The National Corridors Initiative Logo

March 14, 2016
Vol. 16 No. 10

Copyright © 2016
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Our 16th Newsletter Year

 Destination:Freedom 

A Weekly North American Transportation Update For Transportation
Advocates, Professionals, Journalists, And Elected Or Appointed Officials,
At All Levels Of Government.

Publisher
James P. RePass, Sr.
Editor
Molly N. McKay
Foreign Editor
David Beale
Contributing Editor
David Peter Alan
Managing Editor / Webmaster
Dennis Kirkpatrick
 
 

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IN THIS EDITION...   In This Edition...

  Transit Lines…
MBTA Fares Go Up; Service Goes Down
  Labor Lines…
NJ Transit Rail Labor Dispute Settled!
  Legal Lines…
In Major Win For High-Speed Rail, Judge Rejects Claims By Kings County Foes Of Bullet Train
  Safety Lines…
Colorado House Passes Bill Requiring Two-Person
   Rail Crew In Freight Trains
  Business Lines…
LACMTA Taps FTA’s McMillan As CPO
Study: Public Transit Investment Helps Boost
   Emerging Tech-Sector Sales
 
  Selected Rail Stocks…
  Across The Pond…
The New France-Italy High-Speed Rail Plan Has
   A Lot Of Haters
  To The North…
VIA Rail Coast-To-Coast Passenger Service
   Under Threat
Eglinton Crosstown Under Way, Underground
  Events…
Rail Users Network Annual Conference
   Boston, MA. April 29
  Publication Notes …


TRANSIT LINES... Transit Lines...  

MBTA Fares Go Up; Service Goes Down

Fiscal Management Board Issues Decision Despite Public Outcry

From MBTA Press Releases And DF Staff

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Fiscal and Management Control Board has approved several fare changes that will take effect July 1, 2016, including decreasing by ten cents the price paid by those who pay with cash for a single bus ride, expanding the free transfer program so that the MBTA transfer policy will allow transfer from bus to rail to bus, setting a discounted student pass rate of $30-per-month and allowing use of the pass by students 12 months out of the year, and postponing consideration of any future fare increases until the year 2019. The overall system-wide average increase is approximately 9.3 percent.

The board also established a “lock-box” to guarantee that any revenue from the increase can only be used to improve service.

The board took into consideration public comments gathered during a series of community meetings held throughout the state, emails and phone messages. Members acted to address concerns expressed during that process. The public input hearings offered resounding opposition to any increases with many people showing displeasure at last year’s service shut downs during severe winter storms, and ongoing daily breakdowns of subway and commuter rail trains causing wide-reaching service disruptions.

The rate increases in overview...

Earlier, the MBTA Fiscal Board voted to end extended late-night service which operated the system’s subway lines and select bus routes until 2:00 AM in the morning on Fridays and Saturdays. The service, started as an experiment in 2014 will end on March 18. However, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has advised the MBTA that they did not complete necessary civil rights analysis studies prior to announcing the service cut backs. At this time the MBTA and FTA remain in a dialogue about this issue.

Subway services on the MBTA currently have the last trains departing their respective terminus stations between 12:00 AM and 12:30 AM with connecting buses at the opposite ends of the lines departing between 1: 00 AM and 1:15 AM with the last bus waiting for the arrival of the last train.

The review of existing commuter rail fares and fare zones comes at a time when Boston residents and elected officials have been holding talks for a fare system that would encourage more ridership. At present, the MBTA’s fare zone system, which is based in miles-traveled by a train, has multiple fare differences when traveling within the City of Boston. As a result, some stations and parking lots will fill to capacity while others are less-utilized.

For example, riders on the MBTA’s Fairmount branch in the Hyde Park community, pay $2.10 for a one-way ride into the downtown district. Just 10 minutes walk from there, a train traveling on the Northeast Corridor main line costs $5.75. Then just one mile south (west) of there the fare increases to $6.25 for both lines. All of these stations are in Boston’s Hyde Park community.

