Should canada have high-speed rail?


countryboy
#1
The subject of a high-speed rail system for Canada has popped up in another thread. I think it started during a discussion of current airport security issues.

It's an interesting thought. Other parts of the world have had good and safe high-speed rail systems for a long time. The one in Japan is called the "Shinkansen" which means "New Main Line", but we refer to it as the bullet train. It started in 1964 during the Tokyo Olympics and has never had a fatal accident.

Do you think Canada should start to consider establishing a service like this? The benefits would be many, and of course, so would the challenges...
 
ironsides
#2
From where to where? They are expensive.
 
countryboy
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by ironsidesView Post

From where to where? They are expensive.

Where? Oh, across the entire country would be one possibility. Maybe start with the heaviest potential traffic corridors.

Expensive? I guess (I don't know the costs)...just kicking the concept around at this point...
 
lone wolf
#4
VIA has been kicking the concept around for a number of years. The early-seventies turbos weren't a great success - but they operated on conventional rail between Toronto and Montreal. The problem would be in year-round perfectly smooth track on land subject to frost heave. In my opinion, it would be a start-from-scratch project put forward to people who prefer to adapt existing plant.

http://www.canada.com/news/Rail+read...527/story.html
 
Francis2004
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by countryboyView Post

Where? Oh, across the entire country would be one possibility. Maybe start with the heaviest potential traffic corridors.

Expensive? I guess (I don't know the costs)...just kicking the concept around at this point...

Well ironside has a point..

So does LW.. I remember the train between Montreal and Toronto and was even on it as a child..

Where does bullet or fast trains make sense and when does price of airfare compete with trains in a way that makes them affordable..

Going from BC to Halifax would be a major undertaking that would make rates way to high in my opinion.. They could never compete with airfare and still would require the same security that airports do..

Look at the problems Spain had..
 
ironsides
#6

Lone Wolf hit the nail on the head one big problem would be, smooth track that would be impervious to hot and cold, let alone shifting Earth. Small short runs in high traffic commuter corridors might work.

Chinese high-speed train sets new record.
Chinese high-speed train sets new record - CNN.com (external - login to view)

Even a speed of 394km per hour which the Chinese (The Harmony express) train is slower than a airplane.
 
AnnaG
#7
IMO, if you're in a hurry, take a plane. If you like scenery, take rail. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. By rail you can take a couple trunkfuls of stuff; by plane, not so much. Trains has a more efficient use of fuel; planes are fast. Trains can pack many passengers; planes not so much. People can board trains almost the entire length, planes only a couple places. Trains are comfortable, planes are a pain sometimes. Trains are regular in movement, planes are subject to wind and stuff. I'd rather fly over the prairies than go by rail. lol
 
TenPenny
#8
No.

It's a waste of money in a country that is sparsely populated and very large.
 
lone wolf
#9
No doubt it's the nicest way to see Canada. The Northlander was my preferred ride on those ordeals in Toronto. A car trip back was out of the question after treatment and I'd rather be strapped to the roof than do Greyhound. No billboards.... No traffic.... No crowd. Even within city limits, you're still riding in the wild (though that lonesome whistle lost out to noise bylaws) High speed trains may have to wait - at least until maglev is feasible reality.

YouTube - quotThe City of New Orleansquot - A Train Slideshow

 
countryboy
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by AnnaGView Post

IMO, if you're in a hurry, take a plane. If you like scenery, take rail. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. By rail you can take a couple trunkfuls of stuff; by plane, not so much. Trains has a more efficient use of fuel; planes are fast. Trains can pack many passengers; planes not so much. People can board trains almost the entire length, planes only a couple places. Trains are comfortable, planes are a pain sometimes. Trains are regular in movement, planes are subject to wind and stuff. I'd rather fly over the prairies than go by rail. lol

What? AnnaG, you mean to say you'd prefer to miss out on one of life's greatest experiences...seeing the prairies?!? Shame, shame. (Did I mention I'm from Manitoba originally?)

