Pour le trolleybus, CWB and railways, T-REX

June 3, 2011, Transport Action Canada, Hotline 1119

Canadian Wheat Board takeover would damage prairie short line railways  

"One of the functions of the CWB is to order up producer loading cars. Now the CWB is a big entity and CN and CP listen fairly closely. If the CWB isn't there it will be small co-ops and individual farmers asking for cars: the railways are required by law to provide cars but certainly they'll assign low priority to these requests. Cargill or other grain companies won't have the slightest interest in producer cars.  Indeed, without a powerful agent on their side, the short lines so painfully started up and now running may well collapse for lack of cars," says Peter Lacey Transport Action Canada vice president for Western Canada.

À Transport 2000, on se réjouit de l'intérêt de Montréal pour le trolleybus

« Il a circulé à Montréal jusque dans les années 60, puis les autorités ont décidé de le mettre au rancart. Mais le trolleybus, sorte de croisement entre l'autobus et le tramway, n'a pas dit son dernier mot. La Société de transport de Montréal (STM) est même en train d'étudier son possible retour dans la métropole » Gabriel Béland a écrit pour la Presse le 1 juin 2011.

À Transport 2000, on se réjouit de l'intérêt de Montréal pour le trolleybus. Il s'agit d'un bon compromis entre le tramway, plus coûteux, et l'autobus, estime le directeur général, Normand Parisien. «C'est une percée qui pourrait être intéressante, parce qu'on obtient une partie des bénéfices du tramway sans ses délais de construction, explique-t-il. Parce que, comme on le constate, à Montréal, le tramway prend du temps à voir le jour »  la Presse a rapporté.

T-REX, A rapid transit fix for Toronto

"What Toronto requires is the conversion of GO into an urban railway. The concept was born in 1924 with the creation of Berlin’s Stadtschnellbahn or S-Bahn — the world’s first “fast city railway.” The S-Bahn converted key suburban lines into a network that vastly increased urban transportation options and benefits," Greg Gormick wrote in a May 31 Toronto Star op-ed.

"The Berlin S-Bahn became what has been described as a surface subway. This successful template has been applied in 14 other German urban regions, numerous cities throughout Europe and as far afield as Hong Kong and Sydney. The latest is London’s Overground, launched in 2007. Others will open in Brussels and Denver in 2016, followed by San Francisco," Gormick wrote in the Toronto Star.

"The success of urban railways from Munich to Melbourne is proof of the tax dollars to be saved and the dividends to be reaped. Now’s the time for the creation of an electrified Toronto rail express — T-REX, to give it a brand name. Delay will only condemn Toronto to more gridlock, higher costs, lost productivity and increased car-fuelled environmental degradation," the Star op-ed concluded.

Gormick's story is based "No Little Plan: Electrifying GO Transit, a report commissioned by Transport Action, the Clean Train Coalition  and the Canadian Auto Workers. No little plan: The report,

Le champion des transports en commun Harry Gow 

le  31 mai 2011-- Suite à un colloque qui a eu lieu à Montebello, Québec, sur les transports en commun ruraux, organisé en partie par le champion des transports en commun Harry Gow, l'éditeur de Straight Goods News Ish Theilheimer a effectué une entrevue par courriel avec lui à propos de sa vision, des accomplissements des défenseurs de transports en commun et des défis auxquels ils font face. Voici une question de la discussion qui a eu lieu :

SGN : Un si grand nombre de communautés ont été établies en fonction l'utilisation des voitures et nos attitudes sociales le sont aussi. Comment les défenseurs des transports peuvent-ils faire face aux problèmes créés par l'infrastructure et l'organisation des communautés actuelles ?

HG : Les défenseurs des transports avec qui je travaille proposent des voitures partagées (Virtucar) et des taxis partagés (Taxibus). Ces innovations fonctionnent bien au Québec et deviennent de plus en plus répandues avec chaque année. Consultez l'Agence métropolitaine de Transport (AMT) de Montréal ou les sites Web de Rimouski ou de Victoriaville pour des exemples de ce dernier. Je développe en ce moment des modes semblables pour l'ouest du Québec, par exemple, Transport adapté et collectif des Collines et Transport Action Pontiac. Ces projets sont bien financés par le gouvernement du Québec et les cantons. Je travaille également sur la réhabilitation des chemins de fer locaux dans les deux comptés et dans le canton de Renfrew. http://www.valeurspubliques.ca/VoirArticle.cfm?Ref=00632

Asphalt will not solve the problems, Transport Action founder Harry Gow says

Following the Apr. 28 symposium in Montebello, Quebec, on rural public transportation, Straight Goods News Publisher Ish Theilheimer interviewed Transport Action founder Harry Gow.  Straight Goods asked:  "Looking back since the beginning of Transport Action (as Transport 2000 in Regina in 1976), how have issues and realities changed regarding public transportation in Canada? Where are things heading? What are the options?

