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The 2h 45min from Toronto to Montreal looks kinda bogus. Unless it's an express with no suburban stops.
I would gladly pay premium to get that travel time.
This is what they shouldve been aiming for to begin with. Or at least 3.5hrsmin
 
Looks like ~215km from the CN mainline to around Pontypool where it would meet the Havelock sub.

A cost estimate is more down @smallspy or @crs1026 alley than mine; but I'd take a ballpark guess at ~1.2M per KM, but that excludes stations and excludes any grade separation, or property acquisition.

Land here is not super expensive, but replacing bridges over the 115 ROW or having to completely redesign interchanges to accommodate the change would add up in a hurry.

So it wouldn't be cheap in terms of incremental costs.

That said, its something I've long supported to serve as an Oshawa-Peterborough connection, as well as allowing connections between multiple existing rail lines for diversions etc.

When I say supported, I do mean support the study and analysis of; as I would await facts before passing judgement.
Are you referring to a new alignment connecting the Havelock sub to the Kingston sub in east Durham? I could see a new line in that area making a lot of sense, routing trains through the urban parts of Durham Region instead of the rural areas. And it would only be about 20 km of new rail. It wouldn't follow the 115 ROW though. Building a rail line as part of an existing highway isn't as cheap or easy as a lot of people think. They're two different kinds of infrastructure and have different needs. Especially for the part of the 115 that's co-signed with Highway 35, the curves and interchanges are built for slower speeds than even a regular freeway, which is in turn built for slower speeds than an intercity rail line. The interchanges as you said aren't designed for rail and neither are the grades or the width of the ROW. Even in Europe when high speed rail is built beside a highway they're not part of the same structure, but beside each other instead with the two diverging whenever needed. It would be simpler and cheaper to just build a line in its own right of way.

If something like this would follow a highway, I'd say that the 418 would be a better choice than the 115.
 
While it's true that actually following the highway wouldn't be the way to build this, moving west is problematic. Going to 115 or farther east allows through running Bowmanville/Newcastle GO trains onto the new corridor, anything west of Newcastle creates the kind of branching Metrolinx is trying to avoid in Oshawa while doing nothing favorable to land acquisition costs.
 
1593527555304.png


Am I looking into this too much or are they suggesting a route that bypasses Ottawa on the HFR and goes directly to Montreal as well?
 
Am I looking into this too much or are they suggesting a route that bypasses Ottawa on the HFR and goes directly to Montreal as well?

There's an old CPR line running to the east of Ottawa that was turned into a rail-trail years ago. Could be a fever dream I'm misremembering as fact but I could swear I'd read Via was exploring turning it back into active track at some point. Even if that's not true, the corridor does seem a lot straighter than the current route they use. If Via was thinking of having two Corridor services - the northern one essentially express between the biggest cities, the southern more of a milk run - then reactivating that trail might be useful. It's straighter and, by my measurement, a good 15-20km shorter than the existing route.
 
There's an old CPR line running to the east of Ottawa that was turned into a rail-trail years ago. Could be a fever dream I'm misremembering as fact but I could swear I'd read Via was exploring turning it back into active track at some point. Even if that's not true, the corridor does seem a lot straighter than the current route they use. If Via was thinking of having two Corridor services - the northern one essentially express between the biggest cities, the southern more of a milk run - then reactivating that trail might be useful. It's straighter and, by my measurement, a good 15-20km shorter than the existing route.

The old CP M&O Subdivision remains railbanked as a trail - and even has signage reminding recreational users that the line is earmarked for resumption of rail service one day. It is indeed superior to VIA’s current line as a future true HSR line, but the cost of remediating any deficiencies in the current line to reach the standard that HFR requires is apparently far less than it would cost to reactivate the M+O for that purpose. For now, good is good enough. HFR is a 20-year minimum bridge before HSR will be on the table. It will be interesting to see how the relative costs of switching lines (and stranding investment capital) versus incrementally enhancing the current line compare in years ahead. Affordability may override technical superiority..... the M+O may never get the nod.

