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  #11021  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 2:57 PM
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Originally Posted by swimmer_spe View Post
This is almost good news for VIA. This could be the push to bring Intercity rail along thee southern edge of Canada. Something along the lines of Toronto-Sudbury - SSM - Thunder Bay - Winnipeg - Regina - Calgary - Vancouver.

The country can use 2 cross Canada passenger lines.
Yes. A priority for VIA should be to return rail service to Regina and Calgary.
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  #11022  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 4:33 PM
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Originally Posted by 333609543 View Post
I know many of you here are averse to privatised transport, however if a company/corporation/start up wished to create a better and more efficient rail system, (3 questions)
1. Would they even be allowed to? (CN & CP might be gov't sanctioned monopolies)
2. Assuming that competition with the already existing VIA Rail exists, would they be allowed to use "Union" or Central Station corridors which are usually shared/leased?
3. Would any of you support it despite being private sector?
I don't think there's any restriction on a private company making track sharing agreements with current infrastructure owners and starting a private service. However, a big part of VIA's current issues is sharing tracks since it reduces, speed, causes delays (waiting for freight trains), and limits frequency (and they'd be even more restricted if competing for track time with VIA). So the private company would probably need to spend a huge amount on infrastructure investments and it would be tough to recoup since their prices would probably need to be a lot higher than the current highly subsidized VIA prices they'd be competing with. But I don't think many of us are against the idea of doing business with a private transportation company considering most of us have flown on private airlines, ridden in private taxis, etc.
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  #11023  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 6:32 PM
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I'm just speculating for a solution to cross-country transport or just within "The Corridor", because the government and VIA Rail are doing a terrible job. (This can also apply locally and regionally)
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  #11024  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 7:37 PM
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I think the ultimate solution to the problem of VIA and the government doing a terrible job is for them to do a better job. Mainly the government in the sense of getting serious about infrastructure investments.

But really, a lot of these issues were caused by privatization in the first place so that's the last place I'd be looking for a solution. When the government privatized the railroads, they basically handed private corporations a huge public asset in the form of the rail infrastructure. At the time this sounded fine since the government didn't anticipate having any need for it since the expectation was that the railways would continue providing both freight and passenger services, since historically passenger service as equally important as freight. The intention was for the government to not be unnecessarily involved in private industry (much in the same way it doesn't operate airlines anymore for instance).

But when passenger rail was no longer profitable due to the rise in automobile and air travel, the private railways cut the service and didn't want to be bothered, so the government was in the position of being left to operate it while not having ownership or control of the infrastructure. If the government had anticipated this, they could have made the wiser decision of privatizing just the operation of railway services but not the actual tracks themselves. If the infrastructure was still public property, we would have a situation where private fright railways would either pay to use them but not have sole control over their scheduling, or invest in building new tracks.

There could be some type of intermediary control board that would allot track time and determine the need for capacity expansion based on the overall public and economic interests rather than just the interests of the freight rail operators. This would also stem some of the issues with private railways abandoning or under-maintaining routes based on their short-sighted freight-centric interests. These issues probably affect suburban railways like GO as much as it does VIA, since GO as a public agency was forced to pay private companies to buy tracks that were given away by the government. But in VIA's case, the tracks that it needs probably aren't something the freight companies are willing to sell.

Overall, while there needs to be more investment in the railways, a lot of the passenger rail issues could be lessened if the freight railways weren't in total control. If for instance it was the freight trains forced to wait for passing passenger trains or more freight traffic was forced to operate overnight when there was little passenger activity, you could see better passenger scheduling and fewer delays. You could have frequent and reliable passenger service using smaller DMU trains (think UPE stock) rather than large locomotives. But at this point, there's simply no business case for the freight companies to voluntarily do that. They'd need to be forced.
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  #11025  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 7:44 PM
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The railways are a natural monopoly so it makes sense for them to be publicly controlled. The services that run on the railways don't have to be public but they should play by the government's rules.

This is how the highways work.

As pointed out by multiple people the original construction of the railways was also generally publicly financed and in many cases these lines were built on expropriated land.
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  #11026  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 7:48 PM
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Originally Posted by khabibulin View Post
Yes. A priority for VIA should be to return rail service to Regina and Calgary.

During the cost cutting era of Mulroney, he took aim at VIA and they decided that one of the Western routes had to go. Needless to say the priority was to keep the WPG/CGY route via Regina as it has higher ridership, connected more smaller centres, and was vastly more direct and significantly faster to Vancouver. VIA wanted this route kept with good reason.

Of course like all things VIA, the travelling public is not the priority but political gain is. Proper transportation is secondary when there is some good old fashioned vote buying to be had. Conservative support has always been weaker in Edmonton than Calgary. The Tories were afraid of losing some key Edmonton seats while in Calgary will always vote Conservative. Also the Minister of Transportation in Ottawa was Don Mazankoski who just 'happened to be an MP from...…….you guessed it......Edmonton.


