MOOSE in the Media / dans les Medias

EN - OTTAWA, ONTARIO and THE OUTAOUAIS, QUÉBEC — 22 SEPTEMBER 2017
MEDIA RELEASE:
Morrison’s Quarry Owner Envisions MOOSE Railway Terminus
Moose Consortium Inc. (Mobilité Outaouais-Ottawa: Systèmes & Enterprises) has exchanged letters of intent with the President of Morrison’s Quarry, relating to development of a prominent 200-acre property spanning the border of La Pêche and Chelsea, Québec. The companies envision a $200 million commercial—residential—recreational development that would also serve as the northern terminus of MOOSE’s planned 400 km metropolitan-scale passenger rail network.
Download the press release

FR - OTTAWA (ONTARIO) ET OUTAOUAIS (QUÉBEC) — LE 22 SEPTEMBRE 2017
COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE: Le propriétaire de la carrière Morrison envisage un terminus ferroviaire avec MOOSE
Le Consortium Moose inc. (Mobilité Outaouais Ottawa: systèmes & entreprises) a échangé des lettres d’intention avec le président de la carrière Morrison, en ce qui concerne le développement d’un terrain important de 200 acres chevauchant les communes de La Pêche et Chelsea au Québec. Les entreprises envisagent un développement commercial, résidentiel et récréatif de 200 millions $ qui servirait également de terminus nord pour le réseau ferroviaire de passagers à échelle métropolitaine de 400 km prévu par MOOSE.
Téléchargé le communiqué de presse

FR - September 2017 - Le Droit - Train léger à Gatineau : l'étape « 3-B », dit Watson

EN - September 2017 - Metro News Ottawa - "Our bridge is going to be for our train", says Watson

EN - September 2017 - Metro News Ottawa - Three years to repair Prince of Wales Bridge, says city

Several journalists have requested comment from Moose Consortium Inc. in relation to:
  • The 8 September 2017 letter sent by Rick O'Connor, City Clerk and Solicitor for the City of Ottawa, to the Canadian Transportation Agency, in response to the Agency's email of August 14, 2017.
  • The 8 September 2017 letter sent by John Manconi, General Manager of the Transportation Services Department to the Mayor and Members of Council and Transit Commissioners.
For clarity we'll provide some written comments below, and in follow-up we'll be pleased to answer any additional questions.
1. A Coordinated and Consultative Approach
From our perspective, the most important statements in these documents are those which set the stage for the City of Ottawa's collaboration in the planned engineering design, feasibility and cost estimates study on metropolitan-scale inter-provincial passenger rail service for the region, and in the financial design, feasibility and revenue estimates study of the Property-Powered Rail Open Market Development Model.
 
The memo to Mayor and Council speaks of a coordinated and consultative approach:
"If another agency or organization were to decide to provide train service from Gatineau to Bayview Station, the City anticipates working in a coordinated and consultative manner with that agency or organization to provide access to the railway line on the Prince of Wales Bridge and to potentially make further appropriate infrastructure modifications. This would be dependent on the exact plans and availability of funding from that agency or organization."
 
The letter to the Agency refers to timing:
"There are many variables that will ultimately determine actual timelines, including the scope, nature and timing of the Third Party RO's [railway operator's] infrastructure development and operating plans. This includes the state of completeness of these plans (e.g. engineering detail, special requirements, available funding, required coordination with City plans, required or desired stakeholder consultations and other matters)."
 
Both the engineering and financial studies of MOOSE Consortium are about to get underway. At present MOOSE is finalizing the terms of reference for both the engineering and financial studies. Then we will select one of the two large civil engineering companies that responded to our request for expressions of interest. The Consortium has already selected which of the large financial analytics firms will undertake the operational revenue study. Several specialty sub-contractor firms are also lined up for each of these.
 
