VIA Rail coordinator Malcolm Kenton
This month’s VIA section is light on news (February seems to have been a slow news month for VIA, with the exception of a couple of significant incidents on the Corridor), but slightly heavier on photos than the past few months have been. An ongoing story is the Canadian’s horrendous timekeeping, in spite of the greatly lengthened schedule. Train 2 has been reliably departing Vancouver less than two hours late, but has been delayed by hours, generally between Edmonton and Melville, and has been arriving in Toronto 10 to 15 hours late, thus causing the subsequent departure of train 1 to be eight to 10 hours late.
With this inauspicious start, and only eight hours on the schedule in Toronto to clean and restock the train while providing the Winnipeg-based crew with a modicum of rest, train 1 has been over 24 hours late leaving Winnipeg on several occasions (twice it was over 30 hours late), and appears to have been annulled at Edmonton at least twice. No indication as to whether passengers were given alternate transportation to points west and, if so, what type of transportation was provided. Nevertheless, the Winnipeg-Churchill and Jasper-Prince Rupert trains have been running fairly punctually despite a brutal winter, and the Ocean continues its streak of stellar punctuality.
A Feb. 14 Railway Age column by David Peter Alan brought the rail passenger advocacy world’s attention to Greyhound Canada’s abandonment of intercity bus service to all points west of Sudbury, Ont. This leads to speculation as to what would happen if North America’s largest motorcoach operator undertook a similar retrenchment south of the border. For one thing, even where they run only one bus a day in each direction, many Greyhound routes in the States serve as ‘Thruway’ interline connections with Amtrak, allowing them to be booked in conjunction with Amtrak trains and significantly extending the reach of the Amtrak network.
In some places, regional operators and government agencies have stepped in to fill some gaps, but neither the U.S. nor Canada can rely on the private sector or a loose patchwork of foresighted local governments to provide an interconnected national public transportation system. As Alan points out, for better or worse, trains have always had a stronger political constituency than buses. If current trends in the intercity bus industry continue, rail advocates will need to flex our political muscles or risk leaving North Americans outside of metropolitan corridors with little choice but to drive or fly – neither option being viable for everybody.
I’ll be joining the Moonlighters aboard the eastbound Canadian, leaving Vancouver on March 15. I’ll spend the night of March 19 and most of the day March 20 in Toronto upon my arrival there before flying back to Washington, D.C. Perhaps I’ll catch some of you along the way, and I’ll certainly share my photos here in the April issue of CRO. Until then, take care and happy rails to you!
VIA on Feb. 6 announced the completion of extensive renovations to its Ottawa station, bringing the facility up to international accessibility standards and making it one of the most accessible stations VIA serves. The $15 million project included installing two elevators between the station and boarding platforms and building a heated level boarding platform with an access ramp.
Renovations will continue over the summer, when the Business Class Lounge will be refurbished and expanded to make it fully accessible.
VIA has spent $162 million since 2010 to make its stations more accessible. In recognition of this, the National Office of the Canadian Council of the Blind presented its eighth annual President’s Award to VIA. The CCB and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, along with the International Union of Railways, were involved in the design of the Ottawa facility, enabling visually impaired passengers to autonomously navigate the station from entrance to platform via audio indications. Ottawa was one of only two station in the world to participate in this pilot program, the other being an SNCF station in France.
VIA’s other accessibility efforts include creating more accessible spaces on board trains, establishing a user-friendly online reservation system, and integrating more people with disabilities into its workforce. “We are developing a universal accessibility policy that will favor a better integration of the different facets of accessibility, be it in our stations, our trains, our call centres or on the web,” VIA President & CEO Yves Desjardins-Siciliano said in a statement.
Siemens Canada, the company VIA selected to manufacture 32 new trainsets to operate on the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor, is looking for interested suppliers to provide components of the trainsets, up to 20% of which is to be Canadian-made.
Specific fields of expertise sought include electrical and mechanical supplies, services related to the technical service, and spare parts suppliers. Like VIA, Siemens is committed to a fair and transparent sourcing process and will select winning bidders based on the total cost of ownership, quality and delivery schedule. The application deadline is 11:59 PM Eastern on March 11.
Summary: A collision between a freight train and a Toyota Yaris on the CN mainline led to the temporary suspension of all train traffic towards Toronto and Ottawa from Montreal. The car’s driver, a woman, and her four-year-old daughter were able to exit the car before impact. No injuries.
Summary: A VIA train proceeding east on the Chatham Subdivision struck and fatally injured a pedestrian at a public crossing equipped with FLB&G at milepost 71.32.
Summary: VIA train 52, traveling from Toronto to Ottawa with a J-train consist, had to be evacuated after striking debris on the tracks at milepost 239.8 on CN’s Kingston Subdivision near Trenton, Ont. around 10:30 AM, causing a fuel leak (mid-train locomotive 6407’s fuel tank ruptured) and damage to windows. The train was traveling at 80 mph at the time. The impact caused debris to strike a CN foreman’s vehicle nearby, resulting in non-life-threatening injuries to all three occupants. No passenger injuries reported. All 150 passengers, after waiting on the train for three to six hours with no heating, ventilation or functioning toilets, were transferred to train 62, which was part of the same consist, and transported by ‘alternative transportation’ from Belleville, Ont. to their final destinations. Safety regulations prevent passengers from detraining anywhere other than at stations or designated stops. VIA did not say what kind of debris struck the train.
Summary: A VIA train, traveling east at 31 mph on the CN Springhill Subdivision, struck an ATV traveling north over a private crossing at milepost 114.11. No injuries reported.
Summary: A VIA train, proceeding east at 40 mph on CN’s Rivers Subdivision, struck a boom truck on the north track at a public crossing equipped with FLB&G at milepost 9.78. No injuries.
Summary: A VIA train led by locomotives 6402, 6410 and 6435, proceeding south at 68 mph, struck a snowmobile that got caught up on the track at a public crossing equipped with FLB&G at milepost 271.52 on CN’s Bala Subdivision. The snowmobile driver cleared the scene before impact. No derailment, injuries or leaks.
