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While the Havelock line runs through the Shield, the Lakeshore line runs through densely populated areas, with many roads requiring grade separation. While those grade separations are mostly present for the existing rail line, we will need to replicate them for HSR requiring separate track. It is also complicated by the need of both local and express service. Where will the local trains run? This remains part of the current dilemma, providing both services using the same set of tracks. The current situation where we do both express and local service poorly.

All true... but if the urban areas already exist along the Lakeshore, and if that is where the population growth will be, then we need to make that investment and build infrastructure to serve thap population regardless of whether HSR happens or not.

In that respect, building a regional service between London and Kingston is a separate project which imho offers equal or better use of public funds and equal or better carbon reduction than T-O-M-Q rail... so why are we not building that infrastructure first? Again, five Kitchener-Toronto cars removed from the 401 is more value created than taking one Toronto-Ottawa driver away.

When the air industry (and more specifically the air terminal industry) gets its act together, they may eventually find a "virtual airport" HSR to be a better use of capital than adding runways and terminal slots. A air competitive HSR would look nothing like a road competitive regional rail network, and would price very different.

The fallacy is when we consider the route through the Shield as performing the same function, and achieving the same result, as a regional railway along the Lakeshore. Quite probably, we need both - and the question is - given limits to affordability, which we should build first.

- Paul
 
Taki
All true... but if the urban areas already exist along the Lakeshore, and if that is where the population growth will be, then we need to make that investment and build infrastructure to serve thap population regardless of whether HSR happens or not.

In that respect, building a regional service between London and Kingston is a separate project which imho offers equal or better use of public funds and equal or better carbon reduction than T-O-M-Q rail... so why are we not building that infrastructure first? Again, five Kitchener-Toronto cars removed from the 401 is more value created than taking one Toronto-Ottawa driver away.

When the air industry (and more specifically the air terminal industry) gets its act together, they may eventually find a "virtual airport" HSR to be a better use of capital than adding runways and terminal slots. A air competitive HSR would look nothing like a road competitive regional rail network, and would price very different.

The fallacy is when we consider the route through the Shield as performing the same function, and achieving the same result, as a regional railway along the Lakeshore. Quite probably, we need both - and the question is - given limits to affordability, which we should build first.

- Paul
Taking the train need to compete with the car and airlines.

But if you want to fly from London to Kingston you would need to stop in Toronto. Same with say Kitchener to Kingston or Belleville. So there is a need to fill that market.

Toronto to Ottawa flying is one hour but going to Pearson two hours before, going through security, landing in Ottawa, collecting your stuff and getting downtown could easily take 5 hours. So getting travel times by train down to 4 hours or less would be ideal.

How do you get private railways to co-operate when they have no incentive to do so?
 
Another CBC vid by Paige Saunders ft Reece Martin

I’ve taken an overnight sleeper train from Zagreb to Nuremberg and it was fun. The difference is in Canada, a single-night sleeper train from Toronto would get you maybe to Regina or Miramichi. Not exactly hopping places.

One thing I’d love to see VIA do is motorcycle trains. It would be a great way to tour rural Canada without needing to ride there. The Amtrak auto train does this, sort of, with bikes lashed down onto pallets, but I’m more thinking of a more flexible system where bikes could get off and on along the route.
 
I’ll just chime in with my usual note that setting aside other re-use of Havelock being in the works I suspect that Peterborough is better served by Lakeshore trains on a new Hwy 115 route.
 
I’ve taken an overnight sleeper train from Zagreb to Nuremberg and it was fun. The difference is in Canada, a single-night sleeper train from Toronto would get you maybe to Regina or Miramichi. Not exactly hopping places.

We did an overnight from Copenhagen to Berlin this summer and loved it as well (not as much as the 4 year old loved it, of course). That's only a 4-5 hour train ride during the day, but they dragged it out from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. I'd do an overnight between Toronto and Montreal for sure.
 