Past advocate efforts did see fares reduced on most of the Fairmount branch as a way to encourage ridership which accounts for the $2.10 fee, which is equivalent to that of a subway fare. This came in part because residents and advocates originally sought to have the Fairmount branch converted to subway or other light rail, but as a dedicated heavy rail line that was not feasible for multiple reasons.

So far the riding public is curmudgeonly accepting the increases.


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LABORLINES... Labor Lines...  

NJ Transit Rail Labor Dispute Settled!

Trains Will Continue to Run

By David Peter Alan

New Jerseyans, particularly those who ride New Jersey Transit (NJT) trains, are breathing a big sigh of relief. The dispute between NJT management and the employees who run the trains has been settled; tentatively, at least. That means last Saturday night, the deadline for a strike by the workers or a lockout by management, came and went without incident. Trains kept running, and there was no need to resort to the contingency plans NJT had made to move about 38% of the agency’s rail commuters to New York City by bus, or by bus to a Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) train or ferry, for the final segment into Manhattan.

Rail employees had gone without a contract for five years. Federal government representatives had attempted to mediate a settlement, and two Presidential Emergency Boards had recommended settlements closer to the union’s position than management’s. Management, along with Gov. Chris Christie and his administration, claimed that NJT could not afford such a settlement. The second of two 90-day “cooling-off” periods ended last Saturday at one minute after midnight, into Sunday. Union officials had assured the Lackawanna Coalition, a local rider-advocacy organization, that the employees would complete the scheduled service day on Saturday, but the work stoppage could begin on Sunday. If the rail employees had not been back to work by Monday morning, getting to work would have been difficult for many New Jerseyans and impossible for others.

NJT management made plans to establish four park-and-ride lots, from which buses would leave in the morning-commute peak, headed toward New York City or a connection to the City. They would return in the peak-commuting hours of the late afternoon and early evening. A private bus company would operate a fifth such facility. NJT buses would not have been affected, nor would PATH trains, light rail or ferries. Still, NJT estimated that only about 40,000, or 38%, of the estimated 105,000 New York rail commuters could have been accommodated on NJT-operated or privately-operated buses.

We reported on the threat of a strike or a lockout in last week’s edition of D:F. For the first several days last week, the mood in the Garden State became more tense, as talks failed to produce an agreement. The prevailing opinion was that talks would go down to the wire, and that a strike or a lockout remained likely. Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, had established a reputation of taking a hard line with public-employee unions. The situation with rail labor was different, however. Unlike other employees in the public sector, labor relations on railroads are governed by federal legislation, the Railway Labor Act of 1926, as amended. The predecessor railroads were private-sector corporations before NJT Rail Operations, Inc.. was established as a public corporation in 1983 to keep the local trains running. The last rail strike in New Jersey occurred at that time and lasted for 34 days.

The NJT Board of Directors met on Wednesday morning. The labor dispute was nowhere to be found on the “official” agenda for the meeting, although Interim Executive Director Dennis Martin announced the agency’s contingency plans, in the event of a strike or lockout. The employees are represented by the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers’ Union (SMART Union). General Chairman Stephen Burkert and Legislative Director Daniel J. O’Connell expressed their hope that the dispute would be settled without a work stoppage. So did this writer and other rider-advocates. At that time, it was known that the main sticking point was the employees’ contributions to the cost of health insurance. Management wanted to increase those contributions substantially, and union spokesmen claimed that such increases would more than wipe out any wage gains that some of the employees would win under the proposed contract. Management denied this, alleging that all workers would come out ahead under the management proposal.

By Thursday, reports from labor sounded more hopeful. Talks were continuing, although nobody was optimistic yet. Management sent notice to the employees that, in the event of a strike, their benefits would end. Management claimed that they were required by law to send such notices, but some observers questioned the timing of the notice, alleging that management could have sent it earlier than two days before the deadline.