Summary: VIA train 21, bound for Montreal from Quebec City and led by locomotive 6425, collided with a vehicle at a grade crossing on the Drummond Subdivision at milepost 122-06 (Ste-Rosalie, Que.). No injuries.
Former AMT - Agence métropolitaine de transport
Edited by Jean-François Turcotte and William H. Baird
CP - EXO INCIDENT:
A CP freight train accident involving a car and the train occurred January 23rd, 2019 at a level crossing at the EXO Train Station at L'Île-Perrot. A woman with her 4 year old daughter was driving the vehicle involved. Fortunately, both of them were able to get out of the car, a Toyota Yaris, just before the freight train hit the back door on the passenger side. Fortunately, they suffered no injuries. All rail transportation is currently stopped between Montreal and Ontario and Boulevard Perrot North was completely closed to all traffic.
AMT 1352 pushes a deadhead move towards Central Station a bit before the afternoon rush hour. Work continues to progress on the REM light rail project (which will parallel the tracks here), with what might be a pillar going up in the Lachine Canal, which will certainly affect this angle. Michael Berry took this shot on the CN St-Hyacinthe Sub Montreal, Quebec, Canada February 22, 2019.
J-Albert Martel shot EXO 74 at Delson on January 25th, 2019 with ALP45-DP locomotive AMT 1347.
Sadly Doing Nothing! Eight of the nine gallery cars built by Canadian Vickers for CP in 1969 (and currently stored for many years) are coupled together in the Pointe-Saint-Charles Maintenance Centre on a sunny morning. The ninth car is out of view at the far right, coupled to an ex-GO Transit single level car and a Bombardier multilevel car. Michael Berry took this shot on February 17th, 2019 at the Pointe-Saint-Charles Maintenance Centre in Montreal, Quebec.
Michael Berry was out in Montreal on the very cold morning of January 13th, 2015. Here he shot AMT 1366 pushing AMT 807, inbound from Mont St-Hilaire, towards its 8:20 AM arrival at Montreal's Central Station. It is using a former lift bridge to cross the frozen Lachine Canal.
CN 6734 is an EMU built by Canadian Car & Foundry in Montreal in 1952, which saw commuter service on the CN Deux-Montagnes line up until the 1990's, and is now saved at Exporail. Behind it is trailer coach CN 6742, with identical builder info and service dates. Ahead of those two cars is speeder CN 189-36. Michael Berry photographed the EMU in St-Constant, Quebec on February 10, 2019 at the Canadian Railway Historical Association Museum; “Exporail.”
The Montreal transit authority, exx-AMT, ex-RTM, now called EXO, is being forced to bend to the wishes of the REM project belonging to the Caisse de Dépot. As most people are now aware, REM have closed one track north of the tunnel. Very little REM construction activity has occurred on the closed section. With the reduction in capacity, train frequency has also been reduced, upsetting the travelling public. When the tunnel station work begins, the tunnel may be shut down to trains all together for a short time. So far, the Caisse de dépôt has not offered many alternatives or ways of attenuating the impact. EXO has to find an appropriate station to use as its terminal and will have to figure how to get trains in and then back out again during the morning and evening parades. They will also have to build a temporary yard and figure out where the turbo bay maintenance will now take place. This is not going to be very enjoyable for EXO, its passengers, train crews and shop personnel. The only organization that remains unscathed in this scenario is the Caisse de Dèpôt. The Montreal transit authority is going to build two new mid-tunnel stations inside the Mount Royal Tunnel, one at McGill University, and the other at the University of Montreal. They are hoping that during construction one EXO line through the tunnel could remain open. (See MONTREAL REM LRT NEWS )
FOR SALE: Built-in 1953 by Canadian Car & Foundry for Canadian Pacific commuter service out of Montreal, QC. Originally built as steam heated D/C cars, they were fully rebuilt in 1990 and had Head End Power, updated lighting, electric heat and MU/communication lines installed. The cars were sold into private ownership and out of the 16 cars 8 have seen occasional excursion use. All cars are of steel construction with car bodies ranging from fair to good. Several years ago copper thieves stole all the Head End Power cables under and between the cars, but the electrical system from the under car junction box to the in car electrical locker are intact. The cars do have open windows and most have fogged over but the open window frames cab be reused, they just need new glazing. Some of the mechanical details include: E couplers, Head End Power (cables have been cut) MU/Communication lines, built by Canadian Car & Foundry, rebuilt in 1990, tare weight 104,700, electric floor heat, open windows (need new glazing) average seating capacity 109, length over coupler faces 83'10", with over side sheets 9' 11", no air-conditioning, 26-C air brake valves, suspension 4 coil springs and two elliptical, wheels 36" curved plate MW-2W, 5x10 rotating end cap bearings, Miner A-5XB draft gear, rubber diaphragms, 480v Head End Power (under car cables have been cut), public address system, 120v fluorescent lighting , ISSH trucks, tread brake shoes, interiors need a good cleaning, all cars have vestibules at both ends, body mounted brake cylinders, main reservoir lines, fair to good wheels. The seller can do a COT&S for approx. $3,000.00 per car. Price quoted is for air brake work only and does not include any potentially additional repairs a car would need to make interchange with the connecting carrier. Seller can deliver to: UP, BNSF, KCS, CN, or CSX. Tariffs to deliver to interchange range from $1,413.00 to $2,475.00 per car.
GLEN YARD VIGNETTE: AMT GP9u 1311 sits at Glen Yard in Westmount, QC back in 1990. AMT was a new entity at that time taking over the train division of the STCUM. The commuter cars behind her are the CC&F-built CPR coaches that began service in 1953. All are retired, and many survive today on tourist One is preserved at Exporail with the HEP car. Doug Boyd took this great shot.
The old AMT Deux-Montagnes line will be the backbone of the new REM LRT and construction along the electric rail line is moving along. There are several current projects and upcoming changes for the spring. Schedule updated and a new temporary EXO Station at the Canora-Mont-Royal. Construction continues at Canora and Mount Royal stations on the west side of the track. Work over the past few months has included excavation and embankment work on the Montreal wharf, construction of a retaining wall, rock anchoring, and pile drilling for the step causes EXO to now operate on a single track over a longer distance inside the tunnel and requires two changes:
As of March 25, 2019: update of schedules exo#5 Mascouche and exo#6 Deux-Montagnes. The schedules of several trains must be modified in order to maintain a regular service that can better adjust to the unexpected. You can consult the new schedules here: exo#5 Mascouche / exo6 Deux-Montagnes Starting May 21, 2019: EXO trains will now only make one stop at a shared Canora-Mont-Royal Tunnel foundation of the stations. In the spring, the same work will be done on the east side on the the line, and work will intensify in the Mount Royal Tunnel over the next few months. This temporary station is designed to ensure the safety of users and workers. It will be located between the two stations, easily accessible about 250 meters and less than 5 minutes walk from the current wharves (see map below). The construction of the new accesses is planned from May 18th, to May 20th, this date will be confirmed shortly to the residents and users of the RTM.
Work in progress in Saint-Eustache and Pierrefonds-Roxboro lines Continues: REM are already working on the construction of the future maintenance center in Saint-Eustache. Work is progressing rapidly and is unlikely to generate impacts due to their location.
Preparing Connections with the Metro in the Mount Royal Tunnel Major projects are underway at McGill (Green Line) and Édouard-Montpetit (Blue Line). This will be problems for commuters on the Deax-Montagnes EXO line starting this summer, when activities intensify in the Mount Royal Tunnel to begin the link between the tunnel and the Édouard-Montpetit station of the REM. The construction of a new switch in the tunnel will force EXO to operate single-track trains until January 2020.
Next steps in Saint-Laurent include construction of the A40 station will begin in the spring 2019. This will allow users of the Mascouche line to connect to the REM and continue their journeys to Édouard-Montpetit, McGill or Central Station. In the meantime, civil works and archaeological excavations will be carried out prior to the construction of the tracks. REM will also be repairing existing railway bridges at boulevards Henri-Bourassa, Grenet and Marcel-Laurin. Traffic barriers of a few days could be put in place to facilitate the conduct of work. More information will be communicated.
Capital Railway reports an Ottawa LRT train struck and fatally injured a trespasser at KM point 3.0 on the Ellwood Sub. Emergency Services responded but it was too late for the individual who died soon after impact. (2019/01/27).
The City of Ottawa will be the first to purchase and try out the Alstom Citadis Spirit for their Confederation Line, an LRT is specifically designed for North American Markets but with no proven track record. The light-rail vehicles that are one of the significant reasons for delays to Ottawa's $2-billion LRT project are expected to make their North American debut in Ottawa, France-based company Alstom, a member of Rideau Transit Group — the SNC Lavalin-led consortium building the 13-station Confederation Line will be supplying the trains for the project. Alstom's Citadis line of trains are used in more than 50 cities in 20 countries, mostly in Europe. The company designed a new version of the light-rail car, called the Citadis Spirit, specifically for the North American market that would be able to handle colder weather and winter conditions. But although the provincial agency Metrolinx has purchased these same vehicles for Toronto and Hamilton, "Ottawa will be the first North American city in which the Citadis Spirit will operate," according to a statement from Alstom.
'Fleet availability' issues: City officials stated they believe the LRT-completion deadline will be missed a third time, even though RTG said it "anticipates" meeting the March 31 hand-over date. One of the significant hold-ups is what OC Transpo boss John Manconi referred to as a "fleet availability" issue. In other words, not enough trains are ready. Of the city's 34 vehicles, only 14 are completed enough, or in good-enough working order, and can be tested along the entire 12.5-kilometre track. Only four to six LRT vehicles are being tested at a time, and it's not clear how many minutes they are able to run in one shot, and began testing in 2016. The vehicles have been assembled at OC Transpo's Belfast Yard facility where, among other things, they are retrofitted with the Thales control system. Thales is the brain of Ottawa's automated light-rail system, telling trains, for example, where exactly to stop on a station platform. (Although the trains are automated, a live, trained operator will be on board.) Hop aboard Ottawa's new light rail train LRT rolls ahead with vehicle testing on Confederation Line Twenty-four of the light-rail vehicles have been given safety certificates from Thales, according to Michael Morgan, the director of the city's rail construction program. That doesn't mean they're ready for passenger service, but the certification is a milestone in the commissioning of the trains. So 14 of these vehicles are actually ready for full testing as of now. But another 10, despite having their control systems green-lighted, are not able to be tested. They need "modifications," said Morgan. Perhaps an error code that mistakenly comes up in the operator's car, or maybe a problem related to the doors, Morgan said by way of example. He adds some issues are more complex, where workers have to get underneath the vehicle. The final 10 cars don't have the Thales control system completed, even though the deadline for the entire Confederation Line is less than seven weeks away. Two vehicles are so unusable (or at least not usable) without a major amount of retrofitting, that RTG is going to swap them out for two vehicles that the city bought for the next phase of the LRT. Panels have come loose at least twice Last week a panel came off one of the trains and caused some damage to the Bayview Station platform. "We're still looking at the root cause of that, for why that may have happened," said Morgan, but added that it is not "raising any red flags" that it is a systemic issue. Another panel was torn off a parked train during last September's tornado. Even though they were unproven, the city agreed in 2017 to spend about $300 million on an additional 38 Citadis Spirit vehicles for Phase 2 of the LRT, the contract for which is supposed to be approved by council late this month. "Would it have been nice to have a year of experience with the vehicles in service before, to take all those lessons and apply it to the later vehicles?" said Morgan. "Yes, it would have been nice to have had that experience." But he said now that the city has made its technological choice with the trains, it needs to stick with that decision, he said. "We selected a vehicle, and we selected a train control supplier," said Morgan. "We need to carry those decisions through the stage two. We can't change midway through that process."
