On May 1st,
Great Western Railway(GWRS)
Dash 8-40BW 575
basks in some well deserved sun after some cold and snowy days in
late April. An impressive consist, this unit ran from Assiniboia to
along with GWRS
B23-7 4064 and M420 2003. This was also 4064's maiden voyage on GWRS.
4062 arrived in Assiniboia later as it was damaged by CP
in Moose Jaw and required some quick repairs.
On May 16th, CP and GWR ran a test unit crude oil train of 106 empties.
The train was sent to Shaunavon, SK for loading. This unit train was a
trial run for GWR in anticipation of implementing this new train service in
The train arrived Assiniboia with GP38's 3055 and 3083 and
newly acquired GWR 4064, 2003 and 575.
The carcass of CEMR GP9
4081 (ex-GTW) is seen in pieces around the old Dominion Bridge plant
in Winnipeg, MB.
It spent its last trailing only on the CEMR.
The BNSF assigned road switcher for the CN Lettier subdivision (Former
Burlington Northern Manitoba Ltd trackage), switches in the North End of
Winnipeg with a GP30R May 7th.
Under beautiful sunshine, Kevin Dunk photographed BNSF action on both sides
of the border in May. On his recent trip to the west coast of BC, he
snagged BNSF 5943, 4188 and 5009 hauling a general manifest freight over
the north switch at Oliver siding, on the BNSF New Westminster Sub. The
black and white photo was taken under somewhat gloomy skies with muted
sunshine at Sprague, WA during a break from his 10 hour drive home on the
I-90, BNSF 4956 and 971 with some garbage containers and empty grain cars
were shot a little south of Spokane, WA.
Mark A. Perry photographed Greater Winnipeg Water District (GWWD)RS23
202 switching tank cars in the St. Boniface yard, while making up the weekly
GWWD train to Waugh MB, May 27th.
At Kitchener, ON on the Guelph Sub May 19th, James Gardner caught
GP39-2C 2303 leading
On May 2nd, Walter Pfefferle bagged Tazewell and Peoria (T&P)
1301 at Woodstock, ON.
The new Southern Ontario Railway (SOR) Genesee & Wyoming Industries
May 28th, Walter Pfefferle caught Ontario Southland Railway (OSR)
FP9Au 6508 OSR 378 at Beachville, ON. She has worn two numbers during her
life: OSR 650 6508, was former VIA 6304 nee-CN Fp9A 6508,
Vignette: Bob Heathorn took this fine shot of the Goderich-Exeter Salt Train
rolling through Goderich, Ontario back in June 1995 with a trio of perfectly
Sold to CANDO and long stored in Sarnia, ON, GP9RM 4118 was to be
contracting for use on a CSX branchline between Wallaceburg and Chatham,
however the financial deal never followed through. The locomotive was sent
to Lambton Diesel Services for CANDO livery repaint and remumbered CCGX
On May 2nd, Jonathan Leese Ontario Southland GP7's 383 and 378
pull ahead after cutting off some of their head end cars to store in the
siding at Beachville. Tomorrow OSR RS18u 182 will run out here to grab the
cars and take them down to St. Thomas. When was the last time you saw a pair
of GP7's pulling revenue freight?
ONTARIO NORTHLAND RAILWAY VIGNETTES:
Pierre Fournier submitted these fine ONR scenes from his collection taken by
The top was
taken at M57 on the Ramore sub
between North Bay and Timmins in the 1960’s .
Bombshell' a dud
The province has estimated divestment of the Ontario Northland
Transportation Commission could cost as much as $790 million.
And while Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli is suggesting the information is a
smoking gun that shows the sell off can no longer proceed, the Liberals, New
Democrats and ONTC unions are all accusing him of political rhetoric.
“He promised a bombshell and it's a dud,” said Brian Kelly, a spokesman for
the General Chairperson's Association, representing unionized workers at the
Kelly said the it's “old news” that there are huge costs tied to divestment
– something ONTC unions have claimed from the outset.
“We have been saying that from Day 1,” said Kelly, suggesting Fedeli's
announcement Friday revealing the potential liabilities associated with
divestment does nothing to fuel efforts to protect ONTC jobs and services.
