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   Author  Topic: Rumours & Speculation & Rants  (Read 21538 times)
railman-vi
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #900 on: Mar 2nd, 2013, 2:33am »
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on Feb 28th, 2013, 6:47pm, albernisarah wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Im my opinion, Graham will have a spin on the Via contract. It will be presented as all good . The ICF has no other choice but to present that they have a signed Via contract to the regional districts . They have almost three million in funding at stake. I think this money will be easier to obtain than the fifteen million from the Provence and Feds. This will allow them to tardy up the line with a little spit and polish and keep all the paid employees around for another year or two.
Sarah  

 
Sarah,
I completely agree.  I am sure they will be spit and polishing the "turd" soon, and it seems they already are, and before they even attempt to spin the VIA story.    
 
Below is a news article from today's Cowichan Valley Citizen.  With the CVRD now joining the CRD and RDN and splitting the funding over two years for the bridges, one needs to ask how is this not going to cut the ICF short?  Let's not forget that it was presented that the ICF needed these funds immediately and that it was a condition of the federal funding.  However, the ICF and Graham are already changing the story that they don't need all the money at once.  Some may ask, why is this?  In my opinion, it is simple: the ICF is only intent on getting whatever amount of money they can to just keep the show going for as long as they can and ensure their salaries.  This is clearly why they have low balled all the figures from the start and never included a dime in their original "budgets" for bridge repairs, leaving it to become a last minute panic.  It is not hard to see the ICF has and continues to base their requests on what they can get away with and then run with it.
 
 
Tough cuts made as CVRD decides grants-in-aid Sportsplex, rail line eat up big chunk
 
Sarah Simpson
Citizen
 
Friday, March 01, 2013
 
A total of 15 organizations asked the Cowichan Valley Regional District for 2013 regional grants-in-aid - a total request of nearly $1.1 million.
 
On Wednesday evening the CVRD's regional services committee spent considerable time debating whose requests to fulfill.
 
After two hours of discussion, and in some cases with heavy hearts, the committee cut out more than $470,000 by denying about half the 15 requests.
 
The final total the committee approved for regional grants-in-aid totaled $625,550. That number was down $68,550 from the number estimated by staff when they'd drawn up the draft 2013 budget.
 
The two big-ticket funding requests that were granted were the Island Corridor Foundation ($244,050) and the Cowichan Sportsplex ($146,500).
 
While the ICF grant is the biggest of the bunch, it could have been twice as much if Board Chair Rob Hutchins hadn't spoken up on Wednesday night.
 
Hutchins told the committee that after speaking with ICF Chief Operating Officer Graham Bruce, he felt confident with the decision to defer half of a $488,100 grant-in-aid until the 2014 budget.
 
In November 2012, the CVRD voted to help fund the reconstruction of nearly 50 rotting bridges along the E&N line running between Victoria and Courtenay in the hopes of being able to offer a commuter and freight service along the Island's spine.
 
Hutchins said Bruce's organization is comfortable with the two-pronged payment idea, because they won't need all the money right away.
 
"The key here is they'd like to do some work in the spring but the majority of the work would be done in October. they can manage with that type of financial flow," Hutchins explained.
 
Later in the meeting, attention turned to the elephant in the room, the Cowichan Sportsplex.
 
North Oyster/Diamond Director Mary Marcotte explained that she was sticking to CVRD policy and as such, her grant votes for the 2013 budget would only go to groups that had not received a grant-in-aid before.
 
"This is one that's been on the list year after year after year," Marcotte said. "I cannot support this. It's been here too often and its time it is made a line item by the folks who want to pay."
 
Even Cowichan Bay Director Lori Iannidinardo, a staunch regional recreation supporter, had trouble with the Sportsplex's nearly $150,000 request.
 
"I am very supportive. I am a regional thinker I think the Cowichan Sportsplex has done great work," Iannidinardo said. But one thing stuck with her that's got her opposed to the request - a recent increase in staff wages at the Sportsplex.
 
"When you are in a society or a non-profit organization you don't expect to get the same wages as you would at a municipality. I'd be holding my nose to be in favour of this just because of that," she said.
 
Even so, with a split vote, the committee approved the $146,500 grant request but most hoped it would be for the last time.
 
"We don't argue the uniqueness or the excellent facility that is there," Lake Cowichan Dir. Tim McGonigle said. "It does not belong in regional grant in aids."
 
Hutchins said the regional district staff is working on a video presentation that could be brought to the community before the end of May for a public approval process by September. The hope is to get permission from the community to pay for the Sportsplex within the regular budgets come 2014.
 
The final CVRD budget, which includes grants-in-aid, must still be approved by the CVRD board.
 
© Cowichan Valley Citizen 2013
 
 
 
  


« Last Edit: Mar 2nd, 2013, 2:41am by railman-vi » Logged
Polar
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #901 on: Mar 2nd, 2013, 11:02am »
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on Mar 2nd, 2013, 2:33am, railman-vi wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
 Let's not forget that it was presented that the ICF needed these funds immediately  

 
This is incorrect.  All that was needed for the fed money was that the bridge money would be there.  Not needed immediately.


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railman-vi
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #902 on: Mar 2nd, 2013, 1:18pm »
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on Mar 2nd, 2013, 11:02am, Polar wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
This is incorrect.  All that was needed for the fed money was that the bridge money would be there.  Not needed immediately.

 
Several CVRD directors asked Graham Bruce last year when the funding was being discussed at their meetings if they could look at a way to borrow the money instead of taking it out of grants in aid and as such repay the loan over several years from their property tax revenues.  The problem with this way of funding it was that it would have taken seven months or more to setup the facility to borrow this money and Graham said this would not be a good option as the full portion of funds are needed by spring to get the work going.  This was reported in the Cowichan Valley Citizen at that time, so once again the story changes.  


« Last Edit: Mar 2nd, 2013, 4:02pm by railman-vi » Logged
Gyralite
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #903 on: Mar 2nd, 2013, 11:33pm »
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I wonder if Graham's favorite musical group is the Spin Doctors?

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Dennis Dalla-Vicenza

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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #904 on: Mar 3rd, 2013, 12:39am »
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railfan-vi I had the same conversation with a couple of rail fan friends over coffee the other night. One said that he suspects that the ICF cannot borrow money using their assets as collateral because in his opinion the ICF really does not have definitive enough ownership of the line because the CPR still gets the line back, lock stock and switch stand, if the ICF is unsuccessful in getting into operation or if they have to dissolve.  
 
I'm not into the lawyereze he was quoting so the above is not verbatim but a precis of what he said. For the ICF to use the rail line as collateral they would have to have clear and undisputed ownership of the line and he believes the ICF does not have that clear title, hence all the grovelling for handouts from all three layers of government.


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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #905 on: Mar 5th, 2013, 1:26am »
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I have some concerns over costs of the removal of the Esquimalt Siding.
We have heard that CRD approved $300,000 for the siding removal, which took about a week or so by SVI crews.
Now if you think about it, a excavator or crane would run about $100 per hour with operator +/- and the crews would average $30 per hour times 6 men.
So a machine should cost $800 per day x 5 = $4000.00
Crew wages = 30 x 8= 240 x 6 = 1440 per day x 5 = $7200
Total: $11,200 for the work, so why did CRD payout $300,000 for removal for a $12,000 dollar job. Where did the other $288,000 go.
ICF and CRD need to answer these questions where's the money, taxpayers need to ask questions.


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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #906 on: Mar 5th, 2013, 1:45pm »
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Did you see the 2012 icf budget, watch dog?
 
Only $20,000.00 of it went to track maintenance.
 
The icf and svi are obviously in bed together.
 
Sadly, the only ones getting screwed are the taxpayers.


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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #907 on: Mar 5th, 2013, 10:18pm »
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I think it was love at first site, ICF and SVI.  If you read some of Graham Bruce's press releases and remarks you could be led to believe that SVI could do no wrong.
 
The ICF love affair with SVI and VIA are probably detriments to the long term viability of the E&N.  If those groups can cobble something together, and get the railway running in the short term, great.  The long run plan has to be better, more accountable, more effective, and more local.
 
Over the next week or two I'll be putting together some of my ideas for the future of the railway.


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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #908 on: Mar 5th, 2013, 11:52pm »
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on Mar 5th, 2013, 10:18pm, cobblehillian wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I think it was love at first site, ICF and SVI.  If you read some of Graham Bruce's press releases and remarks you could be led to believe that SVI could do no wrong.
 
The ICF love affair with SVI and VIA are probably detriments to the long term viability of the E&N.  If those groups can cobble something together, and get the railway running in the short term, great.  The long run plan has to be better, more accountable, more effective, and more local.
 
Over the next week or two I'll be putting together some of my ideas for the future of the railway.  

 
SVI is looking long term.  What they are here for is the coal, that's it.  If bringing back the VIA will keep some kind of business and track repairs they don't have to pay for,  all the better.  Private profit at social cost just like every other business.
 
My bet is if the Coal mine flounders in it's final stages of approval or they do go by road (not likely) SVI will duck out regardless.


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Dennis Dalla-Vicenza

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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #909 on: Mar 6th, 2013, 2:03am »
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The Raven Project will probably be approved as the feds are running the show and they will not be up for election for a couple of years. The coal will move via truck as there is no chance of the railway being in operation in time to coincide with the start of coal shipments.  
 
Too bad the rail option was never given a chance to make a pitch for servicing the delivery of the coal as the ICF head honcho really bit the big one when he couldn't be convinced the VIA route was not the best way to go. I too would like to see the railway in operation but I also want ICF accountability and until then I personally will not support the railroad.  
 
 
 


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« Reply #910 on: Mar 6th, 2013, 9:34am »
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If the Raven Coal gets it's final approval and starts.  There is plenty of time to bring the Port Alberni sub and the line to the mine into full operation.  The receiving/loading facility that will be required in Port Alberni will take some time to build.  let alone the time it takes for a mine to even start producing Ore to be shipped.
 
If you have ever seen a track upgrade crew at work  (I worked on them) they can upgrade a lot of track quickly.  It is not along way from Raven coal to Port Alberni when it comes to rail roads.  And while they are doing that, the bridge crews would be working.  The line would be ready before the shipping dock was.
 
Raven's last report on shipping by truck said 3 trucks an hour over the port Alberni Hwy.  This is ridiculous, it would take weeks to fill a cargo ship at this rate.  The initial report was a truck every 9 minutes, this would be more like it.  So if you have plans to go to any of those West coast communities prepare for a dusty, scary and slow drive now with the trucks that seem to be ever increasing.  Get those coal B train trucks on there.....
 
And as far as the ICF letting Joe public know what they are up to, I totally agree with you there.  But if you think that SVI will hint at any part of their dealings with Raven coal, Good luck.


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Dennis Dalla-Vicenza

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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #911 on: Mar 6th, 2013, 3:16pm »
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Well, I have driven the Gold River Road from Campbell River to the Quinsum Mine entrance following those B trains in both directions and didn't notice any coal dust on the road or belching from the truck as Snyder and Gaiga like to espouse on their facebook pages. I have also followed these same style B trains into and out of Sparwood BC on highway 3 (The Crowsnest) with exactly the same lack of dust showing, same basically clean roadside etc.  
 
I too worked (as a teen summer student job) on track rebuild crews on the old ACR and know how quickly things can be done. The EETG would be capable (with some funding) of doing even better work than is being done by them now.  
 
The truck every twenty minutes wouldn't be that big a deal on highway 4 and would be even less of a deal on Haggard's Hope when it gets built. Too many with conflicting interests are fighting all transportation aspects on this Island. You as a railroad employee (my assumption) must know that over 80% of what is marketed on Vancouver Island arrives by rail. It is just not cost effective to barge over to unload for distribution in Nanaimo.  
 
TOFC (or whatever derivative) arrive daily and get trans shipped ex greater Vancouver. CTC, Walmart, Hudsons Bay, Costco, all ship by train from back east and forward via truck to destinations all over BC. To think we should have a dedicated rail barge service for just Vancouver Island product is ludicrous to the people paying the cost of shipping.  
 
Product originating and designated for off Island, like the coal for one, would be excellent product for sourcing via rail. Loading stuff in Victoria for shipment to Tofino, Port Hardy, Ucluelet, Port Alice, etc are considered vampire ideas that only work in our basement layouts and should really never see the light of day.


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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #912 on: Mar 6th, 2013, 3:48pm »
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I have been reading some of the threads and have a couple of questions. Where will the twenty five to forty million come from to up grade the rail from the mine to Port Alberni. Would the taxpayer  be asked to fund this for the rail and coal company ? Would the Washington Group pay for the up grades then charge the coal company shipping. As the ICF has no money it will need to come from somewhere ?
 
Also the comment I read about the CRD awarding three hundred thousand dollars to remove a siding. I would say the taxpayer has been ripped off in that deal !
 
Bill B


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chrisale
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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #913 on: Mar 6th, 2013, 4:45pm »
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on Mar 6th, 2013, 3:48pm, jointbar wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I have been reading some of the threads and have a couple of questions. Where will the twenty five to forty million come from to up grade the rail from the mine to Port Alberni. Would the taxpayer  be asked to fund this for the rail and coal company ? Would the Washington Group pay for the up grades then charge the coal company shipping. As the ICF has no money it will need to come from somewhere ?

