Author Topic: Ak Railroad To link With Canada  (Read 1481 times)

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Online tomahawk6

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Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« on: June 28, 2019, 14:49:09 »
 Another way to bring energy to market which would help both the US and Canada.

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2019/06/28/alaska-railroad-signs-initial-deal-for-link-to-canada-and-the-rest-of-the-country/

JUNEAU — The Alaska Railroad Corp. board of directors has approved an agreement with a firm seeking to link Alaska and Canada by rail. The board voted unanimously Thursday morning to approve the deal, which does not require the state-owned railroad corporation to fund the project.
Construction is estimated to cost $13 billion, according to a presentation given to the Alaska Legislature earlier this year, and is years away. Thursday’s arrangement deals with initial permitting, land acquisition and preliminary planning.

Sean McCoshen, cofounder of A2A Rail, said by phone that Thursday’s agreement will unlock right-of-way negotiations which in turn will encourage President Donald Trump to approve a presidential permit needed for the railroad. Gov. Mike Dunleavy has already asked the president to issue a permit, and so has the Alaska Legislature.
With a permit in hand, the project becomes much more attractive to potential shippers, and with shipping agreements in hand, A2A Rail would have an easier time finding financing.



Under the agreement, the Alaska-to-Alberta Railroad Development Corp. —known as A2A Rail — receives an “exclusive right” to operate a cross-border railroad and the ability to use Alaska Railroad’s existing network as it seeks to build a railroad line between Alaska and Fort McMurray, Alberta. The agreement calls for the Alaska Railroad and A2A rail to obtain a right-of-way across state land between the Canadian border and the end of the railroad’s existing track. A2A Rail also receives rights to a long-planned port planned for Port MacKenzie, near Anchorage. The two groups will draft a cost-sharing agreement.

“A rail connection between Alaska and Canada and the rest of the United States is a project that has been talked and dreamed about for close to a century,” said Alaska Railroad President and CEO Bill O’Leary in a prepared statement. “Completing that connection has amazing potential for Alaska and this agreement between the Alaska Railroad and A2A Rail is an important first step to get the project underway.”
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 14:52:09 by tomahawk6 »

Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2019, 16:17:23 »
That is super interesting.

If built, it gives Alberta pretty much the ability to bypass BC altogether when shipping oil.

Offline YZT580

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2019, 17:03:29 »
You are dreaming in techni-colour if you believe that there will be no opposition by the environmentalists.  Any application will be tied up in hearings for at least 10 years.  And shipping oil will be a complete no-no. Ottawa just passed their new regulations regarding development, remember?

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2019, 17:24:22 »
That is super interesting.

If built, it gives Alberta pretty much the ability to bypass BC altogether when shipping oil.

I'd say that's a pretty big if.  And according to A2A's website, they don't bypass BC.  On their site they identify a study conducted by the Van Horne Institute as one of the studies that validated their concept.  While the study doesn't say it to be unfeasible, it doesn't paint as rosy a picture as the limited info on the A2A website.

http://www.vanhorneinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Alberta-to-Alaska-Railway-Pre-Feasibility-Study.pdf
Quote
CONCLUSIONS
The Alberta to Alaska Railway and tidewater access project will clearly be challenging to build. The challenges include:

 extreme cold weather and a long winter season, which clearly affects the cost of construction and operations;
 isolation and limited access affecting the supply of material and supply and retention of labour;
 sensitive environmental areas in this undeveloped natural environment; and
 complex regulatory and approval and permitting processes with multiple governments, international considerations and interested stakeholders.

However, projects similar to this, although not exactly the same in magnitude and scope, have been completed in other areas.

The pre-feasibility study identified an indicative route alignment and facilities, rolling stock and equipment, construction requirements and operating plan for a new railway between Fort McMurray and Delta Junction, Alaska as well as options to access tidewater at the Port of Valdez, Alaska. However, many issues have not been addressed in detail or to the degree necessary to specifically delineate the full requirements and challenges in engineering design, construction and operations; environmental mitigation and approvals, including First Nations consultation and impact/benefit negotiations; scheduling and costs; and, optimal corporate structuring and financing. Further study and effort is required to address these questions.

