VIA High Frequency Rail Project

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neroden

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Query which I don't know the answer to: how much CP freight traffic is there on the line from Montreal to QC? Is buying it outright a possibility, or would this be a case where VIA would have to build its own tracks adjacent to the CP tracks?
 

NS VIA Fan

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VIA also owns the abandon CPR M&O Subdivision right-of-way from near Rigaud, Quebec thru Vankleek Hill and onto Ottawa. VIA still uses the ‘wye’ to turn trains where the M&O joined the Alexandria Subdivision just east of the Ottawa Station. This was the route CP’s Canadian used between Montreal and Ottawa.

The M&O was ‘banked’ in anticipation of future needs before VIA had the opportunity to acquire the Alexandria Subdivision, their current Montreal-Ottawa route. CN had put the Alexandria up for sale after the ice-storm in Jan 1998 took out the CTC signaling system. VIA purchased it from CN then completely rebuilt the track and signaling system.
 
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jiml

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VIA also owns the abandon CPR M&O Subdivision right-of-way from near Rigaud, Quebec thru Vankleek Hill and onto Ottawa. VIA still uses the ‘wye’ to turn trains where the M&O joined the Alexandria Subdivision just east of the Ottawa Station. This was the route CP’s Canadian used between Montreal and Ottawa.

The M&O was ‘banked’ in anticipation of future needs before VIA had the opportunity to acquire the Alexandria Subdivision, their current Montreal-Ottawa route. CN had put the Alexandria up for sale after the ice-storm in Jan 1998 took out the CTC signaling system. VIA purchased it from CN then completely rebuilt the track and signaling system.
That route always seemed more direct (even in an RDC) than the current routing between Montreal and Ottawa. Logically it should be part of the project, connecting to a mostly CP path from Toronto through Peterborough, etc. If you're only running express trains the lack of intermediate population is not important.
 

jiml

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There is no VIA-owned trackage east of Toronto except Brockville - Ottawa - Coteau.
Of course, I tend to forget that piece. I was only disputing the original post which stated "in the Toronto to Montreal corridor where VIA owns a lot of the proposed trackage", which simply isn't true - even if the new route follows the existing path from Brockville to Ottawa to Coteau the remainder is all CN. I thought the whole purpose of this study was to "straighten out" that diversion by using the CP ROW, which is the most direct from Toronto to Ottawa (then on to Montreal by one of the two routes they do own). The current VIA practice of running separate trains Toronto - Ottawa and Toronto - Montreal makes more sense if they have to divert a through train via Smith's Falls and Coteau (which of course has been tried).
 

jiml

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Query which I don't know the answer to: how much CP freight traffic is there on the line from Montreal to QC? Is buying it outright a possibility, or would this be a case where VIA would have to build its own tracks adjacent to the CP tracks?
Interesting question. This was the sensible route for Montreal - Quebec City from the outset, since for the longest time VIA's QC service terminated south of the river without actually crossing back to Gare de Palais. However, at the time "CP" trains didn't terminate at Montreal Central either, VIA had several other long-distance trains also using the CN tracks on the south shore and AFAIK there is still no connector between the commuter tracks north of Gare Central to the CP line. Currently all VIA services out of Montreal - even the Northern Quebec routes - use the one, sometimes more circuitous, routing to get where they're going.
 

jis

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Basically everything to the east and northeast goes through St. Lambert after crossing the St. Lawrence River across the same bridge that the Adirondack uses, AFAIR.
 

Urban Sky

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That route always seemed more direct (even in an RDC) than the current routing between Montreal and Ottawa. Logically it should be part of the project, connecting to a mostly CP path from Toronto through Peterborough, etc. If you're only running express trains the lack of intermediate population is not important.
The goal is to build a dedicated corridor and since there already exists a rail line (ex-CN Alexandria Sub) which is already built essentially to HFR standards, the M&O route offers little advantages which could possibly justify the cost of rebuilding it (it is a cycling path currently, at least west of Rigaud)...
 

jiml

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The goal is to build a dedicated corridor and since there already exists a rail line (ex-CN Alexandria Sub) which is already built essentially to HFR standards, the M&O route offers little advantages which could possibly justify the cost of rebuilding it (it is a cycling path currently, at least west of Rigaud)...
It's not more direct?
 

Urban Sky

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It's not more direct?
More direct than via Alexandria and Coteau? Yes: 180 vs. 187 km.
More direct than via Alexandria and St-Clet (i.e. Winchester Sub between De Beaujeu and Dorval)? No: 180 vs. 180 km.
 

neroden

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A check of CP's national railmap shows that they've leased the entire Montreal-Quebec City line to a short line, the Quebec-Gatineau railway.

I surmise that it is quite practical for a government agency to purchase the line outright.

CP ownership resumes within Montreal at St-Martin Jct, but the line within Montreal hosts commuter service, on the Saint-Jerome line. It's probably viable, perhaps with some extra tracks. If CP won't play nice it could also follow the route of the Mascouche commuter rail into Montreal, which is sort of switchbacky; would require CN to play nice, of course.

So this actually seems eminently doable, given funding.
 

