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New Peterborough Rail Passenger Service

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From today's papers:

Peterborough awarded high speed rail [ Toronto Star ] http://www.thestar.com/News/FederalBudget/article/307725

A transit coup ‘out of the blue’ [ Toronto Star ] http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/307726

I have a question.

In one of the articles above, it says: "CP, which owns the track and operates GO's Milton line, hasn't even figured out how the train headed north out of Union Station will make the switch to an eastbound track, south of Lawrence Ave. near the Don Valley, said spokesperson Michel Spenard. The two aren't linked."

What does that mean? When I saw the CP holiday train this winter, they backed the train up the Don Valley and across the bridge over the Don River. Are they saying that track is not connected to the CP main line? Wouldn't there be a connected near at the Millwood Road bridge over the CP tracks?

Did they remove the tracks from the days when there was service to Peterborough which ended in 1990?

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From today's papers:

Peterborough awarded high speed rail [ Toronto Star ] http://www.thestar.com/News/FederalBudget/article/307725

A transit coup ‘out of the blue’ [ Toronto Star ] http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/307726

I have a question.

In one of the articles above, it says: "CP, which owns the track and operates GO's Milton line, hasn't even figured out how the train headed north out of Union Station will make the switch to an eastbound track, south of Lawrence Ave. near the Don Valley, said spokesperson Michel Spenard. The two aren't linked."

What does that mean? When I saw the CP holiday train this winter, they backed the train up the Don Valley and across the bridge over the Don River. Are they saying that track is not connected to the CP main line? Wouldn't there be a connected near at the Millwood Road bridge over the CP tracks?

Did they remove the tracks from the days when there was service to Peterborough which ended in 1990?

I thought the connection existed just before the Leaside station at Millwood as well. While the Holiday Train may have used that connection, it may only be suitable for sporadic use. It may require some upgrading if it is to see increased usage for the Peterborough service.

Looking at a map, between Pontypool and Claremont, are there any reasonable stops for this service should GO operate it? VIA is more likely to stop at the small towns/villages listed at the end of the first Star article? I don't think Brooklin has grown to the point where it would run into Myrtle just yet. Plus, I know there is discussion of moving the Agincourt station closer to the 401 so that a common station can be built on both the CN and CP lines. Maybe this will get things going?

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I have a question.

In one of the articles above, it says: "CP, which owns the track and operates GO's Milton line, hasn't even figured out how the train headed north out of Union Station will make the switch to an eastbound track, south of Lawrence Ave. near the Don Valley, said spokesperson Michel Spenard. The two aren't linked."

What does that mean? When I saw the CP holiday train this winter, they backed the train up the Don Valley and across the bridge over the Don River. Are they saying that track is not connected to the CP main line? Wouldn't there be a connected near at the Millwood Road bridge over the CP tracks?

Did they remove the tracks from the days when there was service to Peterborough which ended in 1990?

Their spokesperson is on crack. The line still exists (it's the south/east end of the Belleville Sub), and has been used each of the past two Decembers to allow CPR's Holiday Train to access downtown Toronto.

Dan

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Looking at a map, between Pontypool and Claremont, are there any reasonable stops for this service should GO operate it? VIA is more likely to stop at the small towns/villages listed at the end of the first Star article? I don't think Brooklin has grown to the point where it would run into Myrtle just yet. Plus, I know there is discussion of moving the Agincourt station closer to the 401 so that a common station can be built on both the CN and CP lines. Maybe this will get things going?

Most of that area is under the greenbelt, so the towns and villages aren't going to get much bigger then they already are. In my opinion, a Peterborough to Oshawa direct connection is better for that city. The midtown line is supposed to go as far as Claremont by 2020, and we should look at extending things from there.

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Their spokesperson is on crack. The line still exists (it's the south/east end of the Belleville Sub), and has been used each of the past two Decembers to allow CPR's Holiday Train to access downtown Toronto.

Dan

Thanks for the great reply Dan. I knew when I read that article that there was something wrong. Maybe I should apply to be CP's new spokesperson.

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High Speed Rail? That was...unexpected :S .

The star is probably just wrong, I doubt it will be high speed rail.

I hope this is rail link is operated by VIA and not a GO peak hour commuter service, which would make absolutely no sense.

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The star is probably just wrong, I doubt it will be high speed rail.

Compared to the speeds on the line now (30mph, with many slow orders), any improvement would make it a "high speed line".

I hope this is rail link is operated by VIA and not a GO peak hour commuter service, which would make absolutely no sense.

Considering that 95% of the people who would take such a service are commuters, would you care to explain why GO operating the service will not make sense?

