Toronto-New York train, hourly wages for truckers

Toronto-New York train done?

"CN’s “Notice of Discontinuance of Railway Line” was published on May 19, 2011. The line includes the track on the Whirlpool Bridge used by Amtrak. Expressions of interest to comment on or purchase the property have now passed, as of July 18, 2011," Transport Action's Doug Wilson writes.

"This track closure would essentially end Amtrak service into Southern Ontario," Wilson writes.

High Speed Rail Canada reports: "The Niagara Bridge Commission owns the Whirlpool Bridge that has a single track crossing that The Maple Leaf runs on. CN has the rights to run trains on the bridge. It has not run freight traffic over the bridge in several years and now has decided unilaterally to abandon the bridge and offer the track for sale at an unknown cost."

"The Niagara Bridge Commission is charging a fee for passenger rail operators that want to continue to run a service over the bridge. Sources who want to remain private have stated that the fees the Commission is charging Amtrak to run on the bridge are extremely high. VIA Rail is doing its usual "duck and cover routine" on this issue and are doing nothing to keep the passenger rail service intact on this line. On the Canadian side, the Progressive Conservation Federal Government under Prime Minister Harper has not taken any actions to address the issues relating to purchasing the track over the bridge and negotiating a fair price for usage of the bridge," Paul Langan wrote for High Speed Rail Canada on July 14, 2011. 
Transport Action members are urged to alert:
a) Canadian Chamber of Commerce;
b) Ontario Chamber of Commerce;
c) Canadian Office of Tourism;
d) Tourism Ontario;
e) Niagara Parks Commission;
f) Toronto Tourism;
g) Toronto Board of Trade;
h) Ontario Hotel Association;
i) Toronto Hotel Association.

Vancouver-Seattle train carries 78,839 passengers in June

"Amtrak Cascades route reached significant ridership growth in the second quarter of 2011, carrying nearly three quarters of a million people and breaking its record reached in 2010. Ridership for April, May and June recorded the highest second quarter totals since 1994, with 231,194 passengers. Compared to the second quarter of 2010, this is an increase of nearly eight percent, or more than 16,550 new passengers. The month of June had the highest increase of nearly 10 percent and 78,839 passengers," Railway Track and Structures reported on July 25.

Transport Action and many other groups continue to fight for a long-term fix to the dispute over the border-crossing fee charged the Canadian government charges Amtrak.

Road safety, Hourly pay for truckers!

"In conversations I've had with fleet owners, there seems to be a growing acceptance that drivers not only need to be paid more, but differently as well. Of course, I'm referring to hourly pay, which, in today's environment - where running illegally is a dead-end street - would be welcomed by most professional drivers. Fleets big and small seem cognizant of the need for change. A case in point is Blair Clark, general manager of Dartmouth, N.S.-based Classic Freight Systems. I visited with Blair while out east and he said he expects the industry to gravitate en-masse towards hourly pay before he sees his own retirement. And he's not all apocalyptic about it either," Truck News editor James Menzies wrote for Hooked Up on July 26, 2011.

"I would suggest our industry is going to go through a major transformation where - possibly within my career - we're going to see rate-per-mile shift to rate-per-hour," Blair told me. He foresees a future where his fleet and others will calculate rates based on the time it will take to deliver the load (average wait times included) multiplied by an hourly rate of, say $200. It's not an unusual comment either. And there are templates out there. Paul's Hauling has an effective hourly pay structure, which CEO John Erik Albrechtsen described to me as "we pay hourly to a standard," meaning the drivers are paid hourly, provided they accomplish the work that's expected of them," Hooked Up reported.

Louis-François Garceau, Le Temple de la renommée des chemins de fer du Canada 

" Le Temple de la renommée des chemins de fer du Canada, un temple virtuel visant à reconnaître les mérites des héros, des technologies, des leaders et des collectivités du secteur ferroviaire au Canada, a annoncé aujourd'hui les intronisations pour 2010.

« Nous rendons hommage à Louis-François Garceau pour son engagement passionné envers la promotion du chemin de fer et pour sa contribution au secteur ferroviaire canadien au Québec », a déclaré Gérald Gauthier, président du conseil et président du Temple de la renommée des chemins de fer du Canada. « Il continue à donner beaucoup de son temps à la promotion de l'élément essentiel de l'activité économique qu'est le chemin de fer et son engagement inébranlable a eu une incidence non négligeable sur le secteur ferroviaire au Québec. »

Louis-François Garceau, Canadian Railway Hall of Fame Announces Inductees

The Canadian Railway Hall of Fame (CRHF)  recognizes the dedication of Louis-François Garceau, conservator of the Charny Rail Museum and founder of Le Groupe TRAQ (Transport sur rail au Québec), a not-for-profit, French language organization that supports rail history and promotes rail knowledge through a variety of initiatives.

"Louis-François is being honoured for his passionate commitment to promoting rail and for his contributions to the Canadian rail industry in Québec," said Gérald Gauthier, Chairman and President of CRHOF. "He continues to give generously of his time to promote rail as an important backbone of economic activity and his unwavering support has had a tremendous impact on the rail industry in Québec."

Le Groupe TRAQ publishes the only French-language bi-monthly magazine dedicated to all things rail, and organizes an annual rail symposium in Québec. It held its fifteenth edition earlier this year. Exhibitors use this annual event to display their rail hardware, equipment and other products or services. This event, is a must, and unites different levels of government, many short lines (local or regional Railways, and Class 1 (CN, CP, VIA Rail).

