Sunday, September 7, 2014

If Deas Island Tunnel is Too Small, not Deep enough; what of CNR's Lift Rail Bridge at Second Narrows

There's been talk that Deas Island four lane Tunnel is neither wide enough, nor deep enough to allow Coal Tankers upstream.  The answer from Premier Christy Clark is that her government (taxpayers) will have a new super high bridge, ten lanes wide, built within nine years.

The word on the street for the Burrard Inlet, at the Second Narrows, is that the Greater Vancouver Water District pipeline from the North Shore to Vancouver and Burnaby needs to go deeper into the narrow channel.

Then there's CNR's Thorton Tunnel, which exits from the headland parallel to the southern end of the Second Narrows as to whether it has the capability of allowing Kinder Morgan's east bound empty Oil Tankers to sail under it because of it's limited raised height.

Second Narrows Railway Bridge in Action (YouTube)
Caboose Coffee source for Video
With all the recent news coverage of oil pipelines, the threat of an oil tanker disaster on British Columbia's coast, and discussions around the movement of oil by rail, I was wondering how I might tie all of the above together in a story that would have a 'railroad' flavour.  Then..., along came Claude Prutton who sent me an email with some of his photos attached that gave me an idea.

Claude is a long-time resident of the Greater Vancouver area and has been hanging around the railroad properties and catching rides with obliging railroaders for many years.  Fortunately for you and me, Claude has also been taking photographs of railway life, not so much from the familiar 3/4 frontal roster-shot view, but instead, he's looked for the unusual shots.  Claude, like Andy Cassidy, Ray Farand and others searches out the photos that tell a story, or in the case of Caboose Coffee..., help me tell a story.  ........
In 2013 CNR made the grand announcement that there would no longer be a need to have an operator on the Rail Bridge to Lift the Bridge when a large vessel need the extra height.... it's now operated remotely out of New Westminster Offices of CNR.
Train movements within the tunnel and over the bridge are controlled by the Second Narrows Operator who, by law had to favour marine traffic over rail traffic because of the narrow channel, fast currents and the inability to steer a ship once it has lost it "way", or speed over the ground below.  In effect, a ship, like a shark, must keep moving or it becomes helpless. -  Caboose Coffee

How many vessels will Kinder Morgan need to export their oil products from Westridge Marine Terminal, that same terminal that has been causing the Corporation of Burnaby to not mince words with Kinder Morgan over their tactic of "slash and burn" of a designated Conservation Area, with the blessing of Harper's National Energy Board (NEB)?

Kinder Morgan says it will have one vessel per day leaving their Marine Terminal, and keeping in mind than it takes more than one day to fill one of these elephants in the room. Does it then mean that there will be always be SEVEN awaiting tankers moored east of the Second Narrows?

Will CNR replace the bridge with a non lifting bridge, as high as the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, or will they opt to dig a tunnel, side by side with the Greater Vancouver Water Line?

Hey, why not make it three tunnels, one for a Sky Train?

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