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This is the text of some of the articles in ../newspaps.htm.
"Old railway tracks to make way for tourist monorail
Niagara falls - Freight trains have paid their last visit to this city's busy tourist area.
A century-old rail line that carried up to a dozen trains a day through Clifton Hill, the centre of the tourist strip, began to be dismantled yesterday to make way for the city's dream of a $250 million monorail system to move tourists between the city's attractions, such as Casino Niagara.
The end of the line, which was marked by a spike removal ceremony attended by Premier Mike Harris, is the result of a $39.5 million deal to buy the line from its joint owners: Canadian national Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway.
The deal was put together by the city, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission and Falls Management Corporation, which operates the popular casino.
The line's removal is also the end of a 50-year battle by many city officials to get the tracks out of downtown Niagara Falls. The city is paying about $17.5 million, the lottery commission is paying $15 million and the casino operators are kicking in the rest.
"This is not something that was done overnight," Mayor Wayne Thompson said at the ceremony attended by about 100 city, provincial, regional and railway officials.
"It was not done over a year. It was an exceedingly long effort and we just kept up the pressure."
The mayor said he first began working on the initiative in the early 1980s and almost pulled it off, but one of the parties wouldn't co-operate. It wasn't one of the rail companies, but he noted their competitiveness was always a factor in the long negotiations.
Railway executives acknowledged they are tough adversaries, but said this project made sense.
"It's not often railways celebrate the removal of a track, but this is good for the railways and good for the community," said CN senior vice-president Keith Heller.
Thompson said the new fight will be to get money for the People Mover, the proposed 10-kilometre loop that would also take tourists to such spots as Marineland.
He said the city will look at acquiring money for the system from the province's SuperBuild program. "We're going to take every opportunity to get funding from wherever we can," Thompson said.
The three partners are buying 10 kilometres of the line between a Niagara River rail bridge known either as the Canada Southern or Michigan Central Railway bridge to Fallsview Blvd.
CP Trains stopped running on the line Dec. 11. They began crossing the river the next day on a CN Rail bridge between Buffalo and Fort Erie."]
[CS bridge at Niagara Falls may be widened for trucks:
"Truckers weary of long waits at border crossings along the
Niagara Frontier came a step closer to an alternative
A company called Whirlpool International Truck Bridge agreed to buy a 77-year-old freight train bridge connecting Niagara Falls to its sister city in New York for $19.8 million from the Canada Southern Railway Company.
The bridge, originally built for the Michigan Central Railway, hasn't been used since Canada Southern owners Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific shifted traffic to nearby Fort Erie last December.
The plan is to widen the steel-arch bridge -- just south of the cars-only Whirlpool Rapids Bridge -- into three lanes for transport trucks shipping goods between Canada and the United States. No cars would be allowed.
"That would do a lot to alleviate the congestion at the other bridges," said William Truesdale, president of the American operations of Whirlpool International Truck Bridge in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
The project is expected to take five years and cost $220 million (U.S.).
If it goes ahead, truckers rolling to the United States would follow the Queen Elizabeth Way to Highway 405 just east of St. Catherines.
Instead of following the highway to the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, they would exit on to Stanley Ave. then on to a toll road through industrial lands to the old rail bridge.
Truesdale's company is planning to build the toll road, and a similar one in Niagara Falls, N.Y., linking to the I-190 freeway, as part of the project.
But the company must first get a dizzying array of approvals from both cities of Niagara Falls, provincial, state and federal governments plus several agencies such as customs and immigration.
While the project was endorsed in principle last November by city council in Niagara Falls, Ont., Truesdale acknowledged he has some convincing to do on his own side of the border because of concerns about pollution from truck exhaust.
"We have some people to sell."
Irene Elia, mayor of Niagara Falls, N.Y., said she's waiting for details from environmental impact studies before making any decision.
"It behooves us to see what the proposal says and if it's good," she explained. "It needs careful study. The people are watching it."
Wayne Thomson, her counterpart in Ontario, calls the bridge a "wonderful opportunity" because its plans include a large plaza for customs facilities, a truck maintenance facility and motel, all of which would create jobs.
It also saves the city an estimated $4 million (Canadian) cost of demolishing the bridge, he added.
"To dismantle that bridge would be a waste of resources," said Truesdale, who first got the idea for a trucks-only crossing about 12 years ago.
"We thought this would be the perfect thing," added the former deputy district director of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in the area.
Brian Hay, president of Whirlpool International Truck Bridge's Canadian operations, said the firm is hoping to get all the necessary approvals in two or three years, with construction of the toll roads and bridge renovations taking another two years.
He maintains the project could make life easier for ordinary motorists who would face less traffic from trucks at the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie and the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, therefore helping to increase tourism in the region.
Another truck link to the U.S. is important because trade between the states and Canada is expected to continue growing at a rapid pace in the next few years as the countries become more intertwined.
Auto parts, for example, are regularly made in one country and shipped across the border to assembly plants.
"Unless something's done, there's going to be chaos around here," said Truesdale.
