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Via Rail Takes Us All For A Ride  
User currently offlineCanadaEH From Canada, joined Jul 2003, 1341 posts, RR: 4
Posted (10 years 9 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 2516 times:

http://www.nationalpost.com/home/story.html?id=12FAAC46-67A6-4D4F-81A6-EAE07BB1B059

Nothing in here that mentions airlines, but interesting how the Canadian government is so commited to helping out the rail industry, VIA rail in particular, while ignoring the airline industry.


EH.
8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (10 years 9 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 2476 times:

When you state "ignoring the airline industry," are you referring to the entire industry, or just Air Canada in particular? Because it seems that other carriers are doing just fine without the Canadian government's Midas-in-reverse style meddling.

Domestic airlines, in most cases (save for certain conditions or areas, like Canada's north country or other remote locations accessible only by air or boat), offer folks the fastest means of getting from A to B - but not the only means. Many folks have the option of taking a bus or driving themselves. In these cases - the majority - domestic airline services offer convenience, not necessity.

I view national pax rail as somewhat in the same catagory as public transit in a major city; they offer a comparable alternative, in terms of speed and convenience, to driving yourself in a car or taking the bus. The comparison between pax rail and airlines is moot; they are two different animals.

[Edited 2003-10-07 19:30:01]


"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlineLymanm From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 1138 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (10 years 9 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2443 times:

It is well known that David Collenette is an admitted train freak.

I suggest you take "Contradiction 101" or "Intro to Hypocracy" if you cannot see that Transport Canada is quite clearly playing favourites with one branch of the tranportation industry, while creating obstacles in another. Ottawa is prepping itself to invest billions in a new high speed rail link between Toronto/Montreal/Ottawa, while at the same time charges debilitating fees and taxes to the airlines. Additionally, Transport Canada wants to shut down YTZ, and deny a fully funded new airline entrant to that airport. How about VIA's on time record? AC (and airlines in general) are bad mouthed beyond belief if they are late, and on-time is a major performance marker for an airline. I travel monthy and sometimes bi-monthly on VIA, and I cannot remember a single instant where we arrived within 15 minutes of our scheduled time.

"...it seems that other carriers are doing just fine without the Canadian government's Midas-in-reverse style meddling."

VIA is most heavily concentrated in the Toronto/Montreal/Ottawa corridor, where AC dominates. WJ's token YOW-YHM flights are relatively insignificant to their entire network, where the same cannot be said for AC's YYZ/YUL/YOW runs, which account for almost 15,000 seats a day for AC. Furthermore, the jury is out of whether Jetsgo is is "doing just fine" in those markets. Don't they offer 1$ fares on those routes on occasion? Yah, that evidence of a healthy company. Suuuuuuuuuure.

Transport Canada's agenda is to help ALL transportation in Canada, not blatantly play favourites.

Booya.



buhh bye
User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (10 years 9 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 2391 times:

I'm not saying that VIA Rail is flawless or the ideal mode of transportation... far from it. I'm merely stating the differences between rail travel, which can be equated to a public transit type of service in a major city.... and airlines, which offer the same transportation service, alas at a faster speed, greater convenience with some guarantee of on-time performance. Doubtless you've waited for a transit bus sometime in your lifetime. People complain about it being late.... but they get over it.

As for VIA's flaws... well, my home town is Calgary - which has absolutely no VIA Rail service. None. Why? Your guess is as good as mine, but there is an opinion amongst folks in Calgary is because VIA Rail is, in its heart and soul, a government-owned and -directed corporation - and Calgary doesn't vote Liberal in Federal elections. But, Edmonton does. So thus, VIA's transcontinental route takes a meandering detour around Calgary - north from Regina, to Edmonton, and then south again to Vancouver (using the CN right-of-way).....

And I agree that TC's mandate is to help all transportation in Canada. However, without TC's "preference" for VIA, road traffic problems in the YYZ-YOW-YUL corridor might very well be worse. There would be no VIA Rail... in fact, probably no pax rail at all; as the major Class One railways in Canada, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National - have no interest in pax services; it simply doesn't make money for them, as freight does.

