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  #161  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 4:17 AM
lrt's friend lrt's friend is offline
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The current government, not wanting to lose votes in Quebec, might actually favour REM over VIA. Here’s my question though: Why are the heavy and light rail technologies imcompatible? Are the tracks of different widths?
No, it relates to the ability of a light train to survive a crash with a heavy train.
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  #162  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 4:23 AM
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Now I can see why it's a safety concern especially given that the tunnel's a few kilometers long. This truly is a sticky situation.
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  #163  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 4:51 AM
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Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
No, it relates to the ability of a light train to survive a crash with a heavy train.
Partly, but an equally important issue is that the REM will have very short headways through the tunnel and there won't be capacity for additional trains. Especially since mainline trains need more space between other trains since they aren't set up for the sophisticated signalling systems that allow urban trains to run at such high frequencies. In fact, an automated metro system has about the lowest possible headways of any type of system.
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  #164  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 8:04 AM
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Tough crap for VIA. VIA has had nearly half a century to get improvedéfast transit in the Corridor and instead is now slower and more unreliable than ever. Now all of a sudden that Montreal wants to make the best use of the Mount Royal tunnel, VIA is complaining.

Why should Montreal care? VIA has had endless high speed rail studies with no results so why should they believe VIA now? I don't. Good for Montreal for using the tunnel that will move vastly more people and make a real difference in the lives of Montreal commuters as opposed to underutilizing it due to VIA's incompetence.
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  #165  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 8:11 AM
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As for the Canadian, it is, under no definition of the word, a transportation route. It is strictly for tourists as no Canadians would be stupid enough to take it. It is unrealiable, painfully slow, and bloody expensive despite it's obscene subsidy.They should sell the damn thing for a song to a tourist operator and be done with it. Offering a route for a tourist trade has merits but a $400 subsidy per rider is outrageous.

Frankly, outside the Corridor there are no VIA routes that make sense and they should all be unceremoniously ditched and pour the infrastructure and operational subsidies were they will be used, The Corridor. Perhaps the Ocean could run seasonally but outside of that ditch everything and resurrect the only non-Corridor service that would be patronized............Edmonton/Calgary.

Last edited by ssiguy; Feb 13, 2019 at 9:30 PM.
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  #166  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 9:32 AM
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Heavy rail too heavy for the new Champlain bridge. The bridge is built to light rail standards.
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  #167  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 10:52 AM
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The elephant in the room here is the reality that a new tunnel is needed under Mont-Royal. It will cost billions so it is not feasible in the short term. But I believe that biting the bullet and building a Mount-Royal tunnel 2.0 is the only long term solution.

Never gonna happen though.
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  #168  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 12:04 PM
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Via has never published any detailed city-level plans for HFR (including how they want to get train service from Agincourt to downtown Toronto) so any idea that they were planning to use the Tunnel is pure speculation.

They can still move the main station to Mount Royal.
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  #169  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by SaskOttaLoo View Post
Thanks everyone for these responses. You're right that I had misinterpreted this as being the current reality (that Via passes through the tunnel, which it does not). Rather, Via doing so is an integral part of the plans for high frequency rail. Based on the two sites that I linked to, the savings for Via of going through the tunnel would be 50-60 minutes (this would use the northern route via Trois Riviere, rather than the southern route that I understand is currently being used). The alternative, once the tunnel is switched to light rail, would be to build an entirely new tunnel. In other words, it isn't going to happen. As one commentator notes (I'm paraphrasing): "VIA [will lose] access to the North Shore and a possible fast, modernized, low-freight-traffic route to Quebec City & Trois Riviere forever".

So seems like this isn't on anyone's radar at the moment?

Here's some additional relevant quotes:

"The REM proposed by the Caisse de Depot adds a giant snag to this plan. Instead of adding to the synergy of the regional rail network, the Caisse is doing its own thing and destroying regional network opportunities.

The big issue is the sharing of the Mount Royal tunnel. VIA, AMT & REM could all use the tunnel, which could provide a high-capacity trunk line through Montreal serving the whole region and cities beyond.

But the Caisse wants to privatize the tunnel and monopolize it. They insist on converting it to an incompatible technology, citing regulation and the need for frequency. But the automated light rail technology to be used by the REM and the heavy rail technology used by the other lines could be made compatible with each other and provide service at high frequency.

Some might say it’s crazy to have all these lines share a single tunnel. But consider that the REM and AMT will each only need a capacity of about 20,000 passengers per hour per direction (PPHD). Since two-track rail tunnels can accommodate 40,000 to 60,000 PPHD, it makes a lot of economic sense to have all lines share the same tunnel.

