Rail

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

February 11, 2021 at 3:54 pm

Nothing ventured… This week, I have a question for you: Women in this province have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. You want to help them. Do you: A) invest $5 million in an early-stage venture capital fund focused on women-led startups; B) tear $5 million into tiny shreds andRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

January 29, 2021 at 10:25 am

Trainspotter Looking for illustrations for my rail-related articles this week, I ran across something great: a trove of train photos by a photographer named Roger Puta. I didn’t have time to learn anything more about him on Wednesday, I just snaffled up those lovely photos of a CN engine inRead More

Grand Narrows Swing Bridge, CB (Source: Hatch)

Just the Facts, Please

January 27, 2021 at 2:17 pm

There are few things more discouraging than directing all your journalistic efforts to separating fact from fiction, only to discover that a wide swath of the public prefers the fiction. How else to explain the opinion piece by Jim Guy and Mary C. MacPherson in the Saturday edition of theRead More

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

September 25, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Beggaring belief So, it’s done — Albert Barbusci of Sydney Harbour Investment Partners (SHIP) has completed his work and all that stands between the Port of Sydney and a multi-million dollar terminal for ultra-large container vessels is our decrepit railway. Barbusci told the Cape Breton Post‘s David Jala (who describedRead More

Devco coal train leaving Phalen Mine, 1999. Photo by Stephen Drake

Iron Butterfly Effect? How Killing Rail Sank Novaporte

September 16, 2020 at 11:19 am

In anticipation of the desperate ghosting of the Novaporte project during this municipal election campaign, I contacted Mayor Cecil Clarke and asked him for a written response on the current status of his transformative vision for a container terminal on Sydney Harbour. I also asked if he would be makingRead More

Two trams, Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Henk Graalman - From the photographer, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79354067

Pros and Cons (and Future) of Trams

February 26, 2020 at 2:00 pm

Writing in the Guardian in 2015, Sean Marshall dated the rebirth of the tram (which he, being a Toronto native, calls a “streetcar”) to the 1980s, although initially this took the form of “vintage” lines “mimicking New Orleans’ famous St Charles Streetcar line.” These heritage streetcars use antique or replicaRead More

Whatever Happened to the Trams?

Whatever Happened to the Trams?

February 19, 2020 at 12:51 pm

As I said last week, I began this journey because I wanted to talk about trams and a couple of thousand words later, I’ve mostly been talking about electricity. (This is what happens when you travel with me. I hope you packed a lunch.) I’m going to bring the focusRead More

Power to the People!

Power to the People!

February 12, 2020 at 12:51 pm

I’ve lived in two cities (Toronto and Prague) in which trams (or streetcars, if you prefer) formed an integral part of the municipal transit system and have always had a soft spot for them. I’ve also wanted to write about the tram system that used to connect some parts ofRead More

Puzzling Over the Port File

Puzzling Over the Port File

January 15, 2020 at 1:36 pm

Each week, I pick a subject and do my research and try to give some sort of coherent account of what I’ve learned but this week — I give up. I’ve been trying to make sense of the latest developments in the Sydney container port saga and I am utterlyRead More

Grand Narrows rail bridge, Cape Breton. (Spectator photo)

Letter to the Editor: End of the Line?

December 11, 2019 at 1:30 pm

In a letter to the editor dated 16 July 2002 I carefully set out some historic evidence on the long-predicted conversion of coal transportation from rail to road on Cape Breton Island. Given the pending government pronouncement on rail abandonment (or wink, wink “preservation”), I thought some factual background mightRead...