I’ll just chime in with my usual note that setting aside other re-use of Havelock being in the works I suspect that Peterborough is better served by Lakeshore trains on a new Hwy 115 route.
It would reduce (at the cost of some 20 km of new greenfield ROW) the length of sparsely populated farmlands and forests from 85 to 50 km, which would still be 15 km more than the 35 km void which makes extending the Milton line to Cambridge a non-starter. This just shows how unviable Toronto-Peterborough would be as a Commuter Rail corridor, which is why I’m so puzzled that people like @Reecemartin would place any hope on it…

I’ve taken an overnight sleeper train from Zagreb to Nuremberg and it was fun. The difference is in Canada, a single-night sleeper train from Toronto would get you maybe to Regina or Miramichi. Not exactly hopping places.
Correct, with a small nitpick: The Zagreb night train serves Munich (and more recently also: Stuttgart), but not Nuremberg, which is served by the Amsterdam/Hamburg/Brussels-Nuremberg-Innsbruck/Vienna night trains…

One thing I’d love to see VIA do is motorcycle trains. It would be a great way to tour rural Canada without needing to ride there. The Amtrak auto train does this, sort of, with bikes lashed down onto pallets, but I’m more thinking of a more flexible system where bikes could get off and on along the route.
Passenger trains transporting any kinds of motorized road vehicles are unfortunately almost as extinct in Europe as they are in North America…

We did an overnight from Copenhagen to Berlin this summer and loved it as well (not as much as the 4 year old loved it, of course). That's only a 4-5 hour train ride during the day, but they dragged it out from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. I'd do an overnight between Toronto and Montreal for sure.
Another nitpick: when it still operated, the Berlin-Hamburg-Puttgarden-[ferry]-Rødby-Copenhagen train took almost 7 hours…:
IMG_2811.jpeg
Source: Fernbahn.de database
 
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There is much to be said for many of the thoughtful posts above.

There are arguments to be made for different corridors and investments.

I think, perhaps, a reasonable position we might agree on is that rather than have UT'ers decide all these details; much as we may be a well informed bunch; that it might be reasonable to simply take the shackles off the proponents and let them make the proposals they feel would make the most sense, and then discuss the results publicly.

The government has to impose some criteria, and has, in saying the service must serve Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, aswell as Quebec City (that is a debatable add-on, but is what it is).

How about we leave it that, with a minimum level of service described and a maximum travel time; then let the proponents work out what would make the most sense to them.

If Alstom can work something out with CN, and/or CP, or the MTO for space on existing corridors that meets the gov'ts stated objectives and do it at a credible price that public can get behind, why not?

If Alstom has those talks and they realize..........not happening....... so be it.

But I don't know why we should jump in front of the proponents to dictate the details of the routing beyond the base requirement.
 
How about we leave it that, with a minimum level of service described and a maximum travel time; then let the proponents work out what would make the most sense to them.
This makes sense to me. Working backwards from a sensible position that competes with air and road travel is the only path that I can get my head around.

I'm always so surprised at how stingy politicians and rail enthusiasts are when it comes to Canadian HSR. I think it's wildly overestimated how much the cost of HSR would bother the general public. This is infrastructure that would directly impact millions of people. One of the many studies must have quantified the cost of not having HSR, I have not idea what it is, but if you told me billions are wasted annually on crappy travel between Toronto and Montreal I'd believe it. I have never talked to anyone that doesn't enthusiastically support the concept of HSR in Canada, and I don't live in a bubble. The same is true of my right leaning friends and family in Alberta when talking about rail between Calgary and Edmonton.

The appetite is there for the big project. I don't understand the lack of ambition. This is going to cost many billions of dollars because it's worth many billions of dollars.

The Shinkansen is estimated to contribute 5B$CAD annually to the Japanese economy before calculating any externalities like carbon emissions or improving the cost of housing. It seems to me that the cost of not doing enough is more than just biting the bullet and getting on with a proper train line.

When it comes to the obstacles that get discussed here, like who owns tracks and what route works best.... Nobody cares. People I've talked to all just think its absurd that they can't travel to visit their family in another city like they would in any other developed country. Instead they have to waste time and money and frustration at an airport or on the 401.


Also... On the note of sleeper trains. I've also always wondered about a car/sleeper train. My parents often ride a popular car train from Virginia to Florida. I could see 2 potential routes in Canada that would make sense for this model during the summer months. Toronto to Halifax, and Calgary/Edmonton to Vancouver. Those are both popular vacation spots where a lot of people drive 2-3 days and stay for extended periods of time in rural and natural settings.
 
There is much to be said for many of the thoughtful posts above.

There are arguments to be made for different corridors and investments.

I think, perhaps, a reasonable position we might agree on is that rather than have UT'ers decide all these details; much as we may be a well informed bunch; that it might be reasonable to simply take the shackles off the proponents and let them make the proposals they feel would make the most sense, and then discuss the results publicly.

The government has to impose some criteria, and has, in saying the service must serve Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, aswell as Quebec City (that is a debatable add-on, but is what it is).

How about we leave it that, with a minimum level of service described and a maximum travel time; then let the proponents work out what would make the most sense to them.

If Alstom can work something out with CN, and/or CP, or the MTO for space on existing corridors that meets the gov'ts stated objectives and do it at a credible price that public can get behind, why not?

If Alstom has those talks and they realize..........not happening....... so be it.

But I don't know why we should jump in front of the proponents to dictate the details of the routing beyond the base requirement.

I agree.

However just for context, isn't Alstom apparently no longer interested because they are not part of any consortium that pre-qualified in the RFQ? Or do I recall someone here observing that just because they aren't listed in a team they may come in later?
 
This makes sense to me. Working backwards from a sensible position that competes with air and road travel is the only path that I can get my head around.

I'm always so surprised at how stingy politicians and rail enthusiasts are when it comes to Canadian HSR. I think it's wildly overestimated how much the cost of HSR would bother the general public. This is infrastructure that would directly impact millions of people. One of the many studies must have quantified the cost of not having HSR, I have not idea what it is, but if you told me billions are wasted annually on crappy travel between Toronto and Montreal I'd believe it. I have never talked to anyone that doesn't enthusiastically support the concept of HSR in Canada, and I don't live in a bubble. The same is true of my right leaning friends and family in Alberta when talking about rail between Calgary and Edmonton.

The appetite is there for the big project. I don't understand the lack of ambition. This is going to cost many billions of dollars because it's worth many billions of dollars.

The Shinkansen is estimated to contribute 5B$CAD annually to the Japanese economy before calculating any externalities like carbon emissions or improving the cost of housing. It seems to me that the cost of not doing enough is more than just biting the bullet and getting on with a proper train line.

When it comes to the obstacles that get discussed here, like who owns tracks and what route works best.... Nobody cares. People I've talked to all just think its absurd that they can't travel to visit their family in another city like they would in any other developed country. Instead they have to waste time and money and frustration at an airport or on the 401.


Also... On the note of sleeper trains. I've also always wondered about a car/sleeper train. My parents often ride a popular car train from Virginia to Florida. I could see 2 potential routes in Canada that would make sense for this model during the summer months. Toronto to Halifax, and Calgary/Edmonton to Vancouver. Those are both popular vacation spots where a lot of people drive 2-3 days and stay for extended periods of time in rural and natural settings.
Your comments are quite on the point. So often Canadian Politicians seem to cater to the most vocal and strident yelling of opinion as opposed to actually taking a stand for constructive reasons and showing non-partisan leadership.

We may argue about the route but build the damn thing, just not study it to death as it the norm in this country.

Also agree with your comment re car/sleeper trains and the Auto Train (which is a great and convenient ride). My extension to the comment would be to say that there is so much more that could be done re the Canadian as well. It is a prized tourist train above all and should be treated as so. Time to change the route to North of Superior. Add an Auto Train mix as well and begin to build a better franchise. People come from around the world to ride those cars and experience that story and it’s high time to upgrade our game.
 