He said the province appears to have already shifted its position, with
Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle announcing options other than
divestment are now being considered.
And Kelly said Fedeli appears to be more concerned about his own job than
those of ONTC workers, who haven't forgotten how he refused to stand with
them last year when they gathered outside his Main Street office seeking his
Fedeli held a morning news conference to reveal Ministry of Finance
documents, released to the standing committee on justice as part of the gas
plant investigation, which outline “worst case” estimates for transitional
funding to support the divestment process.
“The government has stated they wanted to divest Ontario Northland to save
money. Their own documents prove they now know any sale will actually cost
the taxpayer $790 million,” said Fedeli, who suggested the province is now
backing away from divestment as a result of the figures included in the
The documents, which are undated but come after the cancellation of the
Northlander and request for proposals for Ontera, indicate costs associated
with divestment could be higher than the province expected, mainly due to
labour and severance costs, benefits and pension liabilities.
And the documents show labour and severance costs alone could be much as
$250 million, up from $25 million originally earmarked as part of the
planning process for divestment.
The $250-million estimate, however, assumes no employment by a new owner or
labour strategy; that all eligible employees receive employment security;
and that all eligible employees collect full benefits over a period of up to
The documents also show post-retirement benefits of as much as $56 million,
pension liabilities of $212 million, a net loss on asset sale of $200
million and subsidy to close of $72 million.
“I have said from day one their math doesn’t add up, and there will be no
savings through this fire sale” said Fedeli, noting the potential costs
could be even higher because other expense such as Workplace Safety and
Insurance Board liabilities aren't included. “I call on the premier to end
this charade, take Ontario Northland off the chopping block, and do what
we’ve asked from the beginning: have a strategic review of all assets and
make Ontario Northland the economic engine of the North.”
But Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle issued a
statement shortly after Fedeli's announcement describing his depiction as
“alarmist” and not a “remotely” accurate representation of the government’s
The province has indicted it's priorities as part of the divestment process
have been to provide services, stimulate the economy, sustain jobs and
provide value for taxpayers. And Gravelle said the “extreme” scenario
presented by Fedeli was never on the table.
“It was not the path we were going down,” said Gravelle, noting the worst
case scenario was part of a range of possibilities that were reviewed. “The
numbers shared by Mr. Fedeli portray a scenario that would see absolutely no
job retention and shows no consideration for the socio-economic development
needs of the region.”
Gravelle noted that all sides agree that the status quo at the ONTC is no
longer an option. And he said he has been very clear he is not satisfied
divestment is the only solution.
“That is why we will be looking at multiple options for each part of the
ONTC, including divestment, restructuring, alternative service delivery and
new partnerships,” said Gravelle, who invited Fedeli to participate in
finding a solution that will put the ONTC on a firm financial footing.
Northern Ontario New Democrats John Vanthof and Gilles Bission both slammed
Fedeli for making political hay over information they said is already widely
known and accepted.
The two said that the NDP has also maintained from the outset that the costs
associated with divestment will far outweigh the savings. Vanthof and
Bission both said they have been supporting the efforts of Northern mayors
and citizens, crediting those efforts for the progress that's been achieved
Vanthof said the NDP isn't interested in the “dropping political bombs” at
this point because the province has all but admitted it has made a mistake
and is now soft-pedalling the issue.
Bission agreed, suggesting Fedeli's news conference was aimed at making
headlines to benefit himself.
Source: Northbay Nugget
ONTC sale against
government’s own advice
NIPISSING – Recently uncovered provincial cabinet documents reveal the
Dalton McGuinty government went against top officials’ advice to defer the
sale of Ontario Northland.
The documents also reveal the sale was a potential bargaining chip between
the Liberal and New Democratic parties to strike a deal for the 2012 budget
and avoid an election.
“The people who crafted this said, ‘Don’t do it,’ and they went ahead and
did it anyway,” said Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, whose office discovered the
documents during a hearing into the gas plant cancellations in Oakville and
One of the documents Fedeli released to the media on Tuesday is dated
February, 2012 and is marked ‘Confidential Cabinet Advice.’
