All Posts by Transport Action Ontario

About the Author

Aug 08

Submission for Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of Upcoming Federal Budget

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Major Reports , Northern Ontario , Southwestern Ontario

Transport Action Canada and its affiliates, including Transport Action Ontario, have prepared a submission to the House of Commons Finance Committee in advance of Federal Budget 2021, titled Railways as the Key to Unlocking Canadian Productivity, Social Inclusion and Climate Change Performance.

We are proposing that a $5B/yr Strategic Rail Infrastructure Fund be created as part of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. We’ve highlighted eight priority rail projects across Canada which could be implemented before the next federal election.

This investment program would go hand-in-hand with a Fair Rail for Passengers Act drawing upon previously debated legislation.

To read the completion submission, use the link below:

https://www.transportaction.ca/national-news/transport-action-calls-for-5bn-strategic-rail-infrastructure-fund-and-fair-rail-for-passengers-act/

Aug 02

Report on Global Railway Review 2020 International Rail Summit

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News

Transport Action Ontario board member Ken Westcar subscribed to this on-line event on July 29 and 30, 2020 and here are some of his takeaways:

Attendees

  • Of about 150 attendees only 2 were from Canada – myself and a senior analyst new hire at Transport Canada.
  • A few Amtrak people attended but did not actively participate.

Projects

  • India and Israel are moving ahead with HSR. Israel would fit into southwestern Ontario and has only 7m people.
  • Slovenia is working with other European partners to build a flat freight route between the Adriatic and eastern Europe as part of a Beijing to western Europe non-highway mode. They are also developing the concept of local intermodal facilities to make rail more appealing than trucking.
  • Business case for HS2 project in Britain has diminished

Technology and Operations Improvements

  • Discussion on driverless trains resulted in a conclusion that Level 5 automation could not be adopted due to safety issues and that Level 4 semi- automatic operation with an in-cab driver at all times would be as far as main-line services would go in the foreseeable future.
  • Discussion on “intelligent” rail car couplers to boost efficiency.
  • European rail freight operators striving for 750m freight train length and 22tonnes/axle loading.
  • Lots of discussion on seamless, end to end ticketing using smart phones and apps.
  • Retired HS125 diesel passenger trains in the UK may be reconfigured for intercity parcels service by GB Railfreight as trucking is having major problems with capacity and delays. This is being driven by the move to on-line shopping.

Service

  • Covid 19 is a big issue due to industry uncertainty with about 95% or more drop in passengers.
  • Big push by European passenger train operators to restore long-distance night trains led by OBB in Austria. Anticipate that people who normally fly will either not be able to afford it after Covid or routes will be unprofitable for airlines. Flight shaming (flygskam) is a growing issue in Europe.
  • Customer experience excellence also a hot topic.

Environment

  • Lots of “preaching to the converted” on relative emissions of various modes and major advantage for rail. Europeans taking it seriously whereas only lip-service in N. America.
  • Britain to ban rail diesel power except where no other option exists by 2040.
  • Of about 150 attendees only 2 were from Canada – myself and a senior analyst new hire at Transport Canada.
  • A few Amtrak people attended but did not actively participate.

Projects

  • India and Israel are moving ahead with HSR. Israel would fit into southwestern Ontario and has only 7m people.
  • Slovenia is working with other European partners to build a flat freight route between the Adriatic and eastern Europe as part of a Beijing to western Europe non-highway mode. They are also developing the concept of local intermodal facilities to make rail more appealing than trucking.
  • Business case for HS2 project in Britain has diminished

Technology and Operations Improvements

  • Discussion on driverless trains resulted in a conclusion that Level 5 automation could not be adopted due to safety issues and that Level 4 semi- automatic operation with an in-cab driver at all times would be as far as main-line services would go in the foreseeable future.
  • Discussion on “intelligent” rail car couplers to boost efficiency.
  • European rail freight operators striving for 750m freight train length and 22tonnes/axle loading.
  • Lots of discussion on seamless, end to end ticketing using smart phones and apps.
  • Retired HS125 diesel passenger trains in the UK may be reconfigured for intercity parcels service by GB Railfreight as trucking is having major problems with capacity and delays. This is being driven by the move to on-line shopping.

Service

  • Covid 19 is a big issue due to industry uncertainty with about 95% or more drop in passengers.
  • Big push by European passenger train operators to restore long-distance night trains led by OBB in Austria. Anticipate that people who normally fly will either not be able to afford it after Covid or routes will be unprofitable for airlines. Flight shaming (flygskam) is a growing issue in Europe.
  • Customer experience excellence also a hot topic.

Environment

  • Lots of “preaching to the converted” on relative emissions of various modes and major advantage for rail. Europeans taking it seriously whereas only lip-service in N. America.
  • Britain to ban rail diesel power except where no other option exists by 2040.
Jul 28

Brampton studying Urban Boulevard to replace Highway 413

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Latest News , Southwestern Ontario

The GTA-West corridor (Highway 413) is a proposed new expressway between Vaughan and Milton. It is currently in the final stages of an Environmental Assessment. Transport Action has been involved with this project since 2009. See our last posting Nov. 12, 2019.

In July, 2020, Brampton Planning and Development Committee unanimously approved a recommendation by city staff to study an urban boulevard in lieu of an expressway in the Heritage Heights area of the City. Transport Action Ontario made a deputation supporting the staff recommendation. It can be viewed below:

Jul 28

Progress Towards a Public Transportation Network in SW Ontario

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Southwestern Ontario

The steady startup of community bus services in Southwestern Ontario, funded by the Province under Community Transportation Grants (CTG) is continuing. See our previous post on Rural Transit Renaissance (January 2020) for background. Several of these groups have now taken an important next step, by working together and coordinating their efforts under the banner of Southwest Community Transit Association (SCT), facilitated by the South Central Ontario Region Economic Development Corporation (SCOR EDC).

Transport Action Ontario has written Minister Mulroney congratulating her on the CTG program and its positive fallout. We also urged her to continue to work on other Actions in the province’s draft plan Connecting the Southwest, released in January, 2020 (see our posting January 17, 2020).

Our letter can be viewed below: