From Tim Lane:
I have the following concerns with this Environmental Assessment Revue:Section 2.3 Page 8
The list of Federal Agencies (Responsible Authorities, or RAs) does NOT include Industry Canada, which is the Federal Dept responsible for the National Research Council.
The National Research Council operates a laboratory on MacDonald Cartier Airport property south of Lester Road, west of the Canadian Pacific Railway Prescott Subdivision, which is the line to be used to extend LRT south from Greenboro LRT station to Riverside South.
This laboratory, the Centre for Surface Transportation Technology
, (CSTT) is a world class facility for the study of railroad wheel-rail interaction. Their expertise was used to solve wheel damage problems on the existing Ottawa O-Train vehicles.
This facility, as part of their rail car testing work, receives deliveries, by rail, of various types of rail vehicles, both the latest new designs, and also existing designs requiring further testing. These deliveries occur approximately once per month, throughout the year.
The current O-Train system allows for the passage of freight trains on this line, from the Ottawa Central Railway's Walkley Yard, sharing the LRT track past the Greenboro O-Train station platform, and south to the Lester Road laboratory.
It was made very clear, by former Director of O-Train operations for Capital Railway (OC Transpo's rail division), Mr. Mario Peloquin, to his superiors at OC Transpo and the City of Ottawa, that under no circumstances would any new design for an expanded O-Train system interfere with the continued ability of the NRC's Centre for Surface Transportation Technology, to receive deliveries, by rail, of rail equipment.
Now we learn that City of Ottawa staff have informed the CSTT that the freight line to their laboratory is to be abandoned, thus severing their connection to the North American rail network.
The proponent's original design for maintaining access, was to build a new connecting track, southwest of Walkley Diamond, to connect to a new third track, for freight trains only that would be built west of and parallel to the two LRT tracks, from Greenboro station south to Lester Rd.
It now turns out that the City of Ottawa is building a storm water retention pond, west of the Greenboro O-Train station, that will occupy the land that would have been needed for this connecting track, and the third right of way for freight.
This is what probably precipitated the announcement that the CSTT would have to lose its rail connection.
This fiasco shows, at best, an appalling lack of co-ordination amongst various City of Ottawa engineering departments.
The basic problem, however, arises from the Proponent's insistence that the sharing of track between light rail (the O-Train) and heavy rail (freight service to the CSTT), something which the O-Train currently features, is to be abandoned.
The claim is that it is "Too onerous" to be under the regulation of the Federal Transport Canada rail safety regulators.
This, of course, is nonsense, since it was the Federal regulators' permission to have LRT share the general rail network, which made the O-Train one of the most successful, safest, and lowest cost light rail systems to be built anywhere in the world.
The above arguments I make, also apply to:Table 2. Public Comment Summary Table. page 15
There must be an evaluation for continued use of rail freight in corridor to maintain Ontario-Quebec connection.
The proponent's response is that "freight operations have ceased in this corridor".
As I pointed out above, that is definitely not the case at the southern end of this corridor.
The proponent goes on to say,
"The city ... has purchased the rail corridor for its current O-Train operation and future development of LRT."
To which I reiterate, the current O-Train line is built to allow the passage of freight trains.
The proponent then says,
"In accordance with Transport Canada regulations, the city has posted a 2005-2008 operating plan that states its intention to close the corridor to future freight operation. To date there have been no expressions of interest for freight operations in this corridor communicated to the City."
So, the City is apparently not aware that freight operations are ongoing to the CSTT in the south.
The city is apparently not aware that the final version of the NCC's Greber Plan for the National Capital required that this link between the freight rail systems in Quebec and Ontario be maintained.
Has the City solicited any rail freight operations from other operators in this corridor?
Has the city taken into account, that when King Edward Ave. is being torn up for rebuilding in the near future, and bridges such as the Alexandra and MacDonald-Cartier are being rebuilt soon, that it may be essential to have and alternative method of getting freight between the two cities?
The City hosted a Peak Oil conference on January 28, 2006.
Is the City not aware, that with diminishing petroleum supplies, it will be absolutely essential that a method of moving freight that uses one third the fuel that trucks use, i.e., rail, will become of ever increasing importance? Or is this yet another example of various City departments not communicating with each other?
There are other problems with this EA, such as the insistence that double tracking is required everywhere, even where a service frequency of only ten minutes is planned. For ten minute service, with closely spaced stations, single track with passing sidings is sufficient.
Twinning of the tunnel at Dow's Lake is not necessary, unless a service frequency of three minutes in both directions is needed. The current plan is for five minute headway.
The choice of greenspace land near Blossom Park for the service & maintenance facility is wrong, when the existing Walkley Yard is already used to house the O-Train. It has sufficient tracks to hold over two hundred LRT vehicles. It is already a brownfield site, which would not need much rehabilitation, if it continues in use as a rail yard.
A few weeks ago, the City was patting itself on the back for having bought some land from a developer near Stittsville, so it could remain as green space.
For the LRT project, the city wants to wipe out a greenspace, rather than buy an existing rail yard, to use as a rail yard.
Is there a disconnect here? I could go on, and on, but I believe this project needs to be put on hold and a major rethink is required.
Other submitters, I am sure, will detail other shortcomings
of this project.