For the record, the fed's are saying right now that it will likely be VIA who will operate the service. Whether the money even gets allocated remains to be seen.

There are also some nasty rumours floating about that all this may actually be simply a way for the feds to help out their friends at CPR...it seems that CPR is talking about reactivating the "old main" from Glen Tay to Havelock as a means to increase their capacity between Toronto and Montréal. The Federal Government paying to upgrade the line from Toronto to Peterborough is supposedly some sort of underhanded way to help them with this project. All rumours to this point though...

Dan

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This was in today's paper on the front page:

Flaherty's train catches his officials off guard

Cost undefined, Finance spokeswoman says

JEFF GRAY AND STEVEN CHASE

February 29, 2008 at 4:00 AM EST

TORONTO, OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's surprise pledge to run train service from Toronto to Peterborough, Ont. - on a route through his riding - may have been included in the federal budget, but his department still could not say yesterday how much it will cost, how many passengers it might carry, or who will operate it.

"The final cost of the specific project ... has not yet been defined," spokeswoman Nathalie Gauthier said in an e-mail. "Details regarding this project, including the service provider, will be decided in the future."

But critics say the idea will be very costly, requiring large subsidies to carry a comparatively small number of passengers. And they point out it does not appear on Ontario's multibillion-dollar list of priority public-transit projects across the Toronto region that are already awaiting funding.

The plan to revive passenger rail service along tracks owned by Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. from Toronto's central Union Station to Peterborough - closed by Via Rail in 1990 - has been championed by Peterborough's Conservative MP, Dean Del Mastro, and was welcomed by local leaders.

A document he compiled himself last summer estimated the needed track upgrades at $150-million and predicted slightly more than 900 passengers a day. But now it appears Ottawa has a rosier view of things. A federal official speaking yesterday on condition of anonymity said the total cost of the project may be $105-million, and Mr. Del Mastro said the 900 passenger forecast was only a "preliminary" figure that may be low.

"There has always been a business case for it. There continues to be a business case for it," he said. "It will be of enormous benefit to Toronto, to the GTA, to Durham region, to Peterborough and the Kawarthas."

Mr. Del Mastro said the revival of the railway is the result of a continuing lobby since 1999 when his Liberal predecessor advocated the service, and the Liberal government of the day promised it. He said yesterday he pitched the current government on the idea. "I actually put a proposal together. I put a package together."

Mr. Del Mastro would not say whether Via Rail would operate the service, but said more details would be announced soon. The federal budget says that any project must have a "public beneficiary" come forward by March 31 in order to qualify for money from a $500-million transit trust fund.

Despite Mr. Del Mastro's enthusiasm, some appear to have doubts about the wisdom of the project and expressed surprise it would be included in a federal budget. Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley and his officials said they were not consulted and that the project was news to them.

There have been repeated calls for more transit service out of Peterborough. But a 2006 study by GO Transit, the provincial Crown agency that serves Toronto-area regional commuters, concluded that even a much less expensive proposal to expand bus service between Toronto and Peterborough wasn't worth the trouble, would attract few riders and would only cover 30 per cent of its costs. (Normal GO service recovers 86 per cent of its costs from riders.) Estimating 125 to 275 riders a day, the GO report concludes the number of commuters coming from Peterborough to Toronto is "relatively small" and "future growth is anticipated to be low."

Serving commuters to the eastern fringes of Toronto proper, such as Whitby or Oshawa, would be impractical because "these trips are dispersed and more difficult to serve with transit."

GO Transit chairman Peter Smith said he knew nothing other than what he had read in the media about the attempt to revive the rail service and that GO Transit has not been approached to run it. He warned any such train service would be massively expensive, perhaps costing as much as $180-million to upgrade the tracks, and requiring large operating subsidies.

"Who is going to pay the subsidy? Oh, it's huge," Mr. Smith said, though he was unable to provide an estimate.

He said GO and provincial officials hope to meet soon with their federal counterparts to get more details about the proposal.

He added that GO actually does plan to look again at whether Peterborough could be served by buses, perhaps running to a GO train station at Bowmanville after expansion on the busy Lakeshore East rail line takes place.

Mr. Del Mastro rejected the idea that the line will require subsidies to operate: "Not according to my report, no."

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mr. Flaherty laughed off the cost and ridership projections from his own backbencher's report.

"I don't know where you get your numbers from, 900 and $140-million. I don't know where you get those from," he said.

The Finance Minister also denied that politics played any role in the project, which not only benefits Mr. Del Mastro, who narrowly defeated a Liberal candidate in 2006, but also goes through the riding of Mr. Flaherty's wife, Christine Elliott, who represents Whitby-Ajax for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in the provincial legislature.

