Passenger transportation service cuts, Crude oil moving by rail

Transit City was declared dead by Toronto Mayor
Rob Ford the day after his election in 2010.
On April 25 an Ontario government agency
Metrolinx rubber stamped city council's
 resurrection decision
Greyhound cuts hurt Saskatchewan bus system, Real money not fairy dust for transit, Le FESTIRAIL 2012 de Charny est en plein essor, Crude oil moving by rail on NB Southern and more in today's Transport Action Canada Hotline.

Saskatchewan Transportation Company, Ridership up but intersecting Greyhound network cuts bode ill for future

"Despite increased ridership and total revenue, the government-owned Saskatchewan Transportation Co. reported a loss of $299,000 on its operations last year, says its annual report, which also paints a worrisome picture of what's ahead. … The report predicted a drop in passengers caused by Greyhound's decision to drop service between Calgary and Alsask. A firm from Alsask replaced Greyhound, but STC said it "does not expect to fully re-establish the yearly ridership of approximately 12,000 passengers that were previously using the Saskatoon-Alsask-Calgary route." Greyhound's decision to cut service along the TransCanada Highway (to two trips daily from three) and from Edmonton to Saskatoon cut into STC's revenues from Greyhound ticket commissions and express business," Will Chabun reported for the Leader Post on Apr. 19.

Saskatchewan shortlines share $700k in grants

"The $700,000 is welcome in keeping our shortlines going," said Tim Coulter of Briercrest, president of the Producer Car Shippers of Canada, a group of farmers who load grain onto producer cars, which are then transported by shortlines to mainline railways. "Once it's divvied out to all the shortlines, it doesn't amount to much, especially when you consider $700,000 only covers a mile of paved highway in Saskatchewan,"  the Leader Post reported on April 19.

ONR fight far from over
Representatives from the General Chairperson’s Association (GCA) which represents all unionized employees at Ontario Northland (ONTC) are extremely disappointed by yesterday’s news that a deal had been reached between the NDP and the Liberal government to allow the budget motion to pass today (Apr. 24).

Canadians support our national passenger rail system

There is a deep base of support for Canada's national passenger rail system. The rationale for passenger rail is powerful. But passenger rail in Canada is under threat. 

On Apr. 23 the Globe and Mail reported: "Transport Canada is circulating four options, including privatizing VIA’s Toronto-Vancouver Canadian line, privatizing its Jasper-Vancouver service, reducing VIA’s service to “low-mid level” by selling off its deluxe cars and luxury offerings or having VIA recoup a greater share of its costs for the Jasper-Vancouver line." 

A top government source subsequently told Transport Action there is support for Via Rail within the ruling Conservative party. The source asks why the government would put $1 billion into something only to scrap it. Officially the government has no plan to sell Via Rail.

In the the wake of the the Globe and Mail report Transport Action activists offered up the following comments.

Transport Action Canada supports the national passenger rail system. The organization is exploring funding a Blue Sky Vision for Via Rail. 

It is calling on Canadians to let MPs know we support Via Rail. 
TPR, Ottawa valley railway plans to be operating in the fall

(Campbell’s Bay, QC, April 23, 2012)  The not-for-profit Transport Pontiac-Renfrew (TPR) has provided a progress report including information on a new Board structure and final timelines for the pending acquisition of the CN Beachburg Subdivision railway line. In an April 19th briefing session for elected officials and representatives from the municipalities through which the line runs, existing TPR executives presented a well structured overview of its developing plan.

From west to east, municipalities along the corridor include the City of Pembroke, Laurentian Hills and Whitewater before it crosses into Québec at Portage-du-Fort.  Clarendon, Litchfield, Pontiac, and Bristol are affected in Québec ahead of the line’s return to Ontario and the City of Ottawa at Fitzroy Harbour.  The line continues east to Walkley Yard in Ottawa.

Le FESTIRAIL 2012 de Charny est en plein essor

Il aura lieu au Parc de la Rivière pour les activités familiales et au Centre communautaire Paul-Bouillé pour les activités ferroviaires. Le FESTIRAIL se tiendra cette année les samedi 25 et dimanche 26 août 20912. Vous êtes intéressé à y participer ou à y tenir un kiosque, faites-nous une demande...NOTE : Charny a maintenant deux nouvelles Auberges pour ceux qui voudraient y demeurer quelques jours.

