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VIA RAIL $5.25 Billion "Milk Run" Rail Line to Stop in Sharbot Lake!

Passenger Rail Service Returns to Sharbot Lake. Are You Ready Campers?

We have done stories previously on VIA Rail fundamentally flawed plan to run slow trains from Toronto - Tweed - Peterborough to Ottawa.  Now comes news that the VIA Rail will be stopping at Sharbot Lake. Good news for campers without tents!

Please read our previous story on VIA Rail and Sharbot Lake.

Here are a couple fun facts about VIA Rail.

1. VIA Rail High Frequency Rail Plan is More Dangerous than true High Speed Rail. VIA Rail plan is not grade separated. Their plan has trains on the same grade level as autos. Having VIA Rail  tracks at level crossings with roads increases the chances of an auto/train collision. In high speed rail, trains and autos are grade separated eliminating the chance of an accident occurring. That is why the high speed rail system in Japan has never had a fatality after over a half of century of operation. The safety of Canadians traveling by rail should be paramount importance to VIA.

2. VIA Rail Plan Doesn't Address Their Fundamental Problem - High Fares. People will not ride the train due to the high ticket prices. Especially when travel times are ridiculously slow.

Here is an example to embarrass any Canadian:
  • Japan Railway Tokaido Shinkansen High Speed Rail - Tokyo - Kyoto - Distance - 513km -  Time - 1hr. 40min. - Speed - - Price: 154.059 Canadian Dollar

  • VIA Rail Canada - Toronto to Ottawa  - Distance - 449km, Time 4hrs 31min - Speed 120-160km - Price - 168.37. 

NOTE: It is not possible to evaluate VIA Rails new plan has they will not provide details on it. There is no evidence to suggest VIA Rail will reduce fares to make rail travel more affordable to Canadians.

How can VIA justify their ridiculous high prices?

Where Will the Next VIA RAIL Stop Be?

The news that Sharbot Lake will be getting a stop on VIA Rails proposed route clearly illustrates the line is fast becoming a "milk run" with stops in Tweed and Sharbot Lake. We love history at HSRC so we will give you the LINK again to the original 1967 schedule of the line and we will let you pick out where the VIA Milk Run will have a stop at next.

We doubt they will open the mine at Sulphide,ON and it seems the glory days in Ungava ON are over so we will eliminate those two locations.

Ungava Ontario - VIA Rail will not stop there!

We are putting our money on Maberly Ontario being the next stop on  the VIA Rail Milk Run. Why? One reason is the Maberly Station Road is still there. We also like the area. It is beautiful there. Okay not a lot of rationale to stop in Maberly. For all you history buffs that remember the old days when Maberly had trains, here is a photo of the station.

Maberly Railway Station
To read more about the exciting news about VIA Rail stopping at Sharbot Lake. Read this ARTICLE by Elliot Ferguson of the Kingston Whig-Standard. Here is the latest non specific map of the line.
VIA Rail latest  map of their proposed line

We sincerely hope the federal Liberal government will give a reality check to this flawed VIA Rail plan. Canadians deserve better. We deserve what the rest of the modern world has had for over 50 years: High Speed Rail.


  1. VIA still can't or won't tell us where the stations will be in Toronto and Montreal. Sometimes it's the existing stations and other times it's new locations distant from downtown.

    In truth, this isn't a real plan. It's a half-baked notion VIA's Harper-appointed board and management team picked up from defrocked Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro. That says it all.

    Keeping this fiction alive through a $3-millio, three-year study is good business for the Trudeau government. It enables them to avoid making any decisions on rail passenger service until just before the next election, when they can commit to further studies.

    Meanwhile, the NDP's transport critic thinks it's a great plan because VIA added a Quebec City extension to the original Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal proposal. That would serve Trois-Rivieres, which the MP represents.

    And let's not forget that VIA has also proposed to somehow extend this dream scheme to serve Southwestern Ontario, although they can't explain how.

  2. The problem with High Speed Rail is that it is extremely expensive to build and it does not serve most of the communities through which it passes. Almost every High Speed Rail Line has come in grossly over budget plus it loses money hand over fist so it requires huge subsidies or is priced so high it is an elitist service. Look at the Union Pearson Express as an example. It has subsidies of over $11 per passenger.

