eolesen wrote:Or axed with a replacement order canceled...I was about (sore-y, abOOt ) to say “Saying the quiet part out loud that we all know”.
However, I got to thinking and I now firmly believe the train will not be going away at all as long as there are tracks for it to run on.
1) When the FRA determined (erroneously or not) that the Amtrak Cascades Talgo Series VI (?) trains contributed to the number of deaths and injuries from the Dec. 2017 Point Defiance Bypass crash, Amtrak just substituted Horizon coaches until new equipment could be delivered; which will now happen in 2026. The trains have continued on and the schedule will be expanded even before the new equipment arrives.
With the VIA Rail Budd Company cars structual problems were first detected in 2020 and then it got bad enough last fall that VIA put the “crumple car” on the rear of all Budd consists. If VIA or Transport Canada wanted an excuse to get rid of a train like the “Canadian” -that unlike the Casacades service is far from an intercity “corridor” route with multiple daily departures between two major metro areas -that would have been *the* PERFECT cop out for them. Yet the train continues on.
2) With the “Canadian” being cancelled indefinitely during the earlier part of COVID many of us here wondered if it would ever come back. It did come back with a 1x weekly train in each direction and now it’s at 2x a week. Not what it once was but it has come back swinging. And from the passenger counts on my trip from January 9th-14th I can tell you it was well patronaged even post-Christmas & New Years holiday season. One passenger told me it was packed to the brim when she went from Toronto to Winnipeg on Dec. 27th. There is absolutely demand for this train.
3) The issue with splitting the train into separate sections is who on earth is going to set up maintenance facilities in Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg for series of 3x week coach trains? Having a single train traverse the entire route simplifies the maintenance by having it done only at Vancouver and Toronto with the food and linens replenishing done at Winnipeg. The Vancouver facility was surprisingly large compared to what I thought they would have; VIA also maintains the West Coast Express commuter trains.
4) As for the clientele on the “Canadian” don’t assume it’s all high end tourist groups, retirees, etc. There were quite a few passengers in their 20s and 30s onboard as well (and like myself were likely not exactly “flush with cash” either).
5) And regarding delays my train actually arrived in Toronto over an hour AHEAD of schedule I don’t know if the train previously ran on a 3 night schedule vs the current 4 nights, but if so the additional padding worked in my estimation. And our train was running late at a number of points (including apparently the signal system briefly going down between Vancouver and Kamloops!)
So IMO there is absolutely a viable future for the “Canadian” even if it doesn’t live up to what it once was decades ago.