Rail­ways: Why not walk the talk? Ru­ral Ram­blings

The McLeod River Post - - Points of View - Staff

Year after year it’s the same, frus­trated farm­ers un­able to get their grain to mar­ket and a sim­i­lar story with mov­ing crude oil. For a na­tion that’s fo­cused on push­ing ex­ports surely this is just plain dumb?

In the UK, the coun­try is criss-crossed with rail­way lines. It used to be more. How­ever, in the main it’s dou­ble tracked and more and trains go one heck of a lot faster. Yes, much of this is fo­cused on mov­ing peo­ple quickly, very quickly to take pres­sure of over crowded roads. How­ever, since I came to Canada in 2004 I can­not un­der­stand why I’ve only seen one track rail­ways.

Surely in­vest­ing in dou­ble tracked rail­ways, en­gines, rail­cars would make a dif­fer­ence. Should we be hav­ing twom­ile-long trains some­times trav­el­ling at a speed that my kids could out­run? Cana­dian rail­ways called for more in­vest­ment in 2017 and there was a re­port on high-speed rail back in 2012.

An ef­fi­cient rail­way only boosts a na­tion’s econ­omy. In some ar­eas high speed pas­sen­ger trans­port is de­sir­able but I be­lieve the fo­cus should be fix­ing the ex­port bot­tle­necks first. This is not just one gov­ern­ment at fault here.

Tack­ling mas­sive in­vest­ments to the rail­way sys­tem coast to coast is a huge un­der­tak­ing that will re­quire tens of bil­lions of dol­lars in in­vest­ment into bold and some­time con­tentious plans. I have no idea as to the amount of jobs such a task, tens or even hun­dreds of thou­sands I would guess, would cre­ate or the knock-on ef­fects for do­mes­tic con­struc­tion and steel in­dus­tries and much, much more.

Build­ing through the moun­tains will be prob­lem­atic in places and yes, there will likely still be places where a sin­gle line is the only way. Think­ing fur­ther ahead, rail­way sta­tions again at small towns away from the cities with good pas­sen­ger ser­vice to the city, even just a few cars, would al­low peo­ple to live out­side of the city, take ad­van­tage of small town or ru­ral liv­ing and boost those economies, while tak­ing the pres­sure off city roads.

Is rail­way in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ment go­ing to be swept un­der the car­pet again or is there a gov­ern­ment or op­po­si­tion will­ing to bite the bul­let and be bold enough to start? For surely, it’s go­ing to take more than one term to do it. Let’s walk the talk in­stead of talk­ing the talk.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.