Discussion of Canadian Passenger Rail Services such as AMT (Montreal), Go Transit (Toronto), VIA Rail, and other Canadian Railways and Transit

Moderator: Ken V

  by Scoring Guy
 
I just rode the Ocean east to west, but forgot to ask the crew how and where that train is turned around at Halifax. Of course the Ocean is already pointed in the right directlon at boarding time in Halifax. I tried looking at the google satelite photos but couldn't find a definitive wye point,.
Someone please fill me in on the details. Thank You.
  by NS VIA FAN
 
The Ocean is turned on the Balloon Track through the Container Terminal near the station. If this track is unavailable the consist has occasionally been backed out to Windsor Junction (15 miles) to be turned on the wye at the jct with the Windsor & Hantsport Railway (former Dominion Atlantic)

You can see the Balloon Track loop here.....just east of Marginal Rd and Point Pleasant Drive.

http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&source=s ... 15&iwloc=A
  by jhdeasy
 
Take a look at the 9th photo on this page: http://www.dominionrailvoyages.com/page ... 004_1.html

You will see David Othen's June 2004 photo of the Ocean's consist, with private car MOUNT VERNON behind the PARK car, being turned on the ballon track at the intermodal ocean cargo terminal at the Port of Halifax.
  by jp1822
 
What is the private car scene like today up in Canada? My understanding is that VIA has gotten a lot stricter, and for one thing won't allow private cars on the tail end if a Park Car is on the tail end now. And of course, operating a private rail car with a Renaissance consist is not possible, thus eliminating private car options in the Maritimes. True?
  by Scoring Guy
 
jp1822 said: "And of course, operating a private rail car with a Renaissance consist is not possible, , , "

This is not true, because of course the Renaissance "Ocean" runs with a Park Car on the tail. Via has "transition Renaissance cars" which attach to the Renaissance train set, on one end with drawbars (or whatever), while having a traditional coupler and diaphragm on the other end to attach to 'traditional' cars (I suspect that the baggage car, at the head end of the consist, has a similar treatment). For some unexplained reason, that 'transition' car (between the sleepers and the Park Car) contains nothing for the passengers, no seats, no bedrooms, just a long, empty carpeted room, with two mechanicals cabinets and with the windows covered. On the other hand, whether or not Via would run that car on the tail of a Renaissance train set for the sole purpose of attaching a private car is a separate question.

Nevertheless, I do believe that Via does now ban attaching private varnish to Park Cars. I'm not sure if that's due to public presure or just not wanting the bother; my experience with Park Cars is that the observation seating area is rarely populated except when it gets too dark to see out from within the dome.

I would like to thank all the contributors for the answer to my initial question and for photo attachments. I invite you all to read my "Wisconsin to Nova Scotia to Montreal and Back" Trip Report, in that section of the Forum. :-D :-D :-D
  by jp1822
 
Scoring Guy wrote:jp1822 said: "And of course, operating a private rail car with a Renaissance consist is not possible, , , "

This is not true, because of course the Renaissance "Ocean" runs with a Park Car on the tail. Via has "transition Renaissance cars" which attach to the Renaissance train set, on one end with drawbars (or whatever), while having a traditional coupler and diaphragm on the other end to attach to 'traditional' cars (I suspect that the baggage car, at the head end of the consist, has a similar treatment). For some unexplained reason, that 'transition' car (between the sleepers and the Park Car) contains nothing for the passengers, no seats, no bedrooms, just a long, empty carpeted room, with two mechanicals cabinets and with the windows covered. On the other hand, whether or not Via would run that car on the tail of a Renaissance train set for the sole purpose of attaching a private car is a separate question.

Nevertheless, I do believe that Via does now ban attaching private varnish to Park Cars. I'm not sure if that's due to public presure or just not wanting the bother; my experience with Park Cars is that the observation seating area is rarely populated except when it gets too dark to see out from within the dome.

