News   GLOBAL  |  Apr 02, 2020
 6.9K     0 
News   GLOBAL  |  Apr 01, 2020
 35K     0 
News   GLOBAL  |  Apr 01, 2020
 3.5K     0 

Allandale25

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
8,088
Reaction score
12,374
VIA Rail CEO's opening remarks to the Federal Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities:


I assume the video of the Q and A will be posted to the CPAC YouTube channel at some point.
 

Urban Sky

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
1,566
Reaction score
3,705
City:
Montreal
This is Alstom's response to the HFR RFEOI. The government was soliciting industry input on what could be done.
It also seems like a strange response to such an open-ended project which almost explicitly invites you to completely reimagine it around your own vision:

„Your project sucks, do this instead!“
 
Last edited:

kEiThZ

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
11,983
Reaction score
7,737
It's the most insane approach to a major capital project I've seen. And to be fair, I actually saw it once in my career looking at search and rescue aircraft. Government wanted us to look at all kinds of solutions including privatization. Governments usually do this when they aren't serious and just want to waste time with analysis. I'm 50/50 on if this a serious procurement program or delay strategy.
 

nfitz

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Messages
25,720
Reaction score
6,658
City:
Toronto
From what I understand there is no downtown Montréal station, only a Montréal "Gare du Nord". There is a planned stop in Laval and I believe there is one in Terrebonne as well (but I could be mistaken on this one).
The map in the proposal showed the downtown Montreal track very clearly (in white). It doesn't show station locations though.

As they appear to be using the CP track into downtown, then I assume the station would be near Lucien L'Allier. Or if we get lucky, they knock down the building blocking the tracks :) and use Windsor Station. Though some have talked about a CP tunnel under La Gauchetiere from near Windsor to Central for years.

I'd assume that they'd also use Parc station and De La Concorde station that they'll pass through, from Montreal to Quebec City. I wonder if it's worth stopping at Vendome as well.

I'd also assume they've gone for the CP, so that they can get into Montreal a lot faster, than the dipsy-doodle from St. Henri to Central.

1674772164363.png
 

crs1026

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 17, 2014
Messages
8,950
Reaction score
16,982
It's the most insane approach to a major capital project I've seen. And to be fair, I actually saw it once in my career looking at search and rescue aircraft. Government wanted us to look at all kinds of solutions including privatization. Governments usually do this when they aren't serious and just want to waste time with analysis. I'm 50/50 on if this a serious procurement program or delay strategy.

I would have said this - up until the Board positions were appointed. And now the Minister is kind of saying they are committed to it. I would say they have crossed the threshold where they actually have to deliver something - it's increasingly hard to back away, at least until the initial bids are received.

I would now say that it is an admission that nobody, anywhere, in Ottawa has the slightest idea how to actually spec and design this thing, let alone execute it.... And, with this being a huge mystery that no one understands, their fears of the project being a failure or becoming tainted somehow are so great, they are desperate for someone credible to lead them out of their indecision.

They don't even dare hire a consultant to run the project, because they would have to decide whether to hire a company with inside Liberal connections, and take flak for that..... or turn the Liberal insiders away, which is a damned if you don't proposition.

Sadly, VIA's internal expertise has been basically discounted.

- Paul
 

MisterF

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
3,616
Reaction score
3,384
I can (sort of) understand the reluctance to promise higher speed on the Toronto-Havelock section, as that section has freight sharing, and a huge number of level crossings to address..... and possibly potential for coexistence with much slower-speed GO service stopping along the way (I hope not, but they may want that to appeal to the locals).
It doesn't have to be GO offering commuter service when Via can just do it themselves. Via already has commuter oriented services on its existing lines so there's no reason that they couldn't do the same for Peterborough.

The Havelock-Perth segment at 300 seems fanciful, if one takes the line drawn literally. And if one doesn't.... I come back to - which has lower cost, 98 miles of new 300 km/h line linking Havelock to Perth, or 98 miles of similar line constructed from Smiths Falls to Kingston (roughly 40 miles of new right of way from Portland to Kingston, and then 60 miles of new right of way roughly parallel to the CN line from Kingston westwards to Brighton?)
A high speed route going through Kingston would mean a lot more new track than that. Sharing with CN isn't an option so it would need to be a new greenfield right of way from roughly Oshawa to Smiths Falls. That's around 300 km, roughly double the distance of going through Havelock. The terrain is mostly easier to build on but it would have higher land acquisition costs and a lot more grade separations.

@Allandale25

*****

On a different note, I have one serious reservation about HSR from an ecological perspective. Assuming that there was a need to hard separate the rail corridor (fences) from adjacent lands, it would form a very significant barrier to wildlife.

Moose and Bears are currently found in the eastern reaches of the former ROW and on both sides of it. I wonder if thought has been given to this.

Secondarily, assuming the Trans-Canada Trail were retained in parallel on the applicable route sections, again, fencing could be quite isolating and inconvenient.

