But getting back to Ottawa, I was a little surprised by the disconnection at Bayview, although it sadly makes sense given Ottawa's utter lack of vision when it comes to its railway infrastructure. I wandered over to the end of the Capital Railway the other day to take a few shots. Here's a shot below of the buried connection (almost dead centre) taken from the Somerset Street overpass.
This connection, as you can see on the left, still bears witness to the time when the line was part of CP's Ellwood Subdivision.
The other side of the sign reads "CAP" which obviously stands for the Capital Railway, which is the official name of the O-Train operation in the city as it stands right now.
This severed connection is not, on its own, a big deal, but it takes on more significance given what has happened on the other side of the river in recent years.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the bridge connects to Lemieux Island in the Ottawa River, which marks the official end of the Quebec Gatineau Railway, a shortline owned by Genesee and Wyoming. I was doing some research on this railway the other day, trying to figure out where I could go to shoot it, but discovered that it no longer operates in Gatineau, since its main customer on the river, a former pulp mill, has been closed for years. Even more discouraging, I failed to realize that the railway has severed its connection to the tracks in Gatineau, including the stretch leading to this bridge. The furthest west the railway comes is Thurso, while a local continues to serve the Buckingham spur. Much of the QGR right-of-way in Gatineau has been transformed into a controversial rapid bus transit system, which has garnered mixed reviews from residents of the city.
What does this mean for the Prince of Wales Bridge?
Well, it means it is truly on its own for the time being, until such time that the powers that be in Ottawa and Gatineau, not to mention other levels of government, decide to establish a commuter rail link between Ottawa and Gatineau on the remaining trackage. This continues to be a no-go for local politicians, for reasons that escape me.
In the fall, there was a call from city staff to transform the bridge into a recreational pathway for bikes and pedestrians by 2019. This would be a great link, but it also prevents the capital region from realizing the transit opportunity the bridge represents. The report outlined that the city is hoping to do something with the bridge by 2025. In other words, there are no plans. In fact, despite pleas from transportation advocates, the city is not even maintaining the bridge.
This is what the bridge looks like these days, starting with a view from the Ottawa River Pathway.
And a view of the tracks leading to the bridge, just past the end of the Capital Railway. You will notice, compared to shots I took at a similar time last year (see Prince of Wales link above), the foliage is a little late in arriving this year.
And a shot of the Prince of Wales marquis (or is it Ince of Walcs?)
On the plus side, work on the new passing sidings on the Capital Railway has finally been completed, although the new Alstom trainsets have yet to be placed into service. The new sidings have also led to new signalling equipment. Here's a shot of a southbound Bombardier trainset from the Somerset Street overpass.
I have not heard any news as to when these trains will give way to the new Alstom trains, although I would suspect that the new trains will be put into service before the coming school year, since Carleton University, at the half-way point of the Capital Railway, represents one of the biggest sources of O-Train ridership. The new O-Trains are no longer parked in Walkley Yard during the day, so I assume they are being tested somewhere. I dropped by Walkley recently and saw no trace of the new trainsets.