But the Caisse stubbornly refuses to consider this option, and its privatization and monopolization plan appears currently supported by all levels of government.

If the Caisse monopolizes the tunnel, the synergies between VIA and the AMT fall apart, and so will the chance for a large regional network.

...

However, despite all the obfuscation, VIA’s CEO eventually did admit that their plans included the use of the Mont-Royal tunnel to reach Quebec City, and that it would have significant time savings, “we have an edge of one hour".

...

It would be especially cynical if the reason that VIA will allow the cutting of the Quebec-Windsor corridor in half, adding two transfers for anybody travelling through Montreal, if it is done to ensure funding of the HFR project in the short term — after Desjardins-Siciliano’s big pronouncement that we should not lose “sight of the longer-term objective”.

...

How a private equity firm suddenly has so much power to make public infrastructure decisions against the long-term best interest of the public, against the warnings of expertise, how heads of big public agencies are made to make pronouncements against the interest of the people they serve – that’s the truly scary part.

We could go ahead and build a shared system. The technical and regulatory hurdles aren’t even that big. But we don’t, because we are in the process of moving decisions affecting the public for decades outside of the democratic control of our public institutions and into the control of private equity.

And we will only understand the impact of these decisions when it’s too late."
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Originally Posted by Dengler Avenue View Post
Shoot I never knew about this dark side of the REM network. What can we do then?
Savings will be instead 35 minutes instead of 50 because the trians will need to go around the mountain to get to Central Station if VIA wants to proceed with the North Shore alignment, like current Senneterre and Jonquière trains are currently doing. So yes, VIA ALREADY has access to the North Shore.

There will no be regional rail for Montréal because it is currently being replaced effectively by the REM. Operating commuter trains costs more than building, financing and operating a light metro system entirely per user/km. Hence new REM lines are currently being studied to be built in two-three years and the previous QC government wanted the Mascouche line to be converted to REM standards. Toronto chose RER, Montréal chose REM.

It's really dramatic fearmongering by railfanatics at this point. There is absolutely no issue from using the North Shore lines to Québec City to Gare Centrale. Like I mentionned VIA willingly stopped using the tunnel twenty years ago after the voltage was changed and decided to go around the mountain instead. If VIA decides to cut the train short of Central Station, it will be up to it/CN/CP and not because of the REM.
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  #170  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Rico Rommheim View Post
The elephant in the room here is the reality that a new tunnel is needed under Mont-Royal. It will cost billions so it is not feasible in the short term. But I believe that biting the bullet and building a Mount-Royal tunnel 2.0 is the only long term solution.

Never gonna happen though.
No it's not required. If exclusively for VIA, how can you justify such expense for a few thousands users a week (or even less because VIA intends to keep the Drummondville route)?

The only way I can see another tunnel built is for new REM lines, which could be needed for a Laval branch.
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  #171  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ssiguy View Post
As for the Canadian, it is, under no definition of the word, a transportation route. It is strictly for tourists as no Canadians would be stupid enough to take it. It is unrealiable, painfully slow, and bloody expensive despite it's obscene subsidy.They should sell the damn thing for a song to a tourist operator and be done with it. Offering a route for a tourist trade has merits but a $400 subsidy per rider is outrageous.

Frankly, outside the Corridor there are no VIA routes that make sense and they should all be unceremoniously ditched and poor the infrastructure and operational subsidies were they will be used, The Corridor. Perhaps the Ocean could run seasonally but outside of that ditch everything and resurrect the only non-Corridor service that would be patronized............Edmonton/Calgary.
Well I did the entire Vancouver to Toronto 5 times thank you.
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  #172  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 1:03 PM
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Well, some people are rail lovers and some are rail haters. Count me as a former rather than a latter........

I love driving my car, and primarily go on road trips when I'm on vacation, but it remains a dream of mine to make the cross country trek on train once in my life.

When I was young, I took the train quite frequently. My father worked for CNR and we didn't own a car, so intercity travel for us was always by the train.

Not all people can drive, and not all people can fly (health issues, phobias etc). With the demise of inter city bus in the west, how are these people going to travel?

Personally, I see the provision of travel options to the general public as a basic human right. We should be doing better than we are now, rather than slashing and burning every service outside the Toronto-Montreal corridor.

