Mar 11

Considerations for Peel Region’s Potential Purchase of OBRY Corridor

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

Transport Action Ontario (TAO) has long advocated to preserve the Orangeville-Brampton Railway (OBRY) corridor for transportation. See our posting of January 5, 2021.

The OBRY shut down in December, 2021. In January, 2022, we learned that the Town of Orangeville had agreed to sell about 5 acres of the railway lands in downtown Brampton to the City of Brampton. This deal closed in February. We also learned in February that Peel Region was investigating the purchase of the balance of the corridor lands.

TAO strongly supports these purchases so that the corridor remains in public hands. We have written Peel Region outlining 6 important factors supporting this purchase.

Our letter can be viewed below.

Feb 22

Incentivizing the Private Sector to Invest in Rail Infrastructure

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

Recent border blockages and on-going truck driver shortages are indicative of weakness in Canada’s national transportation system. Senior Canadian economists have called for increased Canadian business investment to remain competitive as a country. A change in Canada’s tax code to incentivize private capital investment has been discussed.

Transport Action Ontario has written key federal ministers recommending such tax incentives for rail infrastructure. Our letter can be viewed below.

Feb 11

Addressing VIA Canada’s role in passenger rail transportation

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

In response to a letter from Transport Minister Alghabra, Transport Action Ontario has written back to the Minister outlining our thoughts and needed work on eight topics, summarized below;

  • Expedited restoration of VIA Rail corridor services needed
  • Transparency on VIA’s High Frequency Rail (HFR) project very inadequate
  • Details needed on HFR capital investment ($396 million over 5 years)
  • Need to develop options to HFR northern corridor (Toronto-Peterborough-Smith Falls)
  • Need to invest in southwestern Ontario rail debottlenecks
  • Shared maintenance facilities with Exo or Metrolinx
  • Welcome first step on VIA’s long-distance fleet replacement
  • Cross-border rail services

Our letter can be viewed below.

Photograph: VIA 912 by djaytoo (d*jay)

Jan 24

Untendered Extension of Presto fare card contract

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

Transport Action Ontario has written Ontario’s Auditor General (AG) expressing our concern about the recent Metrolinx untendered contact extension to Accenture for Presto card support. It is remarkable that this contract dates back to 2006 and has been extended several times without tender. The AG has repeatedly pointed out the dangerous dependence of Metrolinx on Accenture. Metrolinx has apparently accepted these concerns and was moving to reduce reliance on Accenture.

It is therefore hugely disappointing that Metrolinx has again extended the contract to 2025. We urged the AG to again scrutinize this matter.

Our letter to the AG can be viewed below.

Toronto to Chicago Amtrak/VIA Rail train in 1996
Jan 19

Increased Interest in U.S./Canada Cross-Border Passenger Rail

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

With the passage of President Biden’s infrastructure bill in November, 2021, there is considerable interest in the U.S. to boost passenger rail connections to Canada.

Transport Action Ontario (TAO) board member Ken Westcar has published an article in the Winter 2022 newsletter of the (U.S-based) Rail Users Network (RUN). It speaks about the challenges of rigourous border procedures, food/beverage service and the necessary cooperation of host railways. The article is found on page 6 of the newsletter.

Ken is also cited on pages 11-12 of the newsletter, discussing proposed new service between Chicago and Toronto. This paper was presented at the RUN mini-conference in October. Ken’s slides have been posted on the TAO website in an October 15 posting.

The RUN newsletter is attached below.