Transit outlook murky to dark, Achalandage record

The symbolism was too much for Blaine, Washington. 
Next year looks like a difficult year for those of us interested in better transit. Transport Action's crystal ball suggests transit riders across the country will pay more for less. It reveals few portents of bold advances in the building of public infrastructure to support less polluting transportation options.

The clearest omens from the new year are far from positive. They suggest:
- the sale of Via Rail's Canadian and its conversion into a luxury tourist operation
- privatization of some Canadian airports
- funding cuts to Via Rail and municipal transit operations
- more cuts to Transport Canada's road and aviation safety programs
- tough times for the prairie shoreline railway industry
- Ontario pilot study finds double-trailer transport trucks are greener and safer
- billions spent on the DRIC Windsor to Detroit bridge
- road building and the conversion of farmland to suburban sprawl continues apace

The good news is that groups and people like Transport Action Canada, Stephen Rees, Transport 2000 Québec, Steve Munro, Friends of the O-Train, the Clean Train Coalition, TRAQ, Tri-Tag, Ecojustice, Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains, High Speed Rail Canada, Bob Broughton, Regina Coalition for Public Transit, the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, Hamilton's CATCH and many, many more will be there to battle on.

New Brunswick lock-out, Time for action

"A public transportation advocate says the federal and provincial governments need to help settle the ongoing labour dispute with Acadian Coach Lines. Acadian Coach Lines' took its buses off New Brunswick's roads to head off a strike at the beginning of the month. But as the dispute prepares to head into its second month, there's no end in sight for the labour dispute that has disrupted regularly scheduled intercity bus service across this province and connections into PEI, Nova Scotia and Quebec," Shawn Berry reported for the Telegraph-Journal on Dec. 30

In an interview with the Telegraph-Journal John Pearce, the past president of Transport Action Atlantic asked: "How long can this go on? I really am wondering what will happen. The authorities can't just sit and let this whole thing disappear."

"He said he thinks the federal government has a bigger role to play in getting the service moving again given the fact Acadian Coach Lines runs between the Maritime provinces and provides connections into Quebec, points west and into the United States," the Telegraph-Journal reported.

Rural transportation, Transport Action Atlantic pushes the Saskatchewan model

"As Acadian Coach Lines undergoes a fourth week of disrupted service, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island customers can only look with envy at other provinces that still have inter-city buses on their highways," John Chilibeck reported for the Telegraph-Journal on Dec. 26.

"The STC (Saskatchewan Transportation Company) model also has its supporters in Transport Action Atlantic, a non-profit group that lobbies for better mass transit. "Twelve million dollars a year doesn't sound like a huge amount of money when you consider the budget of the Transportation Department," said director Ted Bartlett of Moncton, referring to the province's more than $600-million annual road budget. "It would seem to be just a drop in the bucket," the Telegraph-Journal reported.

Bob Broughton, Vancouver-Seattle-Spokane passenger railway service

Why does it take volunteer power and random events to grow a passenger railway connection between Vancouver and Seattle (and Spokane)? Transit activist point to Canadian government opposition and the huge taxpayer subsidy to roads ($40.4 billion a year) and the aviation industry.

Transport Action friend +Bob Broughton reports on signs of progress. Broughton posts: "The need for an additional Amtrak stop between Vancouver and Bellingham has existed for a long time. Something is now happening on this in Blaine, WA."

Près de 400 millions, Achalandage record pour le transport en commun

« Soixante-quatre ans. C'est le temps qu'il a fallu à la Société de transport de Montréal (STM) pour battre son record d'achalandage enregistré  en 1947. Hier, le cap des 398 349 773 déplacements en une année a été franchi, comme aux beaux jours du tramway montréalais. Cette performance correspond à une augmentation de 4,5 % par rapport à 2010 » Jeanne Corriveau a écrit le  23 décembre 2011 pour le Devoir.

High Speed Rail Canada, China opens another line

"A new high speed railway line has just opened in Guangdong Province. It links the province's two largest cities, Guangzhou and Shenzhen and cuts travel time by half," High Speed Rail Canada reported on Dec. 27. Paul Langan, the founder of the group, notes Canada is the only G20 country with no plan for high speed rail.

