1. The Challenge
The economic, environmental and social benefits of rail passenger and freight service are being increasingly recognized throughout North America. It is, therefore, not surprising that the elimination of VIA’s Havelock-Peterborough-Toronto passenger service in 1990 and the future of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) freight service have long concerned many residents, business people and elected officials in Peterborough, Havelock, Kawartha Lakes and Durham.
Spearheaded by MP Dean Del Mastro, a plan has evolved to incorporate the Shining Waters Railway (SWR) as the locally owned and managed vehicle to restore passenger and improve freight service from Toronto to Peterborough, Havelock, Blue Mountain, Perth and Smiths Falls.
The SWR plan is supported by a Government of Canada capital commitment of $150 million and an equal amount from the Government of Ontario, for a total of $300 million. Key supporters include five federal Cabinet Ministers, four Members of Parliament, every municipality along the route, the Eastern Ontario Wardens, the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Peterborough Economic Development Corporation and the CPR.
2. The Shining Waters Railway Concept
Following models and best practices developed and applied successfully in a number of locations in Canada and the U.S., the SWR will be a locally governed railway owner and manager, but not an operator. All passenger and freight services, as well as track maintenance, will be provided under contract by experienced railway providers.
Key to all aspects of the SWR plan will be:
• The transfer by charitable donation of 107.2 miles of main track, spurs, sidings, structures and all land owned by the CPR, consisting principally of the Havelock Subdivision (Mile 90.78-178.0) and the Nephton Subdivision (Mile 0.0-20.0).
• Rehabilitation of the Havelock Subdivision from Havelock to the CPR’s Toronto Yard (Mile 90.78-178.0) to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Class 4 standards for operation at a maximum permissible track speed of 80 mph for passenger trains and 60 mph for freight trains.
• Upgrading of the Nephton Subdivision (Mile 0.0-20.0) to FRA Class 2 for freight operation up to 25 mph.
SWR freight service will be provided by a contract operator over the full length of the two subdivisions. The freight operator will provide the locomotives and crews required for day-to-day operations. Rolling stock will all be shipper-owned or leased.
Traffic will be interchanged with the CPR and, by extension, with the entire North American rail network at Toronto Yard. Revenue will be divided between the SWR, the third-party service provider, the CPR and it’s interline partners.
SWR passenger service will be operated from Peterborough George Street to Toronto Union Station, a distance of 76.5 miles, making use of the SWR’s Havelock Subdivision (Mile 117.97-178.0) plus trackage rights on the CPR Belleville Subdivision.
SWR passenger operations will be contracted to an experienced third-party rail service provider using SWR-owned rolling stock. Service frequency is expected to consist of two morning westbound/afternoon eastbound frequencies geared primarily to commuter needs from Monday through Friday. The service plan will include at least one return frequency on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays. A 90-minute running time from Peterborough to Toronto is projected and the passenger station stops will be:
- · Havelock
- · Peterborough George Street;
- · Peterborough Harper Road;
- · Pontypool;
- · Myrtle;
- · Claremont;
- · Locust Hill;
- Steeles Ave.
- Uxbridge Conection
- Eglington ERT Line
- · Summerhill
The Peterborough George Street site is owned and occupied by the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the Harper Road site is owned by the City of Peterborough. The other station sites will occupy land currently owned by the CPR.
Based on the 2010 Metrolinx study, daily ridership of 950 passengers in each direction is projected within one year of start-up, rising to 1,500 over 15 years. Based on information obtained from VIA, it is anticipated the passenger service will be self-supporting. Ridership, revenue and operating costs will be tested further as part of the business plan.
Completion of the full plan, including the restoration of Peterborough-Toronto passenger service, is projected for the third quarter of 2014.
For the remainder of the Executive Summary - click here to (download .pdf).