Monday, November 19, 2007


See Bill Tieleman's "Rail-gate" story on The Tyee. Then look at Grumpy's amazing comments afterward ...

Grumpy wrote:

Adiós CN

... I have heard an interesting rumour that CN wants to wash their hands of the BCR and sell it, at any price. The forest industry has dried up and the grades on the BCR are just too much for CNR managers.

The rumour I hear is that the line from North Vancouver to Whistler may be abandoned; and the rest mothballed.

Now, if this were to happen, what would Campbell's reelection chances be? and waiting in the wings another bird of prey "Falcon" may get his wings clipped by the CNR/BCR fiasco.

The real problem facing the CNR is the BN/Santa Fe would like to have a line through Canada to connect to Alaska, so abandonment and/or moth balling is out of the question. You see if the CNR sell off rights-of-way along portions of the line it will be near impossible for a competing railway to operate.

Evidently 2009 maybe the date when the CN/BCR deal really shows what was intended all along.

Maybe this is why 'BC Railgate' is so important to delay, delay, delay!

and while we're at it, here's a bit more from another Tyee reader:

And maybe now the $600 milion highway to nowhere that doesn't carry one spec of business traffic along its route (the Sea-to-Sky) can also then be shut down, rail service restored to Whistler, (1 train an hour with two at 6:00 am and 4:00 pm) and the endless conga-line of insane drivers in huge-engined 4WD behemoths can finally be abolished.

Sorry, wishful (green) thinking won't pass here, will it.....

Here's Grumpy again:

The newly minted 'Green' Campbell's selling BC Rail to CNR, was the most un-green act ever.

Now just returning from Whistler, I can see that some of the 99 needed reconstructing, but not all of it! Four lanes from Vancouver to Whistler is a trifle much.

But Campbell is anti rail and made sure that a 'rail' option was closed. Owning a railway makes operating passenger rail much cheaper and easier, than dealing with a company like the CNR.

The $6 million annually subsidized BCR Passenger service, pales with SkyTrain's now over $200 million annual subsidy.

When consultants were hired to discredit passenger rail, they were not allowed to use the Talgo 'tilt' train as a model for passenger service. (The Talgo's unique geometry and tilt action meant that it could increase average line speed as much as 50% on some sections of track! Talgo is used by AMTRAK from Vancouver to Eugene Oregon.) Using Talgo as a passenger train model would see much reduced journey times and a level of comfort superior to anything else available.

The consultant's report included the Bombardier bi-level commuter (passenger)rail cars, which because of their two levels, operate very poorly on winding track. This caused the study to assume even greater travel times than the old RDC'S (Budd Cars!)

By using passenger rail cars unsuited to the track geometry, the passenger rail study was skewed against a passenger rail service.

Now with the Olympics (TM) and the 'Green' Campbell, BC will become a world class example of gas guzzling SUV's, operating on super highways, built next to all but abandoned railway, is as green as one can get!

Thanks all: Bill, The Tyee, Grumpy, and the guy who's trying to find Paul Nettleton again in another of B.C.'s hours of need.

Later: Paul Nettleton is in Iqaluit working as a lawyer with Nunavut Legal Services Group. While he was a B.C. member of the Legislature, he served as Rail Critic.

Message to Paul Nettleton: please get in touch!

- BC Mary.


Thanks as always for your kind comments on my work, Mary, and those of others.

To answer an inquiry from House of Infamy's KootCoot, Paul Nettleton is alive and well and living in Iqaluit, Nunavut where he is practicing law for the territory's Legal Services group.

He sent a letter to the Prince George Free Press in May 2007 letting his former constituents and friends know that.

Paul took a brave stand in support of public power and I wish him well in his new career.
Sounds like the BC Gov't got a great deal selling off an asset which was declining in value and which even the private sector could not turn a profit with.
absolutely wrong, anonymous 5:57.

Not according to an internal memo released by BC Rail in 2003. (BTW... think land deal, think "real estate" deal, think how that rail line snakes through "prime", previously inaccessible BC real estate, when you think of the sale of BC Rail. This was never about a rail deal....kinda reminds you of how our FN treaty process is being used to access previously inaccessible land as well.)

Anyway, here's the 2003 news item ....and heeeere's Joy:

Internal memo shows BC Rail is earning a profit for BC taxpayers -

Opposition leader Joy MacPhail yesterday blasted Premier Gordon Campbell in
the legislature for breaking his promise to keep BC Rail public. MacPhail
released an internal BC Rail memo showing the company is earning a profit
and exceeding it's financial performance targets.

"Gordon Campbell has been saying that BC Rail is a losing enterprise and
needs to be sold to provide service to the North," said MacPhail. "But BC
Rail's books tell a very different story."

According to a confidential memo released by MacPhail, BC Rail made so much
money this year that bonuses were paid to all managers at the railway. The
memo clearly points out that the bonus was a direct result of an increase in
the net operating income of the railway.

As well, said MacPhail, the three-year strategic plan of BC Rail states that
it expects to make a further profit over the next three years.

MacPhail also said that the Premier, in his February televised address, said
that BC Rail was being subsidized by taxpayers to the tune of nearly a
billion dollars. However, according to BC Rail's strategic plan, the Crown
corporation has not received a subsidy since 1993.

"What is notable is that the BC Liberal Party has received $158,000 in
donations since 1996 from CN and CP-- the two main competitors vying for BC
Rail. Now Gordon Campbell is breaking his promise, and selling of a
profitable public enterprise to pay off his political bankrollers."

Well put Lynx. I think anon. 5:57 has been here before - in fact, it wouldn't surprise me if anon 5:57 was actually a paid media monitor from the Bureau of Public Affairs.

Sometimes those folks aren't averse to laying down a few ‘tracks’ of disinformation...which is interesting of course, given the kind of work at least one of the accused used to do for the Premier. That’s the problem with lies – you have to keep making up bigger ones to cover the ones you’ve already made.

I think I remember Mary once told me that she tracks IPs. Be interesting to know if anon 5:57 was signed on from the BC Systems Corp wouldn't it?
If CN shuts down the rail line would not the real estate revert back to the Province? After all that fellow who runs the Government (for now) only 'sold' the tracks and not the right-of-way. Is there something in this deal that we, the public, haven't been told? It is a lease after all and 999 years at that. But then they fooled us on the Forest licenses didn't they?
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