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  #1221  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2019, 4:25 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
Interesting post. I am wondering if the viability of the container ports that utilize the St. Lawrence Seaway could be reduced due to the speed restrictions imposed from the recent deaths of the North Atlantic right whales. I actually question the viability of those ports vs Halifax as I imagine (I have no data) that it would be quicker to move freight by train, at a speed of 60+ mph vs approx 27 mph by container ship. So why not just unload at Halifax and move to the rest of Canada at a higher speed? (I'm sure it's not that simple... )
There are pros and cons. The first is that the Seaway is closed for a number of months each winter so it cannot be viable for all shippers during those months. Halifax has no such problem but with limited train service out of here containers sit on the ground for days before taking off for their final destination. The other problem is that a lot of cargo is headed for ultimate destinations in the US and it just makes more sense to dock in one of their ports. The strategy of the local port in the past has been to try to target that US market since it is at least 10x larger than the Canadian one, but there has been limited success doing that largely because of poor rail connections from here to there.
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  #1222  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2019, 6:05 PM
GoTrans GoTrans is offline
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Originally posted by: someone123
This is the post I was thinking of. Hunter Harrison was CEO from 2003-2009.

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Originally Posted by GoTrans
The main reason was to rip up track that Hunter Harrison could send the rail to other locations, primarily the US, to provide newer rail to renew US trackage. His focus on the Operating Ratio while ignoring the long term capacity problems of booming freight volumes resulted in the meltdown in 2017. The result is that CN has had to catch up for the last 2 years and there will be more to come.


I think when I wrote the above text I was unaware the HH had also pulled up track in the Maritimes. Am I surprised? Not at all. It is just another example of being penny wise and pound foolish so that a short time later ( in railway terms ) there is no spare capacity to run additional services on the existing track. The government should never have allowed this to happen over and over again.

Does anyone know how many miles of trackage was ripped up?
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  #1223  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2019, 6:33 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Interesting. Back when privatization was occurring, I recall thinking that it was not a good move for our government to turn over our rail service to a private company. I viewed our rail service and related infrastructure as critical to the function of our country and as an asset that should be owned and controlled by its citizens.

However, even before privatization, I remember the feds abandoning many rail services in this province, likely to cut costs for lesser-used services, but at least the infrastructure was left in place. Nonetheless, the cutting of those services was a negative for the local people who lost their train, and I think in retrospect we could conclude that it was a little short-sighted.

It saddens me a little to think that in my lifetime I've seen rail service deteriorate from being able to take a passenger train to almost anywhere in Nova Scotia, to only having one passenger rail service remaining - The Ocean.

This piece also lends credence to the tracks being torn up in the early 2000s.

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Privatization

From the mid-1980s, there was increasing talk about privatizing CN. As a railway company, CN required significant capital investment on an ongoing basis. Politically, ownership by the federal government often influenced high-level appointments with at least as much respect for partisan interest as for “hands off” direction.

In Canada (as in Britain under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher), the economic recession of the 1980s led to the privatization of many national companies. In the 1980s and 1990s, over two dozen Crown corporations were sold to private investors, including Air Canada (1988) and Petro-Canada (1991). In November 1995, CN was also privatized, with many of its shares bought by American investors. According to the CN Commercialization Act of 1995, the company headquarters had to remain in Montréal, which ensured that CN would remain a Canadian corporation.

Following privatization, CN shed much of its track and staff and increased its profitability. In February 1998, it purchased US rail company Illinois Central Corporation for US$2.4 billion. The acquisition of Illinois Central expanded CN’s rail network to a third coast, the Gulf of Mexico. CN later acquired Wisconsin Central (2001), the rail and marine holdings of Great Lakes Transportation (2004), shares of BC Rail (2004), and the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway (2009).

The largest rail network in Canada, CN is also the only transcontinental rail network in North America. It transports approximately $250 billion worth of goods annually, and in 2016 earned over $12 billion in revenue. That same year, the company employed over 22,000 people in Canada and the US.
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  #1224  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2019, 8:09 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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As far as the distance of rails ripped up, it's hard to say. Perhaps someone with more knowledge/familiarity with it than I can comment.

From Google maps, it looks like roughly 6 km from the south end rail cut to the old Fairview roundhouse, then there are multiple tracks for the switching yard. Then there's roughly another 12 km from Bedford to Windsor Junction, but I'm not sure how far up the double tracks went from there.
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  #1225  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2019, 8:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
As far as the distance of rails ripped up, it's hard to say. Perhaps someone with more knowledge/familiarity with it than I can comment.

From Google maps, it looks like roughly 6 km from the south end rail cut to the old Fairview roundhouse, then there are multiple tracks for the switching yard. Then there's roughly another 12 km from Bedford to Windsor Junction, but I'm not sure how far up the double tracks went from there.
They went to Rocky Lake Drive underpass in Bedford. They started roughly where the tracks into Bedford Industrial Park are still located. The gravel base can be seen through Bedford and is used illegally by the public as a walking shortcut. Both bridges were also double tracked.
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  #1226  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2019, 9:39 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Thanks!
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  #1227  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2019, 10:25 PM
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This used to be well connected province now we struggle to keep a bus service running
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  #1228  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2019, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by OldDartmouthMark View Post
I don't understand how you arrive at that conclusion. Could you explain?