Seriously, there is one other aspect to rail that might be important...I don't know the numbers (sorry, not an expert) on energy required to move a specific weight or mass by air vs. rail, but it might be worth looking into. I'm thinking about total energy savings here.

(And don't forget...we're talking "high speed" here, so those lovely prairies would be going by at maybe 270 km/hr. Wouldn't that be great?)
 
countryboy
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by AnnaGView Post

IMO, if you're in a hurry, take a plane. If you like scenery, take rail. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. By rail you can take a couple trunkfuls of stuff; by plane, not so much. Trains has a more efficient use of fuel; planes are fast. Trains can pack many passengers; planes not so much. People can board trains almost the entire length, planes only a couple places. Trains are comfortable, planes are a pain sometimes. Trains are regular in movement, planes are subject to wind and stuff. I'd rather fly over the prairies than go by rail. lol

Forgot one point here..."If you're in a hurry, take a plane" but I'm wondering it that would still apply on a short flight, with all the airport delays and security "issues" being discussed on another thread? I'm thinking about Edmonton-Calgary, Montreal-Toronto, Regina-Saskatoon (the Roughrider fans in Saskatoon might love it!), and I'm sure there are many others...
 
Nuggler
#12
Shyte, yah, Loner:

When I werked fer de INCO, I used to take the train (The Canadian) from a certain point in Eastern Ont., and was deposited approx 6 or 7 hours later, in the Sud-bur-eee.

OMG, what a ride. Up in the dome car with snow blowin atcha, a mickey of rye in yer jacket pocket.

Can't be described............at least not without the threat of divorce.

Didn't appreciate it at the time, but, would give, well, at least, oh say, a few bucks, to do it again.

The train guys were so tolerant of INCO workers, miners, refinery, smelter workers.

T'was a great time in me life.

A simple train ride, eh.
 
bobnoorduyn
#13
As I mentioned in the thread Countryboy is referring to, trains come with their own challenges. Personally, for downtown to downtown service on short distance runs, I think they would be ideal. It's been a long time since I rode the TGV, but I think it had its own dedicated track, and it would have beaten a plane ride between Paris and Rennes by quite a bit if you timed it from your driveway to your destination, but the trip through LeMans was quite uncomfortable as the train switched from track to track to track at a slow speed. The big problem would be with cost, I don't think many are too enthusiastic about land expropriation, (folks are still reeling over the Mirabel and Pickering airports) for a dedicated track and negotiating landowners' rights of way for crossings to their own property, considering what is going on now on the East coast with a new owner of an existing rail line raising the leases for private crossings by 10X in some cases. That is only the first part, the engineering and building of a suitable rail bed is another. The demand and ridership to make it profitable is another consideration, someone has to pay for it, and even if the taxpayers agree, businesses in competition wouldn't allow it to be subsidized.
 
countryboy
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by bobnoorduynView Post

As I mentioned in the thread Countryboy is referring to, trains come with their own challenges. Personally, for downtown to downtown service on short distance runs, I think they would be ideal. It's been a long time since I rode the TGV, but I think it had its own dedicated track, and it would have beaten a plane ride between Paris and Rennes by quite a bit if you timed it from your driveway to your destination, but the trip through LeMans was quite uncomfortable as the train switched from track to track to track at a slow speed. The big problem would be with cost, I don't think many are too enthusiastic about land expropriation, (folks are still reeling over the Mirabel and Pickering airports) for a dedicated track and negotiating landowners' rights of way for crossings to their own property, considering what is going on now on the East coast with a new owner of an existing rail line raising the leases for private crossings by 10X in some cases. That is only the first part, the engineering and building of a suitable rail bed is another. The demand and ridership to make it profitable is another consideration, someone has to pay for it, and even if the taxpayers agree, businesses in competition wouldn't allow it to be subsidized.

Oh sure, there are lots potential obstacles to such a "crazy" (in the minds of some) idea...it must have been a reeeeeally big challenge back in the days when they built the first cross-country railroad, eh?
 