Ottawa's mentality about VIA has never changed...…….transportation planning must take second place to politics.
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  #11027  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 8:21 PM
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Speculation about political motivation is a bit suspicious since it can be used to explain anything. If an action benefits a government riding you say they are playing to their base. If it benefits an opposition riding you say they are trying to maximize vote gains.

Sometimes decisions are revealed as explicitly political through communications so we don't have to speculate. Some of the VIA changes were campaign promises for example.
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  #11028  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 8:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ssiguy View Post
During the cost cutting era of Mulroney, he took aim at VIA and they decided that one of the Western routes had to go. Needless to say the priority was to keep the WPG/CGY route via Regina as it has higher ridership, connected more smaller centres, and was vastly more direct and significantly faster to Vancouver. VIA wanted this route kept with good reason.

Of course like all things VIA, the travelling public is not the priority but political gain is. Proper transportation is secondary when there is some good old fashioned vote buying to be had. Conservative support has always been weaker in Edmonton than Calgary. The Tories were afraid of losing some key Edmonton seats while in Calgary will always vote Conservative. Also the Minister of Transportation in Ottawa was Don Mazankoski who just 'happened to be an MP from...…….you guessed it......Edmonton.


Ottawa's mentality about VIA has never changed...…….transportation planning must take second place to politics.

The government sold the rights for the southern route through the mountains to a private operator, which runs a cruise like service now with only daylight travel. https://www.rockymountaineer.com/
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  #11029  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2018, 9:48 PM
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My only problem is freight/passenger track sharing. It obviously slows down passenger AND freight travel time. Only in really tight corridors/spaces should freight and passenger traffic share rails.
Another pseudo solution is to twin all the rail corridors that VIA uses.
(Both have high costs and don't completely solve the problem)
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  #11030  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2018, 7:28 AM
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I know they sold the Southern route to a private company but the issue is that VIA very much wanted to keep the Southern route. It had higher ridership, connected more small centres, went to Banff/Canmore which is a far bigger draw for tourists than Jasper, and was much more direct and faster to Vancouver. What VIA wanted was however was inconsequential as Don Mazankovski was determined to keep the rail line thru his own turf. I remember at the time it happened everyone was furious and was a huge scandal in the Mulroney government that it was going to take the Northern route because everyone knew it was due to Mazankovski himself.

It was pure politics just as today keeping these lines open that cost Canadians a small fortune to serve nearly no one is a political decision not a transportation one.
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  #11031  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2018, 5:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
When the government privatized the railroads, they basically handed private corporations a huge public asset in the form of the rail infrastructure. At the time this sounded fine since the government didn't anticipate having any need for it since the expectation was that the railways would continue providing both freight and passenger services,
Nice story, but doesn't align with the timeline: VIA was created in the '70s, CN was privatized in the "90s (and CP was always private).
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  #11032  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2018, 5:47 PM
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It was definitely awhile ago that i saw a documentary on it so some details are obviously a bit hazy. But I certainly remember the aspect of the private sector pushing to abandon passenger service and VIA being created to maintain it. It seems it was CP that discontinued much of its service and CN holding on a bit longer. But that really underscores the fact that it makes little sense to turn to the private sector as the savior for intercity rail when their best idea was to discontinue it rather than somehow make it more innovating and efficient.
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  #11033  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2018, 7:53 PM
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The problem is that railways and shippers of freight in general has become extremely competitive. Costs have had to be cut, which means less surplus track available for passenger trains and poorer maintenance. Both mean that passenger trains run slower than in the days when railways ran passenger service. Ultimately, VIA needs to own more of its own track so that it can make improvements as it deems necessary and when money is available. This is the crux of the HFR proposal in the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto corridor and to an extent in converting GO to GO RER in the GTA. Already, VIA owns substantial track in the areas around Ottawa and a further abandoned corridor in the same region. More exclusive ROW means that VIA can provide more competitive service at a competitive price while reducing subsidies at the same time. I hope that the feds and VIA can see the merits of getting private investment to make HFR a reality, which will set a precedent in improving service elsewhere in the country.
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  #11034  
Old Posted Jul 12, 2018, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by someone123 View Post
The railways are a natural monopoly so it makes sense for them to be publicly controlled. The services that run on the railways don't have to be public but they should play by the government's rules.

This is how the highways work.

As pointed out by multiple people the original construction of the railways was also generally publicly financed and in many cases these lines were built on expropriated land.
Just to clarify that jurisdiction for highways lies with the provincial governments. The federal government sprinkles funds around as they see fit from time to time.

