#162 – The Failure (Not)Express

Via Rail is shitting the bed again! Apparently, despite the Windsor-Quebec City Corridor being the densest part of Canada we just can’t do high-speed rail. Never mind that of methods of intercity transit planes and cars contributed 98% of the greenhouse gas emissions. Forget the fact that three of the four largest cities in Canada are along the Corridor. Pay no attention to Canada’s shifty auto loan industry in a context where overall personal indebtedness is at a terrifying high. Nah – clearly Via’s head is speaking sense when he says that Via should contest the automobile with the same system that drivers have already evidently rejected, but more of it.

Yeah – only in Canada is the head of a public transit department basically telling you to drive more. Here’s the CBC:

But that plan [to build high-speed rail) no longer makes either economical or practical sense, said Desjardins-Siciliano, who sees Via competing with passenger cars rather than airlines to get people from city to city.

Except no, you goon. Parking costs in downtown Toronto are fucking nuts – why the shit would I drive there only to cruise about for God knows how long to find parking? I’d rather fly to Montreal than attempt its legendarily shit roads. I dread the commute along Ontario’s highways because the roadway is jammed, aging, full of shitty drivers, and seemingly always under construction. The trip is stressful and a crash can leave you stranded on the highway for God only knows how long. When a single fucking breakdown can cause travel snarls, you know that your system is probably shit. But flying costs an ungodly amount and getting to an airport is a fucking chore too. Given my options and the distance, I’d love to take a train as opposed to either option. Too bad that the trains in Canada do neither – they don’t stop often enough to make them competitive against cars, and they’re too slow to make them competitive against planes. It’s almost like you need two rail systems, one to take the place of  the car and the other to take the place of the plane.

“Thank fuck I’m not on a train. How could I miss this?”

But rather than recognizing that people use cars and planes for different reasons and that two different, interlinked types of train infrastructure can do the jobs of both car and plane, here we are doubling-down on inefficacy because reasons. This is a system that even Canadians will admit sucks goat scrotum (you know something’s really shit here when even the most ardent caker has to concede that it’s crap). And the argument is idiotic: high-speed and conventional-speed trains are supposed to work in tandem, not to be mutually-exclusive. Yves Desjardins-Siciliano is basically arguing that since it would be too difficult to hook small towns up to a system that isn’t designed to hook small towns together we might as well not bother properly connecting anywhere.

(s) Using both conventional and high-speed rail? Insanity!!

Do you see how in the French example high-speed and conventional rail work together? It doesn’t make sense to run high-speed through Normandy, but you can have a central hub connected to a high-speed network (here, it’s Rouen) and run regular lines from there. Madness, I say! Clearly it won’t work because evil AmeriKKKans are designing stations to work with both high-speed and conventional-speed regional rail.

What’s even funnier is that this is happening in a context where Metrolinx, a legendary fuck-up by its own right, is already working to expand its conventional-rail transit systems. How Yves missed the largest city in Canada demonstrating a keen interest in building exactly the kind of rail system that would ideally complement a high-speed rail system is beyond me but apparently he thinks I’d rather drive through bullshit than transfer from one system to the other. Just one more reason Canada is more betterer than France: we don’t have to transfer from one system to another. Clearly encouraging a mountain of hideous highway nonsense was a small price to pay.

And then we get to the point where I really squat a load on Yves corn flakes. I could attack the fact that young people are increasingly uninterested in driving. I could continue to mock Canada by noting that AmeriKKKa has high-speed rail. I could talk about how air transit is becoming ever-more shitty and that an alternative is increasingly desirable. But I think I want to slam this guy for this quote:

There’s a perfect alignment between this government’s desire to have generational, transformative projects that are a step-change in Canada’s modernization, with this project.

Please, tell me how pulling Via off of CN’s rails is a “generational change”? Is it because getting anything done in this useless bog of a country takes generations to complete? And how does the same shitty service we’ve suffered for decades constitute modernization? It’s great that we’re not running potentially-dangerous freight on the same lines as commuters; welcome to the 20th century, Canada! It’s one thing to oppose a project for stupid reasons but it’s quite another lofty whiff of stink when you’re telling me that moving a turd transforms it into a modern system.

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