TenPenny
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by ironsidesView Post

Chinese high-speed train sets new record.
Chinese high-speed train sets new record - CNN.com (external - login to view)

Even a speed of 394km per hour which the Chinese (The Harmony express) train is slower than a airplane.

I rode the Shanghai maglev this summer, we hit 431km/h.
 
vinod1975
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by countryboyView Post

Oh sure, there are lots potential obstacles to such a "crazy" (in the minds of some) idea...it must have been a reeeeeally big challenge back in the days when they built the first cross-country railroad, eh?

Good to read all the comments here as soon I am coming to Canada for 7 Years
 
countryboy
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

I rode the Shanghai maglev this summer, we hit 431km/h.

So, let's see...how long would a trip from Montreal to Toronto take at say, 385 km/hr. I think it used to take 6 hours by car (?), so at an average speed of say, oh maybe 90 km/hr, would I be close at a trip length of around 540 km.? Would that make it a 1 hr. 45 min. trip in rough figures?

My figures are probably off, but it looks to me that it might be possible to travel between Montreal and Toronto faster than the net time by air. I'm of course considering arrival time at the airport, etc.

I'm sure somebody will set me straight on those numbers...feel free!
 
AnnaG
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by countryboyView Post

What? AnnaG, you mean to say you'd prefer to miss out on one of life's greatest experiences...seeing the prairies?!? Shame, shame. (Did I mention I'm from Manitoba originally?)

I drove through the prairies. Hubby went across by rail. The nicest part of crossing was finally seeing the Rockies or a lake (on the other side). I guess there's always the choice of boozing one's way across if going by rail. lol

Quote:

Seriously, there is one other aspect to rail that might be important...I don't know the numbers (sorry, not an expert) on energy required to move a specific weight or mass by air vs. rail, but it might be worth looking into. I'm thinking about total energy savings here.

For short intercity distances at least, rail is way more efficient. Maximum take off weight for an Airbus 330 series is 233 tonnes (cargo/passenger weight of about 70 tonnes). Rails can carry as much as 130 tonnes per car, and tens of thousands of tonnes per train. Airbus says their 380 goes through almost 3 liters of fuel per passenger per kilometer. UK trains average between 2 MPG and 12 MPG depending upon terrain and load. Passenger trains get the higher fuel mileages.

Fuel efficiency in transportation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (external - login to view)

Electric trains are even more efficient than diesel powered ones.

Quote:

(And don't forget...we're talking "high speed" here, so those lovely prairies would be going by at maybe 270 km/hr. Wouldn't that be great?)

I'd much prefer rail.
 
countryboy
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by AnnaGView Post

I drove through the prairies. Hubby went across by rail. The nicest part of crossing was finally seeing the Rockies or a lake (on the other side). I guess there's always the choice of boozing one's way across if going by rail. lol

You drove? Well then, you must have seen the tree a few miles east of Regina, if you were on the Trans-Canada Hwy.! It's on the north side of the road...you can't miss it.
 
AnnaG
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by bobnoorduynView Post

As I mentioned in the thread Countryboy is referring to, trains come with their own challenges. Personally, for downtown to downtown service on short distance runs, I think they would be ideal. It's been a long time since I rode the TGV, but I think it had its own dedicated track, and it would have beaten a plane ride between Paris and Rennes by quite a bit if you timed it from your driveway to your destination, but the trip through LeMans was quite uncomfortable as the train switched from track to track to track at a slow speed. The big problem would be with cost, I don't think many are too enthusiastic about land expropriation, (folks are still reeling over the Mirabel and Pickering airports) for a dedicated track and negotiating landowners' rights of way for crossings to their own property, considering what is going on now on the East coast with a new owner of an existing rail line raising the leases for private crossings by 10X in some cases. That is only the first part, the engineering and building of a suitable rail bed is another. The demand and ridership to make it profitable is another consideration, someone has to pay for it, and even if the taxpayers agree, businesses in competition wouldn't allow it to be subsidized.

