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  #61  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 2:05 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
There's a host of other problems that have been touched upon in this thread, but in terms of reliability, that's most of it. Part of the reason GO has become an increasingly decent commuter rail system is the Metrolinx strategy of purchasing trackage in corridors whenever possible. It's a long and frustrating process, unfortunately. They were smart to do most of it behind the scenes because it can take some time before seeing tangible returns. IIRC they currently own about 70% of the GO network, though some unfortunate gaps remain.

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.
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  #62  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 2:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jawagord View Post
Other than Canada and Sweden are both countries with trains what else is comparable? Sweden is tiny geographically compared to Canada. Distance and travel time are big determinants on whether passenger trains are successful versus planes and cars. In Canada our train system is most effective as a freight moving system not a people moving system. This isn’t going to change by throwing more money at Via. Much smarter to fund high volume intra-city passenger train service like LRT and metro heavy rail.

https://www.mylifeelsewhere.com/coun.../canada/sweden
Canada as a whole isn't similar, but if you compare the Toronto - Montreal area, or Calgary - Edmonton, the comparison becomes far more relevant. There is little reason Sweden can have good passenger rail, but Toronto and Montreal can't.
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  #63  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 2:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jawagord View Post
Other than Canada and Sweden are both countries with trains what else is comparable? Sweden is tiny geographically compared to Canada. Distance and travel time are big determinants on whether passenger trains are successful versus planes and cars. In Canada our train system is most effective as a freight moving system not a people moving system. This isn’t going to change by throwing more money at Via. Much smarter to fund high volume intra-city passenger train service like LRT and metro heavy rail.

https://www.mylifeelsewhere.com/coun.../canada/sweden

Canada is large compared to Sweden but nobody was discussing a system in which the whole of the country was blanketed with Swedish-style service. I cited three corridors, with Quebec-Windsor as the first and most important.

Once you zoom in to the actual population belts, the total national land area becomes less important.

Sweden is a reasonable peer country for Canada due to a shared history of social democracy, a cold climate, large landmasses relative to population, and similar GDP per capita, Gini and quality of life.
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  #64  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 2:13 PM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post

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

.
Imagine just Quebec, with a similar population (and not that different population distribution) to Sweden, with over 250 million rail passengers a year!
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  #65  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 2:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
Imagine just Quebec, with a similar population (and not that different population distribution) to Sweden, with over 250 million rail passengers a year!
Just edited that one as I am suspicious of its accuracy.

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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
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
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  #66  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 2:21 PM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
Just edited that one as I am suspicious of its accuracy.
Still huge though, compared to us.
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  #67  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 2:40 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.
Isn't the Stockholm commuter rail electrified? Given that electrification represents billions of dollars in infrastructure, permitting quieter, clearer, faster, and more efficient operation isn't it a bit of a stretch to call them equal?
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  #68  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 2:41 PM
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Apparently GO Transit rail carries 50 million a year, and the subway 400 million. So Sweden, a country that actually gives a shit about passenger rail, carrying 250 million on its passenger railways doesn't seem unrealistic.
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  #69  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 2:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
Isn't the Stockholm commuter rail electrified? Given that electrification represents billions of dollars in infrastructure, permitting quieter, clearer, faster, and more efficient operation isn't it a bit of a stretch to call them equal?
Good point. I was really going on a "memories of going to Oakville four times and my wife not making fun of the train" vs. Stockholm commuting basis.

And GO totally held up its end, but... I missed some stuff.
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  #70  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 2:58 PM
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Stockholm commuter rail sees 319,000 passengers/day while the subway sees 353 million/year.

