Port Colborne
Thursday, October 2, 2014

North-south passenger rail service proposed

Posted by Jamie Lee on Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Partnership would use existing rail lines between St. Catharines and Port Colborne

Paul Forsyth / Port Colborne Leader

NIAGARA — If Karen Ettinger has her way, folks could soon be hopping trains and getting rides back and forth between St. Catharines and Port Colborne, with stops in Welland and Thorold along the way.

Many years ago, trolley services whisked folks back and forth between Niagara municipalities, but those services went by the wayside when cars showed up in everyone’s driveways.

But Ettinger, president of Port Colborne-based Trillium Railway, is pitching the idea of her private company partnering with the Region to create what she’s dubbed the ‘Niagara Rail Transit Spine,’ with passenger rail cars using her company’s 50-kilometre running from Port Colborne and St. Catharines.

Trillium transports goods for about 20 industrial companies along that route, some of which include Great Lakes Biodiesel and SLM Recycling in Welland, General Chemical Performance Products in Thorold, ADM Milling in Port Colborne and Clearwater Paper International Marine Salvage and Kemira Chemicals in St. Catharines.

Ettinger told the Region’s transportation steering committee on Sept. 16 that municipalities across Ontario are aggressively pursuing light rail transit. But that kind of infrastructure can cost hundreds of millions of dollars and take years of

Trillium’s tracks can be updated to allow passenger service for only about $1.2 million, and the work could be done in under six months, she said.

It wouldn’t be a high-speed line like those bullet trains in places like Japan: Ettinger said with existing track conditions with minor upgrades and modest train station construction, passenger trains could run at 25 miles per hour.

But that passenger service could be a boost for Niagara’s economy, she said. The  tracks cross through urban cores of Welland, Port Colborne and St. Catharines, and are within a five- to 10-minute walk of employment lands in those cities and in Thorold, meaning it would provide employers with access to a larger labour pool.

Having the passenger rail service would also support the Region’s grow-south push, said Ettinger.

Under her proposal, Trillium would adjust its freight service hours to accommodate a passenger rail service.

While work on the tracks wouldn’t be that expensive, Ettinger said single locomotive/passenger cars known as diesel multiple units cost about $4 million purchased new.

The Region’s transportation committee directed staff to work collaboratively with Trillium to incorporate an assessment of the rail spine as part of the Region’s inter-municipal transit study and its transportation master plan.

At the Region’s public works committee meeting on Tuesday, transportation committee co-chair and Port Colborne Mayor Vance Badawey praised Ettinger’s partnership idea and said the train spine could be part of a larger transportation network including GO Transit.

“It’s very exciting to have this partner on-board,” he said. “There’s a lot of possibilities here.

“We’re on the right track.”

A phone calls to Ettinger was not returned.



News Archive

Warships on display at Port Museum
Steve Henschel / Port Colborne Leader
Jamie LeeFri Jul 11th, 2014
Niagara College and Canadian Motor Speedway C…
Heidi Grzesina / News in Port Colborne
Jamie LeeWed Jul 9th, 2014
Carnival comes to Port this weekend
The Tribune
Jamie LeeWed Jul 9th, 2014
Showboat Theatre Travels Through Time With Co…
Heidi Grzesina / News in Port Colborne
Jamie LeeWed Jul 9th, 2014
Bridge 21 Closure - Friday, July 11, 2014
The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation
Jamie LeeTue Jul 8th, 2014
Canada Day Fireworks Delay
Canada Day Fireworks Display Delayed
Allaina KaneFri Jul 4th, 2014
Site selected for Port operations centre
Allan Benner / The Tribune
Jamie LeeMon Jun 30th, 2014
New boardwalk for Port Colborne's Pleasant Be…
Dan Dakin / Welland Tribune
Jamie LeeMon Jun 30th, 2014
LEDs to light Port streets
Allan Benner, The Tribune
Jamie LeeFri Jun 27th, 2014
Smoke Free Niagara
By-Law Approved
Jamie LeeTue Jun 24th, 2014
« Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next »