National and regional rail should be integrated with commuter rail and whatever regional bus services that still exist in the country. Maritime Bus here on the east coast tends to use existing VIA Rail stations as their bus terminals and, when possible, schedule arrivals and departures to coincide with the arrival of the Ocean to expedite passenger transfer. For what it's worth, Maritime Bus also includes the international airports in Halifax, Moncton and Fredericton as stops along their routes. This interconnectivity should be emulated elsewhere in the country. It works quite well, but should be integrated with a national ticketing agency where there could be one stop shopping for passengers to purchase all their rail and bus tickets at the same time.

As I've said before, we are in the end times for the internal combustion engine, and people will be travelling in radically different ways in 50 years time than they are now. I predict a resurgence in rail travel nationwide, and I predict significant electrification in the future too, at least in the corridor, but also elsewhere where practical.
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  #173  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 2:02 PM
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Originally Posted by acottawa View Post
Via has never published any detailed city-level plans for HFR (including how they want to get train service from Agincourt to downtown Toronto) so any idea that they were planning to use the Tunnel is pure speculation.

They can still move the main station to Mount Royal.
Exactly! Moving to a new station in Montreal resolves one of their perceived risks as described on pg. 13 of their 2016 – 2020 CORPORATE PLAN:
Quote:
While it owns many stations, some are leased, including the key busy hubs of Toronto Union Station and Montreal Central Station, both of which share space with local commuter train services.
...
The fact that VIA Rail does not control its access to Union or Central stations is a major business risk. Downtown to downtown service is key to intercity passenger rail success. With the explosive growth in commuter rail ridership and services, VIA Rail’s access to these main stations is threatened.
Building a new station in Montreal, that they own and thus can control access to, would be necessary to ensure they can continue to provide frequent service. Continuing to lease space in Central (and Union) Station will run the risk of them being gradually squeezed out of the station as commuter rail service grows, undoing all the benefits of HFR.

On top of that, the approach to Central Station from the west is dreadfully slow. A new station could be located where a fast approach can be had from both the eastern and the western HFR lines. VIA may continue to use Central Station for some of its regional trains, if that is more convenient, but the high frequency trains would use the new station.

Many of the articles quoted in this thread are quite old and while initial HFR plans may have involved using the tunnel, I believe that the plans have since changed.
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  #174  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 2:51 PM
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The idea that a significant amount of money and effort (HFR, HSR, TGV or whatever) could be invested by VIA in passenger rail in the most populated part of ''central Canada'' and that this would bypass Montreal, seems extremely far-fetched to me.

There is no way a solution would not be found.
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  #175  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 3:14 PM
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Glad to see you are here as well, ssiguy, my favourite Vancouverite!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssiguy View Post
As for the Canadian, it is, under no definition of the word, a transportation route. It is strictly for tourists as no Canadians would be stupid enough to take it. It is unrealiable, painfully slow, and bloody expensive despite it's obscene subsidy.
Ssiguy, how are you doing buddy? I was already thinking that a discussion about VIA does not feel the same without your unsubstantiated and ever-repeating-despite-having-been-debunked-multiple-times claims which I enjoyed so many times on Urban Toronto (where you are known as ssiguy2). I suggest you actually take the transportation services in question and talk to some passengers before you explain to us where they are coming from. I took the train myself (even before I became an employee) and quite a significant part of the tourists actually were Canadians and the same goes for the majority of Economy class travellers, as the rail service is actually a lifeline for many isolated (“remote”) communities between Capreol/Sudbury and Winnipeg, i.e. over one-third of the train’s total distance. Oh yes, and the service saves the Canadian taxpayer an operating subsidy of at the very least $12.2 million (i.e. 30% or more of The Canadian's current subsidy) which would be required for a remote Capreol-Winnipeg service if the Canadian was withdrawn...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssiguy View Post
They should sell the damn thing for a song to a tourist operator and be done with it.
From one of our last discussions on Urban Toronto:


And three months later:


Quote:
Originally Posted by ssiguy View Post
Offering a route for a tourist trade has merits but a $400 subsidy per rider is outrageous.
Just like subsidising the sale of an electric bike by $100 has a much higher economic and environmental efficiency than paying the same amount for the sale of a reusable shopping bag, comparisons of subsidy figures are meaningless unless you convert them to a measure which allows for comparability and for highly heterogeneous transportation services that’s the subsidy per passenger-kilometre, which in the case of the Canadian was $0.199 in 2017 and $0.056 in the third quarter of 2018 (i.e. the time where most tourists choose to travel). Compare this to the $0.72 which the CDPQ will receive for every passenger-kilometer travelling on the REM and is 3.6 times that 2017 figure and 13 (!) times that 2018-Q3 figure…