The pre-feasibility study estimated the project’s capital cost for the new railway as well as tidewater access and oil handling facilities13 to be between $28 and $32 billion for 1.0 mbpd and $29 to $33 billion for 1.5 mbpd ($2013 CAD).14 Annual operating costs are estimated to be $1.9 to $2.3 billion per year for 1.0 mbpd and $2.7 to $3.5 billion for 1.5 mbpd. However, this does not include the cost of necessary prior studies and activities, which have yet to be determined.

A best case optimistic estimate to obtain environmental approval and construct the project is five years but this would require a simplified and accelerated environmental process (ie., no panel review and expedited US Presidential approval) and the feasibility of an aggressive construction schedule (ie., no mitigating seasonal stoppages, labour shortages or other potential delays). Based on similar project precedents, nine years is more realistic. Again, this does not include time required for prior studies and activities for which three to five years would not be unprecedented.

The pre-tax cost per barrel to recover all capital and operating cost cited above over the project life, whether 25 years based on the accelerated and aggressive implementation program15 or extended to 29 years based on recent project precedent16 range from $15.44 to $21.41 per barrel for 1.0 mbpd to $12.46 to $18.01 per barrel for 1.5 mbpd. These figures are consistent with CAPP estimates for railway transport of bitumen and oil products to the West Coast.17

Mineral and coal potential within the corridor is high, although timing associated with the realization of this potential is uncertain. The study estimated the in-place gross value of metallic minerals alone to be $333 to $659 billion over 30-years of operation. The study’s assessment predicted that the combined expected total freight tonnage from minerals and coal over 30-years of operation could be in the order of 130 billion tons or 43 million tons per year, resulting in $10.1 to $10.9 billion in net present value cash flow. Unfortunately, as this cash flow cannot be predicted and may vary considerably over time, it cannot be factored into the base per barrel cost estimates. However, it does potentially mitigate the railway’s financial risk as a result of revenue diversification and offset at least part of the common capital debt repayment.

Finally, while the transport cost per barrel of bitumen/petroleum products is somewhat higher than potential or equivalent pipeline tolls to reach West Coast tidewater, the project has the advantage of:

 being able to carry other commodities, such as minerals, construction supplies and other materials, and generating revenues that both defray financial risk to the railway and part offset its capital cost;
 potentially offering more economic development opportunities; and,
 offering an alternative to the current pipeline proposals.

And their "construction is estimated to cost $13 billion" seems widely at variance with the $28 to $33 billion (in 2013 dollars) projected in the Van Horne study.
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Offline AbdullahD

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2019, 18:22:08 »
Yeah, that ain't going to go.

CN has an impossible time keeping guys on the north line up here, fort Mac is even worse. So even IF it gets built, getting her staffed.. lol.

I assume they will go OCS so laying the track would only be just over a cool million per mile. If they want CTC they are looking at 2.5 mill per mile.. that is not even counting some of the insane territory that needs to be crossed to connect AK to AB. Which will drive the price up significantly.

But what is interesting, if it does get built, then goes bankrupt, CN rail then gets to buy it for basically free and have yet another route to ship via rail to. Part of the contract placed on CN when it went public is the right to every rail company that is or will go bakrupt, if they want it. They bought BCR for cheap cheap and a few others over the years. So if this does happen, I only see CN benefiting. So presidential decree gets a lot of it built cool.. then a Canadian company benefits.. time to buy more shares lol

Abdullah

P.s but it ain't going to happen.

Online tomahawk6

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2019, 21:42:09 »
The difficulty of the project to date has outweighed the economic benefits.Alberta needs to get tar sands to market and Alaska is awash in natural gas. From a military point of view I think there are also benefits.

