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  #81  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 6:22 PM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
GO is every bit the equal of Stockholm's SL service, albeit with lower frequencies. The service, rolling stock, and consistency of product is competitive with metro Stockholm, and in many ways superior to its equivalent in metro Copenhagen.

So using GO as a model could be good. There is no need to talk about "oh but that's Europe" when our largest commuter rail system is absolutely up to par.
The difference is that you're comparing metros of 1.5 million and 2.5 million to a metro of 7 million (extended metro of nearly 10 million). With that in mind, that's sad.
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  #82  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 6:35 PM
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Yeah, anyone familiar with rail in Europe would view GO's clunky monsters, not even running in both directions all day as a complete joke. I know it's improving, but by the time GO is finished the current plan to upgrade in God knows how long, it will still be equivalent to just OK service in Europe.

Same goes for VIA, but more so. Let's not give Canada more credit than it is due, passenger rail here is diabolical.
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  #83  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 7:19 PM
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Diabolical isn't the right word. Atrocious might be better? Appalling, dreadful, abysmal... etc.
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  #84  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 7:23 PM
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The two busiest routes which combined account for over half the system's ridership are indeed running two way all day. But yes the improvements will just be making a system that's "acceptable" by European standards. But we're in NA and it will be excellent NA standards, so that's something.
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  #85  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 7:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Chadillaccc View Post
Diabolical isn't the right word. Atrocious might be better? Appalling, dreadful, abysmal... etc.
I think it's fine, but any of those words would be fine too.
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  #86  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 8:35 PM
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Yes, CN & CP make good and reliable passenger rail very difficult but the primary problem of VIA remains...........it's a political entity and hence it's priorities and funding are politically motivated.

VIA's would be a far superior service if Ottawa decided to funnel it's resources to the Corridor and not running lines to Churchill or Prince Rupert. Seriously, the ONLY place in Western Canada that can support a good rail service is the one place that doesn't have it, the Calgary/Edmonton corridor.

As far as I'm concerned they should completely dump all routes outside the Corridor and reintroduce it on the Call/Edm one. No one takes the train in the West or few in AC so why is it still running. Hell, if Greyhound can't even make a go of it in the West how the hell do they expect VIA to? If there can be shown that some routes are viable during the summer months then pehaps that is an option but as a rule, if you don't live between Quebec City & Windsor, your service should end.
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  #87  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 8:58 PM
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I know someone mentioned they'll never be nationalized (we'll see about that ) but the land the tracks ran on we're literally given to these companies... they should absolutely be taken back
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  #88  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 9:18 PM
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I know someone mentioned they'll never be nationalized (we'll see about that ) but the land the tracks ran on we're literally given to these companies... they should absolutely be taken back
Let's assume you do that... something still has to give. Either freight trains slow down dramatically or come off entirely, resulting in much more truck traffic on the roads. So yay we've reduced cars going between Toronto and Montreal, but whoops now there's a whole lot more trucks. What have you gained in the process?

At the end of the day what is needed to improve rail is money. Who actually owns the tracks is not all that important here.
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  #89  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 9:32 PM
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If a government body (not VIA or another operator) owned and maintained important track, then it could charge for access and pay for maintenance and upgrades. If done right, this would result in a better deal for everyone, it would be a lot easier to justify paying for upgrades if it didn't just end up with the public getting shafted like when we try and pay for upgrades on CN or CP's lines.
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  #90  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 9:43 PM
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Originally Posted by esquire View Post
Let's assume you do that... something still has to give. Either freight trains slow down dramatically or come off entirely, resulting in much more truck traffic on the roads. So yay we've reduced cars going between Toronto and Montreal, but whoops now there's a whole lot more trucks. What have you gained in the process?

At the end of the day what is needed to improve rail is money. Who actually owns the tracks is not all that important here.
Yes, if the issue really genuinely is about being maxed out on capacity. But unless it's actually forced, a private corporation will also refuse to accept any - even minor - inconvenience that it could easily bear because it's in control and it has no business reason to do so. Just like the're not going to voluntarily give the government any of its profits, but if forced to pay a tax increase or a fine etc. it may not affect them that much. We'd really need to know which situation we're in to say whether or not government intervention would be useful.
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Last edited by Nouvellecosse; Nov 26, 2019 at 11:39 PM.
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  #91  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 10:30 PM
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It can't all be blamed on lack of funding either. Even when the public body pays to upgrade a line, they have to do it on CN or CP's terms and they are all but guaranteed to be turds. It's hard not to be convinced they go out of their way to make life as difficult as possible for the public operator.

Ontario auditor accuses CN Rail, CP Rail of overcharging transit agency
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  #92  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2019, 12:38 AM
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No it isn't. The schedules are at irregular intervals and speeds are barely competitive with driving. But most importantly, reliability is atrocious. Via's market share on the Corridor routes is very low compared to most similar regions. The HFR plan is designed to address these problems, dramatically so in the case of on time performance.

I get that other parts of the country have effectively no rail service at all, but that doesn't mean that further investments in the Corridor aren't worth supporting. If HFR is successful that makes investments in the rest of the country more likely.
Theres a train from Toronto to Ottawa every hour 5 days a week. Up to 10 trains a day between the two pairs. 6 trains a day between Toronto and Montreal. You can be from downtown Toronto into Ottawa in 4:15 minutes. Impossible to do driving.
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  #93  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2019, 12:40 AM
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Forcing trains to be shorter would increase train starts which in turn increases locomotive needs, fuel expenses and labour costs. The problem is that the railways think they can keep the same network fluidity with fewer train starts and decreasing track capacity. Add increasing volumes to that and you have a real mess with clogged mainlines and yards.

in the 1980's CN gradually expanded all sidings across northern
Ontario to 125 car train capacity. Some sidings have been expanded but others have been ripped out to save maintenance costs resulting in sidings being further apart. There needs to be some regulation concerning ripping out sidings or double track. The double track CP mainline from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay is now a series of extended sidings.
You need the same amount of locomotives to haul the same tonnage regardless of train length. The only costs that increase are crew costs.
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  #94  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2019, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
Interesting fragment:

https://lop.parl.ca/sites/PublicWebs...ations/201555E

"In 1945, Canadian railways carried 55.4 million passengers, accounting for about 20% of railway revenues."