Japan seems to have done it. The longest bullet-train ride is over 2400 km. Japan's climate is similar to southern Canada's (where most Canadians live) and the terrain varies from mountainous to flat, like Canada's. Canada has loads of room to make railbeds and Japan is one of the most densely populated places on the planet.
Yeah, forget it. Rail in canada would be a washout.
 
AnnaG
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by countryboyView Post

You drove? Well then, you must have seen the tree a few miles east of Regina, if you were on the Trans-Canada Hwy.! It's on the north side of the road...you can't miss it.

I saw a few trees, a couple rivers, etc. and towns and cities broke the monotony of grain fields, too.
 
countryboy
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

VIA has been kicking the concept around for a number of years. The early-seventies turbos weren't a great success - but they operated on conventional rail between Toronto and Montreal. The problem would be in year-round perfectly smooth track on land subject to frost heave. In my opinion, it would be a start-from-scratch project put forward to people who prefer to adapt existing plant.

Via Rail ready for high-speed trains: CEO

I'm wondering if frost heaves would be negated by a raised track situation, at least for some of it. At the speeds we're talking, I don't think things like level crossings would work either...."Martha, did you hear someth..." crunch.
 
lone wolf
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by countryboyView Post

I'm wondering if frost heaves would be negated by a raised track situation, at least for some of it. At the speeds we're talking, I don't think things like level crossings would work either...."Martha, did you hear someth..." crunch.

That would be my solution for frost heave. Curves would be another problem. Topography in Northern Ontario and through the Rockies doesn't allow for two mile easements.
 
AnnaG
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by countryboyView Post

I'm wondering if frost heaves would be negated by a raised track situation, at least for some of it. At the speeds we're talking, I don't think things like level crossings would work either...."Martha, did you hear someth..." crunch.

THE NORWEGIAN RAILWAYS' MEASURES AGAINST FROST HEAVING - Publications Index (external - login to view)

www.sciencedirect.com/science...108e24d457802f (external - login to view)
 
Mowich
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by countryboyView Post

You drove? Well then, you must have seen the tree a few miles east of Regina, if you were on the Trans-Canada Hwy.! It's on the north side of the road...you can't miss it.


What??????
 
countryboy
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by MowichView Post

What??????

Oops, I should have known you (and Ron) would pick up on that one! Ha, ha...just having a little "prairie fun" there. Hey, I'm so prairie I still have traces of cowpies on my boots and wheat chaff in my underwear!

(And that tree east of Regina is a nice one!)
 
Mowich
#27
A combination of high speed rail in the flatter more navigable areas, and dome cars for the mountains. The idea of riding a bullet train takes the all the magic out of railing in the mountains.

I think the prairies are best seen and appreciated by car, but then I'm a prairie chicken. Bullet trains with all the kinks worked out would be a great way to cross the prairies for those disinclined to view prairie scenery.

It's just a thought.
 
countryboy
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by MowichView Post

A combination of high speed rail in the flatter more navigable areas, and dome cars for the mountains. The idea of riding a bullet train takes the all the magic out of railing in the mountains.

I think the prairies are best seen and appreciated by car, but then I'm a prairie chicken. Bullet trains with all the kinks worked out would be a great way to cross the prairies for those disinclined to view prairie scenery.

It's just a thought.

Actually, you might be surprised at how much scenery you can take in at those high speeds. On certain stretches, Japan's bullet trains can be annoying at they shoot through lots of tunnels, but on the flat stretches, it's actually quite nice. You'd still see the prairies no problem...you'd just see them faster.
 
Mowich
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by countryboyView Post

Actually, you might be surprised at how much scenery you can take in at those high speeds. On certain stretches, Japan's bullet trains can be annoying at they shoot through lots of tunnels, but on the flat stretches, it's actually quite nice. You'd still see the prairies no problem...you'd just see them faster.

You have that right... the faster part I mean. I don't know of many cars out there that can travel at 300+ miles or kilometers an hour.
 
lone wolf
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by MowichView Post

You have that right... the faster part I mean. I don't know of many cars out there that can travel at 300+ miles or kilometers an hour.

One spike belt would end that trip....
 
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