Christie had planned to be out of the state while talks went down to the wire. He said that he and his wife were going “somewhere warmer” to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. Since there were record-high temperatures in New Jersey on Wednesday and Thursday, observers noted that he was already in a warm place.

Negotiations continued on Friday. At 4:30 that afternoon, O’Connell told this writer that he hoped that it would not be necessary to hold a marathon bargaining session on Saturday. Then the news came that such a session would not be needed. Both sides reached a tentative agreement about 7:00 on Friday evening. Christie appeared at a news conference at NJT Headquarters in Newark to announce that an agreement had been reached. He refused to supply any details until after union members hold a ratification vote.

Nobody seems to doubt that the effect on the region’s economy would have been severe if a strike or lockout had kept the trains from running. A strong majority of workers would not have been able to get from their homes to their jobs, whether offices in Manhattan or job sites elsewhere in New Jersey. Could the prospect of such an impending economic disaster have convinced Christie to add some state money to the benefit pot for the employees? There is no way to know at this time. Although there has been widespread speculation that NJT fares will increase later this year, Christie said that fares will not rise again until June, 2017. The proposed labor agreement will last until the end of 2019 if the union members ratify it.

Reporter Christopher Maag covered the event for the Bergen Record and the paper’s web site, www.northjersey.com. He reported: “Rail union leaders cheered. Governor Christie smiled. And hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans were assured of a routine rail commute to work Monday without an immediate fare hike.” Christie was quoted as saying that he never expected a strike or a lockout, because both sides were bargaining in good faith. He was also quoted as saying that the “hysteria” in recent days was “ginned up” by the media.

It did not appear to this writer that the people of New Jersey, especially the rail riders, were hysterical. It appears that they were concerned, and they had reason to be. The tentative settlement came only 29 hours before the strike or lockout deadline. New Jerseyans may have been worried until Friday evening, but after 7:00, they were relieved as soon as they heard the good news.


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LEGAL LINES... Legal Lines...  

In Major Win For High-Speed Rail, Judge Rejects Claims
By Kings County Foes Of Bullet Train

By Tim Sheehan
The Fresno Bee

In a major setback to foes of the California high-speed rail project, a Sacramento judge rejected claims by opponents in Kings County that plans for the bullet train system violate state law.

The ruling by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny is a blow to efforts to stop the project and boosts California’s $64 billion plan to develop a system of high-speed electric trains to ultimately connect Los Angeles and San Francisco, by way of Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley. But Kenny’s ruling still could be appealed to a state appellate court.

Kenny, who heard oral arguments from attorneys Feb. 11, issued the ruling late Friday, but the court didn’t release it to the public until Tuesday morning.

The attorney for Kings County farmer John Tos, Hanford resident Aaron Fukuda and the Kings County Board of Supervisors said Kenny’s ruling was disappointing, but said he sees hope there still is room to contest how the California High-Speed Rail Authority uses state bonds.

“Though the high-speed rail authority may have won this round, the ruling … provides ominous signs about the authority’s future use of bond funds,” said Oakland attorney Stuart Flashman. “It notes that while the court considers it premature to find the system non-compliant, in its present stance it does not appear that use of bond funds would be permissible.”

The plaintiffs argued that the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s plans for the system violate Proposition 1A – the $9.9 billion high-speed rail bond measure approved by the state’s voters in 2008 – in several key areas:

Kenny rejected those points.

“It appears at this time that the authority does not have sufficient evidence to prove the blended system can currently comply with all of the Bond Act requirements,” Kenny wrote. However, he added, “the authority may be able to accomplish these objectives at some point in the future. This is an ongoing, dynamic, changing project.”

“There is no evidence currently before the court that the blended system will not comply with the Bond Act system requirements,” Kenny ruled. While the judge acknowledged that the lawsuit “raises substantial concerns” about whether the plan ultimately would comply, “currently all that is before the court is conjecture as to what system the authority will present in its request for Bond Act funds.”

