Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Cape Breton group calls for public policy discussion on rail

CAPE BRETON POST - SYDNEY — As the future of rail in Cape Breton remains a question mark, members of the Scotia Rail Development Society would like to see governments engage in a serious public policy discussion about rail infrastructure in Nova Scotia and across the country.

“Canada as a country doesn’t really have a clear transportation policy in regards to railways,” said rail society member Jason Morrison. “It is time for Canada to step up to the international plate and define the role of railways in Canada for Canadians, not for railway companies.”

Specifically, Morrison would like to see a moratorium on rail line removal across Canada — a move that would prevent rail companies or operators from ever being permitted to tear up tracks. Morrison said the society views the actual rail lines as public infrastructure. Read the full story at:

Monday, August 15, 2016

Job Posting - Advisor, Civil Engineer - Ministry of Transportation (Includes High Speed Rail!)

Be part of the team that will advise and support the largest rail infrastructure project in North America! This is a unique and progressive advisory engineering role. You will have the opportunity to apply your extensive rail engineering expertise and consultative services as part of a multi-disciplinary team to support the Minister's oversight of Metrolinx and other Delivery Agencies. Metrolinx is responsible for the planning, operation and implementation of the GO Transit network to Regional Express Rail (RER). You will be part of a centre of excellence to support the Ministry of Transportation's (MTO) rail initiatives including high speed rail, rapid transit and rail safety.

 This position will require someone who can ask critical questions, explain technical information, and provide advisory services. This is a once-in-a-career opportunity. What can I expect to do in this role?

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Can David Collenette Save High Speed Rail and VIA RAIL in Ontario?

Daivd Collenette
David Collenette

Only twice have Canada’s passenger trains caught half a break from any government.  To find the reasons why, you have to examine the high-level personalities involved on those two occasions.

The most recent opportunity was created when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty – an admitted rail passenger buff and regular user – swung nearly $1 billion to VIA.  Sadly, VIA frittered this away – with the uniformed consent of the government that awarded the capital infusion – and let CN hoover up most of those public funds, souring any chance of fuller funding by the Harper government.

However, the first time VIA was given a fair shake was under Transport Minister David Collenette.  He was born in London and spent his first 10 years near Marylebone Station, where he befriended the railroaders and was rewarded with “footplate rides” on the steam engines shuttling back and forth to the loco shed.  When he arrived in Toronto in 1957, his family lived near Danforth and Broadview, giving him the opportunity to hang out on the Prince Edward Viaduct after school and watch the CP and CN trains in the Don Valley below, as well as admire the pairs of TTC multiple unit “trams” zooming by at street level.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Visitor's View of Passenger Rail in Canada

I've just returned home to England after having spent around 2 and a half weeks in Ontario. The overall impression I\'ve come home with is that Canada is a lovely country with great people, but a very poor public transport system. One of the things that sticks out is how awkward and inconvenient it can be. The first train trip I made was from Toronto to Kingston. Via\'s Kingston Station is located out of town. There was no direct bus from the Station to downtown, so I had to get a taxi. Clearly there hasn\'t been much joined up thinking there. After Kingston I then went on to Smiths Falls.

Again I had to get a taxi from the Via Station to my guest house, because the Station has now been moved out of town. My understanding is that the current Smiths Falls Via Station has opened within the last few years after it was moved from the former C.P Station, which is conveniently located in downtown. Why on earth was this decision made ? How can that be looked upon as being progress, moving a Station out of town ?

Then I went on to London, which unlike Kingston and Smiths Falls has a conveniently located Via Station. However actually getting around the town itself wasn\'t always straight forward. Not all of the bus stops were clearly marked, and when I told one bus driver where I needed to get off he told me the wrong stop. I understand that as well as a high speed rail link, there has been talk of London having a light rail system. In my opinion those two things can\'t come quick enough.