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The freight rail versus passenger rail conversation is the most interesting to me... It's almost like the bus/transit versus private vehicle conversation. If passenger rail is inefficient it will be cool to start but will not sustain, there needs to be a shift to make mass people movement more important in general.
 
The freight rail versus passenger rail conversation is the most interesting to me... It's almost like the bus/transit versus private vehicle conversation. If passenger rail is inefficient it will be cool to start but will not sustain, there needs to be a shift to make mass people movement more important in general.
While I support passenger rail I think this isn't the correct framing. Good movement is also incredibly important and is beneficial to everyone versus private cars are convenient for 1 user but have negative externalities. Freight also provide a huge subsidy. It's unlikely we'll have the level of ridership that can support dedicated lines, outside of maybe Calgary-Edmonton. Having freight makes tickets more affordable.
 
This is extremely ambitious, especially for a government that I don't see as being pro-train or even pro-transit. Credit where it's due for such an ambitious plan. Here's hoping that they allocate the necessary funds forward to actually get construction moving in the coming years rather than just kicking a few million towards "studies". As this is a 15-20 year project, it gives them lots of time to plan and allocate capital spending towards various aspects of the plan, and hopefully make some deals to get some federal funding as well.
 
Regional rail in Calgary feels more pro-suburb than pro-transit for me. A train to Cochrane sounds nice until you consider that it's 1/40 the size of our city. It's about the combined size of Taradale and Saddleridge. And unlike those places it has near 100% car ownership, and not everyone works in or has any reason to be in Calgary regularly. A single stop C-train extension in any direction would capture more riders.

A GO Train expansion outside the borders of Toronto, this isn't.

That said, I do think a train to Banff (or maybe Lake Louise) is a good idea, and a train to Edmonton is a good idea, and we might as well have a provision for stopping along the way in places like Canmore and Cochrane (and maybe even Bowness) to the west, and Airdrie and the airport to the north.
 
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I agree that a train to Cochrane seems unnecessary but I think a north-south commuter line linking as far north as Airdrie or possibly even Crossfield, and as far south as High River or even Nanton seems to make sense to me. Airdrie alone will be over 100,000 in a few years. Perhaps it could be a "non-express" train with more frequent stops running to some of the bedroom communities along the Calgary-Edmonton line. Regardless, I see it as not unlike the regional rail that links Salt Lake City with other cities along the Wasatch Front.

I do believe that this plan will move us away from having the LRT serve as both a light metro and commuter train. Calgary is at a population now where it makes sense to differentiate between our urban metro system (ie the CTrain) and a commuter system that links bedroom communities to the city centre. A lot of people come in from Airdrie, Cochrane or Okotoks and catch the train into downtown at the end of the line...our LRT is heavily used and separating out commuter trains would free up more space on the trains. It's time...Albuquerque is half Calgary's population and has had commuter rail for 18 years.
 
I agree that a train to Cochrane seems unnecessary but I think a north-south commuter line linking as far north as Airdrie or possibly even Crossfield, and as far south as High River or even Nanton seems to make sense to me. Airdrie alone will be over 100,000 in a few years. Perhaps it could be a "non-express" train with more frequent stops running to some of the bedroom communities along the Calgary-Edmonton line. Regardless, I see it as not unlike the regional rail that links Salt Lake City with other cities along the Wasatch Front.

I do believe that this plan will move us away from having the LRT serve as both a light metro and commuter train. Calgary is at a population now where it makes sense to differentiate between our urban metro system (ie the CTrain) and a commuter system that links bedroom communities to the city centre. A lot of people come in from Airdrie, Cochrane or Okotoks and catch the train into downtown at the end of the line...our LRT is heavily used and separating out commuter trains would free up more space on the trains. It's time...Albuquerque is half Calgary's population and has had commuter rail for 18 years.

Commuter rail in the style of GO train, i.e. a few trains at rush hour from bedroom communities to downtown, is designed for commuting patterns that are far less common than in the past. In a world of hybrid work, it's probably going to have 1/3 the ridership that it would have 10 years ago. This type of pure commuter rail service should be pretty low down the priority list. However, it would be very low cost to add Airdrie as a stop on certain Calgary-Edmonton trains, and Cochrane as a stop on certain Calgary-Banff trains, so why not.

Overall, I can see the logic of how these various projects are connected, and a Province-wide scoping study is a reasonable thing to do from time to time. But it looks suspiciously like an excuse to invest almost nothing in the near term. If there were at least one material funding commitment now, while we dream about the future, it would be a lot more convincing.
 
Regional rail in Calgary feels more pro-suburb than pro-transit for me. A train to Cochrane sounds nice until you consider that it's 1/40 the size of our city. It's about the combined size of Taradale and Saddleridge. And unlike those places it has near 100% car ownership, and not everyone works in or has any reason to be in Calgary regularly. A single stop C-train extension in any direction would capture more riders.

A GO Train expansion outside the borders of Toronto, this isn't.

That said, I do think a train to Banff (or maybe Lake Louise) is a good idea, and a train to Edmonton is a good idea, and we might as well have a provision for stopping along the way in places like Canmore and Cochrane (and maybe even Bowness) to the west, and Airdrie and the airport to the north.
I like that this proposal is actually trying to do something that a province should become good at - intermunicipal, public transit. That's a big win. I was surprised that they even mentioned highways expansion being not preferred in some cases - not on my UCP bingo card, considering how much highway expansion they have doubled-down on.

