing the grain backlog. Ski hills will shutdown chair lifts below -20degC, to prevent cables snapping.

The temperature in the Prairies gets below -30degC in the winter. The frost level in Alberta is considered to be 3.0m, all water utilities are buried 3m in the ground to prevent freezing.

To work effectively in Alberta, Hyperloop/Transpod would have to be underground. Also with a speed of 1000kph it would have to be dead straight, which can easily be achieved with tunnelling.

So will Transpod cost CAD6billion between Calgary and Edmonton?

A simple train tunnel costs CAD20million per km, Crossrail is costing more. A Transpod tunnel would also need to be sealed in order to maintain a vacuum, and this does not include the mag-lev propulsion technology or the construction of the terminals and pods.

For a quick relevant example, Tokyo to Nagoya mag-lev. The direct route is 286km with the majority in a tunnel, it is currently estimated at JPY5.1Trillion or CAD 60 Billion.

Hyperloop/Transpod is a fantastic idea and a great use of technology, but it will be a massive white elephant for Alberta. The population of Tokyo and Nagoya is 47 million, the best place for this technology in North America is in the North East Corridor between Washington DC and New York.
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  #13  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2018, 2:24 AM
canucklehead2 canucklehead2 is offline
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A map of the Edmonton/Calgary line that still runs but only marginally so which is why CP has been more than happy to keep talking HSR along this rail corridor. I personally still believe the best solution is to upgrade this existing line for 200-240 km/h service with 2 tracks non-electrified which would be the cheapest HSR option, but would also allow for 160 km/h cargo trains which would satisfy the need to still make some $$ from other sources.

Bombardier in Europe has now released a Battery electric HSR train as of this year which will allow 200 km/h service for up to 50 km without overhead wires and then fast recharge times of only 10 minutes. So even if only PARTS of the line were powered (say the commuter belts around Edmonton, Calgary and maybe Red Deer) then other sections wouldn't need to be saving major upfront costs while allowing true HSR service...

There are fewer and fewer reasons preventing the creation of SOME sort of HSR system in Alberta and British Columbia if you ask me both technologically and economically granted that both are growing at rates unprecedented in the nation in terms of population AND economic growth.

So much for the theory that progressive politics and solid economies don't mix...
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  #14  
Old Posted Aug 23, 2018, 2:28 AM
canucklehead2 canucklehead2 is offline
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To me this line connected with the old NAR and PGE's Fort Nelson line could form the backbone of the global High Speed Railway between the America's and Asia over the next few decades. After all between The Boring Company finding ways to make tunnelling faster and cheaper than ever, it's not that far fetched to imagine a Bering Straight tunnel system of SOME sort be it Hyperloop or conventional electric HSR in the 200 km/h+ range. Connected to the Alaskan Railway and the Lethbridge-Great Falls railway and that's a hell of a quick/cheap/fast way to move goods and people from one part of the world to the next on par with the Chinese One Belt One Road Plan...
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Old Posted Aug 23, 2018, 2:41 AM
canucklehead2 canucklehead2 is offline
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file:///Users/ianweetman/Downloads/B...eb_03_2016.pdf

A presentation on a lower-speed plan to connect Lake Louise-Banff-Canmore-Cochrane and Calgary together. Still trying to find the link to the HSR study that I believe some investors plan to spend upwards of $700M on to do the same route but at true HSR speeds using an upgraded CP corridor... Also if BC got on board they could be pieces towards operating a HSR through the rockies to Kamloops and onwards to Vancouver and beyond... Cough, cough, carbon tax Green Fund projects.

To me that's why I support carbon taxes. Not to dump all the $$ into general revenue for reckless and mealy-mouthed governments (ALL federal governments to date really) but to use the $$ to make the most difference in transitioning Canada and the planet to a low/no carbon lifestyle...

Aka finance proper European-style integrated electric rail networks for local, regional and inter-regional links that can move both people and cargo without emitting any carbon...

The link to the 1984 study which uses pretty much the same design parameters as I've stated above for the Edmonton/Calgary link...
https://open.alberta.ca/publications/857366

2008...
https://www.transportation.alberta.c...2.2008_rev.pdf


It's funny how the pro-rail studies were archived to the far reaches of the internet but the government of the day still has all the ANTI-rail studies available on their main site... Guess either a broken clock is right twice a day or people will ALWAYS find a way to put their thumb on the scale towards whatever opinion they already had going into a situation. SAD! Anyway... More studies...

https://www.transportation.alberta.ca/3940.htm
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Old Posted Aug 23, 2018, 2:48 AM
canucklehead2 canucklehead2 is offline
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The original vision of the railway owners. Funny how people were MUCH more willing to nation build back in 1890's than 2018 despite the same goals... Sad!



The connecting Great Falls and Canada line that links to the Great Northern Railway which was the last of the transcontinentals to be built and ironically the most well used for Amtrak outside the major city corridors... It loses a bunch of money on paper however like the Greyhound bus system in Canada it's often the only transportation in and out of the region for working class citizens... Aka the people that will benefit the most from ANY upgrades in rail service really...




The eastern branch to Saskatchewan that was also to be a major urban corridor according to its founders...


The Western branch that was to link to Nordegg and eventually to BC via the Howse Pass or Northwards to Jasper and Prince George via the Alberta Coal Belt focused near Cadomin...





Grander plans beyond the borders of 1905 Alberta...
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  #17  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2018, 1:43 AM
scryer scryer is offline
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K, love the photos and the images. But please try to find a way to make them smaller. I know I'm not the best example of this. Pretty please .
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  #18  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2018, 2:58 AM
milomilo milomilo is offline
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I think many people would love to have a rail network, especially a high speed one, in the west (especially myself!). Unfortunately you are glossing over a major aspect. Cost. Wishing things so does not make them so - building quality (well, even low quality) rail is highly expensive.
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  #19  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2018, 9:34 PM
canucklehead2 canucklehead2 is offline
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I'm not GLOSSING over everything C.A.V.E. dweller. I am well aware of the bloody costs. I have a degree in Journalism for christ sakes. A single set of regular rails go for $1-$5 million/km for just the steel and tracks. For a single 100 KM corridor that would be at LEAST 100M by upwards of $500M depending on the existing infrastructure, corridor, restraints, etc.

HOWEVER if were actually EDUCATED on anything instead of being one of the most condescending contributors you'd know that MOST of the route between Calgary and Banff HAD two rails BEFORE and were yanked up after the crow rates expired. That means the corridors EXIST and just need to be-rerailed which drops costs significantly.

YOU'D also know if you bothered to re-read a few posts before about new technologies like PRIMOVE which allow high speed BATTERY ELECTRIC trains to run at 200 km/h for up to 50 km without power and can be fast-charged in 10 minutes along the way. This system like city buses which the tech is also being used for would eliminate the need to wire ANYTHING along the way except for at stations or steep graded sections during normal operations...

But you hadn't bothered to do any of that did ya?
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  #20  
Old Posted Aug 24, 2018, 11:47 PM
milomilo milomilo is offline
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Jesus. CP and CN own the railways, you can't just tell them you're running new trains on their railways or building new tracks, they call the shots. And they are highly uncooperative and will not sell their land for cheap, as they have shareholders to answer to and dividends to pay.

Believe me, I want rail in Alberta. But first of all the government needs to do a proper study on this - I can draw maps and pull numbers out of my ass as well, but that does not mean they have any basis in what is feasible.
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