Originally Posted by Oliver Klozov
Joe must figure that trains can go up and down steep grades. There is nowhere that CP could run a line around Calgary. The southwest is out due to the Indian reserve and the northwest is out due to hilly terrain.
I could see CP building a replacement for Alyth Yard with a new hump facility somewhere to the southeast towards Carseland. I don't see them replacing Ogden Yard this century.
Let's dust off the old 70s-era Federal plans to remove the CPR tracks from downtown and build some rail tunnels under the Nose Hill (one EB and one WB).
The Western portals would be near Bearspaw Dam Road & 85th St running under Silver Springs and heading east towards Deerfoot trail. Since you're underground youi don't need to follow the grid of streets above, but you would probably have to work around the contours of Centennial Park. The Eastern portals would be near 64th Ave / Nose Creek so it can connect to the Edmonton/Red Deer/Calgary rail line.
All the tracks between Bowness, Downtown and Inglewood would be ripped up and the land redeveloped, or turned back to parkland (aka Rails to Trails).
Hopefully the recession is over by the time this gets all approved, so selling the old CPR lands for redevelopment downtown during the next economic boom should easily pay for the cost of the tunnels.
Costs for tunneling are typically $75 M per KM; portal-to-portal distance is around 11 KM; New CP Tunnels woujld cost $825 Million (BTW: The Mount Macdonald Tunnel under Rogers Pass is 14.5 KM and cost $500 M in 1988). Add $200 M for new tracks, signals &tc in the tunnels. We're up to just over $1 Billion for new construction.
So what is the value of 54 city blocks of land (bordered by 21st St W, 6th St E, 9th Ave and 10th Ave) that is mostly made up of railway tracks and parking lots? After excluding already developed areas like Palliser Square & parkade, Gulf Canada Square & parkade, and other developed sites like the Palliser Hotel and Metro Ford, you would still have around 50 blocks to sell for $150 M each. Doing the math ...... $7.5 Billion.
OK ... some blocks are worth less than others, so we'll probably net closer to $6.0 B for all the property after the expenses of returning it to 'brownfield'. That's still more than the tunnelling costs. And a nifty profit too.
We haven't touched the land between Crowchild Tr & Bowness. Maybe the CPR would be a good corporate citizen & donate it as parkland.
And the Inglewood land? I dunno. It's a becoming a hip & trendy neighborhood, so what would you do with it?
No doubt someone in the CPR will realise they could make more money leasing the land to developers, or develop it themselves (google "Marathon Realty").