Throughout his ruling, Kenny noted that the rail agency has yet to seek Prop. 1A bond funds for construction that is now underway in the San Joaquin Valley, instead relying on about $3 billion in federal transportation and stimulus funds as well as cap-and-trade money from the state’s greenhouse gas-reduction program.

He added that until the rail authority submits a new financing plan that meets the bond act’s requirements, none of it can be used for construction.

On travel times and whether the system eventually would be able to operate without a subsidy, Kenny said the continuing evolution of the route means it is too soon to prove or disprove Prop. 1A compliance.

Kenny at that time ordered the rail authority to rewrite its financing plan to comply with Prop. 1A. His decision was overturned in August 2014 by a three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal. The California Supreme Court declined to review the 3rd District decision.

For the full story see:
Read more here:
http://www.modbee.com/news/article64734022.html#storylink=cpy


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SAFETY LINES... Safety Lines...  

Colorado House Passes Bill Requiring
Two-Person Rail Crew In Freight Trains

From Progressive Railroading

The Colorado State House of Representatives last week passed a rail safety bill that would require two crew members to be present in the cab of freight trains operating in Colorado.

The bill, which now moves to the state Senate for consideration, was endorsed by the SMART Transportation Division (SMART TD) labor organization, which argues that a one-person crew would compromise rail safety.

Federal Railroad Administration regulations do not require a minimum crew number to operate the locomotive. However, all major freight railroads in the United States do operate with two or more crew members — a certified locomotive engineer and a certified conductor — on all mainline train operations, according to the Association of American Railroads’ (AAR) website.

However, after the railroads fully deploy positive train control safety technology, railroads may seek to use one-person crews where PTC is in effect, AAR says.

Although some believe that one-person crews would be less safe, there is no data that supports that belief, according to AAR.

From an item at:
http://www.progressiverailroading.com/safety/news/Colorado-House-passes-bill-requiring-two-person-rail-crew--47522


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BUSINESS LINES... Business Lines...  

LACMTA Taps FTA’s McMillan As CPO

From Rail, Track, And Structures

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) has selected the current Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Therese McMillan as its new chief planning officer.

McMillan currently manages a staff of more than 500 at the U.S. Department of Transportation, including staff in Washington, D.C., and 10 regional offices. She provides executive direction for all functions within the FTA and oversees an annual budget of more than $10 billion in federal formula and competitive grant funds for nearly 1,000 transit agencies and state DOTs across the country. McMillan joined the FTA staff in 2009 as deputy administrator.

“We are looking forward to having McMillan join the LACMTA team and return to her home town where she will provide great value as we position Los Angeles County for its transportation renaissance,” said LACMTA Chief Executive Officer Phillip Washington. “She is a leader in transportation policy, a community and coalition builder and knows how to translate strategic planning into implementation.”

During her years at FTA, McMillan has led reform in transit safety, capital planning and oversight, civil rights, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs and efforts related to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“I am thrilled to join the LACMTA team and to return home to Los Angeles County,” said McMillan. “I look forward to helping the people of Los Angeles County travel and thrive in this dynamic region.”

From an item at:
http://www.rtands.com/index.php/track-maintenance/off-track-maintenance/lacmta-taps-fras-mcmillan-as-cpo.html


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Study: Public Transit Investment Helps Boost
Emerging Tech-Sector Sales

From Progressive Railroading

Planned public transportation investments will help drive more business sales in the emerging tech sector, according to a new study commissioned by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Titled “Public Transportation’s Role in the Knowledge Economy,” the study examines the emerging tech sectors in three communities and the role of public transportation in enhancing access to employees and promoting entrepreneurial infrastructure.

The study looked at the emerging tech sectors in Silicon Beach, Calif.; Austin, Texas; and Durham, N.C. The authors described the cities as “innovation districts,” or areas that include that include business incubators, anchor institutions and startups. The study emphasizes that such districts are becoming an important engine of U.S. economic growth.

To succeed, the districts require both robust business and transportation infrastructure to be sustained over the long term, APTA officials said in a press release.