Once we run this full package by the investment syndicators, and accommodate their feedback, we'll announce which companies will lead the work, and we'll publicly share the details. At that time MOOSE consortium will formalize its discussions with the Algonquin Anishinabeg National Tribal Council, the federal government organizations (the National Capital Commission, the Canadian Transportation Agency, Rail Safety Operations at Transport Canada, Heritage Canada, and others), as well as various entities of the two provinces and 16 municipalities.
 
We're sorry that we can't be precise about dates, as these involve negotiation and coordination about precise commitments amongst multiple firms. However this is moving very quickly.
2. Service through Bayview Station on the O-Train Trillium Line
The memo to Mayor and Council explicitly acknowledges Section 138 of the Canada Transportation Act, which specifies how railway companies must manage "running rights". Here is what Section 138 says:
 
138 (1) A railway company may apply to the Agency for the right to
(a) take possession of, use or occupy any land belonging to any other railway company;
(b) use the whole or any portion of the right-of-way, tracks, terminals, stations or station grounds of any other railway company; and
(c) run and operate its trains over and on any portion of the railway of any other railway company.
(2) The Agency may grant the right and may make any order and impose any conditions on either railway company respecting the exercise or restriction of the rights as appear just or desirable to the Agency, having regard to the public interest.
(3) The railway company shall pay compensation to the other railway company for the right granted and, if they do not agree on the compensation, the Agency may, by order, fix the amount to be paid.
 
MOOSE first met with City of Ottawa's Pat Scrimgeour and Dennis Gratton on 16 December 2011, prior to creating the Consortium. The purpose of that meeting was to invite the City's Capital Railway to be the train operator for the line between Smiths Falls and La Peche.
 
At that time MOOSE also met with executives of the Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO) to invite them to be the train operator on the line between Montbello and Arnprior. Municipally-owned trains can operate across boundaries just as OC-Traspo and STO buses do, so long as dispatch is coordinated.
 
We respect that the original plan for the O-Train that the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton (RMOC) submitted to the Canadian Transportation Agency in 2000 described service across the Prince of Wales Bridge into Quebec a distance of more than 20 km, to reach the Aéroport Exécutif Gatineau-Ottawa. A copy of that RMOC document is attached.
 
Simultaneously MOOSE has invited the Algonquin Anishinabeg Tribal Council to consider the possibility of becoming the train operator for the inter-provincial line between Bristol QC and Alexandria ON. (There are currently two other First Nations railway operators in Canada. Tshiuetin Rail in western Labrador and northeastern Quebec jointly owned by the Innu Nation of Matimekush-Lac John, the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, and the Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam. Keewatin Railway in Northern Manitoba is jointly owned by Tataskweyak Cree Nation War Lake First Nation Mathias Colomb Cree Nation.)
 
MOOSE has pursued its open consortium-based approach in order to accommodate the unusually complex jurisdictional scenario that characterizes lands management throughout the Greater National Capital Region.
 

The 8 September letter to the Agency states that:

"If another agency or organization were to decide to pursue the provision of train service from Gatineau through Bayview Station and continuing onto the track used for the 0-Train Trillium Line service, then much more discussion, coordinated work, and committed funding would be required".
 
MOOSE Consortium looks forward to picking up that discussion again with the City of Ottawa by renewing the invitation for Capital Railway to operate the O-Train inter-provincially as an integral participant in the Consortium. The letter of 8 September correctly states that "committed funding would be required to increase the track capacity south of Bayview Station to a level above that which is currently planned and funded for the Stage 2 projects". This will indeed be addressed as part of the forthcoming engineering design, feasibility and cost estimates study.
3. Passage of Trains at Bayview Station
The 8 September 2017 letter to the Agency states:
"The City currently estimates that for City restored or expanded rail transit purposes between the south end of the PoW Bridge and Bayview Station, it could take approximately two (2) years to fully develop alignment design plans, complete all related engineering designs and adopted technical standards, complete the procurement of all equipment and services, complete required environmental assessments, carry out appropriate stakeholder consultations and complete all physical work."
 

