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crs1026

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There is nothing in Buffalo that Torontonians would need to travel to except for the airport.

All of the other cities surrounding it are too small to be a destination, including Albany, Rochester and Cleveland.

Say what?

Buffalo has incredible architecture, some very cool developing districts. Good food and drink. Professional sports. Great place for a day trip.

Yeah, it has its sketchy parts, but it's actually trending for the better.

- Paul
 

lenaitch

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There is nothing in Buffalo that Torontonians would need to travel to except for the airport.

All of the other cities surrounding it are too small to be a destination, including Albany, Rochester and Cleveland.
If the criteria is "need", the same argument could be said for Niagara Falls and Collingwood/Wasaga Beach.
 

Bordercollie

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If the criteria is "need", the same argument could be said for Niagara Falls and Collingwood/Wasaga Beach.
You think Niagara falls doesn't "need" train service considering that during the summer 4 Go trains full of people took the train there. That's not enough demand?
 

Northern Light

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There is nothing in Buffalo that Torontonians would need to travel to except for the airport.

All of the other cities surrounding it are too small to be a destination, including Albany, Rochester and Cleveland.

Let me introduce you to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (henceforth because of terrible consultants to be known as the AKG Art Museum, but I digress).....

1663009044891.png

Image from Streetview

Link to Gallery: https://buffaloakg.org/

***

Beside the above Gallery is one of several of the Olmstead Parks - Delaware Park

1663009261785.png

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parks...k#/media/File:Albright-Knox_Art_Gallery_2.jpg

1663009400818.png

source: https://www.wned.org/television/wne...rn-more-olmsted/olmsteds-buffalo-park-system/

There's also Shea's Performing Arts Centre

1663009504958.png

Source: https://www.sheas.org/theatres/#group-2
 
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Bordercollie

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Let me introduce you to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (henceforth because of terrible consultants to be knows as the AKG Art Museum, but I digress).....

View attachment 426616
Image from Streetview

Link to Gallery: https://buffaloakg.org/

***

Beside the above Gallery is one of several of the Olmstead Parks - Delaware Park

View attachment 426617
source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parks...k#/media/File:Albright-Knox_Art_Gallery_2.jpg

View attachment 426619
source: https://www.wned.org/television/wne...rn-more-olmsted/olmsteds-buffalo-park-system/

There's also Shea's Performing Arts Centre

View attachment 426620
Source: https://www.sheas.org/theatres/#group-2
And how many visitors do you think that would attract?

Probably a football or hockey game would be more likely.
 

Northern Light

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And how many visitors do you think that would attract?

Annually (not all at once) 123,000; of which based on typical Buffalo attractions, about 15% will be Canadian, the majority of those from the Golden Horseshoe.

**

Of course, that's not the point; you disparaged Buffalo as a whole, I simply countered that.

Arguments over precise demand levels for rail travel based on any one attraction are fairly fruitless.
 

lenaitch

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You think Niagara falls doesn't "need" train service considering that during the summer 4 Go trains full of people took the train there. That's not enough demand?
"Demand" and "need" have different criteria. You claimed that nobody 'needs' to go the Buffalo. Nobody needs to go skiing, a beach or view a pretty waterfall or go to a casino. People need to get to and from work, medical treatments, etc., etc.
 

crs1026

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^There's also Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House, not to mention the Central Terminal, which is starting to see redevelopment in the area. And the Silo City development.

And then there's Beef on Weck in the First Ward. Some of us classify that as a "need".

- Paul
 

sunnyside

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Frankly, the point that there is "nothing in Buffalo for Torontonians" or even vice versa is ridiculous. It entirely misses the point of such an extension and portrays Torontonians as this vast commuter base of businessmen, when in reality such a group of commuters is probably very limited right now. That kind of trip can be generated with time, but the focus should be on piecemeal improvements to the regional network here to enable the proper regional connection between the two cities. The main draw will be connecting the communities closer to Buffalo than Toronto, and Buffalo to them- the target Isn't necessarily to get Buffalo residents to Toronto, but a fast and frequent intercity service would certainly draw alot of ridership as well, even if its tourists (and even if it's skewed towards one city). It helps to create a polycentric network and addresses the travel Buffalo/Niagara in the US generates on our side of the border. We are also still trying to figure out how to relieve the QEW long-term, which is looking increasingly difficult without building the mid-peninsula highway.