Encore des ennuis pour VIA Rail en Gaspésie

"Depuis le début de juillet, VIA Rail éprouve des ennuis de ponctualité avec son train Montréal-Gaspé, à un point tel que trois des sept premiers voyages effectués entre le 2 et le 18 juillet ne se sont pas rendus à destination. Les huitième et neuvième voyages de jeudi et d'hier ont par contre atteint la cible. Le transporteur public stoppe son train à New Carlisle quand le retard est trop considérable, ce qui force ses passagers à parcourir les 160 derniers kilomètres en autobus. VIA Rail agit ainsi pour éviter que le convoi du retour à Montréal, devant quitter Gaspé à 15h, parte en retard," Gilles Gagné, collaboration spéciale a rapporté  le 24 juillet 2011.

Niagara-to-GTA corridor highway will not proceed as planned 

"A highway plan connecting the Niagara peninsula with the GTA, but possibly degrading part of the escarpment, will not proceed as planned.  The proposed 400-series highway, the so-called “asphalt arrow,” would have linked Niagara Falls to Hamilton via Burlington, and connect to highways 401, 403 or 407, providing an alternative to the QEW," Zoe McKnight wrote for the Toronto Star on July 26.

Transport Action Ontario has long opposed the project, formerly known as the Mid-peninsular or Mid-pen highway.

Greetings to all TRAQ-Hebdo readers (n° 202).

The 2012 annual railway Symposium for the Québec is now on. It shall be in March 28th & 29th 2012 in Québec City. Some of you have possibly new ideas or else for a railway theme? Would you like to do a presentation, to have a booth, etc. Please let us know your intention? Here is the new E-mail address to use for question on next Symposium – the old address is no longer available. Please, note the net address.

The report of the 2011 Railway Symposium organized by the Groupe TRAQ is now available (in French only) at this address: - or It won’t be printed for members of the group has it always been in the past.

The third FESTIRAIL which will happen in Charny (Québec) on August 20th & 21st is now in preparation by the Corporation Charny Revit and with the collaboration of the Groupe TRAQ. This year, CN will be honoored and it’s organized into the special activities of Celebrations Levis 2011. Would you like to participate, let us know?

6. The Journées de la Culture into the Grand Lévis will happen on Friday September 30th, Saturday October first and Sunday second into the offices of the Groupe TRAQ in Charny. All are welcomed!

Bonjour à tous lecteurs du TRAQ-Hebdo (n°202)

Le Colloque ferroviaire annuel du Québec de 2012 est en préparation. Il aura lieu les mercredi 28 et jeudi 29 mars 2012 à Québec. Certains de vous ont peut-être des idées de thème ou autres? Vous aimeriez y faire une présentation, avoir un kiosque, etc. Laissez-nous savoir vos intentions! Nouveau : voici le courriel à utiliser dorénavant dans le dossier colloque. L’ancienne adresse n’est plus valide présentement. Voici la nouvelle adresse de courriel : Notez là SVP.

Le rapport du colloque ferroviaire annuel du Québec organise par le Groupe TRAQ est désormais disponible à l’adresse suivante : Il y a lien sur la page du colloque… Il ne sera plus imprimé pour les membres du groupe comme par les années passées.

Le troisième FESTIRAIL qui aura lieu à Charny les 20 et 21 août prochain est en préparation par la Corporation Charny Revit en collaboration avec le Groupe TRAQ. Le CN y sera à l’honneur cette année et le tout est organisé dans le cadre de Célébrations Lévis 2011. Vous aimeriez y participer, laissez-nous savoir?

Les Journées de la culture dans le Grand Lévis auront lieu les vendredi 30 septembre, samedi 1er octobre et dimanche 2 au local du Groupe TRAQ. Tous y sont bienvenus.

Ambassador Bridge TV ads, border crossings down 

The Ontario Trucking Association is critical of TV commercials from Ambassador Bridge owners. The OTA applauds the construction of a highway tojobs and prosperity,  the  industry group said on July 25.

The Ambassador Bridge ad is here.

"The OTA criticism of the "blatant self-interest”  advanced in the TV ads is a clear example of the pot calling the kettle black," says Natalie Litwin, Transport Action Ontario president emeritus. "The Ontario Trucking Association promotes the Detroit River International Crossing and the Windsor-Essex Parkway despite irrefutable evidence that the project is a $5.2 billion boondoggle.  Traffic counts have been down on theexisting privately-owned Ambassador Bridge and related crossings for over a decade as are wait times for vehicles," Litwin says.

John Gratwick,  A great friend of Transport Action

John Gratwick passed away on July 23, 2011. He was a CN executive in Montreal from 1960 to 1983 and, during his retirement years, a member of Transport Action Atlantic. The longtime resident of Halifax donated the proceeds from his book "The Evolution of Canadian Transportation Policy" to Transport Action Atlantic.

With CN he was VP Research and Development, VP Corporate Affairs, President of CN Marine (Atlantic Provinces ferries), and Executive VP of CN.  He also was seconded to Transport Canada for  two years to create and run the Transport Development Agency. After retirement he served as professor in Dalhousie University School of Business and head of the International Institute of Transportation and Ocean Policy Studies.

July 30, Maxville, Ontario, North Glengarry Prescott andv Russell Transport Board excursions from Ottawa and Montreal to the Highland Games 

20 et 21 août, À Charny,  Festirail, Revit, en collaboration avec le groupe TRAQ

Sept. 17, Sault Ste-Marie, Group of Seven Train Event