Province of Alberta formally signs contract for LRT Green Line funding: Premier Rachel Notley announced January 30th, 2019 her government has officially inked the contract to fund the first segment of the Green Line LRT. The announcement solidifies funding for the first phase of the project — a $4.65-billion, 20-kilometre line spanning 14 stations from 16th Avenue N. in Crescent Heights to 126th Avenue S.E. in Shepard. Signing of the agreement commits the provincial and federal governments to funding a little more than $3 billion over an eight-year period. At a downtown news conference, near a site where preparatory work for the Green Line is underway, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said having the money in place will allow the city to issue a tender for the project’s main contractor. “It means we can move forward, we can push forward on getting this project out to market,” Nenshi said. “We can push forward on getting 20,000 direct and indirect jobs in Calgary, something that is absolutely critical in terms of economic stimulus at this time Coun. Shane Keating, who chairs council’s transportation committee, said having the contract signed ahead of the provincial election also helps guard against delays. “The election may have put a bump in the timeline had it not been signed, but now that it has been signed and everything’s done, it’s full engines ahead,” Keating said. Actual construction of the Green Line could begin as early as 2020. The city is expected to chip in $52 million annually over 30 years, for a total $1.56 billion by 2044. In 2017, council approved a further $23.7 million be set aside each year for Green Line costs until 2044.
At the news conference, Notley fired back at criticisms made by United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney regarding the funding of the Green Line. Kenney has repeatedly criticized the NDP government and city council over design changes to the Green Line, which have resulted in a shortened first phase of construction. The current 20-kilometre route was settled on following public consultations and a decision by city council to tunnel beneath the Bow River. Notley also hit back at Kenney’s assertion that a carbon tax isn’t necessary to fund the project. “If that fund disappears, they will have to find the money elsewhere and they have not actually been clear that that is what they’ll do,” Notley said. “If they cancel the Climate Leadership Plan, the many, many programs that are funded out of it will disappear and what we’ll end up with is a hole here in this part of Calgary.” While the premier hinted the project could be put in jeopardy should the UCP form government, Nenshi appeared to reject the notion outright. “This project is getting built. There are holes in the ground. There will be more holes in the ground,” Nenshi said. “Of course, the legislature can do anything. But, in reality, this train has left the station.”
Please submit your Metrolinx/GO Transit/LRT/TTC news and photos to CRO GO editor/consultant John Jeffery at firstname.lastname@example.org
Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster and senior management will attend town hall meeting on March 4 . “ Metrolinx is holding a town hall in Kitchener in March to answer questions about services, regional transit planning or "anything top of mind.". Chief executive officer Phil Verster and members of the senior management team will be at the public meeting on Monday, March 4 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Communitech office at 151 Charles St. .” February 20th, 2019 – Story by Waterloo Region Record https://bit.ly/2E33CLw - therecord.com
“Build the Relief Line first, then extend the Yonge subway into York Region. That's the conclusion of a Metrolinx staff report (.pdf) for the regional transit agency's board to consider during its meeting next week. Both the Relief Line South and North and the Yonge North subway extension are priority projects that Metrolinx has included in its 2041 regional transportation plan. The City of Toronto has approved an alignment for the Relief Line South, extending from Pape Station on the TTC's Line 2 to Osgoode Station on Line 1 to relieve crowding at the Bloor–Yonge interchange station. In January, Mayor John Tory announced a City-TTC plan to speed up the building of this line so that it could open by 2029.” February 1, 2019 9:25 am | by Robert Mackenzie – Urban Toronto https://bit.ly/2G92c5V - urbantoronto.ca
This is the Business Case for the Relief Line that was presented to the Metrolinx Board at their Board Meeting of February 7th, 2019. February 7th, 2019 9:25 am | by Mathieu Goetzke – Vice President Planning David Phalp – Manager – Rapid Transit Planning - Metrolinx https://bit.ly/2NlC9ZZ - metrolinx.com
“Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek announced last week that commuters on the Kitchener GO Line can expect two way, all day train service to and from Toronto by 2024.In an interview last week with CBC Radio, Yurek said that the province is in talks with CN to use train tracks that currently aren’t owned by GO. Yurek’s interview came on the heels of an announcement that GO would be reinstating the previously nixed 4:50 p.m. express train. He announced changes to the Kitchener GO line back in December, but once they were implemented on January 7 it caused widespread chaos. Commuters complained of even worse overcrowding and longer commute times. The backlash was swift and GO announced last week it would be reinstating the train…”. February 4th, 2019 by Nikita Brown – Bramptonist https://bit.ly/2Six8lF - bramptonist.com
With files from Robert Boes and Terry Walsh
Delivered, to be commissioned– 678,679,680, 681
In Transit – 670, 682 - released February 21st, 2019.
Thanks to CRO Boise, Idaho Correspondent Robert Boes for this update.
676 - Delivered to the VIA Toronto Maintenance Centre during the early hours of Monday, February 25th, 2019. Thanks to CRO correspondent Terry Walsh for this midnight update.
677 - Spotted by Railfan Terry Walsh at 330pm, Sunday February 24th, 2019 eastbound at King Rd in Burlington, dead in tow, positioned behind the head end power of a CN freight. Thanks to CRO correspondent Terry Walsh for this update.
Completed, not delivered –all sixteen units complete and shipped as of February 21st, 2019.
In revenue service – 667, 669, 671 672, 673, 674, 675
Returned to Motive Power Industries for repairs – 668 - (wearing reporting marks MPEX 668). Thank you to railfan Terry Walsh for this information, which has been confirmed by Metrolinx.
As of February 22nd, 2018 674 is paired with 669, 671 is paired with 673 and 647 is running on its own.
March 2012 - 60 coaches in initial order
August 02, 2016 – 125 additional coaches ordered
Delivered – GO 4000 – 4142
GO 4142 entered service on January 30th, 2019
Source: cptdb.ca/wiki GO Transit https://bit.ly/2uKqkVa
Delivered – GO 4500 – 4519
GO 4519 - Shipped from Ontario Northland Shops on Monday, March 26th, 2018 . This order is complete.