"I didn't look at the ridings, to tell you the truth," he said.

Mr. Flaherty said the project will take "hundreds of thousands" of car trips off the region's highways. "The area north and east of the city of Toronto is growing rapidly," he said. "This is one of the most rapidly growing areas not only in Canada but also in North America."

Local politicians along the line welcomed the plan. Oshawa Mayor John Gray said residents in the north end of his city would be the most likely to use the proposed line.

"It may get people out of their cars but I wouldn't want to put a number to it. It adds to the commuter choice," he said.

Durham regional chairman Roger Anderson said the proposed train line would pick up commuters from his region and from York Region before arriving at Union Station.

"Anything that alleviates congestion in downtown Toronto is a good thing," he said.

With reports from Jennifer Lewington and Brent Jang

1. AJAX-PICKERING

Federal Election Liberal PC NDP Green Other

2006 49% 33% 13% 4% 1%

2007 50% 34% 8% 7% 1%

2. WHITBY-OSHAWA

Federal Election Liberal PC NDP Green Other

2006 39% 44% 13% 4% 1%

2007 36% 44% 11% 7% 2%

3. DURHAM

Federal Election Liberal PC NDP Green Other

2006 30% 47% 17% 5% 1%

2007 32% 47% 12% 9%

4. HALIBURTON-KAWARTHA LAKES-BROCK

Federal Election Liberal PC NDP Green Other

2006 29% 49% 17% 5%

2007 29% 50% 12% 7% 2%

5. PETERBOROUGH

Federal Election Liberal PC NDP Green Other

2006 32% 36% 26% 5% 1%

2007 26% 48% 17% 9% 1%

SOURCE: ELECTIONS CANADA, ELECTIONS ONTARIO

0229train800big.jpg

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Compared to the speeds on the line now (30mph, with many slow orders), any improvement would make it a "high speed line".

Considering that 95% of the people who would take such a service are commuters, would you care to explain why GO operating the service will not make sense?

For the record, the fed's are saying right now that it will likely be VIA who will operate the service. Whether the money even gets allocated remains to be seen.

There are also some nasty rumours floating about that all this may actually be simply a way for the feds to help out their friends at CPR...it seems that CPR is talking about reactivating the "old main" from Glen Tay to Havelock as a means to increase their capacity between Toronto and Montréal. The Federal Government paying to upgrade the line from Toronto to Peterborough is supposedly some sort of underhanded way to help them with this project. All rumours to this point though...

Dan

I meant that it wouldn't make sense to be operated as a peak hour service only, not that it wouldn't make sense for GO to run it.

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- Renew rail: $32 million

- Renew other track material, crossings, warning systems: $42 million

- North Toronto sub fly-under at Leaside and Toronto yard capacity: $50 million-60 million

- Don branch renewal: $6 million

- Passenger equipment (depending on Via Rail choices): $20 million

- Stations, platforms, parking lots: $10 million

Source: Link to Article In Peterborough Examiner

I saw this description of some of the costs and am curious about the "North Toronto sub fly-under at Leaside and Toronto yard capacity: $50 million-60 million". Does that mean the line to Peterborough has to go under or over the CP main line due to high volume? Also, why would the Toronto Yard need increased capacity? Couldn't the trains be stored at an existing yard?

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Source: Link to Article In Peterborough Examiner

I saw this description of some of the costs and am curious about the "North Toronto sub fly-under at Leaside and Toronto yard capacity: $50 million-60 million". Does that mean the line to Peterborough has to go under or over the CP main line due to high volume? Also, why would the Toronto Yard need increased capacity? Couldn't the trains be stored at an existing yard?

Toronto Yard upgrades lends itself to the rumour Smallspy posted a few days ago.

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Compared to the speeds on the line now (30mph, with many slow orders), any improvement would make it a "high speed line".

Considering that 95% of the people who would take such a service are commuters, would you care to explain why GO operating the service will not make sense?

For the record, the fed's are saying right now that it will likely be VIA who will operate the service. Whether the money even gets allocated remains to be seen.

There are also some nasty rumours floating about that all this may actually be simply a way for the feds to help out their friends at CPR...it seems that CPR is talking about reactivating the "old main" from Glen Tay to Havelock as a means to increase their capacity between Toronto and Montréal. The Federal Government paying to upgrade the line from Toronto to Peterborough is supposedly some sort of underhanded way to help them with this project. All rumours to this point though...

Dan

Is the track bed still in place? I went to Marmora as a kid but i never saw any indication of tracks near HWY 7....

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I thought the connection existed just before the Leaside station at Millwood as well. While the Holiday Train may have used that connection, it may only be suitable for sporadic use. It may require some upgrading if it is to see increased usage for the Peterborough service.