IF the choice were made not to fence in the more remote areas, there would presumably need to be risk analysis for moose collision. Not a risk factor for HSR in most parts of the world!
You can look at it from a slightly different perspective - if Alstom's proposal is built and we can get to Ottawa in two hours in Montreal in three, that would create a major shift towards rail and a major reduction in greenhouse gases and the other negative impacts of car-based transportation. That would probably outweigh any negative impacts from the new line itself. I would expect that the new line would have wildlife crossings much like the 400 extension to Sudbury or some of the highways in the Rockies.
 

Xav

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 17, 2020
Messages
142
Reaction score
226
The map in the proposal showed the downtown Montreal track very clearly (in white). It doesn't show station locations though.
Yes I saw that map, however in the article I posted here yesterday, the person they interviewed from Alstom mentioned that they would propose to skip downtown Montreal and build a "North" station so that the line could go from Toronto to Québec City without having to detour to Gare Centrale or Lucien-L'Allier.

Where that station would be is up to debate, as the spokesperson did not say, but the most likely candidates would be Canora or Parc (or even Namur could have some merits).
 

crs1026

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 17, 2014
Messages
8,950
Reaction score
16,982
It doesn't have to be GO offering commuter service when Via can just do it themselves. Via already has commuter oriented services on its existing lines so there's no reason that they couldn't do the same for Peterborough.

Which agency isn’t the issue, nor is serving Peterborough itself. The issue is the expectation that somebody will be wanting a train service that stops repeatedly between Agincourt and Peterboro. The past proposals eg Shining waters have all stipulated stops en route. (I’m strongly opposed, because that route runs through what is supposed to be Greenbelt, but that means nothing to the present provincial government).

If a stopping service is pursued, the track requirements will multiply because the non-stopping ”express” trains will overtake the locals.

My theory was that Alstom sidestepped that by not proposing to build anything more than a basic vanilla HfR grade line that kept both stopping and express in a single envelope….. so that if somebody wants better, Alstom isn’t ponying up the money and the added cost is outside Alstom’s bid.

A high speed route going through Kingston would mean a lot more new track than that. Sharing with CN isn't an option so it would need to be a new greenfield right of way from roughly Oshawa to Smiths Falls. That's around 300 km, roughly double the distance of going through Havelock. The terrain is mostly easier to build on but it would have higher land acquisition costs and a lot more grade separations.

I don’t have data, but neither am I ignoring data. One hundred miles of construction in the Canadian shield is likely the same cost as 125-150 miles in better terrain. That gets one most of the way to Toronto.

Property costs for the thin stretch of land along or between the parallel CP and CN row’s west of Belleville will not be at commercial market rates, it’s land that can’t be developed intensively. Grade crossings may indeed add cost, I agree.

And then there is my long-stated belief that the legacy regional service on the Lakeshore route is not sustainable or growable on the existing CN trackage and will require investment eventually - that need could be met within a new HxR investment.

You can look at it from a slightly different perspective - if Alstom's proposal is built and we can get to Ottawa in two hours in Montreal in three, that would create a major shift towards rail and a major reduction in greenhouse gases and the other negative impacts of car-based transportation. That would probably outweigh any negative impacts from the new line itself. I would expect that the new line would have wildlife crossings much like the 400 extension to Sudbury or some of the highways in the Rockies.

Environmental mitigations are an “and” not an “or” equation. You can’t wall off migratory or breeding paths for animal species and say that’s offset by carbon reduction. There will have to be an assessment of what impacts are created by an HSR quality infrastructure, and these will have to be mitigated.

- Paul
 
Last edited:

Woodbridge_Heights

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
3,170
Reaction score
1,122
12 Stations?

1. Toronto Union
2. Suburban Toronto
3. Peterborough
4. Fallowfield
5. Ottawa
6. Dorval
7. Montreal Downtown
8. Montreal "Nord"
9. Trois Rivieres
10. Quebec Airport
11. Quebec
12. ?????

What would the 12th be? A station north of Oshawa or something? I doubt they'd put a stop in Smiths Falls or something..

With 12 stations like that I would hope they would also offer express services running Toronto Union - Ottawa - Montreal Downtown direct too.

I don't think it's over doing it to have 3 stations in the GTA (Union, Eglinton/Agincourt, and somewhere near the 407 ETR)

Don't forget the Pickering Airport is still in the plans so there may be a provision to have a station there, eventually.
 

Bordercollie

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
1,846
Reaction score
1,229

MisterF

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
3,616
Reaction score
3,384
Which agency isn’t the issue, nor is serving Peterborough itself. The issue is the expectation that somebody will be wanting a train service that stops repeatedly between Agincourt and Peterboro. The past proposals eg Shining waters have all stipulated stops en route. (I’m strongly opposed, because that route runs through what is supposed to be Greenbelt, but that means nothing to the present provincial government).

If a stopping service is pursued, the track requirements will multiply because the non-stopping ”express” trains will overtake the locals.