Once we get into urban transit, Canada really steps up its game in the big cities. Stockholm is no slouch with only 2.2 million in its metropolitan area, but Canada knows how to do city transport as well as anyone. It just sort of falls apart past the edge of town.
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  #71  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 2:58 PM
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Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
Apparently GO Transit rail carries 50 million a year, and the subway 400 million. So Sweden, a country that actually gives a shit about passenger rail, carrying 250 million on its passenger railways doesn't seem unrealistic.
The Stockholm metro alone has ridership over 350 million. Urban rail generally has a much higher number of riders traveling much shorter distances than intercity rail with suburban being somewhere in the middle. The three can't really be compared to one another in terms of ridership.
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  #72  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 3:08 PM
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Right, but just look at GO transit. That's a system that's clearly held back in potential, and it's still carrying 50M a year. Exo carries another 20M apparently. It's not outlandish that Sweden's rail could be carrying 250M.
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  #73  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 4:46 PM
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I'm not sure that decentralizing it will fix things as it is lack of proper infrastructure that is really the problem here. As long as the lines are choked with mile long freight trains lumbering along at 90 km/h, I don't know how you can really hope to correct the situation.
CN is a big problem too. In Halifax the municipality wanted to do commuter rail (along a route that was built by the public long ago before being privatized through a series of short-sighted blunders). All of the meetings had to be in camera, and the councillors couldn't really discuss anything publicly, but they suggested that CN was completely inflexible about schedules and their fee structure. CN is a publicly traded company and the biggest shareholder is Bill Gates. The stock's done great over the last couple decades, so at least Canadian taxpayers have contributed to something by selling off their infrastructure!

I think the railways themselves should be publicly run because they are a natural monopoly. The users could be private or public, and should bid on track time and priorities. All of the bidding and scheduling should be public information.
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  #74  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 5:00 PM
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I think the railways themselves should be publicly run because they are a natural monopoly. The users could be private or public, and should bid on track time and priorities. All of the bidding and scheduling should be public information.
Or at least the stretches of railway that are of public interest such as in/around metro areas or major routes between them. I agree with esquire in that we need an overall capacity increase if we're to accommodate both passenger and freight in an efficient manner and that having both is in the public interest even if one is technically private. If there case where private business is simply being obstinate and not making any attempt to accommodate public use because they have no business incentive to do it, then creating policy that compels them is warranted. But I suspect that cases such as the Corridor simply require investment in greater infrastructure quality/capacity. I mean, how much have the railroads really been upgraded over the decades in conjunction with the country's growth in population and economy?
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  #75  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 5:02 PM
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^ It would be nice, but let's face it, nationalization of the existing railways isn't going to happen. Any solutions will have to be within those constraints. In a place like HRM that might mean building a parallel railway track for commuter rail which, IIRC, has already been explored in some depth there.

It's really all just bandaids until the feds step up to the plate to build an exclusive passenger only track between the principal corridor cities in Ontario/Quebec and I suppose Alberta, but we are far from the point where that is really enough of a necessity to justify the massive capital costs.
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  #76  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 5:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
Or at least the stretches of railway that are of public interest such as in/around metro areas or major routes between them. I agree with esquire in that we need an overall capacity increase if we're to accommodate both passenger and freight in an efficient manner and that having both is in the public interest even if one is technically private. If there case where private business is simply being obstinate and not making any attempt to accommodate public use because they have no business incentive to do it, then creating policy that compels them is warranted. But I suspect that cases such as the Corridor simply require investment in greater infrastructure quality/capacity. I mean, how much have the railroads really been upgraded over the decades in conjunction with the country's growth in population and economy?
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?
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  #77  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 5:10 PM
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Here is a posting from Trains.com forum showing the amount of double tracking that is between Vancouver and Winnipeg, which is the most heavily used freight line in Canada upon which neither freight trains nor passenger trains can keep their schedules. While CN did a lot of double tracking as per the note below in 2019, it will be interesting to see how much if any they will do in 2020 with the current decline in freight volumes. There is basically no double tracking in Ontario between Toronto and Winnipeg execpt for the section between Sudbury and Parry Sound (approximately) where directional sharing of lines by CN and CP takes place. Even with that the westbound Canadian is usually late by the time it gets to Sudbury and never makes up the time after that. Clearly we need more investment, possibly with the help of tax credits to help keep the expansion going for the sake of the economy and the impact of climate change.

Notes in black type are added to the posting for clarification.

