Mountain Valley Express High Speed Rail - Whistler-Vancouver- Chilliwack

Mountain Valley Express High Speed Rail


Exciting news out of the British Columbia. There is a proposal titled," Mountain Valley Express" (MVX). It proposes a high speed rail line between Whistler-Vancouver-Chilliwack. 

According to their website - With speeds of up to 300km/h, passengers will be able to travel from the mountains to the valley in under an hour. With stations at key regional hubs, the MVX will become the economic engine of sustainable growth for the next generation. With travel times up to 4 times faster than driving, MVX will transform the way we move and live, opening up unforeseen economic opportunities for decades to come.

Feel free to learn more about this important proposal at https://www.mvx.vision/index.html

TURBO - The UAC CN Turbotrain Complete 1970 Movie

The Turbotrain  - Canada's High Speed Train


In 2002, Paul Langan the founder of High Speed Rail Canada, began his search for all audio and video materials of Canada's  famous Turbotrain. In 2009 he posted the TURBO movie in 3 parts on Youtube. Now for the first time  the complete movie has been loaded for the public to view. 

The film is a look at Canada's fastest train. On April 22nd, 1976 the Turbotrain set the Canadian Railway Speed Record travelling 140mph/225km/hr while operating as a Passenger Extra 153 East between miles 104 and 84 on CN's Kingston Subdivision.

The train was built by United Aircraft Corporation for CN Railway and ran in Canada from 1968 and 1982. They were built by Montreal Locomotive Works. The Turbo also ran in the USA.

Film Description from the 1971 CN Film Catalogue - CN's turbine-powered train which covered the 336 miles (540km) from Montreal to Toronto in just four hours. The film follows the development of the Turbo - from its engineering, to its construction and interior design. Ride Turbo to the heat of downtown Montreal and Toronto and savour a gourmet dinner at your Turboclub seat. Everything about Turbo is new - from the dome lounges to the pant suited hostesses.

1970 - 23min.45s - Produced by Peterson Productions, Sponsored by Canadian National Railway. TURBO was awarded a bronze medal at the International Film and Television Festival of New York. Permission to use the TURBO film for educational purposes was granted to Paul Langan by CN in 2002.


High Speed Rail Support from the Young Liberals of Canada - Jeunes libéraux du Canada

The Young Liberals of Canada released their 2020 Policies. The prioritized High Speed Rail in the Ontario-Quebec corridor as a priority.


The Young Liberals spelled out their rationale for fast tracking high speed rail in Canada. Nice to see young people recognizing that proven technology like high speed rail is needed in Canada.

Hyperloop and the Sci-Fi Fantasy

Reality Check for Hyperloop 

With the latest news that the Alberta government was interested in the Transpod Hyperloop, we felt it was time for an update on our previous story.


What are some of the critical problems in trying to make hyperloop become a reality?

Security-wise 

It’s easy to destroy this system by making a small dent in the tube. Yes, it’s one inch thick steel, but there are easily attainable ways to dent one-inch steel. When you hit a small bump protruding inside the tube while going at 1,000 km/h nothing good can possibly happen regardless of capsule suspension design. As proposed the system is impossible to secure - Clem Tillier

Sudden Decompression 

The whole thing about hard vacuum versus partial vacuum is academic This is a 99.9% vacuum. In a sudden decompression the passengers cannot survive, regardless of whether oxygen masks are available. This is unlike an airliner where there is always sufficient residual pressure and oxygen to survive even the worst-case decompression event. - Clem Tillier

Thermal Expansion

 Due to changes in  temperature, the steel would change in structure. In bridges there are expansion joints to allow it to expand and shrink without compromising the structural integrity. The Hyperloop will require thermal expansion joints to function. Installing the joints on bridges is easy enough, however, they do not need to maintain a seal holding back billions of kilograms of force.

Phil Mason predicts the Hyperloop will require a joint every 100 meters. Over the entire distance, it would accumulate 6000 moving vacuum seals - all of which are a significant point of failure."A failure on any one of them would be disastrous to everyone inside"  Phil Mason - The Hyperloop Busted Video.

Pressure

A proposed Hyperloop of 600 km with a diameter of about two meters,  will maintain a surface area of about four million meters squared. Given one square meter will experience 10,000 kg of force, the Hyperloop will have to endure nearly 40 billion kilograms of force over its entire surface.

A small compromise in the structure of the tube would result in a catastrophic implosion. If the tube became punctured, external air would tear into the tube, shredding it apart as it violently rushes in to fill the void. - Interesting Engineering - June 29th, 2017

Emergency Exits

Emergency exits in some form are required for the hyperloop. There are always emergencies that could occur in the tube and people must be evacuated. However, designing an emergency exit system that both accommodates sufficient safety and acceptable costs is complex.  What emergencies are critical and to what emergencies the system needs to be designed, is unclear.