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2019/04/08-canadian-development-company-renews-push-for-rail-line-linking-alaska-to-the-lower-48-states

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2019, 08:18:30 »
 I have always wondered why North American's can't solve the problem in the same fashion as it has been done in Europe.  Tunnelling.  Look at the tunnels that run through Switzerland joining France and Italy.   High Speed electric trains on long straightaways 'through' the mountains would be safer and faster.
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Offline Journeyman

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2019, 08:43:14 »
Tunnelling.  Look at the tunnels that run through Switzerland joining France and Italy.
I suspect that plate tectonics may  be a factor.  Three fault lines intersect at BC, whereas the Rhine rift valley is the only major plate boundary in Switzerland, and it's been stable for 30 million years.
:dunno:

Mind you, even in a geologically stable area, CN managed to derail a train in the Sarnia/Port Huron tunnel yesterday, which (as of 10 minutes ago) is still leaking sulphuric acid.

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2019, 09:26:15 »
Mind you, even in a geologically stable area, CN managed to derail a train in the Sarnia/Port Huron tunnel yesterday, which (as of 10 minutes ago) is still leaking sulphuric acid.

[mock uninformed citizen]

Yeah, but that’s still better than a huge pipeline filled with sulphuric acid!

[/mock uninformed citizen]

;)

Online tomahawk6

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2019, 10:04:15 »
I know of at least one rail company that offers a retirement for both the worker and wife in recognition of their long seperations, a nice benefit.

Offline mariomike

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2019, 11:09:39 »
I know of at least one rail company that offers a retirement for both the worker and wife in recognition of their long seperations, a nice benefit.

My father, and his father, were CNR / VIA Rail passenger train locomotive engineers based at Union Station. I think they enjoyed their nights away from home at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.  :)

Offline AbdullahD

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2019, 11:29:21 »
I have always wondered why North American's can't solve the problem in the same fashion as it has been done in Europe.  Tunnelling.  Look at the tunnels that run through Switzerland joining France and Italy.   High Speed electric trains on long straightaways 'through' the mountains would be safer and faster.

Not high speed, but BCR did use some electric locomotives to service tumbler ridge outside of PG. Very interesting tunnel on that line it apexes in the middle so any exhaust fumes will pool at the top, so if anything goes wrong it is a cut and run situation or knife the unit and run.

http://users.eastlink.ca/~othen/BCRail/BCRail.html

I do wonder why we haven't used more electric tech, the high speed is easy, it costs exponentially more money and really only benefits passenger travel. A lot of freight cars are speed restricted.. besides, I've been on locomotives doing 50 mph and anyone who wants to be in one doing 70 mph.. i worry about lol.

Abdullah

P.s i think going around is cheaper anyways ;) we need a lot of stuff to go through safely. Look up the spiral tunnels outside of jasper i think it is.. train crews can not go in there without respirators.

Offline YZT580

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2019, 23:14:11 »
Too much winter for electric.  Snow and ice don't mix well with overhead wires needed for p.u.  They work well in Europe because of the milder conditions but whenever there are severe conditions the diesels are out hauling in the stranded units. 

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Ak Railroad To link With Canada
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2019, 07:51:59 »
I suspect that plate tectonics may  be a factor.  Three fault lines intersect at BC, whereas the Rhine rift valley is the only major plate boundary in Switzerland, and it's been stable for 30 million years.
:dunno:

Mind you, even in a geologically stable area, CN managed to derail a train in the Sarnia/Port Huron tunnel yesterday, which (as of 10 minutes ago) is still leaking sulphuric acid.

I suppose that could be a factor.  Tunnelling has not been a problem in the past, though.  It was the solution used in the Kicking Horse Pass with the construction of the Spiral Tunnels.  Granted those are in a relatively small concentrated area, not an extended long straight away that would have a likelihood of crossing fault lines.  Still, existing lines of communications and pipelines are crossing all those same fault lines.

Don't you think that in the most cases, today, derailments are quite often the result of poor track maint?  The railways going on the cheap to increase their profit margins?


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