Sunday, June 26, 2016

Letter - More GO Trains for Kitchener

by Matthew Bentley - As a regular reader of your website and I have both emailed you before and left a number of comments on the blog. Your most recent article mentions the extra GO trains planned for Kitchener.

Sadly this won't come soon enough for me. I'm coming over to Canada again for a holiday this coming Monday (27th) for just over two weeks.

I'll be staying in Toronto, Kingston, Smiths Falls, London and Windsor. I had intended to take a day trip between Toronto and Kitchener. Sadly the limited service offered by both GO and Via makes this very difficult. I also wanted to travel to Sarnia. Again Via's poor frequency doesn't make this an easy option. I shall probably have a day out to Niagara Falls. However,

 I've only been able to find out the GO train schedule within the last 2 or 3 weeks. That's not very helpful when trying to plan a holiday in advance. I  can't believe that GO are unable to get their timetable out sooner, if you ask me that's very poor planning and communication. Add to that the service isn't very frequent. Surely such a popular tourist destination should have much more than just one Amtrak train in either direction, and a very limited GO service.
  The article mentions running a higher frequency service between Kitchener and Toronto by around 2024. In my opinion this is something that should be happening a lot sooner than that. It's just so frustrating that improvements to  train services seem to take so long in Canada. I feel that the present Canadian Government needs to get a grip, and start pushing things forward a lot quicker. I've not heard any more about their plans for High Speed Rail.
They also don't seem to be taking any action when it comes to getting large cities such as Calgary, Regina,  Sherbrooke  and Saint John back on the passenger rail map. Trudeau and his team need to wake up fast. Amtrak have had rising passenger numbers for around ten years now, surely they can't be proud of the fact that Via are badly  lagging behind them ?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Definitely not high speed rail but two more morning and afternoon departures for GO Trains out of Kitchener. Still waiting for weekend service! Great News. http://www.therecord.com/news-story/6721969-province-will-deliver-two-way-all-day-go-train-service-wynne-says/

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fastest Speeds of Trains in the World

fastest trains in the world
2015 Fastest Trains in the World

Thanks to Statista for the following information. The statistic illustrates the world's fastest high-speed trains in 2015, based on the maximum speed. China's high-speed trains are at the top of the list: The Shanghai Maglev reaches 431 kilometers per hour, while the Harmony CRH 380A has a speed limit of 380 kilometers per hour. In an initial testing, the CRH 380A high speed train reached a top speed of 416.6 kilometers.  In Canada, VIA RAIL maximum is 160kph and that doesn't happen often!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

GUELPH Wants High Speed Rail

Guelph Wants High Speed Rail
High Speed Rail for Guelph, ON?

GUELPH MERCURY - A proposed high-speed rail project from Windsor to Toronto through London and Waterloo might stop in Guelph, but only if the city agrees to costly rail upgrades including dealing with the city’s numerous at-grade crossings

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Minister in denial about Via's woes: Greg Gormick

How much does CN charge VIA RAIL to run on their tracks?

London Free Press - Jonathan Sher - Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau can’t fix what ails Via Rail until he stops shunting responsibility to others and admits Via has declined for decades, a leading rail expert says.

The critical comments from Greg Gormick came after Garneau and his ministry supplied what Gormick described as boilerplate responses to questions posed by The Free Press.

“They bobbed and weaved,” said Gormick, a Cambridge consultant whose clients have included CN and CP, Via and General Motors’ former locomotive-making business in London.


Monday, May 9, 2016

A 1964 Future Transportation System - Monorails, High Speed Rail, Turbine Engine Cars,Buses and Trucks!

1964 Futuristic Vision of  Transportation Systems in 1980

A 1964 vision of what a typical highway running through an American City would look like in 1980. What really happened to this vision? CLICK HERE FOR LARGE SIZE OF ABOVE GRAPHIC 

 In 1964, the Philadelphia Enquirer posted a graphic of what a typical American city would look like in 1980 with a highway going through it. Looking at this graphic now in 2016, with the present state of our transportation systems and how our highways connect to our Canadian and USA cities, we see how badly we need a renewed vision for the future.

 By 1964 the tearing up and elimination of the inner city streetcar systems was well underway, as the automotive and rubber tire manufacturers of the USA decided more room was needed for the cars they were building. Please watch this video “Taken for a Ride” for more information on this issue. 

The massive highway building that started in the late 1950s and their continued expansion and reliance to this day has meant alternatives to intercity travel have been largely unsuccessful.

 Let us have some fun and look and what the solutions were in 1964 and the realities are in 2016. The answer in 1964 evolved around technologies that were new/experimental and futuristic at the time. 273 km/h High Speed Trains, 96 km/h Monorails, and cars, buses and trucks powered by gas turbine engines were going to be of the solution to our transportation needs.

Gas Turbine Cars In North America 

In the early 1950s General Motors (GM) had been developing a gas turbine engine. The demonstration vehicle was the GM Firebird XP-21. It was Chrysler corporation that led the way with the Turbine Car. It had model that had the first two prototypes travelling across the USA in 1956 and 1958.

From 1962-1964 it made 50 vehicles to be demonstrated by the public. Nine still exist today, including one owned by Jay Leno. Although the program stopped and started again it was dead by 1977.

Why did the gas turbine engine car by Chrysler not survive? It definitely had positive reviews from the public. A combination of: lack of funding from Chrysler, (Chrysler was in a tough financial situation), new government legislation regarding lower emissions and increased safety standards. The final nail in the coffin for the turbine engine car was during the Ronald Regan government era when the government cut off research funding to the project. An excellent video on the history of the Chrysler turbine car is available to watch here.