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More.. on the fee dispute (VIA), GO/VIA Kitchener, and Guelph Transit

By shost at 12:23 pm on Friday, April 30, 2010

570 News (Radio) gets in on the act with an interview w/Carl Zehr, Kitchener mayor, more of the same, but might be something of interest to readers:

http://www.570news.com/news/local/article/49382–dispute-threatens-to-derail-commuter-trains-to-kitchener

Plans for Weber St widening and underpass at the Railway tracks (which would ultimately become part of the GO Station for Kitchener downtown)

http://news.therecord.com/News/Local/article/693923

An overlooked aspect of Guelph’s transit strategy , which you can see here , which was decided by Committee including David Graham, noted contributor to this site and transit issues in the KW Area.

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Transportation History Presentation – A Fundraiser for Locomotive 6167 – Friday, April 30, 7:30 pm by Helmut Ostermann

By shost at 5:39 pm on Thursday, April 29, 2010
For those interested in Transportation History, I am planning to attend, as well as many others.
Guelph, Ontario:  On Friday, April 30, 7:30 pm Helmut Ostermann of
Waterloo will present a slide show, Striking Moments in Transportation
History, at Guelph Civic Museum. The presentation will include coverage
of early steam railway, streetcar, and interurban electric trains as
well as aviation, marine, vintage bus and automobile images. Most of
these images have never before been published. Mr. Ostermann has been
collecting historic original film images, primarily of rail, for thirty
five years. He runs a traditional photographic darkroom and sells
original silver black and white prints to fellow collectors and
enthusiasts.

Tickets to the presentation are $10 and available only at the door.
Doors open at 7 pm and the presentation is at 7:30 pm.

This is a fundraiser organized by the Restoration Committee of
Locomotive 6167. The mandate of the Committee is to carry out a cosmetic
restoration of Locomotive 6167 for the purpose of creating a static
display to interpret the history and importance of the railroad to
Guelph. Locomotive No. 6167 is one of three existing locomotives of this
type in North America. She was built in March 1940 and was one of 203
“Northern” locomotives used by Canadian National Railways for both
passenger and freight service between 1927 and 1960. The restoration is
currently underway and will be completed in 2011.

Guelph Civic Museum is located at 6 Dublin Street South. Please contact
Katherine McCracken at 519-836-1221 X2775 for more information.
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Politicians irate over GEXR <-> VIA fee dispute, holding back passenger train improvements

By shost at 10:39 am on Wednesday, April 28, 2010

http://news.therecord.com/News/Local/article/703362

Carl Zehr, Kitchener Mayor:

““We have communicated verbally and in writing to both parties to come to an agreement,” Zehr, who is heading up a coalition of mayors along the rail line, said.”

“VIA has asked the Canada Transport Agency, a federal regulator, to arbitrate the issues.”

“Until the lease expires in 2018, both VIA and GO must first come to an agreement with the Goderich Exeter Railway about the fees to be paid for increased use of the track before service can be improved.”

Editor comment: Where is CN in all of this? CN Owns the Railway, and like any landowner/buildingowner, they will end up with the improvements when the tenant walks away. It’s not like GEXR has to pay for much if anything.  It’s as if the Government offers to put an addition on a house you rent, you say “NO! who’s going to pay for the extra heating bills”  while the landlord SHOULD be in the background saying “yes please!”

Where is the landlord (CN) in this? News editors: Give Mark Hallman of CN Public Relations a call, see what he has to say.

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Guelph Mercury: “Guelph council approves heritage factory demolition”

By shost at 10:29 am on Wednesday, April 28, 2010

http://news.guelphmercury.com/article/624946

While Council decided unanimously, there was certainly controversy

““I think of the shack we wouldn’t let be torn down for some poor citizen, and yet we’re going to tear down a cotton mill,” Coun. Gloria Kovach said.”

Susan Ratcliffe, president of the local branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario”“I’m here to ask you to leave this site on the municipal register . . . to allow for an extra 60 days’ thinking time, investigation time, consultation time to investigate the best use for this irreplaceable site,” Ratcliffe said.”

I hate to say it, while I agree that preservation of heritage is important — all these extra studies, and thinking time (Lafarge lands, Imico site, Jail Lands) have wasted so many good opportunities, the City of Guelph seems to be the king of studies, delays, and foot-dragging. Imico and Lafarge is still a wasteland, and the Jail Lands are underutilized.  I’m glad Council has seen this is the only opportunity for a multi-modal transit terminal and decided not to drag on any longer.