The marginal benefits of extending service to Buffalo on top of Niagara regional service improvements far exceed the marginal cost because of its proximity to the existing network and the size of Buffalo. You are adding 1.1 million residents to GO/VIA's catchment, and all cities in the region would benefit from economies of agglomeration with that kind of economic access. Even with the border, you will still have a massive ridership node at the end of a corridor that desperately needs improvements. There is no reason we should rationalize the service Niagara receives as acceptable for the next 20-30 years when it shares a similar (if not greater) population to ridership nodes like KW-C on the Kitchener line. Depending on how important the border issue is to folks, Buffalo shares less in common with Niagara itself and more with a ridership node akin to London, being a (comparably) artificially longer trip due to the border. Fix the time spent there, and the regional utility of the line shoots up dramatically.

The real question here is if the province is willing to fund a major Niagara GO expansion in the near future, and then if the feds are willing to pursue extending the scope to Buffalo to either extend the GO service or create a new, frequent VIA service. The reality is Buffalo needs access to the Golden Horseshoe more than we need access to Buffalo, despite how confident I am everyone would benefit from it.
 

Urban Sky

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[...]

I like the idea of a virtual pre-clearance via Nexus or similar (Nexus, by the way, is the best investment a cross-border traveller will ever make, and even offers benefits for domestic air travel) however I doubt the authorities will ever commit to a program that precludes holding people back if there is a red flag raised at the gate. So unless there are multiple departures that offer a fallback for any traveller whose passage is not immediately approved, the border dwell has to be timed around the most problemmatic transactions.

While I envy the European border crossing process, the reality is, this is North America and the security and immigration context - both for Canada and for our neighbour, to whom we are marrieds in this process - is never going to converge on that context. I would like to see us improve, but we need to be realistic here.

- Paul
The "what happens if a passenger doesn't clear in time before the departure?" question is indeed a valid one for a (currently) once-daily border crossing, but at four trains per day (like currently Toronto-Windsor), all passengers but those on the last train would have a later option to board. As I've outlined previously, I would operate on a system with cut-off points (XX minutes before departure time - depending on citizenship or status in Canada) after which passengers would no longer be guaranteed boarding.

Given how quickly the proposed TOMQ HFR plan is progressing, an HFR line to Buffalo seems to be quite well entrenched in the realm fantasy.



I agree with you regarding Toronto-Detroit, but I was talking about Toronto-Buffalo. It is true that Toronto-NYC does struggle to be competitive with flying because Lake Ontario is in the way. As we have said before, the gravity model is interesting, but it hides synergies between cities. That is why despite Toronto-Montreal having double the "Ridership Units" of Toronto-Ottawa, actual ridership is higher on Toronto-Ottawa (Toronto and Ottawa are in the same province, they have the same primary language, Toronto is Ottawa's provincial capital and Ottawa is Toronto's National capital). Both NYC and and Buffalo loose a lot of "points" in synergy for being in different countries. Having said that, NYC is at least the USA's economic centre and a major entertainment centre. Buffalo doesn't really; have any significance. There might be some travel for sporting events, but the train would struggle to compete with the car for that (people tend not to go to games alone, so the cost of train fair is proportional to the number of people traveling, and unless there is a late train that aligns with the end of the game, you have to delay the return to the next day). Then there is the whole issue of needing a passport (or enhanced driver's license), which not everyone has (especially south of the boarder). Am I missing something about why Buffalo would be such a great business or vacation destination for Torontonians?