Full-sized trains had been passing for more than a century through the Bayview Station sector, under the existing bridges, via the original track which was built in 1878 during the second term of John A. Macdonald. As recently as 2001 the new ballast for the new O-Train track enhancements was carried by freight train from Quebec across the Prince of Wales Bridge, traversing under the Albert Street and other bridges. Here are a couple of photos:

The 8 September 2017 memo to Mayor and Council states that "staff have had a design prepared for the future alignment of the track extension from Bayview Station to the south end of the Prince of Wales Bridge", acknowledging that "the original main north-south line is obstructed by the ground level of the new station building at Bayview Station". But Mr. Manconi's suggested design which would send all trains to the track east of the station is physically unworkable without major changes to the brand new station. The problem is that the Bayview spur used as the terminus of the O-Train was constructed with a grade, so that the distance between the top of the track and bottom of the Albert Street and OLRT bridges is significantly less than the 22 feet required in Transport Canada's "Standards Respecting Railway Clearances" (diagram 2, page 6). That's to say, due to the City's design decisions, typical North American style passenger or freight trains cannot get through, meaning that trains such as used for the GO-Train in Toronto or AMT in Montreal cannot service the new Bayview Station. Up until summer 2016, such equipment was easily accommodated on the original track.

On 24 August 2016, Moose Consortium Inc. suggested in a letter to the Agency:
“Given that the dismantlement and obstruction of the continuous line of pre-existing railway was neither necessary nor authorized, the Agency is asked to order the City of Ottawa to cover all of Moose Consortium's reasonable costs involved in reconnecting the continuous line of railway with a bypass to the west of the new Bayview Station. Project funds would be advanced by the City of Ottawa to a special purpose trust account, so that costs will be promptly reimbursable to Moose on a monthly basis until the bypass project is completed."
"Moose has drafted, and is proposing an operational solution that leaves the City of Ottawa's current Bayview Station design exactly as it is, and introduces no significant interference with the current construction timeline of the OLRT Project."
 
Moose Consortium Inc’s letter the the Agency and the City also said that:
“Moose commits to pay the City of Ottawa full commercial lease rates for use of this section of this railway once the consortium's interprovincial passenger operations commence, unless other arrangements are mutually agreed to by the parties."
The other arrangements referred to here were formally presented to City of Ottawa Council in MOOSE's 14 September 2013 written submission, attached below. These are described in more details in MOOSE's brochure "Ottawa: Nucleus of Canada's Capital", which states:
"Initially 100% of the lease fees that the City would have received from MOOSE Consortium would be paid “in-kind” by the Consortium in the form of enhancements to City-owned railway infrastructure. This arrangement would continue until the cumulative value of the in-kind fees is equal to the audited cumulative cost of the improvements and maintenance work that MOOSE Consortium has carried out, including all directly related project design, management, financing, construction, maintenance and administration costs, and any compensation that the Consortium pays to mitigate or offset disruption to other stakeholders. Under this arrangement, the City of Ottawa bears no infrastructure cost or capital project risk, but it ends up with improved, fully-operational infrastructure, and eventually, a new sustainable revenue stream in cash form once the Consortium’s financing is amortized. The sooner MOOSE Consortium pays off the financing of these upgrades, the sooner the City will receive cash payments for full running rights on its tracks, subject to any terms and conditions that would be commercially fair and reasonable to the parties. This is a win-win, because this arrangement involves no net financial cost to the Consortium. From the beginning it would be paying its commercial financiers what it would have paid in lease fees for running rights on upgraded track at full market rates. Meanwhile, once these tracks become operational, any other new railway services (e.g. freight companies that may want to operate outside the hours of MOOSE Consortium passenger service) would pay lease fees to the City of Ottawa as the owner of the upgraded track, beyond what MOOSE pays the City."
4. Prince of Wales Bridge Rehabilitation

Mr. Manconi's memo to Mayor and Council refers to "Long-Term Plans", explaining that:

"The City's Transportation Master Plan (TMP), adopted in 2013, shows the extension of the 0- Train Trillium Line north into Gatineau as part of the City's plans, with a planned construction date after 2031."
He should also have mentioned that the 2013 "Interprovincial Transit Strategy for Canada's Capital Region", which was co-authored by staff and consultants for the City of Ottawa, City of Gatineau and the NCC, describes the need for "an O-Train extension to Hull via the Prince of Wales Bridge" by 2018 (pages 51, 75 and 82). This is also the early timeline that MOOSE Consortium is attempting to maintain. MOOSE Consortium's terms of reference for the engineering and financial work to be advanced in the coming months are explicit in the objective of getting initial trains operating on that bridge before the end of 2018.
 
The Agency's letter to the City on 14 August 2017 requested an estimate of the time required:
"to restore the PoW Bridge and rail infrastructure on the bridge to an operating condition, to support possible rail service by a licensed third party railway operator who may be granted running rights by the Agency or by the City (the "Third Party RO") on all or some portion of the ORL."
The City's reply to the Agency on 8 September 2017 is that:
"it could take approximately three (3) years to plan, procure and complete the restoration of the PoW Bridge and the rail infrastructure on the bridge to an operating condition"

 

On 29 June 2016 Moose Consortium Inc's application for a federal Certificate of Fitness included the results of a technical feasibility study and cost estimate for a thorough overhaul of the Prince of Wales Bridge. The company's self-financed plan also features a cycling path cantilevered off the upstream side, and a pedestrian path cantilevered off the downstream side facing Parliament Hill, and a pedestrian cross-over bridge on Lemieux Island. This report is available online:
As described in its 2013 written submission to Ottawa City Council, and in its brochure cite above, MOOSE will make arrangements to finance and undertake all the upgrades that MOOSE requires on City of Ottawa Railway infrastructure, including the Prince of Wales Bridge, in exchange for running rights on City-owned tracks, amortized on the basis of full commercial lease rates on that infrastructure.
 
Mr. Manconi's letter to Mayor and Council states that: "Since the acquisition of the line and bridge in 2005-06, the City has been maintaining the bridge to keep it in a safe condition". (For reference about that purchase, we attach a copy of the transfer agreement "for continued railway operations".) MOOSE looks forward having its feasibility study contractors review the "Bridge Safety Management Program (BSMP)" that the City will have been maintaining throughout the past dozen years for the Prince of Wales Bridge.
5. General Context
Overall, the letter and memo of 8 September 2017 reflect an apparent assumption that the City's obligation to reconnect the railway, and to maintain the Prince of Wales Bridge in an operational state, are contingent upon its assessment of some Third Party’s plans. However every owner of federally-regulated railway infrastructure has ongoing obligations directly under the Canada Transportation Act, and these are not contingent upon the proposals or plans of any other party. Whereas the City's letter to the Agency suggest that restoration of through-traffic capability from the Prince of Wales Bridge to the O-Trains' Trillium line "will have to be assessed on a case by case and circumstances specific basis", quite to the contrary, it is the federal regulator's prerogative to make such assessments on a case-by-case basis. The City’s role and responsibility, as the owner of an active federal railway, is to maintain the railway in accordance with the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act, and to promptly accommodate any other railway users in exchange for reasonable rates.
 
The member companies of MOOSE Consortium look forward to working in a open manner with the City of Ottawa, and all other public sector bodies, as our operational plans, financial arrangements and timelines are refined in stages.
 

EN -  August 2017 - Lake88 "In Focus" - Radio Producer, Bob Perreault, Interviews MOOSE Director General, Joseph Potvin.