La revue TRAQ no. 82 est à la recherche d’un commanditaire. Ceci donne l’occasion d’avoir en plus de la page couverture en couleur, quatre pages intérieures pour votre compagnie ainsi qu’une visibilité sur notre site Web durant une année. L’organisme intéressé devient membre corporatif avec carte d’affaires pour une année dans la revue TRAQ. Certains de vous qui avait un kiosque au colloque semblaient très intéressés. Ne tardez pas à nous aviser… Vous aimeriez venir visiter notre Musée ferroviaire à Charny; il est ouvert le premier samedi de chaque mois (10 h 00 à 16 h 00) ou sur demande pour des groupes.

FESTIRAIL 2012 Charny, Getting ready

It shall be at the Parc de la Rivière for family activities and to the Centre communautaire Paul-Bouillé for the railway activities. The FESTIRAIL will be held this year on Saturday August 25 and Sunday 26th, 2012. You are invited to participate and to hold a kiosk, ask us for more information... NOTE: Charny has now two new Lodges for those inter3ested in passing a few nights. If ever you wish to come and visit our Railway Museum in Charny; it’s open on first Saturday of each month (10 AM till 4 PM) or on demand for groups.

The TRAQ magazine #-82 is searching for a sponsor. This gives the right to have the cover page in color and also, four pages inside for your company and the possibility to be on our Web site during one year. The organism interested to become a Corporative member will have its business card for one year in the TRAQ magazine. Some of you who have a kiosk at the Symposium seem to be well interested. Don’t wait to advise us!

Death trap for the North

"The McGuinty government is closing the only safe transportation in Northern Ontario; the Northlander train. “The provincial government might as well put a gate across Northern Ontario,” said Mike from Kapuskasing.  The governments subsidize Toronto Transit and luxury tourist trains every day, but will not provide a single safe transportation for Northerners. Every single Toronto Transit ride is subsidized by the government; every subway trip, every GO train, every tram car, and every Toronto Transit bus. You can read it on each transit car. Millions of trips are subsidized in Toronto, but no complaint from Mr. McGuinty there," Judy Skidmore wrote to the Timmins Times on Apr. 26.

Selling Ontario Northland to CN, Our worst fate 

Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains supporters reacted with dismay to the news CN is looking at the ONR. "Are we surprised? I guess not. CN purchase would be our worst fate," one wrote. 

"CN would only want the freight service and nothing else. Good-bye passenger service if this sale comes about. They only operate the ACR passenger train because they are mandated by the Federal Gov't. The Province, if they have the courage could insist on the passenger service being maintained for a period but don't hold your breath on that idea. Reduced employment would be on CN's agenda for this purchase as well as the dissolution of the ONTC's H.Q. in North Bay. Not a good move in my estimation," another CAPT member reported to the Hotline. 

"CN would also be a problem for ONR freight customers that have smaller freight needs. CN is only really interested in large contract freight. ONR would feed CN's "main line". ONR would be a short term investment for CN. Doubt if the tracks would be in very good shape after a couple of decades," wrote a third member of the Coalition of Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT), an organization of communities, First Nations and concerned citizens in Northern Ontario.

Crude oil moving by rail on NB Southern

On Apr. 20 Jody Robinson at Rails NB reported; "The eastbound through McAdam tonight had between 40 and 50 cars of crude oil. The consist says it is from Saskatchewan. I'm hearing there is going to be a lot more to follow.

Los Angeles vs Toronto: Funding and Building a Transit Network

"Something is definitely in the air in Toronto, and it’s not just the unusually early arrival of spring and tree pollen.  Suddenly, everyone is talking about transit expansion, and of paying for it with real money, not the fairy dust of “private sector” investment," Steve Munro blogged on April 22.

Steve Munro, Metrolinx Resurrects Transit City
Apr 24, 2012

Transport Action Canada
Hotline 1163, April 27, 2012
(formerly Transport 2000 / anciennement Transport 2000 Canada)
(613) 594-3290


May 12, Toronto, Moving Forward: A Public Forum about Transportation" co-hosted by Transport Action Ontario

May 23, Vancouver, Transport Action BC 17:45 to 19:45 at the Vancouver Firehall Library at West 10th and Granville. Annual General Meeting will be from 19:00 – 19:15

May 31, Toronto, Mobility pricing conference, Metropolitan Hotel,