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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 6:33 PM
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Feds may sell part of VIA rail

Canada May Sell Part of VIA Rail, Cut Routes as Costs Rise, Documents Show

Canada may sell part of VIA Rail or cut service provided by the money-losing passenger-rail company as the government looks to pare spending, documents show.
The transport ministry is “assessing several options for future support for passenger-rail services,” including “significant reductions” in service and privatizing part of the network, according to a briefing note prepared for Transport Minister Denis Lebel, which was obtained by Bloomberg News under Canada’s freedom-of-information law.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has promised to eliminate its budget deficit by the fiscal year starting April 2015, in part by cutting operating spending by at least C$4 billion ($3.9 billion) annually.
Federal money for government-owned VIA has increased in recent years as it “regularly requires additional funding to cover operating shortfalls,” according to the documents. “Privatization and public sector partnerships in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor are being assessed,” staff say in the documents, referring to the most densely-populated sections of Quebec and Ontario, including Toronto and Montreal.
VIA had an operating loss of C$261.5 million in 2010 according to its latest annual report. Annual revenue fell 5.3 percent from 2005 to 2010 to C$274.4 million, while operating expenses rose 15 percent to C$535.9 million.

Read more here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-0...-increase.html
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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 7:40 PM
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VIA is an awful service layered on top of a horrible rail network in many parts of the country. Something needs to change for it to be useful, but more realistically it will probably be left to die. The classic way to do this is to privatize the profitable parts (bonus points for fire sale of valuable assets to business cronies) and then kill the public part because it is hemorrhaging money.

The Halifax-Montreal train takes 21 hours and costs $130 one way. Driving takes about 14 hours. The distance between the two cities is 800 km (actually a bit less than Montreal-Windsor). I would not be surprised if many third world countries had better travel times than that.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 8:16 PM
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Successive rounds of cuts, government neglect, shitty passenger rail infrastructure among a parade of problems has rendered VIA a joke.

Had they invested in high speed rail, VIA would have become a reliable way to get around (at least in eastern Canada. Rail travel in western Canada makes no sense).
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Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 8:33 PM
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The two spots a decent railway would makes sense is IMO is Hope to Vancouver, and Victoria to Campbell River on the Island.

I have always dreamed that they would modernize the Victoria to Campbell River stretch, not as true HSR but at least to a 130kmh speed, double tracked and electrified.

I don't see why the Island doesn't have that now. In fact I am organizing a transit based trip to the Island this April, and was pissed off to find out that the Victoria to Nanaimo stretch isn't working any more. Oh well, looks like our trip is skipping the mid island and all our tourist dollars will remain in Victoria (it is going to be a group of 30 people).
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Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 8:41 PM
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rail transit in canada is a joke. and it seems nobody in any level of government is willing to give it attention, even though the benefits would be significant.
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Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metro-One View Post
The two spots a decent railway would makes sense is IMO is Hope to Vancouver, and Victoria to Campbell River on the Island.

I have always dreamed that they would modernize the Victoria to Campbell River stretch, not as true HSR but at least to a 130kmh speed, double tracked and electrified.

I don't see why the Island doesn't have that now. In fact I am organizing a transit based trip to the Island this April, and was pissed off to find out that the Victoria to Nanaimo stretch isn't working any more. Oh well, looks like our trip is skipping the mid island and all our tourist dollars will remain in Victoria (it is going to be a group of 30 people).
There was a little train running until recently, but it was a bit of a joke. I think it left Vic in the morning and returned at night. I forget how far North it went. I would love to see a real service on the Island, even just to Nanaimo. For my own selfish reasons I'd like it to stop in Chemainus, too.
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Old Posted Jan 20, 2012, 10:04 PM
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  #8  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 12:09 AM
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Rail service will always be a joke because there is not sufficient demand for it in Canada. The only route that makes sense is Winsor-Quebec and the start up costs are too high probably in the $18-24 billion range. To put that in perspective that is our whole budget for National Defense. Maybe it would be best to privatize VIA like we did with CN. CN was a money losing crown corp now it's the best run rail company in North America and profitable.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 12:39 AM
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You know, I'm not sure what people expect. Outside of the T-O-M corridor, there just isn't the density. We can't compete in certain areas with much smaller, much more populated countries.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 1:16 AM
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Why can't VIA simply specialize in the areas where there is the density? Windsor-Quebec city and Edmonton-Calgary. High speed lines. As the country builds up, so can the rail network. This country really has this "can't do " attitude it's pathetic.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 1:25 AM
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Can't do attitude? Why is it that people always think that only the things they want are important. The reality is, there are markets that need the railway, and there are other markets that can support a railway. High speed rail, is, right now, our of our reach. It isn't as if most of the countries people aspire to be have been especially responsible with their money.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 1:32 AM
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Originally Posted by jmt18325 View Post
You know, I'm not sure what people expect. Outside of the T-O-M corridor, there just isn't the density. We can't compete in certain areas with much smaller, much more populated countries.
Strange that countries like Sweden and Finland have far superior railroads than ours heading into their far north, and along those corridors the population density is very comparable to most regions in Canada.

As I said, why can't Vancouver Island for example support a mid level capacity train that goes back and forth between Campbell River and Victoria several times daily?

2/3 of that route is a very agreeable landscape to build a railway upon, all the communities line up in a perfect linear sequence, in the more difficult stretches it could easily be single tracked to save money, make it an electric railway and run the trains at speeds between 100 and 150 km an hour (so no need for true HSR). Such a train would be more akin to a JR railways that accesses the rural areas of Japan.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 1:32 AM
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Canada doesn't have a can't do attitude, we just give up on things sooner. When our companies reach a certain point, we say "fuck this" and sell them to people who care enough to keep them going, or the companies go under. This happened to RIM. It got to a point where the Canadian leadership simply stopped giving a crap, stopped caring, and now it is on the brink of non-existence.

It's a bizarre culture in this country that we stop bothering to make progress when we get to a certain point, and often sell what we've accomplished to someone who in a short time makes far more money with the idea than we did. We're like a non-profit idea incubator for other nations.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 1:36 AM
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How many people would take that train through B.C.? Also compared to Europe auto travel is much cheaper because of our gas prices being much more affordable and cars are more abunduntant to the general population. Air travel is also so much cheaper than rail.Even is you built a HSR line I bet it would be far more expensive than a plane ticket.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 1:47 AM
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That rail line would not be through BC, it would be a 300km stretch along the east coast of Vancouver Island. Seeing how retirement and tourism are two huge factors on the island, i am willing to bet it would get decent use if they could get it to an average speed between 100 to 150km h and run it each direction at least 4 or 5 times a day.

As I said, i thought the crappy rail they have there now was still running, but its not, so with the tour group I am organizing this April (about 30) I am axing the one night portion to Nanaimo (we were going to see the caves and other features) simply because of shitty transit. So right there is an example of lost tourist revenue for the Nanaimo area.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 1:57 AM
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Ontario and Quebec should create their own railway and just build a HSR line. The population is in place for it. At least start between Montreal and Toronto first as the U.S HSR plan includes both cities. It's sad the Harper government has no vision, they'd rather build super jails.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 2:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Metro-One View Post
Strange that countries like Sweden and Finland have far superior railroads than ours heading into their far north, and along those corridors the population density is very comparable to most regions in Canada.
There is a different culture there, and there is a different reality in terms of transport costs. Rail just isn't a good form of travel in most of Canada.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 2:11 AM
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I understand that, hence a train from Vancouver to Calgary is a waste (except for Rocky Mountain tours) but it could work in other areas, as I have pointed out, one area an electric railway could work in BC is the 300km long east Vancouver Island stretch. Campbell River > Courtney/Comox > Parksville > Nanaimo > Ladysmith > Duncan > Victoria. those would be the stops.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 2:18 AM
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Yeah, there are actually a bunch of routes that make sense. Vancouver Island is one. Southern Ontario and Quebec can support rail service outside of Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal. There's also reasonably high population density in the Maritimes running from Halifax-Southern NB.

Part of the issue is that we're often presented with a false dilemma between some kind of high-speed rail costing tens of billions and the horrible service we have now. There are all kinds of possibilities in between, and you don't have to hit HSR-level service to provide faster trips than driving.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2012, 2:41 AM
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Isn't the train between Montreal and Toronto now faster some times a day.
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