In point form the single page from a 21-page report outlines the issues
surrounding the ONTC with funding requirements described as, “not on a
sustainable financial path.”
It concludes however, by describing the potential harm from the decision to
divest including significant short-term costs, the loss of up to 500 jobs
‘primarily in North Bay,’ and that there is no costing for things such as
severance, write-downs and pension shortfalls.
“It is recommended that this lever be deferred to the document process for
further due diligence and analysis of fiscal and policy implications,” is
the report’s conclusion. The government announced on March 23, 2012 it was
selling almost all of ONTC’s assets.
The second document shows how the government was prepared to use ONTC as a
bargaining chip to pass the 2012 budget in April of last year.
At four pages long, this document titled, “Plan for April 15, 2012 Meeting
with NDP” has the appearance of detailing bargaining strategy with NDP,
outlining talking points for negotiations, concessions and back up plans to
avoid an election.
“We expect the NDP to react with indignation on Sunday, saying that the six
specific proposals ‘aren’t enough.’ ” states the plan after outlining six
proposals that include increased child care spending and merging the Ontario
It then proposes three more negotiating points with ONTC amongst them with
continued bus service guarantees and debate in the legislature.
This ONTC reference ends with the note, “This language was proposed and
confirmed by Livingston, who indicated it is already the direction we’re
heading in regarding the ONTC divestiture.” The Livingston referred to, is
likely David Livingston, then chief executive of Infrastructure Ontario, the
agency put in charge of the divestment process.
Beyond the political poker revealed and going against top financial
officials’ advice, Fedeli says he is floored by what the documents show the
government knew about divestment.
“They have $25 million down for severances. I roared when I saw that
number,” said Fedeli, who estimates the up to 14-year long severance
packages some employees are entitled to could cost more that $255 million
alone. “Either someone was meaningfully misleading or there was absolutely
no homework done on this at all.”
The cabinet advice document did give him another short-term divestment cost
of $215 million in write-downs because of lost asset value from breaking up
the 100-year-old crown agency.
“$215 million in write-downs is something that we did not calculate for so
that is on top of the $265 million we say this is going to cost taxpayers
that, by the way, nobody is disputing,” said Fedeli.
He firmly believes this will stop the divestment process in its tracks.
“We’re going to write to the Premier once again. We’re going to write to the
minister (Michael Gravelle of Northern Development and Mines) and say, ‘Hey.
The jig is up. Everyone can see that this is a fake sale,’ ” said Fedeli.
The pages of ONTC information came to Fedeli’s attention from the Justice
Committee at Queen’s Park and its investigation into the gas plant scandal.
In the past two weeks Fedeli and his staff have been sorting through,
“thousands of pages of document,” and came across the ONTC material.
As the revelations about the ONTC divestment decision are coming out, the
transit commission for the Greater Toronto Area, Metrolinx announced a
proposal to increase the retail sales tax in the province to raise part of
$2 billion per year for public transit in the Golden Horseshoe.
“It’s OK for us to pay for Toronto’s transit issues but it is not OK for
Toronto to pay for ours even though it is a miniscule fraction of what
theirs is,” said Fedeli.
As for the ONTC divestment, “We believe all that is left to do is make the
announcement that it’s over.”
Source: North Bay Nugget
Bisson slams Tory in ONTC fight
TIMMINS - On
Friday, MPP Vic Fedeli (PC — Nipissing) revealed documents showing the
Liberal government had been wrong about the ONTC fire sale from the start,
to the tune of $265 million in benefits and WSIB calculations.
However, MPP Gilles Bisson (NDP — Timmins-James Bay) maintains this isn’t
new. He said it has been something that those involved in the fight for the
Ontario Northland Transportation Commission have been aware of from the
“I think we have been fairly successful in our watchdog role thus far,” said
Bisson. “We were on this issue and many others right from the start, we have
been aware of this short sight surrounding pensions, liability, benefits and
WSIB and we have brought it up at every turn.”