EN - August 2017 - Ottawa Business Journal - Full steam ahead for privately owned passenger railway

EN - August 2017 - Metro News Ottawa - The battle over 20 kilometres of rail in rural Quebec

EN - July 2017 - Metro News Ottawa - Ambitious Moose rail plan builds support, both inside and outside Ottawa

EN - July 2017 - Ottawa Sun - Editorial: Sometimes, privatization is exactly the right track (PDF version)

EN - July 2017 - Ottawa Citizen - Ambitious regional railway plan attracts investor attention

EN - July 2017 - Article re-posted by Ottawa SUN - Ambitious regional railway plan attracts investor attention

EN - July 2017 - International Railway Journal - Private investors plan metro-Ottawa passenger rail

EN - July 2017 - Metro News Ottawa - Study underway to examine feasibility of privately owned transit network

EN - July 2017 - The Globe & Mail - Forget nationality: It's what foreign investors do in Canada that matters.

EN - July 2017 - The Globe & Mail - China-focused firm invests in Ottawa-area commuter rail plan - Scanned version

Joint Companies Announcement: LeMine-Consortia N.A. and MOOSE Consortium Inc.
TORONTO, CANADA. 1 JULY 2017 — LeMine Investment Group and Consortia N.A. Ltd. (LeMine-Consortia N.A.) and MOOSE Consortium Inc. exchanged letters of intent today, the 1st of July 2017, on Canada's 150th Anniversary, to create a fully private-sector 400 km metropolitan-scale passenger rail service for Canada's Greater National Capital Region.
Announcement in English

TORONTO, Canada, le 1er juillet 2017 — LeMine Investment Group et Consortia N.A. Ltd. (LeMine - Consortia N.A.) et le Consortium MOOSE inc. ont échangé des lettres d'intention aujourd'hui, en ce 1er juillet 2017, à l'occasion du 150e anniversaire du Canada, en vue de créer un service ferroviaire de passagers entièrement privé de 400 km qui desservirait la grande région de la capitale nationale du Canada.
Annonce en Français

EN - June 2017 - CBC - City's top lawyer says ripping up some tracks doesn't mean they are discontinuing line

EN - June 2017 - The Bulldog Ottawa - City Makes Grim Rail Mistake

EN - June 2017 - Canadian Design & Construction report - Ottawa outlines timeline/process for restoring rail link across the city-owned interprovincial Prince of Wales Bridge

EN - June 2017 - Ottawa Construction News - CTA tells city to explain why it has dismantled Prince of Wales bridge link

FR - June 2017 - Le Droit - Trudeau confirme 1,09 milliard $ et ouvre la porte vers Gatineau

EN - June 2017 - The Low Down - Moose initiates legal action against removal of rails. (PDF file)

EN - June 2017 - West Quebec Post - Moose Consortium lodges complaint with competition bureau... (PDF file)

EN - June 2017 - CBC - City questioned over rail line removal for LRT work
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/rail-line-breach-of-duty-city-ottawa-1.4151285

EN - June 2017 - CTV News - Construction near Prince of Wales Bridge lands City in hot water with rail authority
http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/construction-near-prince-of-wales-bridge-lands-city-in-hot-water-with-rail-authority-1.3448729

FR - Juin 2017 - Radio Canada - La Ville d'Ottawa devra s'expliquer devant l'Office des transports du Canada
http://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1038593/ottawa-office-des-transports-du-canada

EN - June 2017 - Ottawa Citizen - Transportation agency demands explanation on removal of rail near Prince of Wales Bridge: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/

EN - June 2017 - CTV News - Construction near Prince of Wales Bridge lands City in hot water with rail authority: http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/

EN - June 2017 - CBC - City called out for ripping up rail line near Bayview Station: http://www.cbc.ca/

EN - June 2017 - Ottawa Life - Canada’s Earliest and Most Recent Railway Scandals: http://www.ottawalife.com/

EN - May 2017 - Ottawa Life - Get to Know Gatineau: http://www.ottawalife.com/

FR - Mai 2017 - Ottawa Life - Découvrer Gatineau: Lire le reportage

EN - June 2016 - Green Party of Ontario - Support for Passenger Rail in National Capital Region Read the press release

EN - March 2016 - Ottawa Life - Set The Moose Free: http://www.ottawalife.com/

EN - February 2017 - Ottawa Construction News MOOSE prepares legal challenges if CTA fails to respond to complaint about railway dismantling: http://ottawaconstructionnews.com/

