While the CPR proper didn’t enter Nova Scotia, they did have a presence by leasing the ‘”Land of the Evangeline” Route’ whose mainline ran from Yarmouth to Windsor Junction and on to Halifax via trackage rights over the CNR. At Digby, passengers could transfer to steamers for Saint John, and at Yarmouth for Boston. Named passenger trains included the Flying Bluenose, though it was named after a nickname for Nova Scotians rather than for the famous schooner. This train became the Evangeline, which continued into the VIA Rail era before all passenger service ended in 1990. The name Evangeline comes from the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem “Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie”. Interestingly, in addition to writing “Paul Revere’s Ride”, he also wrote “The Song of Hiawatha” which was the inspiration for the name of a number of Milwaukee Road trains. Of personal interest to me, Rose Fortune – considered to be the first female police officer in Canada – settled in Annapolis Royal during the American Revolution after escaping slavery in Virginia with her family. Her descendant, Daurene Lewis, CM, became the first black female mayor in Canada.
Until the Second World War, rail was the only real way to travel from city to city safely, quickly and in style. Between Chicago and Minneapolis, for example, The Chicago & Northwestern, Burlington Route and Milwaukee Road all competed for passengers with famous streamlined trains like the “400″, “Zephyr” and “Hiawatha”, each one trying to out-do the other in travel times and luxury. Many factors contributed to the decline in rail travel, but the simple explanation is that the car and the airplane stole passengers until the railways could no longer justify running money-losing passenger trains. In Canada and the United States, most passenger rail services were turned over to the federal government or to local transit agencies, leaving a skeleton network of the most profitable and most politically important services. Continue reading
One of the reasons why I started this blog was because society is very quick to declare #epicfail without offering any suggestions on how to improve transit. So, when I saw this terrible sign replacing a handwritten one inside Hamilton GO Centre next to the schedules, I felt that the responsible thing to do would be to help improve it. So, here we go:
I consider Steve Munro a great thinker – despite the fact that he called me a “trained seal” and never really apologized for it – so, when he was quoted in a Globe article as saying that a time-limited transfer was a better option than fare-by-distance I must admit that I agree – sort of. Continue reading
As Metrolinx prepares to begin a large-scale public consultation effort to find supportable ways to pay for transit expansion across the region, officials in Halton are telling the provincial agency that they should expand transit service before asking citizens to pay for more.
[Note: The Toronto Star tends to re-use URLs for related stories as the event unfolds. At the time if writing, the URL led to the story I am discussing.]
Looking at Halton’s argument for a moment, I must point out that it is one that I hear quite often and feel very frustrated every time I hear it. We all know why improvements have been slow to arrive (I’ll give you a clue – it’s lack of money), so making this argument is like saying “we won’t give you money until someone else gives you money.” At best, that makes it a stall tactic to force someone else to fund transit. Since this hasn’t worked in the last 20 years, I do not see how it will be effective for more than the odd one-off project. At worst, though, it is a preemptive “no” to the notion of paying for a better transportation system. However, “no” comes with consequences which are far worse than saying “yes”.
Halton has a lot to be angry about, as does Peel, Toronto, Durham, York, Hamilton and the surrounding regions and counties. And, they should have an opportunity to make a case as to why their projects deserve priority. But, when people in my life disappoint me I’ve found that pushing forward and retaining 100% of the spoils is much more satisfying than reliving the disappointment over and over again.
Almost as soon as I published my post about the plans for rapid transit along Broadway in Vancouver, city staff made a presentation to council stating their position that an underground Skytrain line is the only solution that will meet the demand. I share this position, but I feel that west of Arbutus Street – where the first phase of the subway would end – the development patterns and ridership levels change such that a subway is not the only technology which can handle the ridership. Since construction would likely stop there anyway, we have to ask if the change of mode from subway to something else should be permanent or temporary.
In my opinion, the following criteria should be used to decide if a permanent change of mode is a wise decision: Continue reading
Today, after officially signing the master agreement for the new LRT lines to be built across the city, the TTC signed the master agreement committing themselves to rolling out the PRESTO fare card across the system. The new streetcars will have the devices activated once they become operational in late 2013 or 2014, followed by most of the subway and bus routes serving the Pan Am Games venues by 2015, followed by the remainder of the system after that. In addition, riders will have the option of using a credit or debit card instead of a green PRESTO card. Continue reading
Earlier this month, the City of Vancouver passed their long-term transportation vision, Transportation 2040, which aims to have two thirds of all trips within the city to be made by foot, by bicycle or by transit. The city has made excellent progress towards this goal, as the 50% modal share they expected to hit in 2021 has already been reached today. But, in order to reach the 66% goal, the city will need more rapid transit lines. Given that transit is a regional responsibility, is there a way to serve Vancouver’s local needs and TransLink’s regional needs in one shot? Continue reading
Yesterday, the TTC unveiled the first test vehicle of the new streetcar fleet that will be plying the city’s roads in 2014. They look very sleek and I’m sure they’ll be very well received by riders who will appreciate the all-door loading and proof-of-payment fares which should help speed up service. But, I do have two questions: Continue reading
As you may have heard, the Mr. Christie cookie plant in Etobicoke – a landmark for anyone heading downtown via the Gardiner or the Lakeshore West line – will be closing next year. There are rumours that the landowners will apply to rezone the land for residential, but as of the time of writing no application has been submitted. One of the lessons I learned while studying planning is the importance of preserving employment lands and building mixed-use communities where people can live, work and play in close proximity. According to those teachings, rezoning the land would be a bad idea. But, other important lessons learned were that land should be developed to its highest and best use for its context, and that certain types of land uses do not work well in close proximity. Given that the factory is surrounded on nearly all sides by high-rise residential land uses, is continuing to manufacture on that site really the highest and best use? Continue reading