Correct me if I am wrong, but I did a quick check and couldn't find any direct flights between any of Toronto's airports and Buffalo, so I don't know how that helps your argument.
https://algnewsletter.com/land-transportation/air-vs-rail-can-rivals-become-partners/


While I do tend to agree with you regarding Detroit vs. Chicago, I don't see why investing HFR to Buffalo (bypassing Niagara Falls) should be a priority for the Canadian government.
The difference between Detroit and Buffalo is that Toronto-Windsor already has somewhat acceptable frequencies (4 trains per day provides sufficient flexibility for a multi-day trip) and travel time, whereas both is insufficient for Toronto-Niagara Falls or Toronto-Buffalo. Whereas for Toronto-Detroit, you'd only need to extend the trains 10 km into Detroit, you would have to first fix the issue with the Welland canal, which would be prohibitively expensive on the Grimsby Sub. Which is why the only realistic way of linking Toronto and Buffalo (and eventually: NYC) with a remotely acceptable travel time and frequency would be to route through the canal tunnel at Welland, even if this means bypassing St. Catharines and Niagara Falls...

AD2W hourly service to Niagara Falls via new dedicated tracks, a new canal bridge, service to Welland, and an extension to Buffalo would really integrate the very populous Niagara region with the existing networks.
Would you mind developing on how a new canal bridge could solve the interference rail traffic invariably suffers at the Grimsby Sub's draw bridge?

In Montreal, this issue has been avoided by including a 1.5 km long bypass built into Victoria bridge, which provides a stretch of approximately 300 meters - enough for ships to get tracked in a lock and lifted or lowered while train traffic continues unimpeded on on of the two sides:
1663034450996.png


Sure, we could maybe build something similar at the gates between Lock 4 and Lock 5, but I'm not sure that discussion has even started yet:
1663034768962.png



Buffalo is literally one of my favourite cities on the planet. I go as often as I can. Look at the shirt I'm wearing in my avatar too!
I've never been to Buffalo, sadly, but I just wanted to add that I was simply amazed by Albany, when I just tried to make the best of a 3 hour layover at its bus station...
 

crs1026

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The "what happens if a passenger doesn't clear in time before the departure?" question is indeed a valid one for a (currently) once-daily border crossing, but at four trains per day (like currently Toronto-Windsor), all passengers but those on the last train would have a later option to board. As I've outlined previously, I would operate on a system with cut-off points (XX minutes before departure time - depending on citizenship or status in Canada) after which passengers would no longer be guaranteed boarding.

The cutoff time has to be set so it is acceptable to the Border agencies - since even if people arrive early, any lineup at the counter as of the time of closing will still have to be cleared, and could delay the train if not properly staffed.

Others' observations were different than mine about how early the gates close in Vancouver. In the airport age, people may accept a moderate initial terminal delay, but if the delay is long then it will affect the marketability of the service. One hopes a happy midpoint can be worked out.

In Montreal, this issue has been avoided by including a 1.5 km long bypass built into Victoria bridge, which provides a stretch of approximately 300 meters - enough for ships to get tracked in a lock and lifted or lowered while train traffic continues unimpeded on on of the two sides:

A diversion bridge would have to cross south of the gates between the lower two locks (ie over Lock 5) so that boats can proceed between the Glendale road bridge and the lowest Flight Lock (Lock 4) without "lingering". The elevation required is that much higher. Still doable, perhaps, but certainly the cost will be that much higher.

- Paul

Screen Shot 2022-09-12 at 10.59.12 PM.png
20180604 Alpena train ok.jpg
 

Bureaucromancer

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Bear in mind that a diversion bridge with an elevation change really wouldn’t need to be graded for freight. This can realistically be a single track passenger only project. The main question to me is that given it’s going to be some way off the main ROW is whether the savings over something fully grade separated from canal traffic is actually worthwhile.

Frankly I think the contortions probably aren’t worthwhile, and that we should just get a new tunnel into the Metrolinx medium term plans.
 

Urban Sky

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Bear in mind that a diversion bridge with an elevation change really wouldn’t need to be graded for freight. This can realistically be a single track passenger only project.
Agreed, but this is only an issue if you build upstream (i.e. South of the existing bridge - like I suggested), not downstream (i.e. North of it - like @crs1026 suggested)…
 

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