Wednesday, August 25, 2010

 

Railroading north to Alaska

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Noted in passing: train enthusiasts discuss the possibilities ...


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RR To Alaska


The place to discuss railroad industry trends, information about freight railroads, train watching, comments on recent trips ... 
... lets start serious discussion on the railroad to Alaska.  The Alaska Railroad is going to build an approximate 80 mile extension from North Pole Alaska ( the city, not the top of the world) to Delta.

Their web page shows topo maps with proposed routes.  They just let the contract for the first section which includes the Tanana river bridge. I was recently in Delta and cannot see much to justify a rail line to there other than potential mining which can be a big load factor.  Hopefully they are thinking ahead to the Canadian connection.  From Delta to the Canadian border is about 200 miles.

The British Canadian government, which owned BC Rail prior to selling to CN was using the rail line as a development tool for BC.  They had graded the line to Dease Lake but a change in government and the down turn of the economy caused the rail line to be dropped before rail was laid.  It would not be a major project to lay the rail on the graded ROW.  By highway it is about 600 miles from the Canadian border to Dease Lake.  The highway is a more circutious route and the rail alignment could possibly be shortened to about 500 miles.

 nanaimo73                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Joined on 04-25-2005
Nanaimo BC Canada
Posts 4,117
Re: RR To Alaska

 ccltrains:
The British Columbia government, which owned BC Rail prior to selling to CN was using the rail line as a development tool for BC.  They had graded the line to Dease Lake but a change in government and the down turn of the economy caused the rail line to be dropped before rail was laid.  It would not be a major project to lay the rail on the graded ROW.  By highway it is about 600 miles from the Canadian border to Dease Lake.  The highway is a more circutious route and the rail alignment could possibly be shortened to about 500 miles.

Ottawa was subsidizing construction of the line, and they are the ones who pulled the plug. The Dease Lake line was in sevice as far as the Minaret logging camp, but the loggers and the Pine Beetles have taken care of the trees, and it will be some time before they grow back. If a line was built through Canada to Alaska it would be from Fort Nelson, through Watson Lake, and would pass by Whitehorse well to the north. That would put it within range of the Selwyn lead zinc deposit.

http://www.selwynresources.com/en/selwyn_overview.cfm

http://www.photosbystevenjbrown.com/bcrail/northwoods/utv.html



Dale:  Thanks for sharing those links. Both are very interesting and particularly the part about the Howard Pass Project: http://www.selwynresources.com/en/selwyn_howards_pass.cfm  ( link from the selwyn linked article).

   In another thread we had a pretty involved discussion about the potential for exploration in the B.C. and NWT areas. RWM made the statement that "minerals wanted to get to the sea". It would seem that the closest Ports would be in Canada and potentially a longer run to Alaska.  Very little has been mentioned referencing the various distances involved.

   The link about the former BCR line  to Minaret being approx 300 miles and another 300(?), [yet to be laid] up to Deese Lake. would surely put an Alaska Connection closer than it ever has been before. The distances mentioned by ccltrains  helps to visualize the distances, and with the start of the ARRC line to Delta Jct puts the link another eighty miles further to a possibility.

    Zinc and Lead also have been found with quantities of gold and silver within the same deposits. That coupled with coal deposits could conceivably kick off a railroad building effort and help populate some of that vast area. CN's Yard and terminal at Fort Nelson would also seem to add another option to the equation ...

Makes for interesting speculation.

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It's only 2 weeks and 5 days until the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial returns to BC Supreme Courtroom #54 in Vancouver. 

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Comments:
Now this is a little off topic, but heck, it's one of the best and most fun reads I've had in a long time. Courtesy of Sean Holman's Public Eye Online, Public Eye Reads feed at: http://www.publiceyeonline.com/

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Aug. 23, 2010)

It wouldn’t matter
By Bob Cooper

[Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver police officer. He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.]

Well, the cat is out of the bag and a nasty whiff of politics escaped with him. Last Friday the Vancouver Police Department released its report on the Pickton case which had been compiled by Deputy Chief Constable Doug LePard.

The VPD had been under pressure from both the Provincial Government and the RCMP to hold off until the report was presented to cabinet in September. No doubt so Victoria could stage manage it with everyone at the podium together harmoniously reciting a mantra written by the Bureau of Public Affairs which would have used the word ‘Integrated’ at least 50 times.

As the old saying goes, ‘the best laid plans..’. In this case details of the report leaking out hastened its release.
Groups like Pivot and the BCCLA who were expecting a whitewash were rather disappointed and have been unusually silent.

Other than that, reaction from the public and other quarters was no surprise. Editorialists feel it’s still the police investigating the police (though the same practice is ok for doctors and lawyers).

The RCMP doesn’t share certain views and fairly acknowledge that VPD disagree with some aspects of the RCMP review. Then there’s Acting Solicitor-General Rich Coleman. Rather than be the least bit gracious, thank DCC LePard and acknowledge the months of work that went into the report, he dismissed it as “a bit of finger-pointing," and promised “a transparent review of the Pickton investigation that will include all parties, not just one report written by one officer in Vancouver”. As an old partner was fond of saying, “have that in the balls”. Coleman says ‘Vancouver’ like it’s something he scraped off the heel of his shoe. I feel marginalized.

Aside from the irony of a Liberal cabinet minister using the word ‘transparent’, it’s well known in law enforcement that as long as Gordon Campbell is Premier the re-signing of the RCMP’s contract in 2012 is a foregone conclusion and Victoria doesn’t want anything rocking that boat.

A ‘transparent review’ will take forever to set up and even longer to run its course. This scores the government political points for calling it and buys them time while allowing them to deflect any questions about the case.


... continued in next post
 
continued from previous post...

The bottom line here is that it wouldn’t matter if DCC LePard’s report was co-signed by God, this thing was going to an inquiry.

Just as I was typing a line about the next boat on the horizon approaching Victoria being loaded with lawyers rather than Tamils, I came across this column by Jack Knox of the Victoria Times-Colonist, 'We need an inquiry to repair the system' that makes some very good points: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Jack+Knox+need+inquiry+repair+system/3425291/story.html

I would just add a note of caution here about expectations. Based on my experience with inquiries I’ll predict that the focus will be on a bunch of retired cops with a few of them becoming the goats.

The politicians and bureaucrats that have kept both the VPD and the RCMP underfunded, undermanned, and undertrained for decades won’t have a glove laid on them because the terms of reference will be purposely limited to the police.

A public airing of the facts may be necessary and even healthy but don’t expect a quick fix that will prevent a case like this from happening again. The fact is that it will and we all know it. With any luck, when it does the killer will leave bodies and his pattern will be picked up more quickly. Even then he’ll continue killing until he is caught, most likely by accident, and this same sad process will repeat itself.

While reading the report I noted the following quote from RCMP Inspector Don Adam, the Team Commander of Project Evenhanded recalling a time early in the investigation:

“Our issue is there are so many guys capable of this that it’s mind-boggling”.

Don always had a unique ability to cut right to the heart of the matter.

Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver police officer. He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.

 
I cannot wait! I hate to see summer end, but at least we have something entertaining to look forward to other than shovelling snow!!!!

BCR Piglet
 
Ottawa was subsidizing construction of the line, and they are the ones who pulled the plug.

Huh? Do the Americans know something we don't about why Bill Bennett halted the Dease Lake Extension?

Was it really Ottawa's instigation that the "plug was pulled"?
 
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