After supporting the Liberal Budget two weeks ago, Bisson assured his
constituency that the role would benefit the North through ensuring that the
Liberals were held accountable for their actions.
“We knew that the cost would be more than the benefit,” he said. “We knew
this from the start and I would argue that everyone in the Northeast has
been arguing in the same direction, to reverse this poorly made decision.”
The fight hasn’t been an easy one, encompassing unions, municipalities and
“We have been fighting tooth and nail to get them (Liberals) to back off,”
said Bisson. “What we have managed to do is get the government to retreat,
at this time last year, they told us there was no way that they would back
off, the decision was made and now, Minister Gravelle, as a result of the
efforts of the people of the Northeast has agreed to take a serious look at
The fight has been a lengthy one, with both the McGuinty and Wynne
governments giving up a little bit of ground each time.
“We aren’t out of the woods yet, but we are moving in the right direction,”
said Bisson. “To make government work you have to do, you cannot sit back
and say no to everything that comes across the board because you don’t agree
with it, you have to stand up and demand a road for change.”
Bisson said this is one reason the New Democrats support the Wynne budget.
“I think that a lot of Ontarians are not happy with the Liberal Government
on a whole bunch of fronts,” said Bisson. “Most people don’t agree with the
majority of the decisions that have been made, the gas plants for instance,
but there has been a committee that has been struck that is looking at who
made the decisions, who refused to release the documents and that committee
will report back later this fall.”
The committee has the power to make or break the Liberal government.
“The committee will recommend to the House what actions we should take
against this government,” said Bisson. “Do we find them in contempt? I think
that we will, and what penalties to we want to bring against this government
and does this constitute a vote of non-competence which is quite possible.”
“In our society you have to have due process, you have to gather all of the
facts before you do the execution,”
Bisson said Fedeli isn’t helping the issue.
“I don’t think that this helps. I don’t think that this is going to make a
difference,” said Bisson. “This has become a distraction, so many people
have worked so hard to get where we are today,. None of us have played
politics on this, none of us has said this is a big political issue and we
need to play politics on this.”
“We all agreed to put politics aside and to do what is right for
Source: The Daily Press
Francois Jolin photographed the Shawinigan
Turn crossing the St-Maurice River at Shawinigan Falls on a gorgeous
spring day. April 29th led by QGRY GP40-2LW 3016 and
On May 5th, the lead GE of Montreal Maine and Atlantic (MMA)
train #2 puts on a spectacular show as the locomotives thunder across the
deck bridge at Eastman, QC.
Port of Montreal RP20BD 1002 was photographed by Francois Jolin at
Taschereau Yard May 11th. It was built at RELCO in Albia, IA in
Two EMD switchers CEFX SW1500 1560 and 1566, arrived dead in tow Montreal
CN-Taschereau Yard May 14th, and photographed by Richard Marchi.
In late May, CEFX SW1500’s 1562, 1564 , and 1565 were moved from CN
Taschereau to CADRAIL, and photographed by Richard Marchi on May 26th.
On May 14th, Ken Gosslet bagged
a captive switcher at Ste-Rosalie, QC where there is no connection
to the rest of the MMA system. The unlikely unit is ex-AMT F40PH
270, lettered SLC 270 ,,, Not the ideal model for switching.
Former Goderich-Exeter (GEXR) GP40 4022 was repainted into Genesee and
Wyoming paint and lettered Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia (CBNS) 3022,
at the New England Central (NECR) former Central Vermont shop in St Albans,
VT, where Ken Goslett photographed her. G&W GP9-4 1705 was also repainted
into the G&W family paint at St Albans shop. (See below)
Breton & Central Nova Scotia GP9-4 1705 is seen in fresh paint at the NECR
Shop in St. Albans, VT, where Kevin Burkholder photographed the former
Rail Link (RLK) 4002 on May 12th. This unit and the CBNS GP40
3022 were completed at St. Albans
delayed shipping off to Nova Scotia until the mechanical shop changed
wheel sets on the 3022. They arrived in Montreal at month
end and were
transferred to CN
On May 30th Richard Marchi caught the CBNS pair at CN Taschereau
Yard with CITX SD9043MAC 130.