It would be in the best interest of the City AND heritage not only to remove from the designation list — but THEN pursue GO transit to see if anything can be preserved in the kiss-n-ride design. Remove the risk that we will lose the transit terminal, THEN see if GO has any wiggle room in preservation efforts.

It seems this is now the only recourse of the heritage folks..

And for those who want to see what the Transit Terminal is going to look like, check these images out at Guelph Politico blog:

http://guelphpolitico.blogspot.com/2010/04/glimpse-at-future-of-transit.html

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More on the GO/Guelph kiss-n-ride issue

By shost at 10:34 pm on Friday, April 23, 2010

“City looking the other way when rules get in the way”

http://news.guelphmercury.com/News/article/623320

Transit hub ‘next wave’ in GO future

http://www.guelphtribune.ca/news/article/207997

Also read the comments on this site, and join in on the discussion! I am told the decision will be made at Monday’s meeting of Guelph City Council.

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VIA dispute with GEXR is delaying passenger train improvements: KW Record

By shost at 7:40 pm on Saturday, April 17, 2010

According to the KW Record,  VIA Rail and GEXR are at loggerheads over the costs of maintenance of CTC and track resulting from planned improvements to the north mainline.

http://news.therecord.com/News/Local/article/69851

Readers of this site know VIA plans to add six trains per day (three each way) by 2011, which is now likely delayed until this is resolved. VIA has sent the issue to the Canadian Transportation Agency for arbitration, which could take months.

This isn’t the  first VIA/GEXR (Rail America) dispute — in 2008 RA(as GEXR) brought an issue to the CTA where GEXR disputed liability and indemnification requirements to benefit GEXR.

In 2009 – a dispute between GEXR’s parent company (Rail America) and Canadian Pacific up in North Bay resulted in the closure of the Ottawa Valley Railway, where Rail America is essentially pulling out up north, and portions of this line are likely to be abandoned in 2010.

So why is Rail America making things difficult for railway service (both Freight and passenger)  in Canada? Is it time for Canadian National to take back the North Mainline? Is Rail America in financial trouble?

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GO Train station Guelph: Heritage Guelph won’t back down, Council to decide on April 26 on fate of GO kiss-n-ride plans and transit hub future

By shost at 8:16 pm on Wednesday, April 14, 2010

From the Guelph Mercury, which this article states:

http://www.guelphtribune.ca/news/article/207300

“Heritage Guelph wouldn’t agree Monday to give its blessing to the demolition of an 1890 factory to make way for a “Kiss and Ride” drop-off area for GO Train patrons to be built at the site south of the tracks.”

The decision is due April 26 by Council.

If the GO park and ride does not get built — VIA rail will back out of plans to sell part of it’s land to the City for the transit station. If council does not vote in favour, all bets are off to both the transit hub and GO’s long term plans for the GO Downtown station, at least in the next few years.

As alluded to in this article, GO could consider an alternate station location (Lafarge is often mentioned, but are they serious about it?) if downtown plans derail, but we will find out on April 26.

I have just one question: Many cities, especially european are designed around Transit, and this is precisely what Guelph is trying to at least make up for with a multi-model transit hub. Heritage is important, but what is the greater good of the two? Do we want to live in a transit friendly future? Remember, moving the bus transfer point is fairly easy, but we cannot move the railway tracks.  This is the only chance we have to integrate all forms of inter-city and intra-city transit, let’s not goof this one up.

- Steve Host

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Guelph Tribune: Heritage may derail GO plans for train station grounds @ Guelph Downtown

By shost at 10:53 pm on Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Essentially, GO is attempting to purchase the former factory across from the Guelph VIA Station. One portion of the building was built in the 1890′s, and GO wishes to demolish this portion to build a kiss’n'ride. Local councillors are asking GO to modify plans and find a way to save part or all of the building  There is a portion of the structure, which was built in the 1860′s which will be saved as it is designated.

The article goes on to state there is a risk GO may change their plans and move the station east or west if Downtown will not accomodate their plans. This would have large implications for Guelph’s $10m transit hub which is just about to start construction, right across from the VIA/GO Station.

http://www.guelphtribune.ca/news/article/206764

Advice to Council: Let the 1890′s part of the building go,  GO will not require any additional building space adjacent to the station, but what is absolutely required is a method to get people out of their cars. You either provide parking and/or kiss’n-ride. Without it, the station WILL eventually be forced to move.  As well, the kiss-n-ride area could easily assist the Transit Terminal in its success, providing an alternate means to drop off passengers who wish to use any of the multi-modal transit that will use the site.  Work with GO and see if they have anything to say, but do not hold up plans to build their portion of the station..

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