“Public transportation is the catalyst that attracts knowledge workers who show a preference to be connected with multiple transportation options to high-growth business centers,” said APTA Chairwoman Valarie McCall. “It allows these Innovation Districts to create dense business infrastructure that preserves key community benefits while mitigating congestion issues and providing businesses greater access to labor.”

APTA designed the study and commissioned the Economic Development Research Group to conduct the research.

According to the analysis, if the three communities’ long-range transportation plans are fully implemented by 2035, the increase in productivity and transportation savings will generate:

“This data shows how use of public transportation provides an alternative to a car dependent congested network in these tech corridors and it provides savings to both businesses and households as a result from reducing workers out-of-pocket travel costs, and travel time,” said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy.

Found at:
http://www.progressiverailroading.com/passenger_rail/news/Study-Public-transit-investment-helps-boost-emerging-tech-sector-sales--47560


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STOCKS...    Selected Rail Stocks...
BRKB – Burlington Northern Santa Fe

CNI – Canadian National

CP –  Canadian Pacific

CSX – CSX Corp

GWR – Genessee & Wyoming

KSU – Kansas City-Southern

NSC – Norfolk Southern

PWX – Providence & Worcester

UNP – Union Pacific


      Return To Index


ACROSS THE POND... Across The Pond...  

The New France-Italy High-Speed Rail
Plan Has A Lot Of Haters

The Link Will Slash Journey Times, But Many Locals Loathe It With A Passion.

By Feargus O’Sullivan
For CityLab.Com

After 15 years of wrangling, a new high-speed rail line from France to Italy was at last confirmed to be on its way this week.

Following an agreement on costs signed yesterday, a new TGV link will join France’s second city of Lyon with Turin, Italy, via a new 57-kilometer (35-mile) tunnel burrowed underneath some of Europe’s highest mountains. When the line is ready in 2028, it will slash journey times between the cities and provide a greatly improved, less polluting transalpine freight corridor. Joining up to France’s existing high-speed network, it should also allow passengers to reach Paris from Milan in a mere four hours.

That’s all impressive, but the most striking aspect of the new high-speed project so far is something else: Green groups and many residents of the regions flanking the new tunnel site loathe it with a passion. Since preliminary work began in 2014, that opposition has spilled over into heated national debate, sabotage, court cases, and prison sentences. Even yesterday, when an agreement apportioning costs was signed in Venice by French President François Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, police had to fight back boatloads of smoke grenade-throwing protestors with water cannons.

In a world where high-speed rail is normally cast as the good guy — a cleaner, greener alternative to the emissions splurge of cars and planes — this uproar is something of a shock, particularly given the line’s potential benefits. For passengers, the journey from Lyon to Turin currently takes three hours and 53 minutes at its fastest. When the high-speed link is completed, it will take just two hours, while the Paris-Milan journey will go from seven hours to four. The effect on freight transit across Europe could be still greater. Across the Alpine region, the limited number of easy routes through the mountains tends to create heavy traffic along a few valleys and passes.

Protesters

Photo: Flickr / Corteo No Tav

High-Speed rail protestors demonstrating in Italy’s Valle de Susa.

Currently 80 percent of transalpine road traffic between Italy and France passes through a single tunnel, one that also funnels many trucks en route to and from the Iberian Peninsula. Jams commonly build up around this bottleneck, and locals have to contend with 1.3 million trucks annually. A rail line already crosses this territory but it is slower and less direct than the new link, and has limited capacity. Streamlining the existing rail route would allow the possibility of longer trains and could relieve a lot of pressure on France’s alpine roads. Charging a toll for trucks could both encourage rail use and provide some funding. Who could possibly object?

Quite a few people, turns out. The first issue is the huge cost. The entire project has an estimated budget of € 26 billion ($28.7 billion), at least 60 percent of which must be supplied by Italy and France, with the remainder coming from the EU. At a time of Europe-wide austerity programs, that’s a huge amount of cash to find. According to opponents, this price tag means that the money needed for each single kilometer of track would be enough to build a 60,000-square-meter (6.5 million square foot) hospital.