The population of Canada in 1945 was 12 million.

Sweden's population is currently 10 million and Swedish passenger rail carries 256 million per year.

Given that Canadian passenger rail currently carries about 4.4 million passengers/year, the depth of the underperformance compared to Sweden, the most comparable European country, and historical Canada is clear: 58x and 11x.

Looking at the 2018 annual reports of VIA and SJ was a little weird, as a lot of the numbers were far more on par than the actual performance of the companies would imply; I assume the difference has to do with much greater federal involvement in passenger rail as a whole on the infrastructural level, beyond the main public operator.

Still, a few issues did emerge. VIA, for instance, is currently punctual on 75% of corridor services while SJ is punctual on 95%. Clearly, 75% is so low as to preclude effective use for commercial travelers.

In many senses, though, the two reports were more similar than different despite one being for a well-performing and essential piece of national infrastructure and one being for a red-headed stepchild eking out a precarious existence on the margins of life. One thing both firms emphasized was the environment and climate, which is a solid angle in this age of Greta frowning at planes.

Could our new Liberal government and its extreme climate focus spell opportunity for sad-sack VIA? I doubt it, because that would be bold and visionary rather than timid and next-to-useless, but one can hope.

The more that I look into this, though, the more I am convinced that Ottawa just doesn't have a passenger rail strategy at all.

It's a little sad given our history.

Edit: I am increasingly doubtful regarding the Wikipedia number of 256 million pass./year for Sweden. SJ reported 32 million/year in 2018 and 33% market share; this would imply a total around 96 million/year, or about 22x Canada, not 58x
You are only counting Via Rails passenger numbers.
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  #95  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2019, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by esquire View Post
Let's assume you do that... something still has to give. Either freight trains slow down dramatically or come off entirely, resulting in much more truck traffic on the roads. So yay we've reduced cars going between Toronto and Montreal, but whoops now there's a whole lot more trucks. What have you gained in the process?

At the end of the day what is needed to improve rail is money. Who actually owns the tracks is not all that important here.
Thinking outside of the box, but could we not take a series of grid roads currently in place and use them as the road bed for dedicated passenger rail on the prairies?
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  #96  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2019, 12:51 AM
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I suspect that if you approached CN or CP, they would probably tell you that they own their tracks and they need them to operate their business, i.e. freight trains. They'd probably also be happy to accept government funding to build parallel tracks and operate passenger trains.

Which brings me to my point: this is really about governments breaking down and paying for additional capacity. CN and CP can accomplish the task of taking government money to lay down rails and run trains just fine on their own, you don't need to nationalize them. And without that additional capacity it's meaningless... what's the point of taking X number of cars off the road on the Toronto-Ottawa route when you just replace them with the same number of trucks hauling freight?
The federal government has already happily provided CN nearly a billion dollars to add a third track on portions of the Kingston Sub. Mallorytown to Leeds, Napanee to Belleville and Grafton to Cobourg.
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  #97  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2019, 1:34 AM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
Does this all come down to the track ownership issue? It seems like a real possibility.
When we look around the world at passenger rail, the ones that seem to be successful is owned publicly. Of course, the best ones have dedicated rail for passenger, but even the ones that are shared with freight, still have good passenger rail service.

The federal government should own the rails, just like the government(s) own the roads. They should contract freight operations out to a company, and they could also be responsible for maintenance of the rails too. We could have it such that the only thing changing before and after are the owners of the rail.

As far as cutting back service, that is not any smarter than closing quieter highways. I am not suggesting everywhere with rail should have passenger service. However, the major cities in all provinces should have daily passenger service in and out.
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  #98  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2019, 1:47 AM
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Originally Posted by swimmer_spe View Post
When we look around the world at passenger rail, the ones that seem to be successful is owned publicly. Of course, the best ones have dedicated rail for passenger, but even the ones that are shared with freight, still have good passenger rail service.

The federal government should own the rails, just like the government(s) own the roads. They should contract freight operations out to a company, and they could also be responsible for maintenance of the rails too. We could have it such that the only thing changing before and after are the owners of the rail.

As far as cutting back service, that is not any smarter than closing quieter highways. I am not suggesting everywhere with rail should have passenger service. However, the major cities in all provinces should have daily passenger service in and out.
I, of course, agree completely. It would actually benefit everybody. In areas with multiple now redundant rail lines, they could be repurposed for greater efficiencies, and where only one rail line exists, then actual competition could happen. Right now, if you have a building with a rail spur, then that rail company is the only one you can do business with.
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  #99  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2019, 3:01 AM
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You need the same amount of locomotives to haul the same tonnage regardless of train length. The only costs that increase are crew costs.
You are correct in theory but not in practice. With the horsepower of todays's locomotives you would not be able to keep the horsepower per trailing ton the same since the higher horsepower units are not exactly divisible to provide the same horsepower per trailing ton.
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  #100  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2019, 3:08 AM
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The federal government has already happily provided CN nearly a billion dollars to add a third track on portions of the Kingston Sub. Mallorytown to Leeds, Napanee to Belleville and Grafton to Cobourg.
The government may have happily provided he money for expansion but I don't know if the government is happy with the results. The 3rd track was to improve Via's speeds but Via's trains are no faster in spite of the 900 $million investment.
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