2017-05-27 Sat

High Speed Rail

Much discussion over the past two or three weeks regarding the possibility of establishing a committee to look into the possibility of asking submissions from consulting groups and choosing one group that might be able to complete a report about the feasabiloity of establishing a commission to look into the impact of high-speed rail on the results of the next election.

This is The Canadian Way.

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The Toronto Star places this article in the category of Public Transit, but it won’t be Pubic and it won’t be Transit. It will be a souped-up version of the awful UP-Express that isn’t Public and insn’t Transit and as far as I can tell isn’t Express either.

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The first map to hit our eyes gives the game away. There is a solid line running west from Toronto to London and then a dotted line continues west to Windsor.

No sign of anything running east of Toronto.

And Kitchener is already served by a commuter train line. Admittedly it is a GO train service which results in one train coming into Toronto weekday mornings, and one train going out weekday evenings. That’s a total of ten train trips per WEEK. God forbid we should make use of the -existing train stock rather than investing in duplication.

This is The Canadian Way.

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According to this map, there are five Public Transit rail services running west from Toronto.

One is the GO Train service that stops at Aldershot, a grove of trees not far from a large enough city called Burlington; too far to walk and obviously too far for GO to send its trains. There is a rail line that runs all the way to Aldershot, but GO service stops short, so that passengers can incur a small delay by transferring to a bus for the remainder of the journey.

This is The Canadian Way.

The yellow lines are, I think, the Canada-wide VIA train service. This is hardly transit. You must book a specific seat in a specific carriage on a specifc train that leaves at a specific time. No swapping seats!. And if you plan to return to civilization, you better be on the station platform fr the train specified in your ticket stub. No swapsies!

This is hardly Tranist.

This is The Canadian Way.

The aptly-coloured Brown line is the UP-Express whose backers really thought it possible that Torontonians would ride the subway from wherever they lived in Toronto all the way to Union-By-The-Lake, then drag their suitcases and toddlers five to seven minutes up staris and down stairs and in my lady’s plywood enclosures that are the scenic maze (tourist attraction?) which changes monthly, just so they could pay an extra $25 to travel to the airport.

Which they could do faster by staying ON the subway train all the way to Kipling and then catching the TTC airport shuttle. The devious TTC updated all their in-train subway maps to make it look like the subway ran all the way to the airport. Probably didn’t help the UP-Express any, but then, serves them right, I say.

This is The Canadian Way.

You may note in passing that the UP-Express is NOT a non-stop express service to Union Station. It stops just a little walking distance from the subway stop at Bloor and Dundas West – I understand that one has to walk around the station to make the connection. None of this ridiculous European concept of just crossing to the other side of the island platform.

This is The Canadian Way.

Note too that the UP-Express stops in Weston, one of the focal centrepoints of Toronto Life. There are fewer airplane-hopping executives in Weston than in about fifty other localities in Toronto.

This is The Canadian Way.

Which leaves us with the blue line – the high-speed rail.

Note that it leaves Toronto and its first stop is at Toronto International Airport – cunningly renamed “Lester B Pearson” to confuse all the foreigners who might want to visit us.

Unlike the UP Express, the high-speed rail would be a genuine non-stop between Toronto and the airport. Why didn’t we think of that ten years ago?

Note too, while you are studying the map, that the Green GO trains don’t stop at the airport. They reun past the airport, about a half a mile away last time I looked. So if you sit on the right side of the rain you can watch aeroplanes taking off. Stopping at the airport would only encourage people to use the existing GO train services to get to the airport. Despite the fact that GO trains run only INBOUND to Toronto in the morning and OUTBOUND in the afternoons.

I am losing my train (hah hah!) of thought here. I was thinking of almost any other city where public transit trains run in both directions all day long, serving the public.

I don’t know why I expected public transit to service the International Airport.


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I am often struck by the play of light inside and outside my home. This morning a flicker of sunlight passed across a bookshelf and hit a few books.

You can just make out the title of the thick book “The Nile” by Emil Ludwig. Note the colour of the cover.

Next to it “The Blue Nile” and “The White Nile” both by Alan Moorehead, then “The River War” by Winsoton S. Churchill, and then the set just runs on into my sandy-coloured escritoire …