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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Letters The London and Port Stanley Railway Corridor Connection in 2017

March 12, 2017

When Sir John A. McDonald, one of the Fathers of Confederation, had the Canadian Pacific Railway built, the borders of Canada were established. What better project to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation than reinstalling our railway corridor from London to Port Stanley for future rail commuter use!

In 2013 with the Dorothy Palmer Estate providing funding and the St Thomas and Elgin Home Builders Association constructing the LPS replica station, 1600 feet or 490 meters of track were reconstructed south of Centre St to Kains St. In order to complete the connection from London to Port Stanley, only an additional 2300 feet is required from Kains St to Barwick St . According to CEO Wendell Graves the projected completion date for this is 2017.

This project is not just a city of St Thomas endeavour but must be partnered with the Canadian National Railway that owns the part of the rail corridor from north of Kains St to the Barwick St Bridge. CNR's future Ford property planning is still an unknown.

An upgrade of the London to St Thomas line must be made so that the trains can go above 25 MPH. This would be necessary both for freight and passenger service and it is to be hoped that a private operator or CNR might contributes the funds for freight as well as provincial and federal funds for higher passenger speeds.

Port Stanley Terminal Rail operates a tourist train with lighter size rail yet a GO service similar to the London and Port Stanley railway operation could travel from London to Port Stanley with additional ties and ballast work.

Other freight railways operate with GO's heavy railway locomotives on the PSTR size rail. The additional ties, ballast and even heavier size rail could be the government funded portion. Port Stanley Terminal Rail would be the logical passenger operator from London to Port Stanley with a user friendly cost and timetable both of which would also require government subsidies.

Because the current state of the LPS corridor from the London station to the Port Stanley beach terminal is 24.5 miles long, at an operational speed of 25 MPH a freight train would take one hour. With additional ties and ballast and heavier rail size, the total line could be upgraded to 79 mph. The Waterworks bridge also needs maintenance for approximately the same amount of funding as for 3 or 4 highway maintenance bridge deck projects.

Funding for these projects could come from the Federal Public Transit Infrastructure Fund; the Provincial Gas Tax, and from Municipality's Development Charges. Because the Cap and Trade Tax is intended for the reduction of emissions, rail transportation would certainly qualify for those funds.

Marketing this project will also be important and no doubt will involve the economic development sector as well as those involved with tourism both city and county. St. Thomas is fortunate to have several rail groups interested and willing to help with this such as marketing at railway shows. An initial Toronto to Port Stanley celebration could also be planned.

Sir John A. McDonald's vision of a united Canada may have been much larger but he would have been proud of this modest project at uniting London, St. Thomas to Port Stanley

Robert Weare
St Thomas ,ON.

Last Updated: Sunday, 12 March 2017 10:33:30 AM EST

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