'High-frequency' hybrid trains planned for Toronto-Montreal corridor
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04-14-2016, 11:35 PM
I much prefer the provincial plan. And VIA's argument using European HSR v cheap airfares hardly applies in this country.
'High-frequency' hybrid trains planned for Toronto-Montreal corridor
I don't quite follow the use of the word "hybrid" in this context. Are they implying a hybrid of high-speed & high-frequency? Or hybrid in a propulsion sense (only partially electified)?
After spending 2 weeks in Japan and shuttling around on the Shinkansen, I can attest that high-speed and high-frequency are not mutually exclusive.*
* - I am of course fully aware this would never fly here.
04-15-2016, 06:06 AM
Maybe they mean hybrid in the sense that the locomotives use a diesel generator to power electric drive motors, similar to some hybrid cars.
04-15-2016, 06:26 AM
But that's how all current Diesel locomotives work. They use a generator/motor as a way to control and transfer traction power from the engine to the wheels. (It's far easier than a mechanical connection)
04-15-2016, 06:30 AM
(04-14-2016, 11:35 PM)Elmira Guy Wrote: I much prefer the provincial plan. And VIA's argument using European HSR v cheap airfares hardly applies in this country.
VIA thinks that waiting 2 hours for a train is worse than the fact that the train takes 1 more hour than it might if it were higher speed. This might make sense.
The competition here is the car, not the cheap airfare. The car is pretty good at winning the competition right now.
04-15-2016, 06:42 AM
Yeah, HSR makes no sense if it isn't frequent enough. An HSR trip that takes 2 hours but only runs every 3 won't cut it. High Frequency should come first - then ramp up the speeds. Although there's no real incremental "ramp up" - if you're doing dedicated track, you may as well buy HSR sets... But you may only start with buying enough to handle a lower frequency. So maybe they have to push for speed first (which dictates the line/hardware), then add quantity/frequency (more sets).
04-15-2016, 06:54 AM
(04-15-2016, 06:26 AM)Canard Wrote: But that's how all current Diesel locomotives work. They use a generator/motor as a way to control and transfer traction power from the engine to the wheels. (It's far easier than a mechanical connection)
I know that and you know it, but how confident are you that the reporter at CTV knows it?
Not at all but I just wonder why someone would go out of their way to note that.
It would be like putting out a headline like:
"Toyota to sell new car with Steering Wheel in 2016"
04-15-2016, 07:28 AM
“Hybrid” is in a sense a buzz-word. It has cachet. “Steering wheel” doesn’t, but “hybrid” might. I agree that it’s silly, but unfortunately it’s common to use these words that convey more cachet than actual information.
It’s hard to say whether speed or frequency is more important in this case, since the article doesn’t mention what the actual speeds and frequencies are that are being proposed. I think the consensus here is that frequency is more important than speed, and I think I agree with that by and large. Especially as current speeds are not much worse than car travel, it seems like the train is losing because you can only take it from here to Toronto a few times a day, and even between Toronto and Montreal only ten times a day. If people in London or Woodstock or Kingston (or wherever in The Corridor) could go downtown and catch a train to Toronto at any given hour of the day, then that starts to make more sense than driving.
04-15-2016, 07:47 AM
(04-15-2016, 07:28 AM)MidTowner Wrote: It’s hard to say whether speed or frequency is more important in this case, since the article doesn’t mention what the actual speeds and frequencies are that are being proposed.
From the article: "Desjardins-Siciliano's plan envisions the construction of dedicated passenger rail lines for trains that would travel at an average speed of 110 kilometres an hour."
04-15-2016, 07:56 AM
Frequency is key if you are attempting to attract random rides, or the destination isn't that regular or important, such that the inconvenience of determining when a train will come dissuades its use entirely.
However, here in Kitchener with GO, we're talking about a 100% increase in frequency, with almost zero new interest. A 2-hour trip doesn't appeal to many people. If you could still have just those two morning departures, only it took 1h instead of 2h, I bet you'd see far more Kitchener ridership than having four trains which took 2h journeys to Union. Similarly, you can always get a flight to Chicago from YKF and transfer there to go almost anywhere in the world. Yet, when we have shorter, direct flights to sunny destinations in winter, they sell quite well, because poor frequency but good speed outdraws good frequency with terrible speed. I even see it in my colleagues here. They refuse to work certain hours because if they came and left at the times required, their commute would be 1.5h each way. Instead, they choose to leave at a particular (if early, and slightly inconvenient) time each day, so that their commute is just 35-45 minutes each way (good speed, poor "frequency" due to required travel times). They've gone on during ION construction that if their commute were guaranteed to be 1.5h each way (terrible speed, good "frequency" because you can take that terrible commute anytime), they'd just get a job elsewhere. I also make a commute like this: I show up 5 minutes early for a 25 minute bus ride, giving me a 30-minute commute that only comes every 30 minutes. I would not trade this for a commute which came every 5 minutes but took an hour to get me to work.
Note: frequency is not the same as new service, i.e. GO service for people who want to work in Kitchener rather than Toronto.
Thanks, BuildingScout. I don’t actually know what that means, practically. Maybe I should have said "the article doesn't speak to proposed travel times" to be more accurate...
A statement like “A trip from Montreal to Toronto would take about x hours and minutes” would be a bit more useful. That sounds to me like Toronto-Montreal will take five hours, which is not much less than what Via is doing now.
Viewfromthe42 - I think the GO train comparison isn't really useful, because while going from 2 to 4 trips (each way) is a 100% increase in frequency, its still really bad and doesn't really open up many new use cases.
But your general point is fair. I think the problem is you need to have speed be some minimal and acceptable level compared to the available alternatives before it stops becoming the main bottleneck to growth. And I don't think GO is there yet for most people for Kitchener-Toronto.
It's basically an optimization problem. Vastly improving the current bottleneck to growth doesn't mean you'll see a lot more growth if instead you just hit a new bottleneck. And right now both frequency and travel time are horrible for GO Kitchener-Toronto.
Edit: But to maybe tie my rambling back to a point - there's probably not a great reason to focus on high speed Kitchener-Toronto rail if we can't also offer frequent trips.
04-15-2016, 08:27 AM
(04-15-2016, 07:28 AM)MidTowner Wrote: Especially as current speeds are not much worse than car travel, it seems like the train is losing because you can only take it from here to Toronto a few times a day, and even between Toronto and Montreal only ten times a day. If people in London or Woodstock or Kingston (or wherever in The Corridor) could go downtown and catch a train to Toronto at any given hour of the day, then that starts to make more sense than driving.
I think the train speed needs to be noticeably better than car speed for it to really catch on - regardless of frequency. Cars have a lot of unfair advantages in people's minds:
1. They underestimate the cost of driving [Not to re-open the discussion, but just to make the point]
2. There's a freedom associated with a car that's not associated with taking a train [Even if some of it is a 'false' freedom because traffic/parking considerations wouldn't let them go where they want easily anyway]
3. The pain of driving [traffic] often isn't felt until after the decision to drive is made and you're in the car.
04-15-2016, 08:29 AM
Depending on what the actual distance is, at 110 km/h it might be best-case 4h30 or 4h45. Maybe a small improvement on today's speed but not much; they would rely on increased frequency (and convenience) to increase popularity.
On top of that they are only talking about Toronto as the western terminus for this improvement project: we would need to rely on GO for any rail travel improvement.