As for the punishing fees airlines and their customers face.... I agree that they're unfairly high, and that it's ludicrous that the money is not being promptly reissued to improve security, so many airports have yet to see the returns on that "security fee." It should be lowered to something sensible, no argument here.

However, I cannot recall anyone hijacking a train and demanding to be taken to Cuba, or running it into a building.



"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlinePetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3353 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (10 years 9 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2348 times:

However, I cannot recall anyone hijacking a train

Actually, trains have been highjacked before. Not crashed into buildings, let alone driven to Cuba but still.

In the mid 70s freedom fighters from the Molluken (sp?) where trying to get free from Indonesia. They had declared independence in 1950. Indonesia invaded less than half a year later.

The Mollukers where always staunch supporters of their former coloniser, the Dutch. They felt that we let them down (and I would agree with them). They felt that not enough attention was given to them and decided to highjack a commuter train.

This was the 2nd of december 1975, and was the first in a line of highjackings. Also the first train highjacking in world history as a matter of fact.
The local train between Groningen en Zwolle is highjacked and stopped in the middle of a open field near Wijster. The police tried to stall for time, the highjackers were not quite so patient and shot a hostage: a soldier on leave. By that time the driver of the train had already been killed. Later another hostage is murdered.
On day 13 the highjackers surrender. They feared that punishment actions would be held in the Molukkes by Indonesia. A highjacking of the Indonesian embassy held at the same time ends as well.
The police did not use any violence, pretty much a first at that time. Nowadays this approach is refered to as the "Dutch approach".

May 23rd 1977 and another train is highjacked, this time the train stops near "De Punt" in the middle of nowhere. An elementary school is highjacked as well. After two weeks the military decides to end it.
The kids are given a laxative making them rather... well.. they felt like sh*t.  Big grin The government pulled up another story of course. The kids cought meningitis and needed immediate treatment. The highjackers of the school let them go and surrender. No violence there.
Now the train is another story entirely. The military storms it the 11th of June. Two F104 fighter jets fly supersonic over the length of the train (impressive video pictures are available somewhere). This had two advantages, the hostages would duck for cover and the glass in the train would be gone in an instant making it easier for special forces to enter. A barrage of bullets is fired as well. 15,000 bullets killing 8 people, regrettebly including 2 hostages.
Just before the attack started the military used NVGs and listening devices to pinpoint the exact location of the highjackers, most of them on the balconies to prevent people leaving. Additional machine guns where aimed at those locations, it must have been a massacre. Officially this was done to prevent people (highjackers) from leaving the train.

A programma about this was broadcast on Dutch TV a few months back. This is their website that has quite some background information on the highjackings, in Dutch only...
http://www.vpro.nl/programma/dokwerk/index.shtml?2785571+3106160+3106146+3175971+3175851





Attamottamotta!
User currently offlineLymanm From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 1138 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (10 years 9 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2298 times:

"And I agree that TC's mandate is to help all transportation in Canada. However, without TC's "preference" for VIA, road traffic problems in the YYZ-YOW-YUL corridor might very well be worse. There would be no VIA Rail... "

I think we are getting closer to the root issue here. Ottawa's transportation policy at best is not well thought, and at worst economically destructive. Ottawa extolls the virtues of free market economy, "let AC/C3/CP sort themselves out", yet imposes significant barriers to air travel. Simultaneously, it subsidizes competition to the very industry in which it sternly warns to let market forces prevail.

"The comparison between pax rail and airlines is moot; they are two different animals."

In general, you are correct. But in relatively short distances like Ottawa/Toronto/Montreal, they are in fact in direct competition. The same situation can be seen in the Northeast US in Boston/New York/Washington corridor (note Delta's ad slogan: "Planes are faster than trains"). If Ottawa were subsidizing space travel, Milton and Leblanc wouldn't care because space travel would not provide competition on the YYZ/YUL/YOW corridor; but on those routes, you cannot seperate air travel and VIA because they compete directly. Times from door to door are similar; price is similar; service is similar. The time component will only be accentuated when plans for the highspeed railway are released.

