Friday, July 22, 2016

Fed train aid goes off the rails

Transport minister Marc Garneau has dealt a blow to hopes of the return of the Sault Ste. Marie to Heart passenger rail service. Speaking in the Soo, Garneau stated that the proposal announced recently does not meet the criteria for the funding set out by Transport Canada because most communities along the route are served by roads (albeit ones operated by private logging companies).

Garneau also suggested that the rail proposal would fit better within the portfolio of Aboriginal Affairs, but it remains unclear how high a priority funding a rail link would be in the already overstretched government department.

>>>Fed train aid goes off the rails | Sault Star<<<

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Goodbye Algoma Central, Hello Mask-wa Oo-ta-ba?

After months of waiting, it appears that passenger service on Algoma Central will be back starting this summer - if the federal government agrees.

After the aborted proposal involving Railmark, Keewatin Railway has been chosen as the interim operator for the Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst passenger operations. Keewatin currently operates passenger and freight services between The Pas and Pukatawagan in Northern Manitoba and is First Nations-owned.

The new service, to be called Mask-wa Oo-ta-ba (Cree for bear train) would begin under the supervision of Keewatin this year with local crews eventually being trained to run the line themselves.

The plan now rests in the hands of the federal government, who control the annual $5.3 million subsidy needed to get passenger trains running.

>>>With plan in place, passenger rail supporters press Ottawa to release subsidy<<<

Friday, July 01, 2016

Rails of the GTA 1 & 2 Out of Print

As of July 1, Rails of the GTA Volume 1 and Rails of the GTA Volume 2 have gone out of print. The cost of producing high-quality photo books has been slowly creeping up in recent years and the price I would need to charge to make the books viable is higher than I would like to charge people. I do not have any inventory available.

Stand Clear of the Doors and Call of the Northland are still available and there are no plans to take either one of them out of print.

I want to thank everyone who helped me with the two volumes of Rails of the GTA, as well as everyone who purchased a copy or agreed to sell them in your store. Without you, there would be no book.

I often get asked if there is another project in the works. After Call of the Northland, I have to say that there isn't. I expect that there will be another book one day, but I don't know when that might be, or what the subject might be.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

New bus schedule good news for Northerners

Some good news for travellers in northern Ontario: no more lengthy waits in North Bay in the middle of the night.

Charlie: New bus schedule good news for Northerners -

Sunday, June 05, 2016

China would pay for rail into Ring of Fire

More details of Chinese involvement in the Ring of Fire. Essentially, China needs chromite - lots of chromite. Canada has chromite - lots of chromite. However, at the moment, nobody can reach it.

In exchange for chromite, it appears that China is wiling to fund the project. What this means for sovereignty isn't clear, but it seems that the actual ownership of the rail link would be split between KWG, the ONTC and native communities.

>>>China would pay for rail into Ring of Fire - KWG | Timmins Press<<<

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The ONTC and China

Could somebody please explain to me why every time there is a mention of a possible partnership between the ONTC and the Chinese state railways the link is taken down?

I recently posted a a promotional video for the Chinese government-owned state railway consultants who may be working on the transportation infrastructure for the Ring of Fire. Within hours, the video had been removed from public viewing.

The North Bay Nugget recently published an article on how the ONTC is ready to take part in the mining project should rail be the main mode of transportation. The article also briefly referred to the same Chinese consultants, who are working with various mining partners to study how to connect the Ring of Fire with existing transportation links. Within hours of being published, the article no longer existed on the Nugget's website and had also been removed from its homepage. You can read a cached version of the article here.

Also of note in the article, once you can find it, is the possibility of moving locomotive maintenance from North Bay to Cochrane, which would free up space for more refurbishment work. Corina Moore, President and CEO of the ONTC, also said that she hoped that continued growth in the refurbishment division and improved service on the Polar Bear Express would show Queen's Park that the ONTC "is just as good" as any of the province's other transportation agencies.

CP's Toronto Yard is Shrinking

CP 3021 & 2281, Toronto Yard