Pearson is Pointing Itself in the Right Direction

Many airports worldwide already tie in air travel with rail, bus and subway transportation. Just think of Heathrow in London or Hong Kong International. Even Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport, a piker among the world’s heavyweights, is directly connected to that country’s railway network.

But Toronto’s Pearson International lacks this setup. True, it does boast a rapid transit link to Toronto’s busy Union Station. But it still lacks direct connections to Via Rail, Canada’s nationwide passenger service, or to GO Transit, the commuter network that serves Toronto and its sprawling bedroom communities. Pearson also lacks any direct connection with Toronto’s subway lines.

But all this may be about to change. The airport now says it wants to morph into a mega-transportation hub with direct links to GO Transit and to the Toronto Transit Commission. The hub would also provide a berth for bus service for the City of Mississauga, the rapidly expanding city on Toronto’s western flank.

Moreover, to pay for the new hub, Pearson would allow private investors to take ownership stakes in the airport.

And although the proposed hub is just that, a proposal, it could send Pearson’s passenger numbers soaring — no small consideration, given that the airport, which in 2016 handled 40 million travelers, is Canada’s busiest.

Proposed transportation hub at Toronto’s Pearson Intl. Airport

transport hub

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Let’s get on the GO — to Orangeville!

The Globe and Mail, Canada’s leading newspaper, recently noted (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/toronto-driven-growth-fuels-boom-in-sleepyshelburne/article34205376) how Toronto’s relentless expansion is engulfing hitherto largely rural towns like Orangeville, (pop: 30,700), roughly 80 km. northwest of the city.

Even towns farther afield, such as Shelburne (pop: 7,200), are falling prey to Toronto’s juggernaut, given the unquenchable desire of city folk for affordable housing. Not only have home prices in Toronto gone through the roof, but they show no signs of coming back to earth anytime soon.

(Freight train serving Orangeville, Ont., Canada)

GO Transit is the bus and railway network that links downtown Toronto to its far-flung suburbs. And its trains neither serve Orangeville nor Shelburne. But a railway line to Orangeville does exist , (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orangeville_Brampton_Railway), albeit a single-track one. Moreover, it’s now used only for freight. But as a right of way for future GO service, it’s obviously valuable nonetheless.

Ontario Shows it’s Serious About Meeting its Transit Needs

Like almost every big city worldwide, metro Toronto is growing — so much so that its subways, streets, freeways and commuter railway lines are increasingly bogged down.

It’s not as if the politicos haven’t noticed. They have. They’ve just been long on rhetoric, but short on action — perhaps because building new subways and commuter lines requires money. And money — or, at least, the willpower to raise taxes to get it — has been in short supply.

But now Ontario’s provincial government is stepping up to the plate. It’s called for tenders to build a massive new railway tunnel beneath the junction of two major freeways in Toronto’s northwest corner.

The tunnel will presumably allow GO Transit, the commuter system for the Greater Toronto Area, to run more trains more frequently. The tunnel may also make it easier for GO to beef up service to many of the GTA’s satellite cities, such as Guelph, Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo, making them more attractive to people who need to work in Toronto, but who cannot now afford to live there.

RER_Highway_401_Rail_Tunnel

 

Changi Airport handles a record 1.97 million tonnes in 2016

Hong Kong Intl., watch your rear!

silkrails

GCTL8.com (FocusAsia Media Ltd)

SINGAPORE, Feb 3 (FAM) – Airfreight throughput at Singapore Changi Airport rose 6.3 per cent in 2016, compared to 2015, to a record 1.97 million tonnes.

Changi Airport ended the year on a high note after registering 177,360 air freight movements in December, representing an increase of 8.4 per cent.

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Hamilton is really getting on the GO

Mention Hamilton. Ont. and you think of  lunch buckets, bare knuckles and blue plate grub. That’s because the city of 520,000, roughly 60 kilometres west of Toronto, was for decades the centre of steelmaking in Canada.

But today, Hamilton increasingly stands to become a bedroom suburb of Toronto, thanks to more frequent train service.

With the widening of a bridge over the Desjardins canal just outside Hamilton’s downtown (see below), GO Transit,  Ontario’s commuter rail system, will soon provide the city with more frequent service.

And with home prices in Toronto continuing to skyrocket, good transit links will make Hamilton much more attractive to families who can no longer afford to live in Toronto.

But Hamilton isn’t the only locale that will benefit from the bridge widening. Ontario’s Niagara Region, which fans out from the city around the western end of Lake Ontario, will also be a beneficiary.

Indeed, GO eventually hopes to extend  its service to both St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. And when it does, both cities, now medium size, should also burgeon as bedroom suburbs.

Maybe, just maybe. . .

Not only is Eilat Israel’s southernmost city, it’s also Israel’s southernmost port. But it’s never been connected to the country’s railway network, despite Israel’s many pledges over the years to do just that. In fact, Eilat still sits roughly 200 km. south of the end of track, which is near the desert city of Dimona.

But Eilat may soon find itself joined by rail to the rest of Israel. China is mulling over the construction of a high-speed railway link between Eilat and the Israeli port of Ashdod south of Tel Aviv. Indeed, trains on the 350-km line would zip along at 250-300 km an hour. The line, which would also handle freight trains, would be built in large part to steal business away from the Suez Canal.

 

But the project won’t be without its challenges. Not only would the line require 63 bridges and five tunnels, but construction, now pegged at roughly US$6.5 billion, could end up double that amount, says Dr. Mordechai Chaziza, a senior lecturer at Israel’s Ashkelon Academic College, who specializes in  Chinese foreign and strategic relations.

Still, the project does fire the imagination, if only because of its promise of  finally linking Eilat to the rest of the country by means of steel wheels running on steel rails.

 

 

 

A Migdal (tower) to Kvell (boast) About

Israel recently opened a super-duper control tower at Ben-Gurion Airport, the country’s principal gateway. And the new tower is apparently something to behold.

Approximately 110 meters high with 18 floors, the tower was built so that its windows are entirely free of pillars that might obstruct the view of air traffic controllers.

Continue reading “A Migdal (tower) to Kvell (boast) About”

Pearson has a problem. And it’s not going to be solved anytime soon.

Toronto’s Pearson Intl. Airport has a problem: it’s bursting at the seams.  The airport, Canada’s busiest, recently said its daily passenger count this summer is likely to hit 150,000 — a 50 per cent increase over what Pearson typically handled on its busiest days just a decade ago. Indeed, if passenger stats stay strong, the airport is likely to handle 9.6 million passengers this year between Canada Day and Labor Day — an increase of 13 per cent over the same period in 2015.

(Toronto’s Pearson International Airport)

Continue reading “Pearson has a problem. And it’s not going to be solved anytime soon.”

Canada Will Get On Board (Some Day)

Canada has been around for close to 150 years. Israel has been around for less than half that time. Canada has 36.1 million people; Israel,  8.5 million. Canada’s gross domestic product is C$1.6 trillion; Israel’s, $281.9 billion. Canada faces no continuing threat to its existence; while Israel hasn’t known a single day of peace since it came into being.

Continue reading “Canada Will Get On Board (Some Day)”