- Paul
 
There's an old CPR line running to the east of Ottawa that was turned into a rail-trail years ago. Could be a fever dream I'm misremembering as fact but I could swear I'd read Via was exploring turning it back into active track at some point. Even if that's not true, the corridor does seem a lot straighter than the current route they use. If Via was thinking of having two Corridor services - the northern one essentially express between the biggest cities, the southern more of a milk run - then reactivating that trail might be useful. It's straighter and, by my measurement, a good 15-20km shorter than the existing route.

Im not sure how much you are contributing here or know, but HFR is planning to use an old rail trail and a line through Peterborough, however, the plan has all trains routing to Ottawa first.

See here
1593614953658.png


That much we know for sure. Is that what you mean? However, on the map I posted above, there is another line going straight from Smiths Falls to Montreal, thats NOT on this map I just posted.

Im wondering if that line is just them saying "the trains will go to Montreal" or they are proposing another branch line that bypasses Ottawa to the south of Ottawa

1593615203122.png


What ive highlighted is NOT on the previous map I posted which is the previous "official" proposed route map from VIA
 
Im not sure how much you are contributing here or know, but HFR is planning to use an old rail trail and a line through Peterborough, however, the plan has all trains routing to Ottawa first.

See here

That much we know for sure. Is that what you mean? However, on the map I posted above, there is another line going straight from Smiths Falls to Montreal, thats NOT on this map I just posted.

Im wondering if that line is just them saying "the trains will go to Montreal" or they are proposing another branch line that bypasses Ottawa to the south of Ottawa

What ive highlighted is NOT on the previous map I posted which is the previous "official" proposed route map from VIA

I've been here a loooong time but usually lurk (I get way too heated when I comment regularly lol). I'm aware of the overall HFR plans - I just thought the placement of the grey arrows between Ottawa and Montreal seemed interesting because of the route I mentioned. Obviously these are just lines drawn on a map to indicate generally where trains may eventually go but, as crs1026 notes, that route would be ideal compared to the current one. And, from reading the last few posts (including those cryptic comments about "exploring all potential routes" or whatever), I thought that could indicate that Via is showing interest in at least studying a rebuild of that line.
 
Im not sure how much you are contributing here or know, but HFR is planning to use an old rail trail and a line through Peterborough, however, the plan has all trains routing to Ottawa first.

See here
View attachment 255046

That much we know for sure. Is that what you mean? However, on the map I posted above, there is another line going straight from Smiths Falls to Montreal, thats NOT on this map I just posted.

Im wondering if that line is just them saying "the trains will go to Montreal" or they are proposing another branch line that bypasses Ottawa to the south of Ottawa

View attachment 255047

What ive highlighted is NOT on the previous map I posted which is the previous "official" proposed route map from VIA


Would there need to any special construction to enable trains to bypass Ottawa via the existing CP mainline? The proposed HFR route map shows the VIA Rail line intersecting the CP mainline at Smith Falls before deviating to the north to reach Ottawa and then rejoining the CP line to the north of Saint-Polycarpe. It seems that express services between Montreal and Toronto would be able to simply stay on the CP mainline rather than entering Ottawa. However, this might not provide time savings if high speed operations are not permitted on the CP mainline.
 
The HFR proposal doesn't permit high-speed operation.

It is intended, I believe for 100mph/160km/ph maximum speeds.

The CP mainline is likely capable of supporting that in most sections, just as CN's mainline permits this for VIA now in sections.

The real issues are what the current traffic level is like; how adjustable schedules are and how much passing track there is; whether CP is open to a deal.

Though there may well be lower speed limits on portion's the route.

@crs1026 and @smallspy would be the go-to experts on that.
 
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The HFR proposal doesn't permit high-speed operation.

It is intended, I believe for 100mph/160km/ph maximum speeds.

The CP mainline is likely capable of supporting that in most sections, just as CN's mainline permits this for VIA now in sections.

The real issues are what the current traffic level is like; how adjustable schedules are and how much passing track there is; whether CP is open to a deal.

Though there may well be lower speed limits on portion's the route.

@crs1026 and @smallspy would be the go-to experts on that.