This article by Jonathan English provides a detailed outline of the changes coming to Union Station, particularly at the platform level. These changes are needed to accommodate the four fold increase in the number of GO trains that will operate through Union Station in order to provide Two Way All Day service to several lines. The platforms need to be widened to handle Regional Transit operations. December 13, 2018 by Jonathan English https://bit.ly/2RZ8Cqq - urbantoronto.ca
The latest update is February 25th, 2019 concerning the concrete pour that will take place on February 28th, 2019 to support the construction of the Kennedy Road Tunnel Portal. More https://bit.ly/1F9zFRM - thecrosstown.ca
This article describes the major work that is about to start on the nine kilometer surface section that will run down the median of Eglinton Avenue East between the East Tunnel Portal at Laird Drive and Kennedy Station. Kennedy Station will provide Crosstown LRT riders with connections to the Bloor Danforth Line, The Scarborough LRT, and the GO Stouffville line. The first LRT track bed concrete pour took place in February at Pharmacy Avenue and Eglinton. In March work will begin on the Kennedy Road Portal, and later this year work will begin on the ten surface stops. https://bit.ly/2H1rimQ - thecrosstown.ca
“It’s a chance of a lifetime as Toronto transit enthusiasts go where no commuter has gone before…”. This article by Nitish Bissonauth of Metrolinx describes a tour of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT tunnels between Fairbanks Station and Caledonia Station, taken by a few people in February, that were selected by Metrolinx in a contest. The people were able to stand in the middle of the tunnel where trains will start to operate in 2021. February 11th, 2019, story by Nitish Bissonauth, Metrolinx bilingual spokesperson, media relations and issues specialist. https://bit.ly/2XxeryG - blog.metrolinx.com
This article contains an excellent outline of the progress made on the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown Maintenance Facility and Mount Dennis Station, which is the current western terminus of the line. Forum contributor drum 118 has included several photos that clearly show the progress on the station, the bridge connections between Mount Dennis Station/EMSF and the western tunnel portal, and the track connection to the Maintenance Facility. All of this work will allow track testing of the first six Eglinton Crosstown trams to begin in early 2021 between Mount Dennis Station and Caledonia Station. Trackwork is complete in the westbound tunnel with trackwork beginning in the eastbound tunnel. Construction of the specialized trackwork of crossovers and switches in Keelesdale and Caledonia Stations will begin this summer. February 5, 2019 11:55 am | by Robert Mackenzie https://bit.ly/2H3WVMn - urbantoronto.ca
“…Hamilton wants the province to clarify that $1 billion for light rail transit (LRT) is coming, and that the city won't be on the hook if the project goes over budget…” Samantha Craggs · CBC News · Posted: Feb 14, 2019 https://bit.ly/2S0TQPl - cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton
The latest tweets concerning the Hamilton LRT project. https://bit.ly/2zuSh5u - twitter.com/hamiltonlrt
All fourteen Bombardier Flexity Freedom trams (ION 501 – 514) have been delivered to the ION Maintenance Centre in Waterloo. These trams have a cab at both ends of the car making them bidirectional. The only ION tram that has a frame from Mexico is ION 501 and it was re welded when it was returned to Bombardier’s Kingston plant for upgrading to a fully operational tram. All trams are being equipped with additional specific equipment required for the trams to sync with the ION Communications and Signalling system. Each tram has to be given its Acceptance Certificate and complete a 600 km burn in before it can go into revenue service. Driver Training and Vehicle testing continues on the 19 km line between Conestoga Mall in Waterloo and Fairview Mall in Kitchener. The trams are running both on their own and sometimes with two trams running in multiple unit configuration. On February 9th, 2019 Canardiain tweeted that ION 505 and 511 were out testing separately https://bit.ly/2EvIOxY twitter.com. On February 16th Canardiain tweeted that ION 510 and ION 513 were spotted testing together in MU configuration. https://bit.ly/2tBIIyi - twitter.com
Week of February 7th, 2019 -“ Finishing works at all O-Train Confederation Line stations continue with testing and commissioning of trains and systems ongoing. The Confederation Line Newsletter is being updated to include additional content related to the start up of revenue service in the first Quarter of 2019. This new information will be shared with CRO readers as soon as it is available. By Confederation line Construction update https://bit.ly/2NFy1De - ligneconfederationline.ca
For instance, why is it costing $1.2 billion more? And how are we paying for it? “It's only been a few days since the startling news that the price tag to build the second stage of Ottawa's light-rail system ballooned by more than $1.2 billion to a whopping $4.66 billion — more than twice the cost of the current Confederation Line project under construction right now. As Coun. Diane Deans said, it was "pretty surprising news for a Friday afternoon." • LRT expansion balloons by more than $1B That's when the city released a complex 113-page document that councillors — and the public — have less than two weeks to absorb before our elected officials vote on the contract on March 6. Here are four of the most pressing things you need to know about Ottawa's most expensive infrastructure project in history…” Joanne Chianello · CBC News · Posted: Feb 25, 2019 https://bit.ly/2B6oj8S - cbc.ca/news/canada/Ottawa
No tests on Confederation Line since last week's winter storm. “There's been no testing of light rail trains on Ottawa's $2-billion Confederation Line since last week's severe snow storm, raising questions about how well the system will work in winter weather. "We have not deployed the trains on the track since the end of the storm … Wednesday or Thursday," the city's general manager of transportation, John Manconi, confirmed Tuesday. • Ottawa buys light rail trains with no proven track record • EXPLAINER: The latest on the LRT deadline As well, CBC News has learned that one light rail vehicle got stuck between Hurdman and Lees stations for two days because of the snow, and had to be towed to the maintenance and storage facility…” Joanne Chianello · CBC News · Posted: Feb 20, 2019 https://bit.ly/2EcblqZZ - cbc.ca/news/canada/Ottawa
CEO Report for TTC Board Meeting February 27th, 2019 https://bit.ly/2EvQTm2 - ttc.ca
Click on the link below to review this report to the Metrolinx Board. February 1, 2019 9:25 am | by Robert Mackenzie https://bit.ly/2G92c5V - urbantoronto.ca
The City of Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Transit Commission and Waterfront Toronto, is undertaking the Waterfront Transit “Reset” study, including a comprehensive assessment of needs and options for transit improvements for the waterfront area. Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies were completed in 2016 and 2018, respectively. On January 31, 2018, City Council endorsed the overall Waterfront Transit Network Plan, and directed staff to proceed with more detailed follow-up planning and design studies according to priority. The City is now moving forward with next steps in the Waterfront Transit Network Plan. Current work includes refinement and evaluation of options for the connection of higher order transit between Union Station and Queens Quay, and 30 per cent design of the streetcar extension between Exhibition Loop and the Dufferin Gate Loop...” Monday, February 25th, 2018 by Nigel Tahair– City of Toronto Planning Department https://bit.ly/2N036lQ - toronto.ca - Waterfront Transit reset
Google’s futuristic development on the eastern waterfront, Quayside, is only the first step in an expansive and ambitious plan to build new neighbourhoods — and new transit — throughout the entire Port Lands, the Star has learned....” Thursday, February 14th, 2018 by Marco Chown Oved– Investigative Reporter https://bit.ly/2GFbwhn - thestar.com – Toronto Star
Updated February 25th, 2019
The Flexity Outlook LFLRV fleet is based at the new Leslie Barns LFLRV Streetcar Maintenance Facility on Leslie St South and Lakeshore Boulevard East. Additional maintenance and storage capacity for the low floor Flexity fleet is being built at Roncesvalles Shops in the West End. The TTC trams only have a cab at the front of the car making them unidirectional. The Bombardier Kingston plant is now producing Flexity Outlook Trams for the TTC as well. They will produce cars 4570 through 4603, with a car being shipped once every ten days. The Thunder Bay plant is continuing production on TTC trams up to 4569, shipping a tram once every six days approximately. TTC Streetcars can be tracked on nextbus.com or transsee.ca Information Source:- Kingston Plant production Urban Toronto Transportation and Infrastructure Forum -TTC Flexity Streetcars Testing & Delivery (Bombardier) page 883 and 884, information posted by forum member drum118. https://bit.ly/2qvwnKL - urbantoronto.ca
TTC 4400, 4402 to 4523, and 4572 – Active on the 501 Queen line (weekends only for now), 504A and 504B King line, 509 Harbourfront line, 510 Spadina line, 512 St. Clair line. The 504 King and 514 Cherry lines have been combined into the 504A King (Dundas West to Distillery) and 504B King (Broadview to Dufferin Gate) routes. The 504A and B King route is now all Flexity operation and 501 Queen is gradually being populated with Flexities as more low floor trams are delivered. Information source: Urban Toronto Transportation and Infrastructure Forum -TTC Flexity Streetcars Testing & Delivery (Bombardier) (Page 861) https://goo.gl/zNS2y7y7 urbantoronto.ca .
4522 - The 122nd Flexity tram - Delivered to Hillcrest Shops on January 22nd, 2019. Entered service on February 6th, 2019 on route 509 Harbourfront
4523 - The 123rd Flexity tram - Delivered to Hillcrest Shops on January 22nd, 2019. Entered service on February 1st, 2019.
4524 - The 124th Flexity tram - Delivered to Hillcrest Shops on January 24th, 2019. Entered service on February 10th, 2019
4525 - The 125th Flexity tram - Delivered to Hillcrest Shops on February 15th, 2019. At Leslie Barns for testing.
4526 - The 126th Flexity tram - Delivered to Hillcrest Shops on February 15th, 2019.. Entered service on February 24th, 2019, on route 510 Spadina.
4527 - The 127th Flexity tram – Has arrived in Toronto and is awaiting delivery to Hillcrest Shops, as of February 20th, 2019.
4528 - The 128th Flexity tram – Delivered to Hillcrest Shops on February 22nd
4529 - The 129th Flexity tram – En route from Thunder Bay as of February 22nd, 2019.
4530 – The 130th tram. Ready to ship as of February 20th, 2019
4570 - The 170th Flexity tram – At Millhaven testing prior to shipment
4572 - The 172nd Flexity tram - Delivered to Hillcrest Shops on Monday, December 17th, 2018. Entered service on January 11th, 2018 on route 504b King. 4573 - The 173rd Flexity tram - Delivered to Hillcrest Shops on Wednesday, February 20th, 2019. Delivered to Leslie Barns for testing.
4400 – Loaded on a flatcar on September 07, 2018 and sent to La Pocatiere for welding repairs.
4401 – Loaded on a flatcar on May 18, 2018 and sent to Bombardier in La Pocatiere for welding repairs. This tram is expected back in Toronto soon as it was expected to take a year to repair the first two trams.
4403 – Loaded on a flatcar on February 20th, 2019 and seen sitting in Lambton Yard on Sunday, February 24th, 2019 It will be sent to Bombardier in La Pocatiere for welding repairs.
Information Source: Urban Toronto Transportation and Infrastructure Forum -TTC Flexity Streetcars Testing & Delivery (Bombardier) https://bit.ly/2DB6wKF -urbantoronto.ca Toronto Transit Commission 4400-4603 https://bit.ly/2KqRy98 - Canadian Public Transportation Discussion Board cptdb.ca/wiki TTC Streetcar Watcher http:/www.ttctracker.ca by James Koole
WCE 904 was shot in Pitt Meadows on October 3rd, 2014. West Coast Express #903 had just departed Pitt Meadows Station and was about to go under the pedestrian overpass at Bonson Road, as it proceeds eastbound on the CP south track towards Maple Meadows Station. To the east of this location, the train will switch to the North track on the west side of the Maple Meadows Way crossing before it arrives at the station platform. All station platforms from this point on are on the CP North Track.
WCE 903 is crossing the Pitt River Bridge March 29th, 2016 eastward on the south track after leaving the CP's Port Coquitlam yard on its way to Pitt Meadows Station.
A rare Doubleheader at Pitt Meadows in October 12th, 2016 Connor Park clicked West Coast Express F59Phi’s 903 and 901 approaching the Kennedy Road crossing in Pitt Meadows, BC on the south track.
2017-05-02 WCE 905 - Maple Ridge May 2nd, 2017 - West Coast Express #905, unique with the words "In Memory of Rick Lee" written underneath the cab side windows, arrives with an eastbound train at Port Haney Station in Maple Ridge BC. The station platform is on the North track and just on the other side of the trees is the Fraser River. Maple Ridge is the only town along the West Coast Express route to be serviced by two WCE stations.
AMTRAK INCIDENTS in Canada:
An Amtrak passenger train, proceeding Southward at approximately 10 MPH, struck a vehicle at a Public Crossing equipped with FLB&G at Caribou Road, mile 147.23 on the CN New Westminster Sub. There was No derailment, No injuries, No leaks only Minor damage to the motor vehicle. (2019/01/10)
Amtrak’s Montréal to New York bound train was shot January 28th 2019 in the morning, south of Montreal led by AMTK 98. (J. Alber Martel photo).
By Noel T. Braymer and William H. Baird
Amtrak plans to serve Long Island as Metro-North seeks Penn access:
Railway Gazette International-Feb 6, 2019: The Penn Station Access plan would see four new stations built in the Bronx, to be served by Metro-North commuter trains. USA: Amtrak announced on February 5 that it had reached agreement with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority covering two enhancements to passenger services. The first is a long-standing proposal to allow MTA Metro-North to use Amtrak infrastructure to reach Penn Station in Manhattan, while the second envisages investment to enable Amtrak inter-city trains to serve Long Island. The Penn Station Access program would see Metro-North trains use some of the spare capacity that is to be freed up in 2023 when Long Island Rail Road trains are diverted to serve the deep-level terminus at Grand Central Terminal under the much-delayed $11bn East Side Access scheme.
Amtrak Fires Traced To Trains' Battery Boxes:
CBS Chicago-Feb 7, 2019 Every day, more than 300 Amtrak trains cruise across the country. Every so often, one catches fire. Records reveal a small but growing problem with fires breaking out on trains. Milwaukee news stations lit up the night of October 30, 2018 with interviews from Chicago Amtrak passengers evacuated mid-trip. But like the minor fire, the story fizzled quickly—until now. A look at Amtrak records shows 15 other similar fires on their trains in less than five years.
Amtrak train delayed 3 hours after mechanical failure:
Herald Palladium-Feb 7, 2019: Almost 80 Amtrak passengers were delayed three hours Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning when the train they were on broke down about five miles before reaching the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor station. “We’re all stopped here. ... My entire unit just shut down,” a train employee can be heard announcing on a recording of the incident caught by the Saint Joseph Area Rail and Marine channel of Broadcastify. Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari said the Pere Marquette Amtrak Train 370 was traveling from Chicago to Grand Rapids when it experienced mechanical problems around 9:45 p.m. Tuesday Feb 5th.
happy as Union Pacific Reports Positive Train Control Progress:
Pacific-Feb 5, 2019: Union Pacific installed Positive Train Control (PTC) equipment on 100 percent of required route miles and implemented on all required passenger train routes. Implementation efforts continue to ensure PTC interoperability with other freight and passenger railroads operating on Union Pacific tracks by 2020, as allowed by federal law. One of the most challenging parts of PTC implementation is ensuring system interoperability among all U.S. rail lines and locomotives. Given the various readiness levels of North American freight and passenger railroads, including publicly funded commuter lines and short lines, it is important that all railroads continue working together to maintain the health, safety, resiliency, and fluidity of the rail network during PTC implementation.
‘Green New Deal’ To Seek Transport Overhaul:
The proposed resolution H.R. 11, titled, “Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal” was released to the press by freshman Rep. (and national celebrity) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). It offered few specifics, but did call for a new approach to infrastructure that would overhaul “transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing; clean, affordable and accessible public transportation; and high-speed rail.”
America's trains are “a drag” - The Green New Deal wants to fix that.
US News: Feb 8, 2019: Ever since the midterm elections, there’s been quite a bit of buzz about the possibility of a Green New Deal, a comprehensive national plan to tackle climate change and inequality all in one. On Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) finally unveiled a resolution on Capitol Hill. Rather than a set of distinct policies, it’s more of a set of goalposts with ambitions for fighting climate change and transitioning the economy in a just way. Specifically, the section of the FAQ on transportation calls to “build out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary.” The resolution itself doesn’t mention air travel at all but does call for the goal of “investing in clean, affordable, and accessible transportation; and high-speed rail” as part of a 10-year national mobilization.
Due to a CN derailment, Amtrak train 302 with one of their Charger engines was detouring through Tinley Park, Illinois January 14th, 2019 The derailment occurred on CN rails at an industry (originally GM&O trackage), near Lemont, Illinois. job. (Mike Garza).
George C. Manley shot Caltrans Charger CDTX 2101 rolling through Rodeo, California with four cars on the afternoon of January 30th, 2019.
