Rethinking our rail lines
Updated: Sep 7, 2019
The idea of relocating the rail lines in the City of Winnipeg has been proposed in the past by all different levels of government, it is an idea that can now finally have it's day.
The benefits are clear...
By moving the trains outside of the city we could in very short order have safer communities with less hazardous and noisy cargo passing through our residential zones, more efficient traffic flow for commuters, the opportunity to implement light rail and modernize our transit system and eliminate the need for massive future infrastructure projects such as overpasses and underpasses to avoid the rail lines.
The massive inland shipping port in the northwest corner of the City of Winnipeg, CentrePort, was finished in 2008. Now that it has had a decade to grow and adjust to being the shipping and freight hub of Winnipeg, with truck and air cargo arriving there, it only makes sense that we direct our train cargo there as well. This will save the rail lines time and money instead having trains sit idle, weaving precariously through the heart of the city.
The City of Winnipeg has committed to their rapid transit plans by building bus rapid transit corridors directly adjacent to existing rail lines, rendering those rapid transit corridors a very costly and redundant system. We can instead build for the future and have a high quality, low emission system for the 21st century.
What will become of the existing train lines? I propose re-purposing those lines to accommodate light rail and not only take advantage of the cheap hydro electric energy Manitoba has to offer but also moves us towards a greener and more sustainable way to move people around our neighbourhoods. Imagine hopping on a commuter train in Southdale or Windsor Park and making it downtown in minutes flat, safely, quickly, comfortably and by using a sustainable method of transportation.
Manitoba has some of the cheapest electricity in the country, by investing in a project that takes our long term future into account by re-purposing and retrofitting existing infrastructure and corridors we can take advantage of the abundant and economical hydro electric power we already produce.
And that's not all...
All of that is only taking into account the rail lines themselves, consider that Symington Yard is one of the largest rail yards in the world. That's a lot of space for other uses. With soil remediation infill housing is possible to reduce urban sprawl, public green space, mixed used commercial industrial land to better service the local community eliminating the need for long trips to the store.
The cost of moving the rail lines is not cheap, however the cumulative costs of constantly building and maintaining infrastructure to avoid these lines, the cost of building a redundant rapid transit system adjacent to the existing lines, the cost of delaying meaningful action against climate change, the cost of lost time idling waiting for cargo to pass through the heart of our city and the risks associated with having dangerous goods pass by just outside our doors all make the case for rail relocation.
It's time, let's get started. If elected I vow to work together with all levels of government and the private sector to make relocating our rail lines a reality.