Improving inter urban passenger rail in ontario swea regional passenger transportation summit
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Improving Inter-Urban Passenger Rail in Ontario SWEA Regional Passenger Transportation Summit. Peter Miasek Transport Action Ontario November 14, 2013 www.transport-action.ca/ontario. Symbolism vs. Reality.

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Improving inter urban passenger rail in ontario swea regional passenger transportation summit

Improving Inter-Urban Passenger Rail in OntarioSWEA Regional Passenger Transportation Summit

Peter Miasek

Transport Action Ontario

November 14, 2013

www.transport-action.ca/ontario


Symbolism vs reality

Symbolism vs. Reality

  • National Railway Day, Nov 7 - declared in 2010 to commemorate driving of the last spike for the CPR in 1885

  • New $10 bill – shows the Canadian that links the country

  • Reality – Minister Raitt statement on National Railway Day: “New economic opportunities still require rail to link Canadian goods to waiting markets”. Silent on Passenger Rail!!

  • Reality on the ground – Derailments, cuts to VIA, branch line abandonments


Citizen advocacy for improved passenger rail

Citizen Advocacy for Improved Passenger Rail

  • Transport Action

    • Nation-wide NGO advocating for sustainable transportation since 1976

    • 5 regional affiliates, including Transport Action Ontario

    • Strong technical strength. Website, reports, newsletters

  • Local NGO’s

    • e.g. RAIL (Lambton Co.), SaveVIA (St Mary’s), NEORN (N. Ontario)

    • Awareness-building, petitions, chair-ins, municipal resolutions

    • Meetings with elected officials and VIA. Pilot project idea

  • Citizen advocacy can be powerful if messages are realistic and consistent

  • “Citizen’s Guide to Sustainable Transportation Advocacy”

    • On Transport Action Ontario website


Recent examples of rail advocacy by transport action

Recent Examples of Rail Advocacy by Transport Action

  • Presentation to Standing Committee on General Government, Queen’s Park.

    • “Increasing the Provincial Role in Intercity Passenger Rail and Bus Transportation” April 10, 2013

  • Development of Practical Short-Term Visions:

    • “A Wedding Band of Confederation: Restoring Rail Passenger Service to Ontario’s North Shore and Across Canada” June 3, 2013

    • “Revitalizing New Brunswick’s Rail Sector” November 6, 2013


Summary of increasing provincial role in passenger rail and bus transportation

Summary of “Increasing Provincial Role in Passenger Rail and Bus Transportation”

  • VIA cutbacks in 2012 just the latest of a long trend

  • Bus service has also deteriorated.

  • Numerous factors are increasing the need for more rail:

    • Urban area congestion

    • Corporate travel preferences

    • USA rail investment

    • Cost of auto ownership

    • Aging demographics

    • Environmental

  • “National Dream Renewed” campaign – 13 town hall meetings across Ontario and Maritimes in 2012 – 2013.


Ontario passenger rail network in 1962

Ontario Passenger Rail Network in 1962


Ontario passenger rail network in 2012

Ontario Passenger Rail Network in 2012


Summary of increasing provincial role in passenger rail and bus transportation cont d

Summary of “Increasing Provincial Role in Passenger Rail and Bus Transportation” (cont’d)

  • What the province can do:

    • Formal agreement with federal government on intercity passenger rail cooperation

    • Create a planning agency to coordinate and support intercity public transportation in Northern Ontario (Metrolinx “North”)

    • Declare a provincial interest in all upcoming rail line abandonments

    • Promote operational cooperation between VIA and GO Transit


Summary of restoring rail passenger service to ontario s north shore and across canada

Summary of “Restoring Rail Passenger Service to Ontario’s North Shore and Across Canada”

  • Funding provided by Bruce Hyer, MP Thunder Bay – Superior North and Transport Action

  • Prepared by Greg Gormick, noted Canadian rail transportation consultant and writer

  • North Shore challenges and solutions:

    • National Rail Passenger Policy

    • Adequate and stable funding for VIA

    • VIA track access on freight lines

    • Long Haul cost-recovery

    • Northern Ontario Service Review – includes using refurbished Budd RDC’s (Transport Canada to resolve alleged CN safety concerns).

    • VIA Rail Canada Act. Model from Amtrak approach


Budd rail diesel car rdc

Budd Rail Diesel Car (RDC)


Summary of revitalizing new brunswick s rail sector

Summary of “Revitalizing New Brunswick’s Rail Sector”

  • Funding from five New Brunswick cities and one economic agency, under coordination of Transport Action.

  • Prepared by Greg Gormick.

  • Timing for revitalization is good due to new Federal Minister (2013), new VIA President (2014), in-depth audit of VIA (underway)

  • Report recommends actions on several issues, including VIA’s halving of the frequency of the Ocean passenger service in 2012


Summary of revitalizing new brunswick s rail sector cont d

Summary of “Revitalizing New Brunswick’s Rail Sector” (cont’d)

  • Recommended actions in response to VIA cutbacks of 2012:

    • Municipal resolutions and direct approach to Minister Raitt

    • Interim service using available Budd RDCs. Resolve alleged safety concerns by CN

    • Scope connecting bus service

    • Investigate transferring ownership of VIA stations to municipalities

    • VIA to form a consultation committee

    • Investigation by Auditor General as part of 5-year VIA audit

    • Encourage FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities)


Potential short term steps to improving passenger rail in southwestern ontario

Potential Short-Term Steps to Improving Passenger Rail in Southwestern Ontario

  • Establish regional working group ideally with VIA participation.

  • Citizen awareness and activism

  • Obtain provincial and federal support in principle

  • Develop feasible concept plan (2-5 year horizon) that people can rally around:

    • Network – Rail and Connecting Bus

    • Equipment (Budd RDC per 2009 VIA proposal?)

    • Station ownership

    • Service level

  • Develop Business Plan for 2 year pilot program:

    • Operations

    • Marketing – major public awareness program

    • Costs, fares, funding (multi government)

  • Implement pilot and draw conclusions for further work


Longer term ideas and needs

Longer Term Ideas and Needs

  • Emulate similar US corridors

    • Toronto-Kitchener-London 195 km, 4.2 Million Population

    • San Francisco–Oakland-Sacramento 145 km, 3.6 Million Population

  • Improved passenger comfort (Siemens Railjet Video)

  • Improved corridor safety

    • Petroleum movements

    • Crossings upgrade

  • Airport Links


Amtrak capital corridor vs via north main line

Amtrak Capital Corridor vs. VIA North Main Line


Improving inter urban passenger rail in ontario swea regional passenger transportation summit

THANK YOU!


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