Bombardier wins $296 million U.K. add-on order

Bombardier Transportation announced Wednesday that it has secured an add-on order, worth $296 million, for 130  Electrostar electric multiple-unit (EMU) cars for the U.K.'s Southern rail operation. This is a significant project which emphasizes the performance of Bombardier's products in the U.K.," Railway Age reported on Dec. 28.

"Bombardier has a wealth of experience in aluminum train production in the U.K., with almost 2,000 Electrostar electric multiple unit cars produced and in service. "Bombardier Transportation has production facilities in Derby and Plymouth and 15 maintenance and overhaul centers across the U.K. Bombardier  is under contract to service 5,200 vehicles in Great Britain," Railway Age reported.

Australia, $1.6 billion commuter rail contract

"The Regional Rail Link Authority of Victoria in Australia has awarded a $1.6bn contract to Leighton Group, Lend Lease and UGL to build part of the $5.3bn Regional Rail Link project. Gorton MP Brendan O'Connor said after more than three years of planning work, community consultations and preconstruction activities, it's now full steam ahead on a project which will give Melbourne its first new major rail line in some 80 years," Railway Technology reported on De. 23.

Metrolinx has ordered six more diesel units for the Pearson airport rail link

Sumitomo Corp. of America this week has affirmed that it, in conjunction with partner Nippon Sharyo, entered into an agreement October 31 to supply Greater Toronto Area's Metrolinx with six additional diesel multiple-units (DMUs), slated for use on Toronto's planned rail line linking Toronto's  Union Station with Lester B. Pearson International Airport," Railway Age reported on December 22, 2011.

L'Association des chemins de fer du Canada fait état d'un solide rendement du secteur ferroviaire

Depuis le repli de l'économie mondiale de 2009, le secteur ferroviaire canadien s'est ressaisi, affichant une forte croissance du volume. L'industrie a également continué d'investir considérablement dans l'augmentation de sa capacité et de son efficacité. Les résultats figurent dans la publication Tendances ferroviaires de l'Association des chemins de fer du Canada, laquelle présente une compilationannuelle de statistiques et d'observations sur le rendement du secteur.

 « La croissance de 3 % en termes de volume cumulatif de wagons complets qu'a affichée notre secteur au cours des trois premiers trimestres de 2011, par rapport à cette même période de référence l'an dernier, démontre une conjoncture économique plus favorable, ainsi qu'une plus grande vitalité et un meilleur rendement de la principale chaîne d'approvisionnement du transport canadien », a déclaré M. Cliff Mackay, président et chef de direction sortant de l'Association des chemins de fer du Canada.

Trends, Canadian Rail continues to invest in environment, safety and innovation

Canada's rail sector has bounced back from the 2009 global economic downturn posting solid volume growth. The industry has also continued to invest significantly in increased capacity and efficiencies. The findings are outlined in Rail Trends 2011, an annual compendium of statistics and comment about rail sector performance published by the Railway Association ofCanada.  "Our sector's three percent growth in cumulative volume of carloads through the first three quarters of 2011 from the same point last year reflects improved economic conditions and the greater responsiveness and service performance of Canada's transportation supply chain backbone," said Railway Association of Canada President and CEO, Cliff Mackay.

US poll respondents favour user fees, PPPs to pay for transportation
Reason Foundation says
Progressive railroading, Dec. 28, 2011

Transport Action Canada
Hotline 1146, Dec. 30, 2011
(formerly Transport 2000 / anciennement Transport 2000 Canada)
(613) 594-3290
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28 et 29 mars 2012, TRAQ, Le Colloque ferroviaire annuel du Québec

les 26 et 27 avril Le Colloque 2012 de l'Association des Transports collectifs ruraux du Québec (ATCRQ) se tiendra à Hôtel Spa et Confort à Granby, Québec, avec comme thèmes l'intermodalité et la gouvernance; infos à  Courriel: