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I so dislike the exclusionary use of acronyms and how they divide those that know the meaning from those that don’t.


The funding will be used to establish a Joint Project Team and fund work to preserve the option of interoperability with regional transit providers in Montreal and Toronto.

The Joint Project Team, between Canada Infrastructure Bank and VIA Rail Canada, will be established using the $55 million in funding from Canada Infrastructure Bank. This Joint Project Team will explore the possibility of High Frequency Rail in Quebec City-Toronto Corridor, focusing on the following activities throughout 2019 to 2020:

  • finalizing legal and regulatory work related to safety and environmental assessments;
  • consulting with stakeholders and Indigenous communities;
  • examining required land and track acquisition; and
  • completing the technical, financial and commercial analysis required for a final investment decision on High Frequency Rail in the Corridor.
 
I so dislike the exclusionary use of acronyms and how they divide those that know the meaning from those that don’t.
It's a military thing that seems to have seeped into government, although many professions like medical, engineering, etc. use them to distill complex terms.
 
It's a military thing that seems to have seeped into government, although many professions like medical, engineering, etc. use them to distill complex terms.

Acronyms seem to be everywhere, and it’s a blessing, because the long form names of what they describe can be a mouthful, causing a PITA. What gets lame is when the long name is contrived to deliver a catchy acronym.

My question about this particular team....is there a substantive team working on this project, with offices and desks and staffing and budget and a work program with deliverables and target dates and so forth? Or is this just what a group of bureaucrats from different departments and ministries call themselves when they meet to talk about HFR? I’m wondering if this is a full time pursuit for anyone in government.

- Paul
 
April 27
Happen to hit Georgetown station just as 84 was about to arrive. No one on the platform and no cars in the lot, other than a train watcher with a young child. You can see 1 of 2 GO trains not being use for service these days.

Been far too long since I have seen it as well only seeing it a few time, but I am assuming this a change is to eliminate turning the train in Sarnia as well being 4 cars long. 6415 Rebuilt EMD F40PH-2 on point and 916 GE P42DC pushing on the rear. All coaches were Renaissance. No one got off the train nor did any doors open with someone peeping out. Look to be very few riders on the train from what I could see.

I waited for the 12:06 train to arrive in Guelph and still hadn't shown up at 12:30 when I did some other shooting out of sight of the station, but in sound of it. Left Guelph around 1 pm and still no train or miss it since I never heard it.
49835956187_f8924d179a_b.jpg

49835651946_f6219bdca3_b.jpg
 
My question about this particular team....is there a substantive team working on this project, with offices and desks and staffing and budget and a work program with deliverables and target dates and so forth? Or is this just what a group of bureaucrats from different departments and ministries call themselves when they meet to talk about HFR? I’m wondering if this is a full time pursuit for anyone in government.
I unfortunately really can't comment anything on this beyond that I know of employees of VIA and the CIB which have been assigned full-time to the JPT. No idea though whether bureaucrats are involved in the JPT...

April 27
Happen to hit Georgetown station just as 84 was about to arrive. No one on the platform and no cars in the lot, other than a train watcher with a young child. You can see 1 of 2 GO trains not being use for service these days.

Been far too long since I have seen it as well only seeing it a few time, but I am assuming this a change is to eliminate turning the train in Sarnia as well being 4 cars long. 6415 Rebuilt EMD F40PH-2 on point and 916 GE P42DC pushing on the rear. All coaches were Renaissance. No one got off the train nor did any doors open with someone peeping out. Look to be very few riders on the train from what I could see.

I waited for the 12:06 train to arrive in Guelph and still hadn't shown up at 12:30 when I did some other shooting out of sight of the station, but in sound of it. Left Guelph around 1 pm and still no train or miss it since I never heard it.
49835956187_f8924d179a_b.jpg

49835651946_f6219bdca3_b.jpg
These cars are LRC (not: Renaissance). LRC business cars have a very similar color to Renaissance cars, but all Renaissance cars are green, whereas LRC coaches are white...
 
BC's Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has published a report which finally puts a realistic price tag at restoring the Victoria-Courtenay service:

1588301434198.png

Source: WSP (2020, p.5)

Unfortunately, the cost of just restoring the service which operated until unsafe track conditions forced its suspension is estimated at $227.3 million, which translates with a ridership figure of 45,706 in 1988 (sorry, couldn't find any more recent ridership figure, but would be surprised if it had increased since then) to a capital cost of $5,000 per rider. To compare, this is equivalent to spending $29.9 billion to get VIA's Corridor ridership from 4.1 to 9.9 million, whereas the sales pitch for HFR promises to achieve the same with only $4 billion...

Just to provide an illustrative example for why the costs of restoring the ROW have escalated so much:
1588302321854.png

Source: WSP (2020, p.21)
 
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I unfortunately really can't comment anything on this beyond that I know of employees of VIA and the CIB which have been assigned full-time to the JPT. No idea though whether bureaucrats are involved in the JPT...


These cars are LRC (not: Renaissance). LRC business cars have a very similar color to Renaissance cars, but all Renaissance cars are green, whereas LRC coaches are white...
Thanks as I wasn't sure as they are mostly the same color. Can't recall seeing a white LRC. Then don't follow VIA coaches in the first place, only power.
 