Furthermore, and as I’ve argued in the Ottawa sub-forum, foreign tourists are highly likely to actually generate a net revenue (as opposed to a net cost) to the taxpayer, as the fare paid is a high multiple of the direct costs their journey causes, whereas the taxes paid of a foreign tourist during his whole visit to Canada are likely to even offset the average operating costs of his journey (i.e. his “fair share” of the Canadian’s operating costs):



Quote:
Originally Posted by ssiguy View Post
Frankly, outside the Corridor there are no VIA routes that make sense and they should all be unceremoniously ditched and poor the infrastructure and operational subsidies were they will be used, The Corridor. Perhaps the Ocean could run seasonally but outside of that ditch everything and resurrect the only non-Corridor service that would be patronized............Edmonton/Calgary.
To quote one final exchange [https://urbantoronto.ca/forum/thread.../post-1178010] we had (this one is even 2 years old):


The only advantage of your repeated posting of the same unsubstantiated arguments and often incorrect claims is that I can just copy and paste what I’ve already responded to you previously. Nevertheless, your trolling wastes the time of both of us and also of those people who have read them already one of the previous times you decided to post them…
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Last edited by Urban_Sky; Feb 13, 2019 at 3:51 PM. Reason: Expanded first paragraph with reference to mandatory Capreol-Winnipeg service
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  #176  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 3:14 PM
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I do not know how there is any benefit to move VIA out of downtown Montreal or Toronto. The selling point of VIA is direct service to downtown. It is a flaw of the location of Ottawa's station even with the opening of the Confederation Line. It should not be necessary to use local commuter trains, which may be very crowded, with luggage in hand in order to reach downtown hotels and attractions.

Count me out if VIA trains go to Agincourt or Mount Royal.

In Europe, stations downtown allows maximum interconnectivity with local transit and facilitates rail travel for the most people.
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  #177  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 3:22 PM
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Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
I do not know how there is any benefit to move VIA out of downtown Montreal or Toronto. The selling point of VIA is direct service to downtown. It is a flaw of the location of Ottawa's station even with the opening of the Confederation Line. It should not be necessary to use local commuter trains, which may be very crowded, with luggage in hand in order to reach downtown hotels and attractions.

Count me out if VIA trains go to Agincourt or Mount Royal.

In Europe, stations downtown allows maximum interconnectivity with local transit and facilitates rail travel for the most people.
The benefit is a significant time savings without spending many billions on tunnels.

European train stations are not “downtown” (however you want to define that) they are somewhere in the central part of the city and people need to take further transportation once they get to the station. Mount Royal is comparable to most European central stations.
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  #178  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 3:40 PM
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Originally Posted by acottawa View Post
The benefit is a significant time savings without spending many billions on tunnels.
And with REM, a fast, frequent connection to downtown would be available.

Quote:
European train stations are not “downtown” (however you want to define that) they are somewhere in the central part of the city and people need to take further transportation once they get to the station. Mount Royal is comparable to most European central stations.
It really depends on the city, but what you are saying is often true. Certainly in a large city, it is rare for the station to be within walking distance of your final destination so a transfer is necessary. In fact, many European cities have multiple stations for intercity trains in different directions, so a transfer could mean changing stations.

In Brussels for example, the intercity and high speed trains don't stop at their Central Station, but a free transfer (with an intercity ticket) was available to take a different train from Midi Station to Central Station. It is very fast and easy to do. When I was there last summer, there was a rail strike and they were apologizing because the trains were only every 15 minutes as a result. No issues of overcrowding though.

Last edited by roger1818; Feb 13, 2019 at 3:46 PM. Reason: Added example
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  #179  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 3:56 PM
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Every method of transportation has its optimal zone of efficiency with respect to passengers carried vs. time vs. total cost (incl. fuel use).

A train tends to work best with high passenger loads (ipso facto: large population centres) between semi-distant urban centres (say, 200-800km apart). Trains are heavy, so stopping and starting require lots of fuel and having few passengers means the cost per passenger balloons.

An intercity coach works best between smaller centres or between a smaller centre and a larger one. It is much more flexible with respect to routing too.

I'd say the lack of a unified transportation network is the biggest problem. Within a province or region it tends not to be too bad (though not good), but between regions is a pain.

VIA's problem is that its mandate is stuck on trains. When all you're given is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

VIA needs to be more diverse, in both method of transportation and the ability to coordinate with other public entities and private sector operations.

If someone from Halifax could take Maritime Bus to Quebec City and then connect to VIA rail from there to Toronto seamlessly, it might be a more viable option than an airplane or car.
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  #180  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2019, 4:03 PM
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VIA moving out of downtown would be very, very, very, very, very, very stupid and shortsighted. And stupid.
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