Ever since I was a boy, trains have been my favourite way to travel.
I love gliding along, stretched out in a comfortable seat with plenty of leg room, reading a book, checking out the web, having a snack and a coffee.
Or just staring out of the big windows at the awesomeness of Canada. For there is no better way to see it.
And one of my fondest travel dreams is to be able to one day ride The Canadian all the way to Vancouver. If I can ever save up enough money to do that eh? And if Via Rail is still around.
Via Rail expects to cut 200 unionized jobs, or about nine per cent of its workforce, as the government-owned passenger rail service reduces trips on lines across the country.
Because let there be no doubt, Jimbo Flaherty's Trojan Horse budget is slowly stomping the life out the life out of it.
The Harper government's recent budget reduced subsidies to the passenger rail service by $6.5 million this year, $15.1 million in 2013-14 and $19.6 million in 2014-15.
The Cons should be encouraging train travel, and helping to come up with new and bold ways to modernize the service, if only to prepare us for the future. But of course they won't, because their Big Oil masters like trains almost as much as they like electric cars and windmills.
And the Cons would rather degrade VIA, so they can drive down the price and sell it off to some private outfit.
Which would invariably mean less service, higher ticket prices, closed stations all over Canada, and of course the end of my dream of ever riding the rails all the way to Vancouver.
Oh boy. I don't think the Cons could ever understand what rail travel means to me and so many other people in this country. It's a Canadian thing eh? And thanks to their deranged leader they hate Canada soooooo much.
But oh for the glorious day when we can load those ghastly Cons on to a
That day can't come soon enough. But it WILL come.
Chug on my little VIA.
Help is on the way....
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I noticed that with this VIA cut, the government press release underscored "unionized" jobs to be cut. Sounds like a dog whistle to their buddies:
"Lobbying records show Rocky Mountaineer Vacations has held numerous meetings with Conservative ministers, MPs and political staff in recent years.
The board of directors for Rocky Mountaineer has Tory connections. Its members include former Alberta treasurer Jim Dinning and previously included former Conservative MP Jim Gouk, who served as the opposition critic for VIA Rail from 2001 to 2006."
Nothing the private sector hates more than defined pension plan obligations that come with a unionized workforce.
Top picture was taken in Alberta, I guess along time ago. Today that same scene would be covered in black Alberta bitumen en-route to the red chinese war machine, compliments of herr harper the red dictator of Canada.
Your train system is better than ours, and man do I hate Amtrak! Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon,Pa
Hi Simon I have little to add but that I too love the train, it is by far my favourite mode of transit for all the reasons you mention and more
It's a the point where it would be easier to list the Canadian things that Harper has not assaulted/destroyed. :( Country wrecker that he is.
No, you actually have HST trains in the Boston Wash corridor
We should have built the Toronto - Montreal HST long ago, and should be starting on it today.
Aside from pretending to like Hockey and Nickleback what does he like about Canada?
Chances are his favourite hockey team is actually from the US. As for Nickleback fandom, that seriously puts his so-called musical pedigree on shaky ground.
hi Beijing...exactly, the Cons are clearly looking to privatize VIA's best routes, just like they are looking to privatize jails.
First they go after the unions, then they eliminate pensions and benefits, then they sell them off...
hi anonymous...Golly. I hope you're wrong. I'm saving up for a trip through the majestic Rockies not a trip through the dark horror of the tar sands. I want to see a magnificent grizzly bear from my seat in the observation coach, not Joe Oliver covered in oily goodness quacking like a duck... ;)
hi Richard...I'm glad you feel that way about VIA. It's not exactly the Orient Express, but I have no complaints. And you do get a sense that they are trying. I wish rail travel was more of a priority in North America, because it's a better way to move people than cars, and much better for the planet...
hi Kev...one thing I forgot to mention is that just the idea of avoiding the maddening traffic and the horror of modern air travel makes my journey so much more relaxing.
Especially when my brother pays for my ticket and I get to travel in first class, or Via One,and gorge myself on chocolates. Then I feel like a million bucks. Although, of course, the best people travel in economy... ;)
hi Sassy...I've starting making lists of the crimes the Cons have committed against the Canada I love, because I just couldn't remember them all, there are now so many. Which is of course what the Cons are counting on. Flood us with so many outrageous bills that we won't be able to fight them all, or look like we're playing Whack a Mole. But when you make a list of their crimes the scope of what they are trying to do is horrifying, and I certainly intend to mail the list one day to the prosecutors at Harper's trial. If I can only get him one more day in jail it will be worth it... ;)
hi Steve...I couldn't agree with you more. I'm fully aware of why train travel isn't as developed as it is in Europe. But a HST connecting Toronto and Montreal seems like a no brainer. And it could serve to encourage other modern rail projects all over the country. But I don't expect the Cons to lead the country to any place new and exciting, because they have no creative vision whatsoever.All they can do is destroy...
you have me ROFL :)
If you stay far away from the pipelines your dream of the "majestic Rockies" should come true!
Simon, you're right on target here. Rocky Mountain Railtours has lobbyists all over Ottawa. The Cons cut the trains to eastern Canada to open it up for Rocky Mountain Railtours to move in.
And, for you high speed rail fans, here's a brilliant piece by Rick Mercer:
hi Bob...unfortunately these right-wing ideologues believe that privatizing something automatically makes it better, when in many cases it just means less service and higher prices. The privatization of British rail is a case in point. First they systematically starved BR of funding, then they broke it up, then there was chaos and bailouts, until the government was forced to bring back some kinds of regulation. Today twenty years later privatization is a reality, but the debate continues.
Thanks for the link which made me smile. But have you seen this one?
I have to admit I'm conflicted. I like the idea of getting from one place to another so quickly and so comfortably. But I find slower train service a more pleasurable travel experience.... :)
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