Looking at a map, between Pontypool and Claremont, are there any reasonable stops for this service should GO operate it? VIA is more likely to stop at the small towns/villages listed at the end of the first Star article? I don't think Brooklin has grown to the point where it would run into Myrtle just yet. Plus, I know there is discussion of moving the Agincourt station closer to the 401 so that a common station can be built on both the CN and CP lines. Maybe this will get things going?

If this is going to be GO service, then the stops should be

-Leaside

-possibly another station near Victoria Park & Lawrence Ave East

-Agincourt

-Locust Hill (for the east side of Markham)

-Myrtle Station (in order to connect with the Hwy 12 GO buses, and for commuters in Port Perry and Brooklin

-Pontypool (on Hwy 35)

-possibly Cavan (for Millbrook and Bethany)

-Peterborough

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If this is going to be GO service, then the stops should be

-Leaside

-possibly another station near Victoria Park & Lawrence Ave East

-Agincourt

-Locust Hill (for the east side of Markham)

-Myrtle Station (in order to connect with the Hwy 12 GO buses, and for commuters in Port Perry and Brooklin

-Pontypool (on Hwy 35)

-possibly Cavan (for Millbrook and Bethany)

-Peterborough

That looks doable. Union>Leaside>Wexford>Agincourt>(what about a station at Steeles?)>Locust Hill>Claremont>Myrtle>Pontypool>Peterborough

I'd leave Cavan, Millbrook and Bethany for GO Buses to pick up. I figure the buses would run off the 401 (coming from Union or Oshawa/Bowmanville), up the 35/115 stopping at Orono, Pontypool, Cavan, Millbrook and Bethany. A separate bus could serve Locust Hill, Claremont and Myrtle via the 407 or possibly Markham.

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Ok this is a bit off-topic and this may be a somewhat simple-minded question to raise, but it's been bugging me the past few days...

Supposedly GO did a study to determine if bus service to Peterborough was viable or not, and found it would not be due to lack of riders and high cost...now, the problem I have here is that aparently there are people communting to Toronto every day from Peterborough by Coach (presumably Coach Canada, Greyhound or some other company). So you would think that if a private coach company can make a service viable on a daily basis, GO could do the same couldn't they? Not only that but maybe more people would use GO because the fares are lower and more connections are available to various destinations. So is GO full of BS, or am I missing something here?

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Here are some more details from the Peterborough MP who proposed the line courtesy of the Toronto Star.

The trains operating on the line would be two cars long and have minimal station facilities with no staff provided by the operator. CP has offered to put up some of the cost of refurbishing the line. The suggested stations are: Union, Agincourt, Steeles, Locust Hill, Claremont, Myrtle, Pontypool and Peterborough.

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Why wouldn't they just extend the stouffville line, looks simple, cut across the street; stouffville to claremont.

The Stouffville tracks continue on to Uxbridge, where GO Train service will eventually end up (who knows when). The closest the two lines physically come is along Hwy. 7 between the Markham and Locust Hill stations. Well, they do cross at Agincourt, but that doesn't help here. So unless GO's willing to create a brand new spur line to connect Stouffville to Claremont, I don't think this will work. If GO does operate the line, Claremont and possibly Myrtle will probably be served by a branch of the Markham GO Bus route.

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The Stouffville tracks continue on to Uxbridge, where GO Train service will eventually end up (who knows when). The closest the two lines physically come is along Hwy. 7 between the Markham and Locust Hill stations. Well, they do cross at Agincourt, but that doesn't help here. So unless GO's willing to create a brand new spur line to connect Stouffville to Claremont, I don't think this will work. If GO does operate the line, Claremont and possibly Myrtle will probably be served by a branch of the Markham GO Bus route.

Claremont will get a train from MoveOntario 2020.

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Claremont will get a train from MoveOntario 2020.

Yes I know, but I don't think that the trains will be running all day. Most likely at peak periods only. I was referring to off-peak travel, probably serviced by GO Buses. Myrtle is already served by the Beaverton-Whitby route. It'd be interesting to see how the service works out. Perhaps by then the Stouffville line will have all-day service and the Claremont route can simply be a train-meet run to Markham, Stouffville or Lincolnville.

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Here are some more details from the Peterborough MP who proposed the line courtesy of the Toronto Star.

The trains operating on the line would be two cars long and have minimal station facilities with no staff provided by the operator. CP has offered to put up some of the cost of refurbishing the line. The suggested stations are: Union, Agincourt, Steeles, Locust Hill, Claremont, Myrtle, Pontypool and Peterborough.

LOL, why not just load everyone into boxcars for the trip. ^_^

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