My theory was that Alstom sidestepped that by not proposing to build anything more than a basic vanilla HfR grade line that kept both stopping and express in a single envelope….. so that if somebody wants better, Alstom isn’t ponying up the money and the added cost is outside Alstom’s bid.
HSR systems typically have different layers of services on the same tracks, sometimes including trains of different speeds. In the case of Alstom's proposal, the fact that the part of the network between Toronto and Peterborough is at conventional speed means that having express and local services is no more difficult than what Via and GO are doing already. Having commuter trains stop at stations that intercity trains don't serve would be relatively easy to implement here.

I don’t have data, but neither am I ignoring data. One hundred miles of construction in the Canadian shield is likely the same cost as 125-150 miles in better terrain. That gets one most of the way to Toronto.

Property costs for the thin stretch of land along or between the parallel CP and CN row’s west of Belleville will not be at commercial market rates, it’s land that can’t be developed intensively. Grade crossings may indeed add cost, I agree.
So you're thinking of putting a high speed line between the CN and CP lines? The two aren't really parallel in any meaningful sense. Sometimes they're right next to each other but for the most part they're several kilometres apart with farms and communities between them. The land is quite intensively developed and would need to be purchased at market rates.

Plus the geometry of the existing rail lines and the 401 are completely different from a high speed line. New HSR lines are typically built in the general vicinity of conventional lines but not following their right of way for most of the route. It would be a new right of way that has little relation to existing infrastructure.

Environmental mitigations are an “and” not an “or” equation. You can’t wall off migratory or breeding paths for animal species and say that’s offset by carbon reduction. There will have to be an assessment of what impacts are created by an HSR quality infrastructure, and these will have to be mitigated.

- Paul
We wall off wildlife with limited access freeways all the time. That's why mitigation measures like the wildlife crossings are used. Similar treatments could be used on an HSR line. HSR would probably have less of an impact than a freeway because it has a smaller ROW, no interchanges, no salt use, no emissions, etc.
 

lenaitch

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
4,761
Reaction score
4,877
It's the most insane approach to a major capital project I've seen. And to be fair, I actually saw it once in my career looking at search and rescue aircraft. Government wanted us to look at all kinds of solutions including privatization. Governments usually do this when they aren't serious and just want to waste time with analysis. I'm 50/50 on if this a serious procurement program or delay strategy.
And so far, that particular process is working out just swimmingly.
 

Urban Sky

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
1,566
Reaction score
3,705
City:
Montreal
Has anyone heard any indication of how Alstom plans to overcome the hostility of CN and CP against any use of overhead line equipment (OLE) within their ROW? Or are they planning to build the world‘s first 300 km/h fast high-speed trainset which doesn’t depend on continuous electrification?

Also, a friendly reminder for those who apparently take Alstom’s 1, 2 and 3 hour promises (for MTRL-OTTW, OTTW-TRTO and MTRL-TRTO, respectively) for an alignment which seems to mostly follow the proposed HFR alignment at face value, that the Ecotrain travel time estimates for the E-300 (i.e. continuously electrified and entirely dedicated ROW) scenario were 0:57h, 1:50h and 2:47h, respectively:
 
Last edited:

yrt+viva=1system

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 10, 2011
Messages
819
Reaction score
2,816
CN ignoring a committee hearing shows you how much the the railroads really care about the situation and passenger trains. They know the can get away with anything as the Federal government has no balls to enforce the acts.

CN a no-show at committee

While contrite, Via Rail's executives, including interim CEO Martin Landry, said CN is partly to blame for what transpired over the Christmas period.

Via Rail passenger trains operate almost exclusively on tracks owned by freight railways like CN and CP, which means Via Rail has little control over some operational issues, Landry said.

Those freight rail companies are responsible for maintenance on the sections they own — and helping trains that are in an emergency situation.

"It is the owner who is responsible for assisting us as quickly as possible. We were in constant communication with CN's control system but it was facing its own set of challenges," Landry said, adding the situation was "largely out of our control."

CN and the Railway Association of Canada were called before Thursday's transport committee meeting but declined to appear — a decision that prompted criticism from assembled MPs who said it was inappropriate for them to dodge accountability.

A spokesperson for the Railway Association said it declined an invitation to appear because "we do not have relevant expertise to offer to a review of Air Passenger Protection Regulations."

The committee is probing the treatment of both air and rail passengers by transportation companies in recent months.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/via-rail-holiday-delays-transport-committee-1.6726889
 

nfitz

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Messages
25,720
Reaction score
6,658
City:
Toronto
Has anyone heard any indication of how Alstom plans to overcome the hostility of CN and CP against any use of overhead line equipment (OLE) within their ROW? Or are they planning to build the world‘s first 300 km/h fast high-speed trainset which doesn’t depend on continuous electrification?
I'd assume the latter, now that Siemens is manufacturing battery-hybrid Charger locomotives.

They'd need to develop something for faster trainsets, if we do end up with HST - but they've got a good decade to do that.

 

Top