I think, perhaps, a reasonable position we might agree on is that rather than have UT'ers decide all these details; much as we may be a well informed bunch; that it might be reasonable to simply take the shackles off the proponents and let them make the proposals they feel would make the most sense, and then discuss the results publicly.

The government has to impose some criteria, and has, in saying the service must serve Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, aswell as Quebec City (that is a debatable add-on, but is what it is).

How about we leave it that, with a minimum level of service described and a maximum travel time; then let the proponents work out what would make the most sense to them.

If Alstom can work something out with CN, and/or CP, or the MTO for space on existing corridors that meets the gov'ts stated objectives and do it at a credible price that public can get behind, why not?

If Alstom has those talks and they realize..........not happening....... so be it.

But I don't know why we should jump in front of the proponents to dictate the details of the routing beyond the base requirement.

What - UTers holding back their opinions and letting more informed people get on with the job? Good luck with that! LOL

The proposals will be a very constructive step forward, insofar as they represent what qualified people actually believe is possible and achievable, based on their expertise plus detailed examination of technical data that we spectators have never seen...... and under the expectation to actually deliver what they propose.

So yes, the proposals are a serious matter and need to be approached with an open mind.

However - with Ottawa's net spread this wide, there is also a risk that we may not have any firm criteria in mind. There is risk that the decision could simply be bedazzlement with pretty things.

The old adage: If you don't have a destination in mind, any road will get you there.

I think it's quite appropriate to anticipate scenarios, even if some are speculative or straw men. But understanding that the data is yet to be delivered.

- Paul
 
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Of course, VIA had an overnight Montreal-Toronto train for many years and I often used to take it (with a bed) when I lived in Montreal but had meetings here. It departed Montreal about 11pm, stopped en route near Brockville (?) and arrived at Union about 7.30. Just time for a good breakfast at the Royal York, a meeting and time to catch the 5pm 'express' home. VERY convenient and far less than a flight.
 
I agree.

However just for context, isn't Alstom apparently no longer interested because they are not part of any consortium that pre-qualified in the RFQ? Or do I recall someone here observing that just because they aren't listed in a team they may come in later?
The procurement process explicitly excludes rolling stock manufacturers at this stage, so the co-development partner can seek competitive bids for equipment later on.
 
The new video is pretty well made, and makes some good points about the changes in the country over the past decade, but I disagree about GO to Peterborough and reverting to the Ecotrain alignment, and not just because throwing all the cards in the air would further delay getting anything at all built.

Unless the GO service was going to be diesel, there wouldn't be much of a capital cost saving on the Havelock sub. It is going to need a complete rebuild to run a half-decent passenger service, plus about a dozen grade crossing separations that should be constructed for the major roads, and presumably the end-state even for a GO service would include electrification. If we're going to that trouble ($1bn ballpark), making the track 110 mph class 6 for HFR isn't really going to be that much more costly than class 4, maybe another 10-20%.

The hockey-stick in cost would come with raising the speed to 125 mph+ east of Steeles because that would add at least 30 more crossings to separate and a couple of dozen minor roads to close, plus some realignments, which would probably add another $1bn. But even that would probably be cheaper than building a brand-new HSR from Toronto toward Belleville alongside the existing corridor, which is more constrained by adjoining homes and businesses, let alone the cost of doing both. On top of that, there would be the GO operating costs, all for lesser benefits.

It's also fairly clear that the HFR Team are open to adjustments to the alignment, such as the diversion alongside highway 7 proposed by Sharbot Lake residents, that would solve the worst of the curvature problems and make a much faster running time to Glen Tay possible; but a complete rethink of the route is firmly off the table. That would be a harder thing to ask than saving VIA Rail from outsourced operations.

The presenter also seems unfair to Yves D-S, who I suspect wouldn't have left before delivering the major projects he started if given any choice in the matter.
 

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