I would like to thank all the contributors for the answer to my initial question and for photo attachments. I invite you all to read my "Wisconsin to Nova Scotia to Montreal and Back" Trip Report, in that section of the Forum. :-D :-D :-D
I should have phrased this differently. Yes, I realize this can be done with a "Renaissance transition car" - to attach a private rail car at therear. But as mentioned above, would VIA be willing to engage in such. At one time, Via was short on Renaisssance transition cars for some reason - maintenance or otherwise. Not sure what the issue was.
  by marquisofmississauga
 
Last year on the Ocean I met a couple of men who own a private car and have operated it behind VIA trains. VIA has indeed banned private cars behind the Park car because many passengers have been furious at spending up to $2000 each to be denied one of the advertised views. I note with amusement that VIA will still haul its own deadhead equipment behind a Park car. This has happened to me and I have seen it on other trains since the ban. These gentlemen were told by VIA that their private car could be carried on the off-season Ocean, but they would have to pay for the transition car which would also incur haulage charges by CN.

I arrived in Halifax last Tuesday and from the Nova Scotian Hotel adjacent to the station we observed the Ocean being turned on the "balloon track."
  by jp1822
 
marquisofmississauga wrote:Last year on the Ocean I met a couple of men who own a private car and have operated it behind VIA trains. VIA has indeed banned private cars behind the Park car because many passengers have been furious at spending up to $2000 each to be denied one of the advertised views. I note with amusement that VIA will still haul its own deadhead equipment behind a Park car. This has happened to me and I have seen it on other trains since the ban. These gentlemen were told by VIA that their private car could be carried on the off-season Ocean, but they would have to pay for the transition car which would also incur haulage charges by CN.

I arrived in Halifax last Tuesday and from the Nova Scotian Hotel adjacent to the station we observed the Ocean being turned on the "balloon track."
Good to know. The transition car would do the trick for the Ocean - in offpeak season - but didn't think VIA was really open to even that. Glad they have "bent a little on this. Did you happen to notice if the Park Car was still in operation on the Ocean - offered to Touring Class passengers (or what one used to be "Easterly Class")? Not sure if the Ocean has entered its "off season" yet or not. Typically it is mid-October, but that could be any time by VIA's calendar. Did you take the Ocean to Halifax, and if so, was the Ocean carrying a descent amount of patrons?
  by marquisofmississauga
 
jp1822 wrote:
Good to know. The transition car would do the trick for the Ocean - in offpeak season - but didn't think VIA was really open to even that. Glad they have "bent a little on this. Did you happen to notice if the Park Car was still in operation on the Ocean - offered to Touring Class passengers (or what one used to be "Easterly Class")? Not sure if the Ocean has entered its "off season" yet or not. Typically it is mid-October, but that could be any time by VIA's calendar. Did you take the Ocean to Halifax, and if so, was the Ocean carrying a descent amount of patrons?
We travelled from Montreal to Halifax and return in Touring Sleeper Class. It is interesting to note that the old name, Easterly Class, is still in use in many places, such as the in-room information booklet, the post-card collection and it is stamped on meal reservation cards to show that the passenger is not to be charged for the meals. As was normal this summer season there were a total of six sleepers on the trains, three "regular sleeper" and three Touring Class. The Park car rooms (except for bedroom B) are available for sale and were sold on our two trips. For the eastbound trip the sleepers were sold out four months in advance. Our group got the last three Renaissance rooms and the suite in the Park car. A month ago a number of rooms became available. I thought there might have been another car added or one regular sleeper converted to Touring Class (which occurred frequently in previous years) but this was not the case. But all sleeper space was sold out a few days in advance. The return trip had two Renaissance rooms plus the Park car suite and drawing room available when I checked it a few days in advance, but it ended up being sold out. The theoretical capacity of those six sleepers is 120, but that would never happen as the crew have to be accommodated in those rooms and many passengers take the rooms at a very reasonable single occupancy rate. My wife and I always take separate rooms on the Ocean because neither of us is partial to upper berths and it is a well-spent $60 or so for a second room. We paid one -way on VIA Preference points and there is no surcharge in points for single occupancy of a non-shower room, although there is for the room with shower. (On the Canadian I am a penny-pincher and suffer in the upper berth of a bedroom because the single occupancy rate for double rooms is fierce.)

Today, Thanksgiving Day, is the last day of operation of the Touring Class on the Ocean and, of course, the Park car will no longer be in the consist. Unusually, the Touring Class returns for the Christmas/New Year's season from 19 Dec. to 2 Jan. and will therefore be offered on the two weekly consists that use HEP equipment in the off-season.