EN -February 2017 - Ottawa Life The Building Blocks of a Capital: http://www.ottawalife.com

EN - November 2016 - Ottawa Life - The Building Blocks of a Capital: http://www.ottawalife.com/

EN - Septembre 2016 - Ottawa Construction News - Private/public infrastructure conflict: MOOSE appeals to CTA for Prince of Wales bridge track access: http://ottawaconstructionnews.com/

EN - Septembre 2016 - Ottawa Life, Autumn Edition - Download the PDF version here. Online version - Check cover, page 22 and 42-43: https://issuu.com/ottawalifers/docs/fall2016_final_web

FR - 28 août 2016 - Le Droit - Perçu au départ par plusieurs comme un rêveur un peu fou, Joseph Potvin continue d'avancer lentement vers son objectif de mettre en place un service ferroviaire privé de 400 km reliant les secteurs ruraux de la grande région d'Ottawa-Gatineau au coeur de la capitale fédérale. http://www.lapresse.ca/le-droit/actualites/actualites-regionales/201608/24/01-5013733-un-projet-de-train-prive-pour-relier-le-rural-et-lurbain.php

FR - 24 août 2016 - Le Droit - Le député fédéral de Hull-Aylmer, Greg Fergus, ne cache pas son parti pris pour le transport en commun sur rail. En ce sens, il dit voir d'un «bon oeil» et «favorablement» le projet MOOSE. http://www.lapresse.ca/le-droit/actualites/actualites-regionales/201608/24/01-5013741-le-depute-fergus-voit-moose-dun-bon-oeil.php

EN - August, 9th 2016 - TVO - Can a private company profit from commuter rail service in the Ottawa-Gatineau region? http://tvo.org/article/current-affairs/the-next-ontario/can-a-private-company-profit-from-commuter-rail-service-in-the-ottawa-gatineau-region

EN - August 2016 - Ottawa Construction News - MOOSE: Ambitious initiative would create privately owned 35 to 50 station metropolitan passenger rail system serving eastern Ontario and western Quebec - http://ontarioconstructionreport.com/PageFlips/2016/ocnaug2016/ - (PDF version here)

EN - July, 26th 2016 - Ottawa Metro News -  Full steam ahead for privately owned commuter rail in Ottawa - http://www.metronews.ca/news/ottawa/2016/07/26/full-steam-ahead-for-privately-owned-passenger-railway.html

EN - July, 20th 2016 - Ottawa Business Journal - Full steam ahead for privately owned passenger railway - http://www.obj.ca/Local/2016-07-20/article-4593170/Full-steam-ahead-for-privately-owned-passenger-railway/1

EN - July, 12th 2016 - Inside Ottawa Valley - Moose commuter train in Smiths Falls threatened by track issues in Ottawa - http://www.insideottawavalley.com/news-story/6763308-moose-commuter-train-in-smiths-falls-threatened-by-track-issues-in-ottawa/

EN - July, 7th 2016 - Ottawa Start -  Private consortium applies to feds to build 400km passenger rail service - http://ottawastart.com/private-consortium-applies-to-feds-to-build-400km-passenger-rail-service/

EN - July, 4th 2016 - Railway technology - Moose consortium seeks CTA authorisation for rail service development - http://www.railway-technology.com/news/newsmoose-consortium-seeks-cta-authorisation-rail-service-development-4940107

EN - October, 16th 2015 - Inside Ottawa Valley - Agreement formally signed to launch Moose commuter train consortium -  http://www.insideottawavalley.com/news-story/5964418-agreement-formally-signed-to-launch-moose-commuter-train-consortium/

FR - 10 février 2015 - Le Droit - Une entreprise d'Ottawa croit avoir en main le projet qui permettra d'arrimer les réseaux de transport en commun de Gatineau et d'Ottawa - http://www.lapresse.ca/le-droit/actualites/ville-de-gatineau/201502/09/01-4842766-un-projet-de-train-prive.php

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