Thanks as I wasn't sure as they are mostly the same color. Can't recall seeing a white LRC. Then don't follow VIA coaches in the first place, only power.
Check again your pictures: all cars except the first car behind the lead locomotive are LRC coaches with their characteristic white/green paint scheme.

Conversely, this is how Renaissance coaches or the entire Renaissance fleet look like:
VIA_Renaissance_coach_car.jpg


VIA_Rail_Renaissance_in_Toronto.jpg

 
BC's Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has published a report which finally puts a realistic price tag at restoring the Victoria-Courtenay service:

It’s good to see an objective, arms-length examination of this line. The report is a good one in that it puts the granular detail on the table and in a way that the layperson can absorb. Even journalists will get this one (That comment is not a jab so much as commentary that the media will gladly romaticise something if they don’t have facts to work from).

A friend from Victoria who has strong connections in the bureaucracy has been telling me for a decade or more that this thing is dead, dead, dead... despite all the local boosterism. BC is investing in road transport especially north from Victoria, the railroad doesn’t really go where the investment in transit is needed, and the buiness cases comparing road building versus the rail line just don’t support this option. Even the potential benefits to First Nations (who are part owners of the line) don’ match what the same investment could achieve by spending the same money elsewhere.

Having said that, there’s an obvious lever towards making this happen, and it’s freight. Grow the use of the line for freight, and both the money picture and the case for maintaining the line shifts.

It’s an excellent report, but sadly (this is my romantic side lamenting) it may get filed next to GO Trains, Peterboro and Commuter trains, Halifax.

- Paul.
 
It’s good to see an objective, arms-length examination of this line. The report is a good one in that it puts the granular detail on the table and in a way that the layperson can absorb. Even journalists will get this one (That comment is not a jab so much as commentary that the media will gladly romaticise something if they don’t have facts to work from).

A friend from Victoria who has strong connections in the bureaucracy has been telling me for a decade or more that this thing is dead, dead, dead... despite all the local boosterism. BC is investing in road transport especially north from Victoria, the railroad doesn’t really go where the investment in transit is needed, and the buiness cases comparing road building versus the rail line just don’t support this option. Even the potential benefits to First Nations (who are part owners of the line) don’ match what the same investment could achieve by spending the same money elsewhere.

Having said that, there’s an obvious lever towards making this happen, and it’s freight. Grow the use of the line for freight, and both the money picture and the case for maintaining the line shifts.

It’s an excellent report, but sadly (this is my romantic side lamenting) it may get filed next to GO Trains, Peterboro and Commuter trains, Halifax.

- Paul.
Beyond spending massive amounts of money (almost a quarter-billion) for restoring a five-hour trip which takes half that by car and presumably approximately three hours by bus, what purpose does this project serve?

And speaking of freight: what is the point of freight rail if you have to transship onto a boat after less than 100 km...? Operating an "island operation" always escalates costs and limits benefits, which is why most have disappeared (e.g. PEI, Newfoundland)...
 
I was intrigued by the commuter rail option. Is there value in that?

Also, while the cost per rider is high, I wonder if there's value in it as a stimulus project. How quickly can they get construction going? I mean $230M from the Feds gives BC a good base to build on down the road. Of course, all this assumes that BC is interested. May not be the case.
 
I rarely post anymore but, having lived on the island a couple years, one benefit I haven't seen mentioned is the Malahat chokepoint. Yes the island highway is much faster than the train but it's also incredibly dangerous at points, especially between Victoria and Duncan. There are accidents on a regular basis that not only kill and injure a significant number of people annually but also close the highway for hours and, if I recall correctly, up to days at a time. I also recall reading (though could be wrong on this) that virtually all shipments of freight destined for Victoria land upisland (i.e. in Nanaimo and other ports), so a significant closure of the Malahat could cause major problems for Victoria. Having an alternative route for people to go home or for freight to move south in the event of a major accident on the Malahat seems reasonable, especially for $230m (which would restore the entire island railway to Courtenay, not just the relatively small portion between Duncan and Victoria - if even $230m is too much, that small portion could easily be restored for a fraction of the cost, presumably).
 
I rarely post anymore but, having lived on the island a couple years, one benefit I haven't seen mentioned is the Malahat chokepoint. Yes the island highway is much faster than the train but it's also incredibly dangerous at points, especially between Victoria and Duncan. There are accidents on a regular basis that not only kill and injure a significant number of people annually but also close the highway for hours and, if I recall correctly, up to days at a time. I also recall reading (though could be wrong on this) that virtually all shipments of freight destined for Victoria land upisland (i.e. in Nanaimo and other ports), so a significant closure of the Malahat could cause major problems for Victoria. Having an alternative route for people to go home or for freight to move south in the event of a major accident on the Malahat seems reasonable, especially for $230m (which would restore the entire island railway to Courtenay, not just the relatively small portion between Duncan and Victoria - if even $230m is too much, that small portion could easily be restored for a fraction of the cost, presumably).
Agreed, but how much flexibility and capacity does a once-daily 2-car RDC train provide, which departs Victoria in the morning and returns from Courtenay in the afternoon? As for the cost of restoring only Victoria to Duncan, you just have to add the two first numbers in the respective column [edit: row] of the table I posted above, so $62, $109 or $150 million, depending on the quality of tracks and service you desire.

In any case, it seems to me that fixing whatever is wrong with the Highway can be done quicker, at less cost and achieve much higher benefits...
 
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