NS VIA Fan

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I recall seeing a map awhile back (‘90s?) that included the M&O in a new HSR routing between Montreal and Ottawa. Trains would have run northwest out of Montreal Gare Centrale through the Mount Royal Tunnel......basically following the current EXO (AMT) electric route to Deux-Montagnes….stopping at a new station at Mirabel Airport….then crossing the Ottawa River to pick up the M&O into Ottawa.

Go back 100 years and the Canadian Northern Railway….builders of the Mount Royal Tunnel had a very similar route to Ottawa. Their trains used the electric line to Deux-Montagnes then continued to Hawkesbury…crossing the Ottawa River there, then onto Ottawa. The Canadian Northern line between Hawkesbury and Ottawa was abandoned in the 1930s.
 

jiml

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I recall seeing a map awhile back (‘90s?) that included the M&O in a new HSR routing between Montreal and Ottawa. Trains would have run northwest out of Montreal Gare Centrale through the Mount Royal Tunnel......basically following the current EXO (AMT) electric route to Deux-Montagnes….stopping at a new station at Mirabel Airport….then crossing the Ottawa River to pick up the M&O into Ottawa.
That's probably why it sounded familiar.
 

jis

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AFAICT Bombardier has become entirely incapable of delivering anything on time and on budget at least in North America. In the US they have now been shunned by almost everyone for any further orders except for NJTransit which now boasts a management team even more incompetent than Bombardier’s. I don’t know if this says anything specific about NJ and QC in general [emoji57]

Bombardier is activating their plant in Plattsburgh for final assembly of cars in some of their existing orders as I understand it.
 
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NS VIA Fan

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Interesting question. This was the sensible route for Montreal - Quebec City from the outset, since for the longest time VIA's QC service terminated south of the river without actually crossing back to Gare de Palais. However, at the time "CP" trains didn't terminate at Montreal Central either, VIA had several other long-distance trains also using the CN tracks on the south shore and AFAIK there is still no connector between the commuter tracks north of Gare Central to the CP line. Currently all VIA services out of Montreal - even the Northern Quebec routes - use the one, sometimes more circuitous, routing to get where they're going.
Quebec City’s Gare du Palais was closed from August 1976 to November 1985 but VIA’s Montreal-Quebec City trains via Drummondville on the south shore continued to cross the river and terminated in suburban Ste-Foy. After VIA acquired the CP ‘Dayliners’ on the north shore route via Trois-Riviere in 1979 they also started terminating in Ste-Foy.

Only the trains to Gaspe and Halifax didn’t cross the river and stopped in Levis with a one mile ferry connection over to Quebec City. The line thru Levis was abandoned in 1998 and the Gaspe/Halifax trains began using Charny (on the south shore) as their Quebec City stop with a shuttle bus to Gare du Palais. Then in 2012, Charny closed and the Halifax trains started crossing the Quebec Bridge over to Ste-Foy.

(But if you go way back ……CN did not have a Montreal to Quebec City (Gare du Palais) train until that launched the ‘Champlain’ (the x Reading Crusader) in 1964. This was Pool Train territory......

https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/threads/the-end-of-the-pool-agreement.66087/

...... and operated exclusively on Canadian Pacific via the north shore through Trois-Riviere.)

And on the Montreal end…..VIA moved the xCP north shore ‘Dayliners’ from Windsor Station to Central Station in April 1984 and they took an interesting route to get back on CP. One of those ancient CN Box-Cab Electrics would haul the RDC ‘Dayliners’ out through the Mount Royal Tunnel to Eastern Jct where they cut-off….then the RDC proceeded down a connecting track from near Ahuntsic Station (on the CN line used today by VIA trains to northern Quebec and EXO commuter trains to Mascouche)…..to Jacques Cartier Jct which was located between Gare Chabanel and Gare-de-Boulogne on todays xCP route to Saint-Jerome.

You can still see the remains of that connecting track from Ahuntic Station where an overpass crossed over Boulevard l’Acadie. Today a ‘Home Depot’ stands on the old right-of-way.


https://goo.gl/maps/hBAXFRqtygq1WjcG8


 
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jiml

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That is a fascinating history lesson! I had no idea about the latter part - thought the CP Dayliners had always used Windsor until their demise. Thank you also for correcting my inaccuracy regarding the Quebec City stations. In my haste to point out that the south shore route did not serve Gare de Palais I incorrectly thought of only Charny and forgot Levis.

Although I have not travelled through the tunnel from Central Station, I have spent some time studying maps to see how VIA's northern Quebec trains could connect from there to their target trackage. It doesn't look that difficult, but a Home Depot in the way would be a significant obstacle. As an aside, I am also fascinated by what appears to be the remnants of a rail crossing of the 401 highway near Bowmanville, ON. If intact it might have been an interesting solution to GO Transit's eastern extension dilemma. Unfortunately they've built a large Tractor Supply Company warehouse on the north side. Oddly similar to the situation you've described. Thanks!
 

Michigan Mom

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Except for Saturdays (when train 75 terminates as train 81 in London) and Sunday (when train 70 originates as train 80 in London), there are already four roundtrips offered every day, with trains 70/71, 72/73, 75/76 and 78/79.
Traveling on a Sunday, Windsor-Toronto so mistaken assumption by not searching other days. I see that in addition to the 905, 1345, and 1745 departures there is a 530.
 
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