Under Canada’s Constitution Act, the provinces and territories have exclusive jurisdiction over the building and maintenance of national highways. Local and municipal roads are under the jurisdiction of municipal governments. The federal government administers a number of federal funds to assist with road infrastructure projects, many of which are structured through bilateral cost-sharing agreements with specific provinces, territories or municipal governments for specific projects. Most of the monies for these various funds come from consolidated revenue, which is then allocated through a budgetary process. However, part of the federal gas tax revenue is earmarked for municipal infrastructure projects under the Federal Gas Tax Fund.
Provincially, the general practice is not to tie fuel taxes to highway or road infrastructure projects. In most provinces, expenditure on highway infrastructure projects is allocated under a government budget from the general revenue rather than from a particular tax source. Public-private partnerships have also been utilized to fund major road infrastructure projects.
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  #11035  
Old Posted Jul 13, 2018, 9:35 PM
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Banff couple say they've secured half of $600M needed to build Banff passenger train

Jan Waterous says a private investor has agreed to pony up roughly $300 million

Lucie Edwardson · CBC News · Posted: Jul 12, 2018


This photo of The Canadian train, equipped with new stainless steel cars, was taken at the Banff train station in 1955 by Nicholas Morant, a Banff resident who was legendary as a special photographer for Canadian Pacific. (Nicholas Morant/Town of Banff)

If you don't have the use of a car, chances are Greyhound's announcement this week might have rattled your travel plans.

The bus company announced Monday it's pulling its services out of Western Canada. But if a Banff couple's plan comes through, you may have another option for travelling between Calgary and the mountains.

Jan Waterous owns the Banff train station with her husband, and they're trying to bring back the passenger railway. She chatted with Calgary Eyeopener host David Gray about the project on Thursday.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: Please forgive me if I've heard rumour of this for years now. Describe your idea for me. What are you hoping for?

A: We're on a quest to return passenger rail between Calgary and Banff, and as you alluded to, it's a multi-part, complicated process to do so.

And one of the things that we learned very early on is that it's really not feasible to have the passenger rail train run on the existing CP Rail track. Which is really why it discontinued 26 years ago, frankly, because CP Rail, they're about the on-time service, they're really not in the passenger rail business.

And so what what we saw is our chance — you know, Calgary and Banff's chance — to get this back, is [to] actually build a rail within the CP Rail corridor. So to take 25 feet of that [corridor] between Calgary and Banff and actually build our own rail that would be designated for commuter passenger rail.

...

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calga...rail-1.4744603
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  #11036  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2018, 4:15 AM
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Blair Station, the eastern terminus of the Confederation Line, has been handed over to OC Transpo. The complete line is expected to be transferred to the City by November 2 and operational by the end of that month.

Video Link


CBC's Laura Osman also has a short video of the concourse between the bus level and the train platform.

https://twitter.com/LauraOsmanCBC/st...22667859259392
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  #11037  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2018, 5:30 AM
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I'll echo the voices calling for inter-city bus to be absorbed into Via. Transportation is most efficient as a monopoly, and monopolies belong in government. I think it would help supplement Via's rail service, and government funding could be used to prop up unprofitable routes in the north and other remote areas.

Amtrak in the US has bus service to supplement its rail, both to bring service to towns that don't have rail, and to bring additional service along a rail corridor that may not have the demand for that much more rail. Don't see why Via couldn't do the same.
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  #11038  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2018, 6:59 AM
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Because it may be possible to be profitable with smaller vehicles? That is what has happened on routes in Alberta where service ended awhile ago - Dodge Sprinters running at better hours without much in terms of fixed assets.

In many provinces services like that were illegal when Greyhound was around - their deal with provinces was a monopoly in exchange a mandate to provide comprehensive service. Greyhound would cross subsidize routes.
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  #11039  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2018, 1:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MalcolmTucker View Post
In many provinces services like that were illegal when Greyhound was around - their deal with provinces was a monopoly in exchange a mandate to provide comprehensive service. Greyhound would cross subsidize routes.
The most Canadian of solutions. Rather than attempt a free market OR accept that some things will never work in private hands, go for the worst of both worlds - pick a winner and enforce a monopoly. I'm surprised we didn't give the Canadian Northern Line to CP back in the day, it would have been a more typical solution.

An acceptable middle ground to me would be for the government to decide what routes need what level of service at what price, and to bid out the contracts. If they don't get anyone wanting to run it, potentially increase the subsidy if deemed neccesary. Just don't the give market free reign - we know full well by now that attempting that doesn't work.
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  #11040  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2018, 7:40 AM
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any toronto people willing to make a video of union station?

I don;t know if this is current, it says it was uploaded in 2018 but in the video it says construction starts in 2014?

whats the progress of this and when will it be 100% done? I don't know why I want to see it so badly but is it near completion or many years/decades away still?

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