It started with a search through my archives and notebooks. I ended up finding a January 2010 article I did for the Halton Compass on the delay by one year of an Enivronmental assessment that would see full-day trains placed on the Milton line. I thought: Wouldn’t it be a neat idea for a story to go back and follow up on it; see what happened to it?”
So I pitched it to an editor, who gave me the go-ahead and proceeded. I contacted the media personnel at Metrolinx, and after a few emails were exchanged found out that “no notice of commencement was ever issued on the Milton Line.” Translation: It was never started.
To be honest, I started to wonder about my sanity at that point. After all, logic dictates I reported on something, therefore it had to have happened.” So I continued digging, and eventually found out that there was in fact an E.A. planned, it was never officially started. The source even provided me with some links to other sources including a 2010 Metrolinx study that listed Milton with the highest cost/benefit ratios. More research led a 2010 article by a former colleague Tim Foran who reported on the fact full day train service could be a money-maker by 2021- to the tune of $7.6 million over costs and by 2031 $22.3 million over costs.
Going into that meeting; I had my information- and I had my question: If it shows a profit just outside of a decade 2021 (11 years from when the study was done), then what’s stopping them? Needless to say it went unanswered.. or at least unanswered to my satisifcation. The feeling I get is there’s not really too much of a plan in place for the Milton line beyond the 15-25 year implementation of all-day Go service. Something arguably we could use now.
That roundtable was an excersize in futility- they wanted to know where they could get the money… and don’t really have a clue what to do with it once they get it. It might have been different had they been prepared with ideas, and pricetags- but obviously that was asking too much.
Since the meeting I have tried to get current figures from Metrolinx. My contact replied that the line would be showing a “small profit” by 2031 as in the 2010 report. But, those figures of course didn’t include capital costs.
I’m not an expert at expanding a business, but if you’re trying to project how much it might cost, or how much time could go by before you would see a profit, then wouldn’t you try and estimate the additional the costs for equipment, new/ rebuilt infrastructure, when doing a cost/benefit analysis? It seems like basic common sense to me.. get a full picture scenario before starting expansion.
The common sense is missing. Until we find it, we’re stuck with this insanity.
The article that started it all:
Front page: Metrolinx2010story
end of it: Metrolinx2010transitstory