Chelseaite engineers consortium in push for interprovincial rail


by admin on September 15, 2011

This image shows where the interprovincial rail network would travel. Image courtesy Joseph Potvin

A Chelsea, Quebec man’s dream to start an interprovincial railway system through West Quebec and Eastern Ontario could be nearer to reality.

Joseph Potvin, of Mobility Ottawa-Outaouais: Systems and Enterprises Inc, met with mayors from six communities flanking the Quebec-Ontario border Sept. 2 to work on a proposal detailing a three-line rail service from Wakefield to Smiths Falls, Arnprior to Montebello and Bristol to Casselman.

The 400-kilometre rail system would intersect in Ottawa on existing railway lines.

Potvin said the company has $25,000 in investor-supplied seed funding for the project. They’re creating the “mOOse Consortium,” a collaboration among private and public sectors in the communities to start the rail service.

VIA Rail Canada has agreed to share its tracks to Smiths Falls and Casselman, according to Potvin. The company is seeking current train transportation data from the communities for cost estimates.

La Peche Mayor Robert Bussiere cautioned against the system, pointing to a commuter bus system that was tried in La Peche only to fail due to a lack of users.

“I’m all for it in principle,” Bussiere says in a press release. “But the actual viability of a passenger rail service remains to be seen.”

The company plans to have the system running by 2012.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Clyde September 21, 2011 at 8:10 am

I believe the rail line connecting Hull-Wakefield has been torn up south of the train company’s Gatineau depot in favor of a new dedicated bus lanes. The train bridge over the Gatineau river has also been re-fitted to handle bus traffic. Without this infrastructure I’m not sure if this idea will gain any traction. Too bad.

avatar Dan September 22, 2011 at 11:58 am

All the rail lines mentioned in this article are operational. The bridge over the Gatineau and the lines south of the STO sepot are temporarily out of service due to the construction of the busway but will be reinstated. The most difficult portion of the plan will be the Prince of Wales Bridge and the O-Train corridor. Let’s hope this gets going it is a fantastic idea!

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