Opponents also claim that the cost-benefit analysis used to justify this expense is shaky. One pressure group from the Italian side of the mountains says that the link will carry an estimated 19.1 million tons of freight on the new railway. Given that the current unimproved rail tunnel cleared just 3.3 million tons of freight in 2014, that seems an extremely optimistic estimate of future growth, even given the future link’s greater attractiveness, they contend.

Meanwhile, passenger traffic may not be very high, either. Even factoring in airport transfers, flying from Paris to Milan still takes slightly less than four hours. Although trains may well come to dominate the less significant Lyon-to-Turin route, the line may struggle to attract riders taking longer journeys.

So angry have Italian opponents been that they’ve attacked the project with genuine militancy. Supporters of the No Tav (“No High-Speed,” in Italian) movement have sabotaged preliminary works near the tunnel’s mouth several times, bombarded the work site with fireworks, and been hauled into court under anti-terrorism laws.

Part of the anger behind the No Tav movement lies in its general disaffection with Italy’s corruption. Opponents of the line believe that key beneficiaries will be not ordinary Italians but shady forces in the construction industry. They may be right in part. According to a 2014 report by trans-European TV network Arte, four companies working on the project have been found to have links with the ‘Ndràngheta organized crime network.

The protestors have sparked a powerful official backlash. High-profile actor and political activist Beppe Grillo received a four-month prison sentence in 2014 for sabotaging work at the tunnel. When writer Erri De Luca said last year that vandalizing the high-speed line would be a legitimate act of protest, he also faced criminal charges, from which he was acquitted last October.

Opposition has also been voiced in France, albeit it with somewhat less intensity. Green Party representatives in the neighboring Rhone-Alpes region have complained that the project started as a sensible new solution for freight but later bloated into an unjustifiable high-speed project, influenced in part by the region’s (subsequently failed) bid to make the mountain city of Annecy host for the 2018 Winter Olympics. They also suspect that even the high € 26 billion price tag may be an underestimate, and that the state will be dragged into further expenditure on a link whose economic benefits are arguably hazy.

Despite these objections, the high-speed project now looks set to go ahead. If the polluting effects of its construction period are carefully managed, then it should eventually be successful in cutting carbon emissions and ensuring that more passenger and freight traffic between France and Italy goes by rail. But will these benefits ever justify the huge expense?

Found At:
http://www.citylab.com/commute/2016/03/france-italy-high-speed-rail-lyon-turin-tgv/472941/


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TO THE NORTH... To The North...  

VIA Rail Coast-To-Coast Passenger Service
Under Threat

A Press Release From The Green Party Of Canada

Trans-Canada passenger rail service under threat again, and the Green Party of Canada is urging the Liberal government to follow through on commitments to keep VIA Rail’s Toronto-to-Vancouver train running.

Yesterday in Question Period, Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, put the question to Transport Minister Marc Garneau on the future of VIA’s Canadian transcontinental passenger train:

“The previous minister of transportation convened a panel chaired by former cabinet minister David Emerson, and it has now reported. Shockingly, it recommends that the Liberal government kill passenger rail service between Toronto and Vancouver. This trans-continental train, the Canadian, is an essential part of Sir John A. Macdonald’s national dream,” Ms. May said.

In response, Mr. Garneau committed to retaining coast-to-coast passenger rail service, but the question of VIA Rail funding remains, said Bruce Hyer, Green Party Deputy Leader.

“The Liberals have a critical choice to make for passenger rail in Canada: whether to repair the damage of a thousand funding cuts over many decades by previous governments, or to allow integral passenger rail service to continue to decline,” Mr. Hyer said.

“Canada is the only developed country in the world that is not investing in enhanced passenger rail services. Indeed, we are the only country in the world that has no national rail strategy at all,” Mr. Hyer said.