The proposal seems a weird level of detail to me - it's more ambitious and detailed that I was expecting, such as a few ideas around phasing and the proposal to configure a provincial crown corporation to coordinate stuff. This shows a bit of thought and a bit of detail worked through already (as long as you ignored the passing references by the minister of fantasy tech like hydrogen trains and hyperloops).

At the same time, it's really just an announcement and lacks any real details - promises without any action in the near or even mid-term. The timing can't be overlooked here - it's only be about 72 hours after the most dramatic change to provincial-municipal legislation in a generation with Bill 20 (giving cabinet the sole ability to remove a municipal official or repeal bylaw).

So I am optimistic here, some of what was proposed seems logical and thought out next steps. But let's not get ahead of ourselves yet - it's yet just a call for another study, hopefully a robust one, but nothing changes yet.
 
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I do believe that this plan will move us away from having the LRT serve as both a light metro and commuter train. Calgary is at a population now where it makes sense to differentiate between our urban metro system (ie the CTrain) and a commuter system that links bedroom communities to the city centre. A lot of people come in from Airdrie, Cochrane or Okotoks and catch the train into downtown at the end of the line...our LRT is heavily used and separating out commuter trains would free up more space on the trains. It's time...Albuquerque is half Calgary's population and has had commuter rail for 18 years.
To be fair commuter rail is more common in the smaller US cities because they are so spread out with very little density, so it's not just a population number driven decision. They have no rail rapid transit and one line of commuter service, I'd hardly say that's comparable.

I guess one question is how do we adapt the ctrain to be a non-commuter service. So many ctrain stations are at highway medians, which isn't a great inner city transit option. Curious if anyone knows any city that has successfully converted their commuter style LRT into an urban transit system.
 
To be fair commuter rail is more common in the smaller US cities because they are so spread out with very little density, so it's not just a population number driven decision. They have no rail rapid transit and one line of commuter service, I'd hardly say that's comparable.

I guess one question is how do we adapt the ctrain to be a non-commuter service. So many ctrain stations are at highway medians, which isn't a great inner city transit option. Curious if anyone knows any city that has successfully converted their commuter style LRT into an urban transit system.
Salt Lake City is an example where they have 3 LRT lines as well as regional commuter rail, with a metro population (depending on how you measure it) either a bit smaller or a bit bigger than Calgary's. I'd argue that case is pretty comparable, and that it's time for Calgary to start separating out commuter rail from the LRT.
 
Salt Lake City is an example where they have 3 LRT lines as well as regional commuter rail, with a metro population (depending on how you measure it) either a bit smaller or a bit bigger than Calgary's. I'd argue that case is pretty comparable, and that it's time for Calgary to start separating out commuter rail from the LRT.
It’s funny to hear Salt Lake brought up, I have family there and visited a few times. They’re definitely a transit outlier in the US. Although their LRT might look extensive, the lines overlap pretty extensively.

The population distribution between SLC/Provo/Ogden is also more even than say Calgary and Airdrie or Okotoks. Provo area itself has 600k+ people. If Airdrie has a population 6x of RedDeer, there should definitely be commuter rail. Maybe it’ll get there in 20 years when this is supposed to come to fruition.
 
If Airdrie has a population 6x of RedDeer, there should definitely be commuter rail. Maybe it’ll get there in 20 years when this is supposed to come to fruition.
I think the more likely outcome is Japanese style commuter HSR. In the west we generally conceptualize HSR in relation to air travel, but there is a second revenue maximization point where you maximize use of the expensive thing, the tracks, by running very frequent service.

If you weave together the narrative of 'Red Deer 1 million' with the rail announcement, you can end up in a very different place service plan wise.
 
I think the more likely outcome is Japanese style commuter HSR. In the west we generally conceptualize HSR in relation to air travel, but there is a second revenue maximization point where you maximize use of the expensive thing, the tracks, by running very frequent service.

If you weave together the narrative of 'Red Deer 1 million' with the rail announcement, you can end up in a very different place service plan wise.
Your comment got me thinking, how much of the land/ROW does the Alberta government own alongside Highway 2? From what I understand, California HSR has ballooned in costs and timeline partially due to land acquisition. From some other posts, I've seen the province generally does a good job reserving ROW for future highway expansion. If the province already owns a decent amount of the land, and it's a pretty straight route (HSR don't do well with turns), that'd probably help significantly for the Calgary-Red Deer-Edmonton HSR
 
Your comment got me thinking, how much of the land/ROW does the Alberta government own alongside Highway 2? From what I understand, California HSR has ballooned in costs and timeline partially due to land acquisition. From some other posts, I've seen the province generally does a good job reserving ROW for future highway expansion. If the province already owns a decent amount of the land, and it's a pretty straight route (HSR don't do well with turns), that'd probably help significantly for the Calgary-Red Deer-Edmonton HSR
That was studied in 2010-11 ish, an internal government study only (sorry). Using the QEII corridor isn't viable/edit: doesn't save enough money plus reduces speed to be worth it.

The parcels needed for a nominal Greenfield alignment were identified in an AAMD&C study around the same time. (high speed rail was likely to be a signature promise in the 2012 election if Ed Stelmach was still Premier so various groups were prodded to produce evidence to feed into government processes) The amount of land needed is pretty small (fewer than 600 acres iirc) and benefits greatly from being laid out in the township plan. This study is no longer available online. There is also the option of the 5th meridian. Due to the curvature of the earth and how the township system works, remnant but already separately titled land exists for a long length (called the Gore Strip) and might be a good option.
 
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