Trains.com forum Posted by ADRIAN BALLAM on Saturday, April 27, 2019 4:17 PM
If you looked at the amount of CN's subdivisions that are double-tracked between Vancouver (Surrey's Thornton Yard) and Winnipeg, including sections of double-track along with all sidings, it is currently less than 50% (737.18 miles out of 1,541.20 miles). Here is the breakdown based on what I had calculated:

Yale Sub: 90.7% (includes directional running with CP) (Vancouver, BC - Boston Bar, BC)

Ashcroft Sub: 68.4% (includes directional running with CP) (Boston Bar, BC - Kamloops, BC)

Clearwater Sub: 38.9% (Kamloops,BC - Blue River, BC)

Albreda Sub: 61.3% (includes portion that is Red Pass Sub since line is for westbound traffic north of Valemont) (Blue River, BC - Jasper, AB)

Edson Sub: 50.8% (will increase to over 58% by end of year due to double-tracking projects) ( Jasper, AB - Edmonton, AB)

Wainwright Sub: 30.0% (will increase to over 32% due to additional double-track) ( Edmonton, AB - Biggar, SK)

Watrous: 33.4% (will increase to over 43% due to additional double-track) (Biggar, SK - Melville, SK)

Rivers: 46.0% (will increase to over 50% due to additional double-track) (Melville,SK - Winnipeg, MB)

Considering traffic is excess of 100 million tons per year between the points and growing substantially due to Prince Rupert, 47.8% of the lines being double-tracked is not very much. It's surprising that it took a while to make the Edson Sub more than 50% double-track considering that is CN's busiest mainline of them all.
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  #78  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 5:17 PM
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^ Fun fact, a little over 100 years ago, CP double tracked the entire Winnipeg-Thunder Bay route. This was in the heyday of grain shipping at the Lakehead. It was the only long stretch of double track outside of an urban area in Canada at the time.

It was replaced with single track (not sure exactly when, possibly in the 60s or 70s?) on the basis that Centralized Traffic Control would allow for sufficiently efficient use of a single track line without the expense of running two separate lines.
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  #79  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 5:36 PM
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It's a shame that Canada allowed itself to become one of the few countries in the world where the vast majority of the rail system is privately owned and where private companies call the shots. But that reality isn't going to change. GO Transit and Via Rail have realized this and are now operating on the assumption that they have to own and control any corridor that's going to see competitive and reliable rail service. Between GO undertaking a massive expansion on the lines they now own and Via's HFR, we're effectively building a publicly owned passenger rail system from scratch. Add to that the rapid transit expansions in Montreal and smaller cities throughout the Corridor, and we're working towards a rail system that, at least in this part of the country, can hold its own with the likes of Sweden.

If that happens, similar investments on a smaller scale in other parts of the country will be more likely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jawagord View Post
Other than Canada and Sweden are both countries with trains what else is comparable? Sweden is tiny geographically compared to Canada. Distance and travel time are big determinants on whether passenger trains are successful versus planes and cars. In Canada our train system is most effective as a freight moving system not a people moving system. This isn’t going to change by throwing more money at Via. Much smarter to fund high volume intra-city passenger train service like LRT and metro heavy rail.

https://www.mylifeelsewhere.com/coun.../canada/sweden
Others have responded to this but it's worth repeating: Sweden is not tiny geographically compared to the Windsor-Quebec Corridor. Even the most populated southern part of Sweden has about half the population density of the Corridor. Canadians have this counterproductive self image that we're uniquely spread out when the reality is that most of us are concentrated into a few relatively densely populated regions.
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  #80  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2019, 5:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Mister F View Post
It's a shame that Canada allowed itself to become one of the few countries in the world where the vast majority of the rail system is privately owned and where private companies call the shots. But that reality isn't going to change. GO Transit and Via Rail have realized this and are now operating on the assumption that they have to own and control any corridor that's going to see competitive and reliable rail service.
But again, it wasn't any different when the biggest railway was government-owned. The issue then, as now, is lack of public willingness to invest in passenger rail.
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