"However, I cannot recall anyone hijacking a train and demanding to be taken to Cuba, or running it into a building."

Imagine someone with a bomb or chemical warfare setting off a device in the annals of Union Station or the Gare Centrale; obviously it does not bring me pleasure to suggest such things, but the potential horror could arguably be worse than a 9/11 style attack.



buhh bye
User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (10 years 9 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2263 times:

Imagine someone with a bomb or chemical warfare setting off a device in the annals of Union Station or the Gare Centrale; obviously it does not bring me pleasure to suggest such things, but the potential horror could arguably be worse than a 9/11 style attack.

No argument at all; however, that hasn't happened yet. Government is a purely reactionary creature, in that it has a hard time preparing for the future or for a worst-case scenario - it has an even harder time getting funding approved from legislators. Can you imagine the sort of uproar that a proposal to have all airport screeners under the authority of a government-sponsored agency before September 11th? I can only imagine the parade of political commentators stating on this "blatent waste of money on needless security."

If you started instituting airport-style screening in train terminals and public transit, you can only imagine the public reaction. To the misfortune of our species, people need to be shown what happens when they're not vigilant, before they'll prepare for it. The Japanese subway sarin attacks in the 90s happened too far from home to do any good.

But that's another argument entirely.


"The comparison between pax rail and airlines is moot; they are two different animals."

In general, you are correct. But in relatively short distances like Ottawa/Toronto/Montreal, they are in fact in direct competition. The same situation can be seen in the Northeast US in Boston/New York/Washington corridor (note Delta's ad slogan: "Planes are faster than trains"). If Ottawa were subsidizing space travel, Milton and Leblanc wouldn't care because space travel would not provide competition on the YYZ/YUL/YOW corridor; but on those routes, you cannot seperate air travel and VIA because they compete directly. Times from door to door are similar; price is similar; service is similar. The time component will only be accentuated when plans for the highspeed railway are released.


The point is this; in order to get everyone where they need to go, you need a combined transportation system - roads, rail, and airlines. Roads and airlines simply can't fill all the gaps; the capacity required would be large and ultimately, fragile and vulnerable to the ebb and flow in the pax loads. The more capacity that there is in a certain market - spread out amongst different transportation mediums - the more stable each individual market will be.

And in many cases, pax rail is run to compete directly with highway traffic - not airlines. The goal and objective of many rail systems (in Europe, namely) is to take pressure off of crowded throughfare roads. I can see this as the case in the Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal "triangle." I can see how the airlines and rail system would grate against each other in shorter-haul markets.... however, I'd wager that most people who'd opt for the train would go on the road in their car if not given the choice.



"Talk to me, Goose..."
User currently offlineAF-A319 From France, joined Oct 1999, 603 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (10 years 9 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2209 times:

I also read this report on today's financial post, and I would like to take the defense of the rail transportation...

It has been showed many times that rail transportation is the most green way to make people move from A to B.

Other modes of transportations involve much more what economists call "externalities", ie effects they generate on the environment.

A train produces much less gaz than a train per passenger... In terms of noise, the train has a clear advantage... So if you take all these costs into consideration, you'll find out why responsible governments favor trains over air transport on big corridors.

If you look at what some europeans countries do by connecting their major air hubs with their high speed network (France, Germany, Sweden, etc..), you'll see how railway transportation can be a very usefull tool in a global transportation policy...

Even if the cost of the railway cars increased a lot (bad management is another story), rail transportation is still the way of the future of Canada.

Just my 2 cents!


User currently offlineGoose From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 1840 posts, RR: 15
Reply 8, posted (10 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 2149 times:

As much as I support rail travel as part of the national transit system; I don't think it will be as successful in parts of Canada in large part due to the sheer size of our country. You can fit all of Europe within Canada with room to spare. Of course, we don't live everywhere.... but we are spread far enough apart that the European model of rail travel will not work here.

We have to come up with our own, made-in-Canada solution. Hopefully it won't cost an arm and a leg.  Big grin



"Talk to me, Goose..."
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