Friday, March 16, 2007 at 9:52 am

Rural Commuter Rail in Ottawa?

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A study proposes a commuter rail service for the rural areas east of Ottawa. Unfortunately for me, I live west of Ottawa. But while this may go some ways to addressing freeway congestion, and the tracks are owned by VIA Rail so there won’t be the capacity or track speed limit issues you’d find on freight rail lines (which would be a problem for commuter service to the upper Ottawa valley along OVR or Ottawa Central tracks), are there enough people out there to make this work? I mean, Barrie and Peterborough — medium-sized cities — don’t have rail service to Toronto. I just can’t see this getting off the ground.

2 Comments

  • Stumbled across your blog as a result of a GoogleAlert and found this article interesting. I live in Peterborough and we’ve been yelling and kicking and screaming for some time to get the commuter train back. It looks like they are finally taking another long hard look at this.
    The difference between the two projects, east of Ottawa and Peterborough-Toronto, is primarily cost. We have a very large commuter base in Peterborough that would benefit from passenger train service – our largest single employer is GM in Oshawa with a few thousand people a day heading down Hwy 115 – but the cost of upgrades to our line is estimated at about $40-50M rather than the $7M as outlined in the article you quote.
    In an age when everyone is screaming about the environment and the urgent need to make some radical changes, I can’t fathom why these projects aren’t getting off the ground.

  • Commuter rail between Peterborough and Oshawa is complicated by the fact that there actually isn’t a direct rail line between the two cities: the CP line through Peterborough passes along the northern edge of Oshawa — it’s fine for commutes to Toronto, but not much good to Oshawa.

    Would they actually have to build a line to Oshawa, or is it just that rail service to Toronto would take some of the pressure off Highway 115?