A hyperloop has never been built and operated before, so practical experience and data is not readily available. It is hard to determine what is acceptable in terms of safety. Hyperloop Connected - Challenges for the Hyperloop, May 16, 2019

Transpod Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Province of Alberta

 

It seems unbelievable that Government of Alberta would support the Transpod, and their yet to be developed 1000 km/h technology, over high speed trains. Yet the governement has signed a memorandum of understanding 

The province is not putting any taxpayers money into the project but will identify suitable test track for the project. The company has raised some money for the test track project.

What is Transpod?

Since their are no existing Transpod systems in the world and the technology has not been proven we can only speculate on this Jetsons style dream plan.

According to their website the Transpod is: The TransPod vehicle is built like an airline jet fuselage, containing rows of seats inside. Passengers board from platforms at each station. Powered by electrically-driven magnetic propulsion, the vehicle departs, gently accelerates to full speed inside the TransPod tube infrastructure, and decelerates on approach to the final destination station.The TransPod tube system will carry passenger and cargo vehicles on the same route at the same time.

Interestingly when you go to their website and click on the Download button on the Infrastructure page you get an error message "404 page not found". You would think on the company website they would want to show you details of the infrastructure part of the Transpod plan. But then again letting us know the details would open up the technology to be scrutinized. 

Perhaps Transpod is no different than the Hyperloop schemes. Lots of money being spent with not one example of the technology working as the manufacturers have stated.

Why is the Alberta government not open for business for high speed rail expertise of countries like, Japan, Italy, France and China? High speed trains have been running for  a half of century around the world.

Déjà vu All Over Again - 1982 TranSyt

It seems like déjà vu all over again for long time supporters of any modern link between Calgary and Alberta. In 1982, TranSyt proposed to build a high speed 240km/h monorail between the two cities. Unfortunately the province could not come to terms with the company about building the test track and the dream ended..

Time will tell if the Government of Alberta is being taken for a ride....



The Return of Calgary to Banff Passenger Rail Dreams Continue

Banff Railway Station Alberta
Banff Railway Station Alberta - Buses or Trains - The Government is Reviewing Options

In 2014, High Speed Rail Canada reported that Vancouver businessman  Greg Dansereau’s had a plan for high speed rail between Calgary - Banff. Greg founded HSBanff.

HSBanff was a private not-for-profit group aimed at building a rail line that would take travellers from Calgary’s airport to the mountain town in as little as 26 minutes on a train going up to 400 kilometres per hour. The group aimed to raise $300,000. by crowdfunding to pay for the feasibility and environmental studies.

Fast forward to 2020, the HSBanff website is gone and their twitter page has not been updated for three years.

Calgary - Banff Passenger Rail Service Feasible


On February 28th, 2019, the Calgary Herald reported that Calgary to Banff passenger rail service was feasible . A new report stated it would cost $660M price tag.

The preliminary study, paid by municipal governments,stated that the two options, buses and trains, were examined. According to the study, the bus scenario is the most cost-effective (with capital costs of between $8.1 million and $19.6 million. It would be $660 million to $690 million for rail), a rail link would move more people and be a bigger boost for tourism in the long run, said City of Calgary Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra.

The passenger rail service would require construction of a new parallel track along the Canadian Pacific Railway right-of-way.

On June 9th, 2020, it was reported that Canada’s Infrastructure Bank would pay for a more detailed study for Alberta and the federal government about the feasibility of operating a passenger rail service between downtown Calgary, Calgary International Airport, and Banff. The study would look at a public-private partnership to build and potentially operate the rail line.

The CBC reported that Adam Waterous approached the infrastructure bank representatives about the idea. Adam, along with his wife Jan, owns the long-term lease to the Banff Train Station. The couple have been outspoken advocates of Calgary-Banff passenger rail.

Calgary - Banff Not High Speed Rail


Unfortunately some media and politicians started using the word “high speed” when describing the proposed Calgary-Banff passenger rail system. On July 2nd, 2020 an article in the Calgary Herald clarified the issue. Canada Infrastructure Bank officials stated in the article it would not be high speed rail.

Hopefully future discussion on the topic will not mention the words “high speed rail”. True high speed rail costs would be significantly higher, due to bridges, tunnels, grade separations, new alignments etc.

A true high speed passenger rail between Calgary and Edmonton ( $5 billion) which is realistic and the most practical line that can be done in Canada, was last rejected in 2014. The two cities wanted transit money for their own inner city transit proposals not for intercity passenger rail.

The cities of Calgary and Edmonton continue to work in isolation of each other. Their failure to cooperate on intercity issues such as connecting the cities by high speed passenger rail will result in the status quo continuing with no passenger rail between them.

In conclusion, time will tell if the latest passenger rail study between Calgary-Banff will result in any action being taken to return passenger rail service.