Sunday, 19 July 2015

Valley Inn Rail Reconnoitre

Had to go to MEC on saturday, and bussed it there. Didn’t want to walk all the way home (time and scheduling constraints mainly) but did want to walk part of the way. Too nice of a day not to. Got off at the Royal Botanical Gardens and wandered home from there.
Views of Hamilton from the Woodland Cemetery.
Looking down at Carroll’s Point.
The trail leading down. The cove is often a place a boat will anchor.
The cove through the trees, a little further down the trail.
Stopped along the trail for a sweet pick me up.
The view as you emerge from the trees at the end.
Hamilton in the distance.
Same view, with the McQuesten High Level Bridge.
Other side of Carroll’s Point, with the cove.
Met these two, Noah and Olivia. Gave them a hand pulling their kayaks ashore. Had a nice chat with them for a few minutes, then pushed them back out.
Mom, dad and the swanlets.

Looking back at where I’d been.

Part of why I wanted to walk here was to check out all the work CN has been doing along here for the railway. I’d checked it out at night before, but wanted to see it in better light and snap some photos. 
Closed off at the end of the Valley Inn road bridge.
Shoreline bulldozed to put in a road.
Shore road on the left, Valley Inn road on the right. I don’t know if the one along the shoreline will remain, replace Valley Inn road, or if it’s just meant for equipment access to the rail bridge being installed further up. Or if a new rail line will run there. Or if Valley Inn will remain and the other as well to become part of some sort of trail system.

The new bridge to allow Valley Inn road to cross under the rail line. The old bridge had to accommodate an old two lane road. Since it is now no more than a trail, it will be narrower and longer to take the new third rail line into account.

A bit further up at the southern junction of the rail wye, another road has been carved in.
Looking back the way I’d come.
One of the very first trains out of the new James Street GO Station. Part of why all this work is being done is to increase passenger traffic between Niagara and Toronto. Given that I’ve heard horrifying figures of another 1 million people being crammed into the area between Hamilton and Niagara (and a total of 4 million in the entire Greater Toronto/Hamilton Area) in the next 25 years, they have little choice. 

About two years ago, both sides of the embankment to the right of the bridge the train is crossing, looked as though they had been BrushHogged. I asked my local community group if they had any idea. Are they replacing a bridge? Adding a new one? Just reinforcing the banks? No idea. They asked our local city councillor? He had no idea. Asked various departments of the city. They had no idea. Asked Canadian National Railways. They didn’t know. Finally someone at their head office in Ottawa confirmed that indeed, a new bridge was going in beside the old one. The stretch between here and Oakville is the busiest stretch of rail in the whole country. That they need to increase capacity is not too surprising. What’s incredible about it is that if you or I wanted to put up a trellis, we would be required to jump through all sorts of regulatory hoops. CN wants to put in something as major as a rail bridge over a historically significant canal, and they don’t even bother giving the city a courtesy notification.

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