Would you want to ride in a 70-year old bus or in a 70-year old plane?
By Justin Prest & Tim Hayman
So why should VIA be stuck with 70-year-old trains?
Canada is the only G7 nation that has not seen significant capital funding in intercity passenger rail in a generation. Since 2000, Via has only received a total of $1.6 billion (2017 dollars) for capital investments.
In comparison, the United Kingdom spends more than that on passenger rail capital projects each year...
Click here for The Ottawa Citizen's story from May 2017
) The last time VIA was able to buy new, purpose-built equipment was in the early 1980s.
Transport Action Canada is fighting to bring home that point to the federal government. The current government talks big on the environment and climate change, as well as infrastructure investment and public transportation, however when it comes to intercity passenger rail, so far we've seen no action. The above photo is one of VIA's HEP-2 rail cars, which were originally built in 1947. Today, they are used on many of VIA's fastest and busiest trains in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor. We find this completely unacceptable. Other than the United States, no other G7 country runs rolling stock even nearly as old. Even in the US, the oldest equipment on their busiest, fastest corridors is 30 years younger than VIA's HEP-2 cars!. Canadians expect and deserve better. Not only are these antique train cars old, they are less reliable, have ever increasing maintenance costs, and a drastically reduced ride quality when compared to more modern train cars. Most importantly, their remaining useful life-expectancy is rapidly running out. The LRC cars that make up the majority of VIA's Corridor fleet are younger, but passing 35 years old they're also on their last legs.
Even VIA's newest equipment, the Renaissance cars purchased second-hand from the UK, is in trouble. These cars were not built to operate in Canadian conditions, and they have become unreliable and costly to maintain. Their life expectancy is also running out, which poses a major threat to the future of VIA's long distance services in Atlantic Canada.
Transport Action Canada is embarking on a mission to send this message to Ottawa. We're chugging along, but we need help.
Help us send this message to Ottawa. We'll make sure it arrives on-time for next year's budget considerations.
Transport Action Prairie has a new Vice-President!
Meet Steffen Knippel
|Steffen Knippel, VP Transport Action Prairie|
Steffen Knippel is a professional consultant with experience representing international, national and indigenous clients in rail transportation, resource development, traditional knowledge, and claim settlement planning. He emphasizes both the social and economic dimensions of projects, including the transportation concerns of First Nation and other clients living in remote areas of northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He is also a member of the International Association for Impact Assessment and the National Farmers Union.
Formerly a rail economist with the National Transportation Agency of Canada, Steffen gained further experience internationally during the 1990s as a rail costing consultant on commercialization projects in Myanmar, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique.
Steffen considers his involvement in creating northern Manitoba's Keewatin Railway Company, one of the first indigenous-owned railways in Canada, a career highlight.
REMINDER: TRANSPORT ACTION CANADA NEEDS YOU!
Re: JMG-1 Locomotive
In our last e-Newsletter, we sent out this plea for help. Many of you responded, but we still need you. If you have not yet donated, please consider doing so now. If you have, please share our plea with your family, friends, colleagues, even people you meet on the street. We NEED you.
Last week, we sent out a distress message, asking members and supporters to help TAC avoid disaster. Transport Action Canada is the owner of a JMG-1 locomotive, from the Québec Central Railway. We accepted this donation on behalf of Le Groupe TRAQ and in order to donate it to a railway museum south of Québec City.
Unfortunately, there have been difficulties making the transfer to the museum and the locomotive has been stored on a MTQ (Québec's Ministry of Transportation) lot while we waited for critical rail infrastructure needed to move the locomotive was repaired. Unfortunately, late this spring, the locomotive was the site of an act of criminal vandalism and theft. Thieves broke into the lot and attempted to steal copper and other metal pieces off of the locomotive. Due of this theft and vandalism, there was a waste spill from the locomotive that contaminated the soil surrounding it. Transport Action Canada was responsible for the spill and was helped by Le Groupe TRAQ in managing the cleanup. We are very thankful for their help, however we are now in a dire situation, owing over $30,000 for the cleanup costs.
This is why we desperately need your help.
Can you donate $20, $50, $100, or even more to help us pay this debt and keep us from closing up shop?