“The Liberals have a clear litmus test before them. I am today asking Thunder Bay MP and Minister Patty Hajdu to fight for our Canadian, which runs through Longlac and Armstrong in her riding, and then also seek the return on the passenger train through Thunder Bay. I ask for this commitment on behalf of North Shore seniors, students, First Nations people, and also on behalf of our natural environment. Trains are the safest, most dependable in bad winter weather, and far and away have the lowest emissions of CO2 of any land or air transport,” Mr. Hyer concluded.

Ms. May added: “The Emerson report points out that U.S.-owned Amtrak operates under its own legislation. But rather than recommend Canada legislate to protect VIA Rail’s mandate, the Emerson report exploits that weakness to call for killing transcontinental service and ending support for the Toronto-to-Vancouver VIA service. This is unacceptable, and I call on the Liberal government to reject this short-sighted recommendation.”

Additional Background Information:

VIA’s Canadian, the transcontinental passenger service between Toronto and Vancouver, is at high risk. In 1990, despite a recommendation from a blue-ribbon panel to make investments to modernize VIA Rail and make it more efficient, the Mulroney government did just the opposite when it eliminated the service on the spectacular Lake Superior North Shore run through Thunder Bay, one of the most popular and profitable routes.

The Conservative government at the time retained the Canadian on the northern route on the CN line, but cut that frequency from daily to only 3 days per week, and failed to modernize that equipment. Subsequent Liberal governments continued to cut both investments and operating funds. Recently, the Conservatives cut winter service to only two days per week.

On February 25, a transport committee – appointed by the Harper government and chaired by Conservative David Emerson – recommended eliminating all funding for the Canadian. That would mean the end of trans-Canada passenger service.

Two reports lay out plans to save passenger rail in Canada:

For more information, contact:

Daniel Palmer
Press Secretary -- Attaché de presse
Green Party of Canada -- Parti vert du Canada
dan.palmer@greenparty.ca
(613) 614-4916

On-Line at:
http://www.greenparty.ca/en/media-release/2016-03-09/rail-coast-coast-passenger-service-under-threat


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Eglinton Crosstown Under Way, Underground

By John Thompson, Canadian Contributing Editor
Railway Age Magazine

Tunneling for Toronto’s Eglinton Crosstown LRT project is in the home stretch, with completion scheduled for fourth-quarter 2016.

Four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are working beneath Eglinton Avenue, two from the west, two from the east. Each set will finish work at Yonge Street, Toronto’s principle north-south artery, and the location of Canada’s first subway.

Preliminary work has begun—soil testing, utilities relocation, property demolition, etc.—for 15 underground stations. Two, where the LRT will pass beneath the Toronto Transit Commission’s existing Yonge and Spadina subways, at the Eglinton and Eglinton West Stations, respectively, will involve time-consuming, complicated work. At Eglinton, it is planned to extend the existing station platform northward by 200 feet, to provide a suitable interface with the CrosstownLRT.

The Eglinton Crosstown will consist of 6.2 miles of underground trackage (twin bores) and 5.6 miles of surface running, primarily in a center reservation, with 10 stations. The tunnel portion extends primarily from the western terminus at Weston Road to Brentcliffe Road, about a mile east of Yonge Street. A short section east of Weston will be elevated. The eastern terminal is at Kennedy Road and Eglinton, location of the Kennedy terminus of the TTC’s Bloor-Danforth Subway.

Map

Map via Metrolinx

The Eglinton Line

Work is not planned to begin on the surface section until 2017. This includes the maintenance and storage facility on the former Kodak Canada property, just east of Weston Road, which has been an abandoned brown-field for more than a decade.

The Crosstown is a project of Metrolinx, a Province of Ontario agency that has responsibility for certain new rail transit projects, including GO Transit, in Southern Ontario. However, the TTC will operate the line with its own staff. Opening is planned for September 2021.

