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Freight Trains in Ottawa


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While this forum generally doesn't discuss freight (since there's so little) this is a somewhat important bit of news:

CN has updated their 3-year plan and will potentially abandon all of their freight lines in the Ottawa area. This includes the track out to Arnprior, Walkley Yard, and a line branching off of the Alexandria subdivision up to Hawkesbury. This would likely mean the end of freight trains in the Ottawa area (with the exception of QGRY in the east end of Gatineau).

https://pub-ucpr.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=88

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That's shocking news. Would this mean that the only trains operating in the Ottawa area would be VIA Rail and OC Transpo?

I don't understand the reason for this? Is all freight now brought into the city by trucks and plane? Hence the reason to discontinue rail freight service?

There is fairly extensive rail across the city but I never realized it was mostly unused or at risk of being discontinued.

How would these changes affect the Trillium Line operations at the crossings south of Mooney's Bay station? And does the NRC still use the line through Carleton University?

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3 hours ago, Shane said:

That's shocking news. Would this mean that the only trains operating in the Ottawa area would be VIA Rail and OC Transpo?

I don't understand the reason for this? Is all freight now brought into the city by trucks and plane? Hence the reason to discontinue rail freight service?

There is fairly extensive rail across the city but I never realized it was mostly unused or at risk of being discontinued.

How would these changes affect the Trillium Line operations at the crossings south of Mooney's Bay station? And does the NRC still use the line through Carleton University?

Yes, that would be the case although a short line operator might pop up.

That's mostly it. There just isn't enough freight business in the area for CN to justify spending capital to upgrade deteriorating infrastructure to continue serving the area (the freight-only tracks are in pretty bad shape).

It won't affect Trillium Line operations in any way. Apparently the NRC receives most deliveries by truck nowadays anyway, but they could probably always just run one-off freight deliveries when they need to..

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I think Shane may have been referring to the diamonds just north of Greenboro and just south of Mooney's Bay, the track crossing intersections, which I am also curious about. I always think of those crossings when riding the Trillium Line but never seen any traffic on them, or at least anything that affected my passage on the O-Train.

I would think these were mainly freight as I don't think VIA Rail traveled on those spots, but correct me if I am wrong.

If the track service is discontinued, could some of these tracks that lead elsewhere be repurposed for future LRT, or at least the corridor that gets freed up be used on some level? Or do you see them just executing a total abandonment of the tracks or a removal?

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26 minutes ago, Rob said:

I think Shane may have been referring to the diamonds just north of Greenboro and just south of Mooney's Bay, the track crossing intersections, which I am also curious about. I always think of those crossings when riding the Trillium Line but never seen any traffic on them, or at least anything that affected my passage on the O-Train.

I would think these were mainly freight as I don't think VIA Rail traveled on those spots, but correct me if I am wrong.

If the track service is discontinued, could some of these tracks that lead elsewhere be repurposed for future LRT, or at least the corridor that gets freed up be used on some level? Or do you see them just executing a total abandonment of the tracks or a removal?

The Ellwood diamond (just south of Mooney's Bay) is used frequently by VIA trains. It's operated on a "first come first serve" basis, so which ever train gets there first will get a clear signal. Every once in a while a Trillium Line train will be held up to wait for a VIA train to cross (it's happened while I was on board twice now).

The Walkley diamond (south of Walkley and north of Greenboro) is used infrequently by freight. Usually when the O-Train has pulled into Greenboro the freight train will crawl across. I've seen it a couple of times recently.

None of the corridors would be very beneficial to any LRT plan (other than Doucet's regional rail plan) so I can't see anything happening there. It would be cool if the city tried to pilot something more or less exactly like the original O-Train pilot between Kanata, through Bell's Corners and more or less parallel to where the Baseline BRT will be to see if it would be an effective replacement for BRT, but I can't see that happening.

I can't see CN removing most of the tracks that will be left.  They might dismantle whatever's left of Walkley Yard, but everything else is kind of worthless. The tracks leading out to Arnprior actually belong to Nylene Canada (the company that the track serves) and the corridor is owned by the city, but I doubt either will bother with removal.

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Good Day.

Depends on purposing and positioning for sale or complete abandonment....Is it worth their while to rip up / recover iron, or leave it in place for sale, or....

I can see Capital Railways purchasing some segments for themselves or on behalf of the City, for themselves and/or for O-Train ops.

It would certainly help clean up regulatory requirements for maintaining freight access operations - as in !! no longer required !! , and in obtaining pure ownership and operations for the diamond (or the elimination thereof) and of all of or a portion of Walkley Yard.

It opens up options and possibilities. Whether thay are taken advantage of ....... We Shall See.

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7 hours ago, PHrenetic said:

Depends on purposing and positioning for sale or complete abandonment....Is it worth their while to rip up / recover iron, or leave it in place for sale, or....

It also probably depends on the condition of the rails and the type of rails that are used in the yard. I remember reading that the main/only reason CN tore up the rails on the Beachburg Subdivision a few years ago was because it was welded and could be re-purposed elsewhere. I have no idea what kind of rail they use in the yard though.

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The reality is that “Capital Railway”  is the City of Ottawa.  It owns it 100%.  Curiously it means the City actually owns a little piece of property in Gatineau at the north end of the Prince of Wales Bridge.  It was acquired from CP when the city bought the Prescott sub right of way land and tracks from Kemptville to, and including the bridge.   

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21 hours ago, Rail613 said:

The reality is that “Capital Railway”  is the City of Ottawa.  It owns it 100%.  Curiously it means the City actually owns a little piece of property in Gatineau at the north end of the Prince of Wales Bridge.  It was acquired from CP when the city bought the Prescott sub right of way land and tracks from Kemptville to, and including the bridge.   

Known, and well known. But - the City is not a rail operator - CR is. That it is a wholly-owned 'subsidiary' is not relevant. Same principle to Ottawa Hydro.

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Makes me wonder why did the city of Ottawa is probably still wasting millions of dollars on converting some of their railway crossing signals from incandescent to LED with gates just to have CN possibly abandon the line.

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20 hours ago, Loud-Invero said:

Makes me wonder why did the city of Ottawa is probably still wasting millions of dollars on converting some of their railway crossing signals from incandescent to LED with gates just to have CN possibly abandon the line.

Just because CN is considering the abandonment of their tracks in Ottawa does not mean another railway will not fill its place. 

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49 minutes ago, occheetos said:

Just because CN is considering the abandonment of their tracks in Ottawa does not mean another railway will not fill its place. 

That's what I was thinking. I've actually seen non CN freights along that line on Youtube.

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