 
Same place it would come from if it were a new highway being built for a project like that.  Likely a mixture of private sector (raven/svi), and senior government.  The biggest difference in this case would be that the local taxpayers/RD would receive direct payback through the ICF as owner of the railbed instead of that money going to solely to the rail operator.


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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #914 on: Mar 6th, 2013, 7:05pm »
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on Mar 6th, 2013, 3:16pm, Garrett_Owner wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Well, I have driven the Gold River Road from Campbell River to the Quinsum Mine entrance following those B trains in both directions and didn't notice any cola dust on the road or belching from the truck as Snyder and Gaiga like to espouse on their facebook pages. I have also followed these same style B trains into and out of Sparwood BC on highway 3 (The Crowsnest) with exactly the same lack of dust showing, same basically clean roadside etc.  
 
I too worked (as a teen summer student job) on track rebuild crews on the old ACR and know how quickly things can be done. The EETG would be capable (with some funding) of doing even better work than is being done by them now.  
 
The truck every twenty minutes wouldn't be that big a deal on highway 4 and would be even less of a deal on Haggard's Hope when it gets built. Too many with conflicting interests are fighting all transportation aspects on this Island. You as a railroad employee (my assumption) must know that over 80% of what is marketed on Vancouver Island arrives by rail. It is just not cost effective to barge over to unload for distribution in Nanaimo.  
 
TOFC (or whatever derivative) arrive daily and get trans shipped ex greater Vancouver. CTC, Walmart, Hudsons Bay, Costco, all ship by train from back east and forward via truck to destinations all over BC. To think we should have a dedicated rail barge service for just Vancouver Island product is ludicrous to the people paying the cost of shipping.  
 
Product originating and designated for off Island, like the coal for one, would be excellent product for sourcing via rail. Loading stuff in Victoria for shipment to Tofino, Port Hardy, Ucluelet, Port Alice, etc are considered vampire ideas that only work in our basement layouts and should really never see the light of day.

 
 
Did I say anything about coal dust?  They have spray's for that.  
But way to fill in a bunch of stuff on the other shipping stuff, no idea where that came from for I did not mention it and agree shipping those goods by rail barge is not cost effective.  Coal from a mine on the East coast of Vancouver Island to the West Coast does become cost effective with the true amount of coal the Raven mine is expecting to get and the much bigger mine next to it.
 
 A "former" Rail employee would be more clear.  BCR through the late 70's into the 80's then off to CP for the last of my carrier.  So experience with rail upgrades I have you there.  .  
 
Sorry to disappoint but if this does happen the EETG will not be involved sadly.  They have done some great work with the limited resources they have.  
 
First you bring up that it is too late for the rail to be upgraded for the mine then talk about the Hwy that has not even got to the drawing board confuses me.  It would take much longer to build this Hwy.
 
I understand your frustration with not knowing all the details,  but I hold no illusions as to getting the inside news of SVI and Raven coal.  I will take any information gathered with a grain of salt until the trucks start rolling or the trains start a chugging.


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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #915 on: Mar 6th, 2013, 9:29pm »
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on Mar 5th, 2013, 1:26am, RailWatchDog wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I have some concerns over costs of the removal of the Esquimalt Siding.
We have heard that CRD approved $300,000 for the siding removal, which took about a week or so by SVI crews.
Now if you think about it, a excavator or crane would run about $100 per hour with operator +/- and the crews would average $30 per hour times 6 men.
So a machine should cost $800 per day x 5 = $4000.00
Crew wages = 30 x 8= 240 x 6 = 1440 per day x 5 = $7200
Total: $11,200 for the work, so why did CRD payout $300,000 for removal for a $12,000 dollar job. Where did the other $288,000 go.
ICF and CRD need to answer these questions where's the money, taxpayers need to ask questions.

My question would be, why remove it at all?  Unless there is some compelling reason to do so, the only reasons to remove a secondary track of this nature would be if, either the value of the material taken out exceeded the cost of the removal, or the track was in the way of doing something else.  Otherwise, the sensible thing to do would just be leave it there to be covered with weeds and trees.  
 
If the track material is worth taking up, the effective cost of removal is a credit, or at the worst zero.