On January 31st, 2019 Austin Logan Photographed and shot video of Amtrak “Downeaster” train #686 kicking up snow as it rolls thru Main St in NH with NPCU #406 and P42DC # 51, Watch it Bounce at speed over the crossing. (VIDEO): https://www.facebook.com/100008862908047/videos/2002879716684106/
The Huntington Railroad Society's “closing” blamed on Amtrak changes:
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin says Amtrak is to blame for the financial hardship for the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, causing its employees to be laid off and the organization to close its doors. Manchin, D-W.Va., sent a letter on Thursday to Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson expressing concern over Amtrak's policies and restrictions that are creating the financial hardship for the society and putting the New River Train's October trips in jeopardy of ending as well. The letter explained the impact of Collis P. Huntington's closure to West Virginia and urges Amtrak to re-examine its policies. For more than 50 years as the focal point of the Railroad Days Festival, the New River Train has been at the heart of West Virginia's proud railroading history. From providing jobs to bringing people from across the country to visit our beautiful state, railroads are still vital to the Mountain State today," Manchin wrote. "That's why I find it so disheartening to see the impacts of these decisions. I am committed to doing whatever I can, legislatively or otherwise, to save the traditions and communities threatened by these policies. I stand ready to work with you to keep West Virginia's proud railroad history alive." In the letter, Manchin said he feared the New River Train may never run again because of Amtrak's new policies. "In March of last year, Amtrak imposed new restrictions that eliminated special trains like the New River Train and removed Huntington as a station where private cars could be added to regularly scheduled Amtrak trains," Manchin wrote. "I was initially encouraged by our phone call when you agreed to allow Collis P. Huntington to continue operating the New River Train in 2018. Unfortunately, your organization increased the cost to operate the train by $120,000 and imposed numerous additional restrictions throughout the year that drove costs even higher. Despite its enormous popularity and increased seat prices for the two October Railroad Days weekends, the train still operated at a $180,000 loss. To make matters worse, Collis P. Huntington's regular trips to Washington and New York - which help offset the costs of running the New River Train - had to be canceled since they could no longer originate or end in Huntington." Manchin said Amtrak continues to justify its policy changes by arguing that they achieve cost savings and improve on-time performance, but it has failed to provide any statistics that corroborate its argument. "I strongly believe that if you are going to jeopardize these institutions and harm small-town economies, you should at least have to explain why," Manchin wrote. Last year, a tentative agreement was reached between Amtrak and the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society to allow some service for the New River Train in 2018. Now, in 2019, the historical society and the train rides are in jeopardy of closing. "Everything is in limbo at this moment," said society Executive Director Chris Lockwood. New River Train excursions through the New River Gorge in Southern West Virginia are scheduled for October this year and tickets for trips were to go on sale starting Friday, Feb. 1, but Lockwood says that is not going to happen. "We are definitely pushing back that date and hoping this can be resolved," Lockwood said. Although the New River Train, one of the largest mainline excursion trains in the United States, was saved last year, the Railroad Historical Society had to pull the plug on a couple dozen other trips that were planned to depart from Huntington in 2018. The society has had to operate sightseeing, tourist train trips out of other locations.
to Increase ACELA Trains:
Amtrak is gearing up to introduce new high-speed Acela trains as it plans to spend billions of dollars in upgrades on the busiest U.S. rail corridor... Amtrak carries more than 12 million passengers a year in the corridor that accounts for nearly 40 percent of the railroad’s traffic nationwide. It is spending about $700 million annually to maintain and upgrade the corridor but has long-term needs of more than $30 billion as it seeks to introduce next-generation higher speed service by 2040...Amtrak is planning to start using new Acela trains starting in 2021. The railroad is buying 28 Acela train sets, eight more than it currently operates, using a $2.45 billion federal loan. It is also planning to buy a new fleet of trains for its slower Northeast Regional service in the middle of the next decade. Caroline Decker, vice president for the Northeast Corridor Service Line, said Amtrak is considering offering some non-stop trains between New York and Washington that could cut at least 15 minutes off the current travel time. Problem is: Non-stop trains does not always increase ridership, it skips markets and lowers revenues. We saw this going back to the San Diegan Metroliner experiment in the early 1980's. It didn't last long. NB.
Amtrak to introduce new ACELA high-speed trains in 2021:
Amtrak is planning to invest billions of dollars to upgrade aging rail infrastructure to improve service. In the long-term, the company is said to require more than $30bn to implement higher speed services. “The introduction of high-speed trains forms a part of its plan to provide next-generation services by 2040.” In the north-east corridor connects Washington and New York. Amtrak plans to rehabilitate the Baltimore rail tunnel at a cost of $4.5bn. It also plans to replace the Susquehanna River Bridge for $1.7bn. This all well and good I suppose. But how will Amtrak NEC service connect to the rest of the East Coast and areas nearby. Each major station on the NEC should be used as a hub with connections to other cities off of the corridor. Just look at New York City. There are lots of people who live on Long Island. The Long Island Railroad terminates at Penn Station. But the concourses for Amtrak are separate from those for the Long Island at Penn Station. If you want to make connections, you are on your own. Connections to rail services to other pars of New York State or near by States also don't seem to be marketed for or used by many passengers. It shouldn't be hard to market such services. But too much emphasis at Amtrak is on large headcounts. But much of the ridership on the NEC is between New York and Philadelphia and other rather short distance trips which means low revenue and many trains with plenty of empty seats for much of the route. (NB).
Amtrak “VERMONTER” remains Safe:
The Vermonter will continue its run from Rail City in 2019. After rumors that Amtrak would shut down its Vermont services at the end of 2018 and substitute those services with bussing, Amtrak announced recently that it would continue operation of its Vermont trains, including the St. Albans-to-Washington, D.C. Vermonter. “Amtrak plans to operate all of our services, as well as tenants that operate over our track, Jan. 1, 2019,” said a press release provided to the Messenger by Amtrak’s Media Center.
Caltrain fatally kills trespasser in Redwood City, CA:
A person who was trespassing on the Caltrain tracks in Redwood City was fatally hit by a train the morning of January 11th, 2019, according to officials. Caltrain says it happened around 5:44 a.m. on the tracks not far from the Whipple Avenue grade crossing in Redwood City. Caltrain's SB train #102 was identified as the train that fatally hit the unidentified person. Authorities re-opened the northbound track for single-tracking at restricted speeds through the incident area just after 6 a.m. This is Caltrain's first fatality of 2019.
Amtrak and other Central Florida Trains Action on January 6-13, 2019:
CSX Waycross-Miami train Q453 by Lake Panasoffkee, Florida, on January 13, 2019 2. Amtrak Trains 91, 98, 97 and 92 at various locations in Central Florida on Three Kings Day, January 6, 2019. Note that train 97 is carrying 5 extra Amfleet 1 coaches to be used on this year's Safety Patrol Train. Also note the first time I recorded the new signal gantry at Lakeland next to the old ACL/Amtrak station. The original ACL signal gantry had been cut down and replaced late last year. 3. Amtrak 98 at Seville, Florida on January 12, 2019. 4. Florida East Coast Railway train 101 southbound by TICO Airport just after sunset on January 12, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=267&v=kSMzzw554ec
All photos used with permission of the photographer. Contact the editor if you feel your photo has been used without permission.
Copyright CRO 2019