The CP Winchester Sub runs from Smiths Falls to Dorval, a distance of roughly 119 miles. The current VIa route between these points via Ottawa is 154 miles. The CP route is very good quality rail, and could be upgraded to 95 mph without difficulty, although crossing protection would have to be improved throughout (likely not currently calibrated to 95 mph) and the line would have to be resignalled. So in theory it would be a more appealing route to serve the through Toronto-Montreal market than the Ottawa route. The line is not that heavily used - 3-4 trains each way at present. Interestingly, the Ecorail study proposed putting HSR on this routing for part of its route.

The problems are a) CP's current use is irrelevant, its long-term capacity expectation would be what CP would protect and b) as a mixed use line, all the same problems inherent in VIA not having its own right of way would remain.

There have been quotes in the media that VIA has sought a CP routing over part of this line, likely just the De Beaujeu-Dorval portion, which would remove the problems of VIA having a level crossing across CP at De Beaujeu, and to extricate VIA from sharing (unsatisfactorily) the more heavily used CN line from Coteau to Dorval. The media quotes suggested that VIA found CP was not amenable to even this use of their trackage. Asking CP to share the whole length of this line would be a much bigger ask.

I can't see the use-the-whole line idea flying, either from VIA's end or from CP's. The time saved might be lost in conflicts with freight trains, and schedule performance would suffer. And VIA would still need its own parallel line to serve Ottawa.

Of course, if VIA relinquished most of its use of the Kingston Sub, CP would easily fit on CN's line through coproduction. One wonders whether the "studies" under way would extend to that level of option generation.

- Paul
 
Happy Canada Day (or as we prefer to say here in Quebec: National Moving Day)!

Just a few comments from me, trying to recall the spirit in which HFR was created as an idea while suppressing any attempt to speculate where the joint project office might be heading. IIRC, the key idea of HFR was to create a project which was large enough to make a real change (i.e. to enable significant growth in ridership and revenues) while small enough to have a realistic chance of receiving the funding it needs. It therefore deliberately accepted the trade-offs which deviate from what some people here feel “would be right” (such as double-tracking, grade separation of all level crossings or electrication) and left them as “upgrades” which could be added at a later point. Similarly, in terms of providing a path towards HSR, the emphasis was to minimize waste (i.e. infrastructure work which can’t be upgraded to HSR) rather than future-proofing every single infrastructure work. Nevertheless, such add-ons or HSR-enablers could have been added at any time, including the initial construction phase, providing that investors (public or private) were willing to pay for it.

Therefore, the Stouffville line could show a cheaper alignment from Agincourt Yard into Union Station, requiring only little engineering works over what would be required for Metrolinx anyways, while accessing a better transit hub (Kennedy vs. Eglinton). Sure, with Metrolinx’ long-term plans, this corridor might get too crowded, but until then, this routing could reduce the price tag for HFR, while only having minimal negative effect on travel time (considering that the shared section between the intersection with CP’s Belleville Sub and Scarborough Junction would only be 7 km long and so far has no other stations than Kennedy). And once traffic on the Stouffville Sub grows beyond what would make VIA’s presence tolerable, the only engineering work no longer be operationally required would be the ramp between Belleville and Stouffville Sub, but could still provide operational flexibility in the case that there is any disruption in the Don Valley.

Conversely, bypassing Ottawa with Montreal-Toronto express trains undermines the key trick to minimize operating costs and fleet size: by merging the Montreal-Ottawa, Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto trains into one one single corridor, while outsourcing the intermediary markets onto separate, less frequent but all-stop Regional services. Bypassing Ottawa therefore does not only escalate construction costs (by increasing the length of the HFR infrastructure), but also operating costs (by driving up train-miles and fleet size).

Finally, the Alexandria Sub is already built to close-to-HFR standards and has historically allowed travel times (1:35h) close to those envisioned by HFR. Therefore, rebuilding a parallel corridor to save just a couple of minutes would be contrary to any of the principles I’ve outlined above. Not to mention building a greenfield connection from the Havelock Sub to Oshawa...

Just in case I wasn’t clear enough, I’m solely drawing from the conceptual principles under which HFR was conceived, not whatever principles the Joint Project Team may be working under, but I believe that whatever project will emerge from the ongoing studies and design process will still have a noticeable resemblance with that initial idea I’ve outlined above...
 
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