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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #916 on: Mar 6th, 2013, 9:53pm »
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When it comes to whether the coal will move by road or rail, the coal companies will sit down and do the math if they are any sort of rational business.  
 
Upgrading the railroad track and even improvements to it otherwise would be analyzed in detail.  Who will pay these costs will also be a consideration, but let's leave that one for now.  
 
On the road side there is the much lower capital cost due to no need to build the rail facilities.  However, the operating costs will be much higher.  More manpower.  Significantly higher fuel consumption, Higher vehicle maintenance.  Greater liability.  What the relative cost of buying sufficient trucks to haul the coal versus the cost of buying cars and locomotives for equivalent capacity, I don't know.  Longevity of the rail side assets is probably much greater than that of the road side assets, but the significance would depend upon the analysis period and interest rate used in the present worth analysis.  Likewise, the interest rate selected in a present worth analysis could be very significant in the outcome of a road versus rail study.  
 
What should also be done on the government's side would be to analyze the cost of the needed road improvements and higher maintenance costs when considering whether or how much to put into upgrading the rail so that the coal could move that way.  
 
It is possible to make the decision on the basis of hard economics without all the posturing and arm waving going on.  If there is concern about environmental issues and road safety issues, there are ways to assign dollar values to these things.  How do you think decisions are made as to which road project to go forward with, all political pressures being more or less equal between projects?  Dollar values are assigned to each factor needing consideration.  You can argue all you like about what these should be, but you have to have some form of measuring system.


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Dennis Dalla-Vicenza

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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #917 on: Mar 6th, 2013, 10:03pm »
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on Mar 6th, 2013, 7:05pm, Polar wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
 
Did I say anything about coal dust?  They have spray's for that.  
But way to fill in a bunch of stuff on the other shipping stuff, no idea where that came from for I did not mention it and agree shipping those goods by rail barge is not cost effective.  Coal from a mine on the East coast of Vancouver Island to the West Coast does become cost effective with the true amount of coal the Raven mine is expecting to get and the much bigger mine next to it.
 
 A "former" Rail employee would be more clear.  BCR through the late 70's into the 80's then off to CP for the last of my carrier.  So experience with rail upgrades I have you there.  .  
 
Sorry to disappoint but if this does happen the EETG will not be involved sadly.  They have done some great work with the limited resources they have.  
 
First you bring up that it is too late for the rail to be upgraded for the mine then talk about the Hwy that has not even got to the drawing board confuses me.  It would take much longer to build this Hwy.
 
I understand your frustration with not knowing all the details,  but I hold no illusions as to getting the inside news of SVI and Raven coal.  I will take any information gathered with a grain of salt until the trucks start rolling or the trains start a chugging.
I just reread what I wrote and I guess it could be construed as an attack; but in reality I was just posing conversation. The one thing that everyone tends to skim over or overlook is that if the mine started shipping tomorrow the existing highway is there to be used, the rail is from various information sources, at the least, two years from being useable into Port Alberni.  


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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #918 on: Mar 6th, 2013, 10:52pm »
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on Mar 6th, 2013, 10:03pm, Garrett_Owner wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 I just reread what I wrote and I guess it could be construed as an attack; but in reality I was just posing conversation. The one thing that everyone tends to skim over or overlook is that if the mine started shipping tomorrow the existing highway is there to be used, the rail is from various information sources, at the least, two years from being useable into Port Alberni.  

 
Absolutely
The current Hwy is there to be used, but the mine is along way from shipping anything.  There would be plenty of time to do the track upgrades, If they were to ship by train.  
 I would just hate them to go by truck on the current Hwy.  I really enjoy that route and frequently take day trips to the many parks.  I find it bad with the current amount of heavy freight on the road.  To increase it with B train coal trucks every 10 minutes would really drive me and probably many other tourists away.


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Dennis Dalla-Vicenza

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Re: Rumours & Speculation & Rants
 
« Reply #919 on: Mar 7th, 2013, 1:24am »
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Polar, I guess its where we learned to drive. I have no problem with the trucks coming and from my math its one truck every twenty minutes so on the trip I will see two opposing trucks and maybe one going in the same direction. I talked to Mr Tapics about using rail and he said the railway is not an option at present because the railroad is not operational. I would be willing to bet if the railroad was operational it would have been part and parcel to the plan.  
 
I know some with agendas claim otherwise but from what I remember of business practice the best return on the dollar for investment is the best option to gain investment in the first place. If rail becomes viable then rail will be an option, until it is why worry about it; it is not an option.


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