2017-05-29 Mon

High Speed Rail

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Never trust anyone who speaks in Billions AND predicts sixty years ahead.

Good heavens! Sex is predictable (teenagers WILL be curious …) and we can’t predict populations twenty years ahead. Who can predict technology sixty years ahead? Who can predict work habits sixty years ahead? Who then can predict travel habits sixty years ahead.

Shake your head, and while you’re at it, shake you’re ahead.

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Oh! Hello!!

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Here’s another alarm signal:-

High-speed trains “ …running on a mix of dedicated and shared track …”.

What does that mean? It means that:-

(1) Shared Track: Passenger trains and freight trains must adapt to each others speeds. Now, quick, what sort of freight train can operate at 250 KM/hr? Right! Does this mean that these high-speed trains will have to operate part of the time at the speed of a regular freight train?

(2) Dedicated Track: is what we do not have here in Ontario. My understanding is that this is why GO trains stop at Aldershot instead of running directly into the city of Hamilton.

(3) VIA rail, even, our fast intercity express, daily stops in the middle of nowhere to allow a freight train to run through. This might impress the business men who own the freight (although I suspect they travel by private jet), but it doesn’t impress the heck out of me. Not at $80+ for a return ticket to Cobourg.

(4) I don’t have to interpret “Up TO 250 KM/hr” for you, do I?

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“Three strikes and yer out!” Me, I wouldn’t trust someone who was the driving force behind the UP-Express, which was, and is, and ever shall be a bad idea and a money-drain. Refer again to the concept that people from across the Toronto GTA should flock to a point far away from the airport just to get to the airport. Makes no sense.

The UP-Express proves that an isolated shuttle train, not integrated into existing services, will fail. The UP-Express never should have been. GO Transit should have run trains straight through from Oshawa to the airport, alternating with trains that run Oshawa to (ulp!) Aldershot.

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The Transilean RER does that in the Ile de France, and everyone loves the Paris system. I have circled the airport CDG and Orly in purple. Note how the “blue” and “yellow” lines are integrated into the RER network. Last year I hopped on the blue line at CDG, changed to the red line at Chatelet-Les-Halles, and was out at Poissy (red line to top-left corner of the map) in about forty minutes. Tops.

And then there’s VIA rail, an existing system. Why not just build a dedicated set of passenger rail tracks for the passenger services and be done with it?

Clear Thinking

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Is it only fifteen (twenty?) years since either the Toronto City Council or the Toronto District School Board ripped out all the schoolyard playground equipment and replaced it with bland plastic same-size-fits-all stuff?

At the time I suspected that someone on council had a brother-in-law whose school-bus driver’s wife knew someone who had an interest in the manufacture and delivery of bland plastic same-size-fits-all playground equipment.

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The article continues with the nub of the problem hidden in text on a following page, [and enclosed in square brackets as an after-thought].

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And there you have it, folks.

An external study reports fewer than five deaths across Canada. Now each one of those deaths is, to me, an unbelievable agony. I do not belittle that.

But if deaths and injuries from playground were an important issue, wouldn’t you want to get deep into the whys and wherefores of the matter?

Not the Toronto City Council! No Sir!

The Toronto Transit Commission does not collect comprehensive data on playground accidents.

Now the use of the term “accidents” has not been attributed to the Toronto City Council, so we must assume that the word “accidents” was chosen by the Globe And mail staff.

But an accident is, by definition, “an unforeseen occurrence or incident” (I looked it up), so spending $’000s on ripping out playground equipment and spending $’000s on installing new playground equipment on the basis that you don’t actually know that deaths and injuries will happen is a really stupid exercise.

Unless someone on council has a brother-in-law whose school-bus driver’s wife knew someone who had an interest in the manufacture and delivery of bland plastic same-size-fits-all playground equipment.

But the bottom line, as always, is a tried and true maxim of Business everywhere:-

MANAGEMENT MEASURES(1-4 below).

If you aren’t using one of the four primary quantifiers, then you are not measuring.

And if you are not measuring, then you are not managing. You are reacting instinctively.

(1) Numeric, as in “twenty” or “15,000” or “$32.87”

(2) Date-time, as in “5pm on Thursday the first of June”

(3) Geographic or Spatial, as in, “Apartment 402; 32 Grenville Street, Toronto, CANADA  M4Y 1A4”

(4) Boolean, as in “yes/no” or “on/off”, or “up/down” or “in/out”