Gow said: "The big change has been the massive growth of the road mode despite increased investment in rail and transit in the last 20 years. There is a growing realization in civil society that asphalt will not solve all problems, even if billions continue to be spent on it. Some transit service is creeping back into rural areas to fill the void left by the abandonment of rail services and the withdrawal of country buses. Things are still heading to Hell in a handcart given the continued expansion of the road mode and its waste of land, natural resources, and human life. The resultant global warming could well solve the problem by making Earth uninhabitable, thus eliminating people, cars, and other GHG producers. The options are to invest now in High Speed Trains (TGV), urban and rural transit, and stop building highways, as Germany has done," Straight Goods reported.

Environment Commissioner: Reduce single-passenger vehicle trips

"Ontario Environment Commissioner Gord Miller says toll roads are the way to go if the province is serious about tackling traffic congestion. “We have to reduce the number of single-passenger vehicle trips in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area,” Miller said in a report released Tuesday that notes that such trips are already at a higher level than most comparable cities. “Ontario must fundamentally shift the manner by which people and goods are moved around," Richard J. Brennan reported for the Toronto Star on May 31.

“The transportation sector is responsible for almost a third of all emissions, making it the largest contributor to green house gases in the province,” Miller said in a statement. Instead of advocating cleaner ways to travel, he noted that Ontario cancelled a tax credit for fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as the Ontario Bus Replacement Program, and has frozen funding for Green Commercial Vehicle program," the Toronto Star reported.

GO Transit passenger charter, A good first step Transport Action says

"The customer comes first is an old business motto. GO Transit has committed to following and has developed a passenger charter to show the public it's serious about living up to the promise," the Railway Association of Canada reported in the summer edition of Interchange.

Peter Miasek, president of Transport Action said "the charter is a great first step toward improved customer relations. Making service the No. 1 priority is good and they're going to measure their performance so we'll know how they're doing. You can't improve what you don't measure," Interchange reported.

Light rail transit is difficult to beat

"Light rail transit is difficult to beat for its ability to transport high passenger volumes in comfort, cleanly and quietly, while occupying limited space and having exceptional energy efficiency. Bus-based systems are appropriate when these criteria are less important (Right Of Way Gets Green Light As Cities Increasingly Look To Dedicated Bus Lanes – May 23)" Justin Bur wrote the editor of the Globe and Mail on May 27.

They are suitable for wide road-corridors with intermediate ridership in areas where integration with the urban environment is not a delicate issue. When busway plans are upgraded to have characteristics approaching those of light rail, however, cost savings tend to vanish. And most North American city centres are not designed to allow space for a South American-style bus boulevard,"

"Bus transit is an essential component of urban transit systems, but it cannot serve all purposes with equal success. In corridors where studies have shown light rail to be the best option, there is little to be gained by substituting buses. The experience of Ottawa, where downtown bus congestion is a critical problem, demonstrates the risk of trying to make buses do the job of light rail," the Globe and Mail letter said. 

Halifax commuter road or rail line to the port 

The Hotline 1118 story about about Transport 2000 opposition to new commuter road into downtown Halifax did not note the biggest problem with the idea. The new road businessman Bill Black suggested (in an address to the prestigious Halifax Club on May 18)  would displace the CN tracks serving VIA Rail, the Halterm container port and the grain elevator. http://www.transport-action.ca/Hotlines/hl110527.htm

Sochi, not Toronto 

"Russian Railways (RZD) has signed preliminary contracts worth around Euros 2bn with a joint venture of Siemens and Sinara Group, Russia, for 240 five-car Desiro RUS regional electric multiple unit (EMU) trains," railjournal.com reported this week. Greg Gormick notes: "Some of these EMUs are being built for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, which includes a new electrified line to the region's airport. Had (Toronto-Hamilton's) Metrolinx proceeded with an electric-first strategy for the Toronto Airport rail link, these are the cars Siemens would have bid. Bombardier and Alstom have similar equipment that would have been part of the competitive tendering.


Mardi le 14 juin 2011, Transport 2000 Québec Assemblée générale annuelle, aura lieu à l'ÉNAP, pièce 4037 au 4750, rue Henri-Julien Montréal (près Métro Laurier). Un repas sera servi. Informations: 514.932.8008