And really all I meant was that if the feds could somehow create a rule whereby public transit could be moved up on the priority scale for scheduling track time, or if funding could be provided to re-install the second set of tracks on the condition that priority for those tracks would be given to public transit. Something along those lines, so to speak.

In a worst-case scenario, the feds could provide a subsidy to CN for public transit so that the business case for giving priority to transit would be better - but that could be a slippery slope that we probably wouldn't want to get into.
Lets say every track in HRM was owned by HRM.
Lets say a company could run there but have to give way to trains operated by HRM.
Lets say they have to pay to use those tracks.

That company may not see it worth having to work around another company's schedule. They might deem it no longer profitable. That would mean that the primary financial reason for tracks still west of Montreal for that company is no longer worth it.
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  #1229  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2019, 1:12 AM
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This used to be well connected province now we struggle to keep a bus service running
Nova Scotia has never had anything approaching a public transportation strategy; has never, in fact, accepted any real leadership role in public transport. (To be sure, Nova Scotia is not alone in this.) Consider that the province has done virtually nothing beyond some limited piecemeal grant programs to grow municipal transit. (Stephen McNeil’s government was in fact the first to provide any meaningful contributions for urban transit in Halifax and Sydney.) As for supporting intercity transport, successive provincial governments have disavowed any responsibility. One might suggest that the Yarmouth-Maine ferry is an outlier but I expect most Nova Scotians would agree this service plays very little public transport role and is more about regional economic development.

(It’s relevant the ferry connection began as an integrated part of the Halifax-Digby-Yarmouth rail line to link Halifax with New England. It’s long been my view that allowing that line to be abandoned without serious intervention was a costly error.)

Consider when I was beginning my career in the mid-70s, I often had to travel around the province. Without a car, I still had multiple transport options. To travel to Yarmouth from Halifax, depending on my budget and schedule, I could choose to fly on an Air Canada DC9, take a Dominion Atlantic (Canadian Pacific) Dayliner, or choose one of a few daily bus departures on Acadian Lines via Kentville or MacKenzie Lines via Bridgewater. Today your choice is to find an unregulated van service, beg a ride or drive yourself, if you are able.

Nova Scotia, like all provinces, spends hundreds of millions every year on roads and calls this an “investment” with the understanding that asphalt wins votes. Unfortunately, with an aging population and growing acceptance of the social and environmental impact of a highway-dependent economy, the real cost of these choices is becoming more apparent every year.
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  #1230  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2019, 1:19 AM
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When it really comes down to it, if you're sharing a very limited number of tracks requiring users to reach a compromise in sharing them, the compromise may allow both to operate services that are better than none, but it's still compromised and limited service. The real solution is to have the appropriate amount of infrastructure to adequately serve all the uses desired uses.
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  #1231  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2019, 11:33 AM
terrynorthend terrynorthend is offline
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Originally Posted by TheNovaScotian View Post



This used to be well connected province now we struggle to keep a bus service running
Interesting map. The standout for me is how disconnected the Eastern Shore has always been. I wonder what drove that historically?

I know today the area suffers from lack of population, but that has a lot to do with the current poor connection to the rest of the province. How did we wind up here? It seems it would have been a natural route for travel and settlements between Halifax and Cape Breton.
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  #1232  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2019, 1:15 PM
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Keith P. Keith P. is offline
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Originally Posted by terrynorthend View Post
Interesting map. The standout for me is how disconnected the Eastern Shore has always been. I wonder what drove that historically?

I know today the area suffers from lack of population, but that has a lot to do with the current poor connection to the rest of the province. How did we wind up here? It seems it would have been a natural route for travel and settlements between Halifax and Cape Breton.
When I was a little kid in the '60s I have a vague memory of seeing a train on tracks near the Lawrencetown beach area, which have long ago become a trail. I believe it was officially abandoned around 1980 but had only been used very sporadically for a couple of decades prior.
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  #1233  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2019, 6:06 AM
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TheNovaScotian TheNovaScotian is offline
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Oddly enough

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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
When I was a little kid in the '60s I have a vague memory of seeing a train on tracks near the Lawrencetown beach area, which have long ago become a trail. I believe it was officially abandoned around 1980 but had only been used very sporadically for a couple of decades prior.
The Blueberry Express was the name of the train, I kid you not.

"Freight service continued from 1916 until 1982 and
during the busiest periods up to 14 trains made
the return-trip to Dartmouth each day.
Passenger service ran from 1915 until 1960.

The railway service received its nickname,
Blueberry Express, from the many baskets of
blueberries carried to market for sale in Halifax
and Dartmouth. Some say the name originated
because the train made so many extended stops
thus allowing passengers to get off the train and
pick the plentiful blueberries."

https://catalogue.novascotia.com/ManagedMedia/4699.pdf


On a side note I was reading something that brought this thread to mind.http://https://www.cbc.ca/news/canad...rloo-1.5198898
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  #1234  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2019, 1:12 PM
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I rode what was likely the last passenger train to travel that line. The Scotian Railroad Society ran an excursion to Musquodoboit Harbour. I think the year was 1966, but I may be off by year or two. I was just a kid at the time so don’t recall a lot of the details but I remember being excited to roll along the shore of Halifax Harbour by train. It was one of a series of excursions the group ran in cooperation with CN in the mid-to-late 60s, mostly to destinations that had lost their passenger trains like Musquodoboit, Lunenburg and Pictou but they did run one to Kentville on the DAR using old CPR heavyweight coaches. None of these trips could be completed today.
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