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August 11th, 2009:

More about choo-choos

OK – so I’m on a bit of a high horse right now… I blame the Sleeman’s…

Things in Canada that would benefit from an integrated and modern rail network:

  1. The environment – in terms of GHG emissions, ozone depletion, noise pollution, land use and unsustainable settlement patterns
  2. Better service to the downtown cores of communities and not just to the soul-eating outskirts.
  3. Economic impacts in terms of building / renewing the rail infrastructure but also the positive impact of improving the transportation corridors to smaller centres.
  4. Everyone and anyone who travels any distance by train immediately has a better appreciation of the beauty and vastness of this country. And who doesn’t like beauty and vastness?
  5. Less collective anger over weather delays and cancellations, lost luggage, surly Air Canada staff, exorbitant additional fees, cramped seats, etc., etc.
  6. Increased productivity since you can do actual work on a train… but this increase may be negated by the ready availability of alcohol.
  7. More Canadians get to see cool and interesting stuff – like this cloud for example:


Any others positive results that would comes from a better planned and integrated rail network?

Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?


Trains. Why doesn’t Canada get on board?

Just a quick observation as I’m sitting on a VIA train halfway between Ottawa and Montreal… why is it so damned difficult to get a concensus on the future of rail in this country? It is SUCH a superior way to travel!

  • No security crap.
  • A helluva lot more comfortable than air travel.
  • Better for the environment re: GHG emissions than air travel – for sure – and arguably better than car travel as well.

But any time the debate is launched, the leaders in this country twist themselves into pretzels explaining how we cannot afford the cost of the infrastructure. Or how new rail lines or trains will have negative social impacts on communities.

Or they are just silent.

Can someone more knowledgeable than I am on these matters explain why this is so?

Anyone? anyone? Beuller?