About 3 million trucks now cross the Peace Bridge and Queenston-Lewiston annually and Truesdale expects that to double in five years. He hopes to attract up to 1 million of them a year."]
[Photo of bridge, with caption:
"FROM TRAINS TO TRUCKS: A railway bridge linking Niagara Falls, Ont., and Niagara Falls, N.Y., could be reborn as a truck bridge."
Credit: MIKE DIBATTISTA/CP PHOTO"]
[Map of area, showing river, bridges, rail lines, and some streets and highways.]
[Photo of bridge under construction, with caption:
"HISTORIC BRIDGE: Construction crews advance toward the centre of the Canada Southern railway bridge in a photo taken from the American side of the Niagara River in October, 1924."
Credit: "NIAGARA FALLS PUBLIC LIBRARY"]
["HAMILTON -- The shortest rail route across southern
Ontario will be no more within five weeks. CN crews
have begun lifting a 133-kilometre section of the
Canada Southern Railway from Dunnville to St. Thomas.
Members of Transport 2000, which lobbies governments to improve passenger service, are e-mailing all 103 Ontario MPPs in a last-ditch effort to prevent severing the Niagara Falls-Fort Erie to Windsor line.
Portions are still in use, but the entire line used to be a shortcut for trains between New York and Michigan, much shorter than the main lines of CN and CP, which bought the Canada Southern from a U.S. railway in 1985. Built in 1873, it was once run by the fabled New York Central Railroad empire of tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt.
CN spokesperson Ian Thompson said crews have already removed spikes from about 7 kilometres of the line and expect to finish within five weeks.
"I'm bloody sick about it," said Toronto resident Ross Snetsinger, chair of the Transport 2000 group Rail Ways to the Future. His group argued the line should be saved to take trucks off highways and reduce pollution."]
[I have this.]
["ST. THOMAS, ONT. -
The first iron horse came to St. Thomas in 1856, with the
opening of the London and Port Stanley Railway.
Since then, no fewer than 26 railroads have passed through this small Ontario town. That's why it calls itself "the railway capital of Canada."
That part of its history is recalled at the "Elgin County Railway Museum Inc.", housed in the former Michigan Central repair shop, which dates back to 1913.
With such a history, it's maybe appropriate that St. Thomas' other big claim to fame also involves the railway. That's the story of Jumbo, the giant circus elephant, who was killed in 1885 when he was struck by a Grand Trunk locomotive on the town's north side.
"The railways' heyday was the 1930s, when five major railroads - three U.S. and two Canadian - were running through town," says Charlie Sterne, media promoter for the museum. "In all, 26 railways have been here. In the 1940s, the railways employed more than 1,000 workers here, servicing and operating a fleet of locomotives and equipment."
Those halcyon days are long gone. There's still freight service in and through St. Thomas but no passenger trains. And the once-bustling Michigan Central shop, which closed in the 1950s, is a cavernous home for the ghosts of the past.
But such interesting ghosts! There is, for instance, the 1939 Pullman first-class sleeper car, which gives visitors a taste of what it was like crossing the continent in the days before jet travel.
The "roomette" appears to have nothing but a bed, but then you find that a toilet and sink can appear out of nowhere.
There are locomotives (steam, diesel and electric), cabooses, passenger cars, baggage cars and other equipment, reflecting railway history from 1891 (the oldest piece) to the 1950s, about the time diesel was supplanting steam (though, as volunteers insist, nothing will ever match the romance of steam).
Baggage car No. 7074, of 1953 vintage, is a museum within a museum with artefacts that include pictures, uniforms, a caboose stove, tools, telegraph equipment, lamps, a locomotive bell and a brass chamber pot from a sleeper car with an engraved warning not to empty the contents out the window!
A few blocks north of the museum, three tracks of a railway cross Woodworth Ave. A plaque there records that at this crossing on Sept. 15, 1885, "one of the most beloved animals met an untimely death when he was struck by a railway locomotive." The animal, of course, was Jumbo, the 6,000-kilo elephant who, in the succeeding years, gave his name to everything from an airliner to a hot dog to a cigar.
On Talbot Hill, in the west end of town, there's a life-size statue of Jumbo, standing a full 3.35 metres tall. It was unveiled in 1985, the 100th anniversary of the accident. Ironically, it was trucked in from New Brunswick, where it was sculpted; obviously Jumbo, even in a plaster incarnation, wanted nothing more to do with railways.
* The Elgin County Railway museum is at 225 Wellington St. Admission is by donation.
For further information: www.ecrm5700.org; e-mail email@example.com. The Jumbo plaque is on Woodworth Ave., north of Redan St.; the statue is on Talbot Hill, beside a visitor information booth. General information on St. Thomas: 1-877-463-5446 (toll free); www.elgintourist.com; firstname.lastname@example.org."]
[CAUTION: The "www.elgintourist.com" web site hangs some web browsers. Thanks, MS.]
[Brief history, effects of privatization, photos of a lock and of a ship.]
[I have this.]
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