    VIA's plan is awful but converting it to High Speed Rail would increase the magnitude of the problem. You over blow the problem of fatalities. If a good fast, reliable and reasonably priced rail service can be built then the number of accidents that would be removed from the highway would greatly out number the rail auto fatalities. Better design of grade crossings would eliminate others.

    High Speed Rail will make "have" communities out of those that are on it and "have not" communities out of those that it by-passes. To be fair VIA's plan, flawed though it is, will have local, semi local and express trains so not all will be milk runs.

    The question becomes what is the best way to serve a large number of people for a reasonable cost and the answer is not High Speed Rail but Higher Performance Rail. The only thing that the Wynne governments High Speed Rail plan will ever carry might be some Southwestern Ontario ridings into the Liberal camp. It will never carry many paying passengers.

    Robert Wightman, President Transport Action Ontario

  3. The safety issue is not to be dismissed lightly. I had to deal with it when I was the usually-ignored advisor to the Peterborough MP on that Stagnant Waters Railway project.

    The rah-rah types in Peterborough (mainly members of the Conservative riding association) didn't want to listen to the objections raised right off the bat by Transport Canada's safety people regarding the grade crossings.

    Of course, the last thing that crowd or the current VIA crop want to hear are complications that will add costs to their low-ball cost projections.

    Start at about $30 million for an easy grade separation and work your way up from there by taking a trip on the proposed route via Google Maps and adding up the number of places where this line would cross rural highways and city streets. The VIA Fantasy Flyer is going to encounter at least $1 billion worth of grade separation costs, which will get piled on top of VIA's laughably low estimate of $4.5 billion for the diesel-powered version of their wet dream.

    Throw in the full rebuilding of the 20-mph CP Havelock Sub, which is 88 miles from the current end of track to Toronto Yard in Scarborough. It has to be completely ripped up and relaid. Then there's the issue of getting through and then west of the yard, and down the mothballed CP Don Branch, which now belongs to GO.

    Did we discuss EAs? VIA says there won't be any. Har, har, har-dee, har, har! Start with the issue of major construction at the Rouge River, plus two new bridges beside the existing CP versions to get across the east and west branches of the Don River within the borders of the City of Toronto.

    But I'm sure money will be no problem and VIA's timeline for delivery is secure. I also have a bridge in Brooklyn and some Florida swampland that would be excellent investments.

    1. It's not just the capital costs for the VIA HFR proposal, don't forget that VIA would then have to pay to maintain two expensive pieces of railroad instead of one (the HFR route, plus the existing Kingston sub through CN track access fees, station costs, ect) with traffic split between them. A simple law giving VIA dispatching priority over freights would be a far more cost-effective solution than building a whole new route - and one that would provide benefit to all Canadians, not just those living between Toronto & Montreal. Anyway, not gonna worry about it any more right now as my wife & I will be riding VIA's trice-weekly-instead-of-daily Canadian tomorrow night on a trip to Vancouver. Pics forthcoming on my website at Regards, Pete,

    2. It's a nice thought, but no legislation is ever going to give VIA priority if the infrastructure lacks capacity and the host railway is not happy. The answer is investment in the physical plant -- and a suggestion from government that it will get tough if the host railway doesn't play ball.

  4. So it looks like they're planning to turn 150 km of rail trail between Havelock and Perth back into rail. While it might be more expensive to add another track to the CN corridor it's almost certainly a better value. If you want to build new corridors, some better spots might be a new 24 km segment between New Castle and Manvers allowing Go train service to Peterborough by way of Oshawa and allowing freight traffic to be diverted from the Lakeshore East line, or perhaps a shortcut between Ottawa and Belleville.

  5. What VIA doesn't want us to know is that the original plan called for 100 miles of third main track on the CN Kingston Sub at a cost of $251 million. Instead, largely thanks to a lack of government oversight, they wound up with 40 miles for $318.5 million. As usual, VIA and its political masters, with strong assistance from CN, screwed it up.

    The idea of building a new line up the Highway 115 route from Newcastle to Manvers is exactly what should be considered in terms of a future GO service for Peterborough. A considerable amount of the travel demand is generated not by trips to and from downtown Toronto, but to all those communities along GO's Lakeshore East Line.

    But that would destroy the fantasies of so many foamers and political types in Peterborough, so we wouldn't want to even discuss that.

  6. Theres no way this would ever work, no one has any money in rural Ontario, and the few that do would not take the train, they would drive their own vehicles,


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