Saturday, May 01, 2010

Take the Meds Train, Lady

I am a great fan of trains. So much so that I have been working on a plan to travel around the world by rail at some unspecified time in the future.

So you can imagine my inner turmoil when I read an article promoting the construction of a railroad throughout the 500,000 sq. kms of Nunavik, excepting Ivujivik and Salluit, which must have been very naughty to be excluded from this epic scheme.

Here is a map for those of you too lazy to click on the link above:

This new rail system, dubbed "Le Kuujjuaq", would add thousands of kilometres of steel through melting permafrost, up mountains and across wide raging rivers, all in an area of such ecological sensitivity that even the spill of a 5-gallon jerry can of gasoline requires a 30 page report.

The rationale? The driving force behind this pipe dream, one Michelle Lalande-Déry, enumerates its benefits: the protection and promotion of culture, the creation of regional universities, and the opening of regions, ignored for so long, which have many magnificent sites and a wealth of human, natural and material resources.

A ballpark cost for building this folly is reportedly $30 B - and given that there are a scant 10,000 residents in Nunavik, this works out to $3M per capita. Add on the hundreds of workers who would be required to maintain this infrastructure in one of the harshest climates on earth we can quickly conclude that this project is unlikely ever to see the light of day.

Yet it has been tabled in Quebec's National Assembly. And not on April 1 as one would expect, but on April 29.

The really telling part of this story is that Mme. Lalande-Déry's vision of the train would include a “health-train” with travelling medical teams, a “library-train,” as well as a “theatre-train,” “circus-train,” “sports-train,” “science-train,” and a “surprise-train".

Much better to simply give me my $3M and let me ride the rails across the world for the rest of my days in a private coach, which I will name the "single malt-train".


Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Glad to see our politicians aren't the only insane ones. I think you'd have to elevate the rails on piers driven down to the more solid permafrost -- can't imagine what that woudl cost.

Might be fun going around the world on trains, but crossing the Pacific on a train'll be a bitch.

4:02 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

You thawed out yet?

12:41 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Phos - about 3 cubic yards of dog shit are about to become resurrected. I do not look forward to the thaw.

9:11 PM  
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