Friday Wrap #37 – High Frequency Nonsense

I went on to VIA Rail’s site to see about booking a train. Earliest eastbound train departs Cornwall around 10:30am, gets to Montréal around noon. The last train that departs Montréal with a stop in Cornwall is 4:30pm. About $250 roundtrip for tickets to take the train to Montréal for half a day. No thanks.

I live nearly halfway between Brockville and Cornwall so either train station is an option. The earliest train from Brockville leaves just before 7am and gets to Toronto at 10am. The latest return train departs at 6:30pm with a 10pm arrival in Brockville. For $50 more in fares, I get over eight hours in downtown Toronto – almost double what I’d get with the Montréal trip idea. Still a hard pass, but that’s because I dislike all things Toronto.

Before the pandemic there were more train options from Cornwall, but not that much better. VIA Rail is Canada’s national passenger rail service monopoly and pundits laud all the time that we need to use passenger rail more. It’s better for the environment, etc. How? How can we use a service more often when it fails to give decent travel times?

Cornwall has a decent sized commuter market to the West Island. Lots of cars on the 401 in the mornings crossing that imaginary line into Québec for work. Having decent train connections would help with all those eco-friendly targets, and there are some I am sure would rather take the train in than drive on the 401, the 20, through Turcot, on the Ville-Marie, or so on. I did that drive on a semi-regular bases to NDG for close to 10 years – I would rather have taken a train.

I have friends that live near Toronto and I watch with envy when they can drive from their home to a station, take a quick train into the city. Envy of the train services, not Toronto. Hate Toronto. They live about the same distance to Toronto as I do to Montréal.

Years ago, there were local passenger trains that ran. Not commuter trains, just normal passenger trains. Cars came along, as did highways. But not everyone has a car, or wants to drive. And there were fewer people here than there are now.

I don’t get why this is a difficult challenge for the powers that be. VIA’s top office are fixated on its “High Frequency Rail” plan which will take decades to do and likely get thrown on the pile of failed high speed train schemes with all the other failed schemes. Why not put on trains on the lines they already run, and drum up more business that way? If the trains were available, and marketed properly, people will take the train. I would!

Meanwhile, I am stuck finding another idea for the kid’s birthday.

Ever try to book a train only to discover that it doesn’t go where you want? If so, share this post. If not, still share this post. This post is public so feel free to share it.

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Three things…

Something to read – Currently reading Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life. Like most books of this ilk, it seems to talk more about what it might do than the how TO do. Pick it up at your local book seller.

Something to watch – I am a little obsessed right now with A-Frame homes. Specifically the A-Frame kit homes from Avrame. These are pre-cut, pre-measured, ready to assemble kit homes and I love the look of theses.

Something to listen to – After the death of Freddie Mercury, a massive tribute concert was held honouring his legacy in music. The surviving members of Queen performed with the likes of David Bowie, Ian Hunter, Slash, Annie Lennox, Axl Rose, Elton John, Mick Ronson, and many more. All awesome performances – except Roger Daltry because I am not a fan of The Who and he is trash. One of my favourite performances from this was Lisa Stansfield singing I want to break free.

The last word – This quote from Rick Rubin fits…

“The goal of art isn’t to attain perfection. The goal is to share who we are. And how we see the world.” ? Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being

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