We travelled north on the RM from Vancouver, initially to Kamloops. At times we had to use sidings on the single track to allow other trains, mostly freight trains, to pass. But on the other side of the bank of the Fraser and then Thompson River I could see train tracks and trains using them, I wondered why trains in one direction did not use that track and trains in the other direction use the track we were using.
Calgary train control screwed up once, allowing our train into a section when it should not have been. The train had to be reversed back to the nearest siding. It was really interesting when we started forward again as slack had to be taken up by every coupler at each end of the carriages. The banging and jolting went right through the train. Takes me back and what fun!
Eventually I asked about the other train line. I was told it was owned by a different train company. Our train line was first built with a mix of private and government investment, completed in 1885 and it had a thirty year guarantee of no competition. It made mega dollars for investors. Once the thirty year period elapsed, another train line was built, mostly on the the other side of the river. The first train had the best route. The second train had the second best route. The third best route was taken by a road and it ain't such a good route for trucks.
Our train was using Canadian Pacific tracks, with one of the major shareholders of the company being Warren Buffet.
On the other side of the river was the Canadian National track, with its major shareholder being Bill Gates. From Kamloops to Jasper, we used CN tracks.
In Australia, while many of our trains are operated by private companies, the tracks, trains and infrastructure are generally owned by governments.
So we are sitting in a siding being delayed by a train coming the other way on a single track or at times another train was delayed by us.
On the other side of the river, and at times the track was on our side too, exactly the same thing is happening.
Is that not the most absurd thing? Privatisation taken to the extreme, except it has always been like that in Canada.