Construction (tunnel boring) began at the west end in October 2011. Project Management is by Infrastructure Ontario, another provincial agency, utilizing the Alternate Financing and Procurement Strategy. A consortium, Crosslinx Transit Solutions General Partnership, a consortium of EllisDon, SNC-Lavalin, Aecon and ACS- Dragados, was awarded the design-build-finance contract, and will maintain the Crosstown for a 30-year period. Ownership will reside with Metrolinx. The estimated completion cost is approximately C$5 billion.

The Crosstown is being built to railway standard gauge, rather than the TTC’s traditional four feet, 10-7/8 inches. This decision was made to permit a possible eventual connection with the approved Hurontario Street LRT in Mississauga, several miles westward.

Bombardier Flexity Freedom double-ended LRVs will serve Crosstown passengers. They will be part of large order that includes vehicles for Kitchener-Waterloo, Mississauga, Finch West (Toronto) and, possibly, Hamilton.

Found at:
http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/passenger/light-rail/eglinton-crosstown-under-way-underground.html


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EVENTS... Events...  

Rail Users Network (RUN) Annual Conference
Boston, MA – April 29, 2016

Registration will be FREE this year, but all attendees MUST register in advance.

Join the Rail Users’ Network (RUN) in Boston, Massachusetts on Friday, April 29th for the RUN Annual Conference. The conference theme will be “Who’s Looking Out for You? The State of Rail Advocacy in New England.”

Plan to stay in town for a tour of the wide variety of transit modes offered by the “T” to Bostonians and other area residents. The tour will take place on Saturday, April 30th, and there may be some other surprises, too.

So mark your calendars and plan to RUN to Boston after the upcoming winter ends and spring returns to New England.

The conference will take place at the facilities of the Boston Foundation, 75 Arlingston Street, in downtown Boston, MA. The location is accessible by the MBTA’s Green Line subway. (Arlingston Street Station). You must have an ID to display in order to gain entrance into this building, so please have a picture ID with you on the day of the conference.

Your fare for the optional MBTA tour event (a day pass will do) will be your own responsibility. If you want more information, or wish to register, please check the RUN web site, www.railusers.net or call RUN Chair Richard Rudolph at (207) 776-4961.


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PUBLICATION NOTES...  Publication Notes...

Copyright © 2016 National Corridors Initiative, Inc. as a compilation work and original content. Permission is granted to reproduce content provided acknowledgements to NCI are given. Return links to the NCI web site are encouraged and appreciated. Color Name Courtesy of Doug Alexander. Content reproduced by NCI remain the copyrights of the original publishers.

Web page links as reproduced in our articles are active at the time we go to press. Occasionally, news and information outlets may opt to archive these articles and notices under alternative web addresses after initial publication. NCI has no control over the policies of other web sites and regrets any inconvenience experienced when clicking off our web site.

We try to be accurate in the stories we write, but even seasoned pros err occasionally. If you read something you know to be amiss, or if you have a question about a topic, weíd like to hear from you. Please e-mail the editor at editor@nationalcorridors.org. Please include your name, and the community and state from which you write. For technical issues contact D. Kirkpatrick, NCIís webmaster at webmaster@nationalcorridors.org.

Photo submissions are welcome. NCI is always interested in images that demonstrate the positive aspects of rail, transit, intermodalism, transportation-oriented development, and current newsworthy events associated with our mission. Please contact the webmaster in advance of sending large images so we can recommend attachment by e-mail or grant direct file transfer protocols (FTP) access depending on size. Descriptive text which includes location and something about the content of the image is required. We will credit the photographer and offer a return link to your web site or e-mail address.

In an effort to expand the on-line experience at the National Corridors Initiative web site, we have added a page featuring links to other transportation initiative sites. We hope to provide links to those cities or states that are working on rail transportation initiatives ñ state DOTs, legislators, government offices, and transportation organizations or professionals ñ as well as some links for travelers, enthusiasts, and hobbyists. If you have a favorite link, please send the web address (URL) to our webmaster.

Destination Freedom is partially funded by the Surdna Foundation, and other contributors.

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