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 f40ph-2 6400
hey guys,

for a few days now, Iv'e pondered at the main reason why baggage cars are still used by VIA. I know the HEP-2s don't need them cause they have more luggage space then the rens and LRCs so that makes me wonder why VIA has mandatory checked luggage on certain corridor trains. The LRCs have sufficent space with the deletion of a few seats thus they don't need a bag car. Apart from the rens for the safety and limited luggage space and the HEP-1 coachs,Idon't see why VIA would need them.

After seing an article in classic trains about accomodations and observing how all acomodations have room for a suitcase, I came to the conclusion that the Châteaux and Manors don't need the baggage car. Am I right in that assumption? I figure every Blue and Silver or Easterly class passenger would bring their suitcase with them to their room, thus deleting the space occupied by their suitcase in the bag car.

Mark Charlebois
  by jp1822
VIA has been very strict (overly strict in my opinion) where by they basically will only allow a "carry-on" for those in Silver & Blue Class (comprised of Manor and Chateau sleepers). For example, I had a suitcase and backpack when I boarded at Jasper. I was immediately told that they suitcase would have to be checked all the way to Toronto, even though I explained the suitcase has fit in my roomette on many previous trips. I even got hit up in Vancouver as well and had to check the suitcase when in fact I had a DOUBLE BEDROOM which would have more than enough room to house my suitcase. And the suitcase met basic VIA dimensions and was under 50 pounds. I did not want to check my suitcase as I know it's a LONG wait to get the suitcase at Toronto. The baggage car arrives into Toronto LOADED with luggage that needs to be unloaded. I had to wait 30 minutes just to get my suitcase the past two times I was forced to check my suitcase even though I had a roomette or double bedroom on the Canadian.

I've also seen passengers transport canoes, skis, and dogs in the long distance baggage cars of the Canadian, Chaleur, and Skeena train. VIA's baggage cars also have a ventilation system and cab be heated, which I found to be interesting. Also VIA I think if VIA could find a way to eliminate the baggage cars, they would, as part of their payment ot the freight RR is based on a per car basis.

And since some corridor trains are "connecting" trains to the Ocean or Chaleur, for example, these trains carry a baggage car. So the issue of VIA not having a baggage car in the consist is a little complex, and some of it VIA has imposed on themselves, if you want my opinion (i.e. making me check my suitcase when I had a roomette or bedroom with more than enough space to store). More importantly, though, as mentioned, VIA baggge cars carry more than just suitcases. Sporting items are also allowed to occupy the baggage car.
  by marquisofmississauga
There is very little checked baggage service in the corridor. Of the non-Renaissance trains, only one Toronto-Windsor train and one Montreal-Toronto train has a baggage car. There is one LRC train between Ottawa and Montreal which offers checked baggage service for connections to the Ocean and Chaleur; this baggage is handled in an empty coach. It appears VIA is planning on introducing a Renaissance consist on one Toronto-Montreal round trip (#52,53,66 & 67) and there was a test run a few weeks ago. At Toronto Union Station I watched station attendants walking down the queue with an airport-style template and taking over-sized luggage from passengers and giving them a luggage tag right there. I have checked luggage once on a Montreal-Quebec City Ren. train and it was handled very efficiently The bags were unloaded to the high-level platform, VIA 1 passengers' baggage first, so when the passengers walked up from their coaches it was there to be collected without any delay.

I'm surprised to hear that VIA staff in Vancouver and Jasper were being difficult with baggage; they are usually great people to deal with. I've only had a problem once and that was in Halifax a few years ago. My wife and I had two medium-sized suitcases for our Chateau sleeper's drawing room. Now, a drawing room can accommodate two large suitcases under the sofa (as long as they aren't too thick) and two more large cases over the closet and toilet annex. When we arrived at the door of the sleeper, an unusually surly attendant said that only one suitcase could go into the drawing room and the other would have to be checked. I said that it would not be checked and the chap said that the second bag would have to go into the luggage rack at the end of the sleeper. (For those not familiar with the sleepers, Chateau sleepers have a luggage rack at the vestibule end of the car, but Manor sleepers do not.) So I let him have his way for a short while and when he wasn't looking I retrieved the second suitcase from the rack and stored it under our sofa.

Perhaps VIA is getting tough with people because there have been some passengers who attempt to take far too much into their rooms. On the Canadian departing Toronto there are always a number of people who cram excess luggage into their small rooms and finally realise this a short time after departure. Sleeping car attendants then come by with luggage tags and at Capreol we see a lot of luggage dragged down to the baggage car. On one of my trips I noticed at the sleeping-car check-in desk a woman with a child and a redcap with a trolley full of luggage. She had booked one roomette. Everyone said she had too much luggage and some would have to be checked. She refused, so the Service Manager let the redcap take the two passengers and the mound of luggage to the roomette. I didn't see the woman's reaction, but I did notice that most of her baggage was taken up to the baggage car prior to departure!
  by jp1822
I knew Vancouver was being a little strict with luggage, but on my last trip, it was the first time I had an issue at Jasper with my luggage. As mentioned, I was quite surprised. I did have an extra duffle bag to put clothes in it that I would need while on my eastbound journey, plus my backback. But the duffle bag basically folds up and I had it stuffed at the bottom of the suitcase. Thank goodness I did bring it along. I as expecting to potentially use it for the plane or Rocky Mountaineer. But no issue there.
  by chriskay
marquisofmississauga wrote:It appears VIA is planning on introducing a Renaissance consist on one Toronto-Montreal round trip (#52,53,66 & 67) and there was a test run a few weeks ago. At Toronto Union Station I watched station attendants walking down the queue with an airport-style template and taking over-sized luggage from passengers and giving them a luggage tag right there.
Very interesting, indeed. Do you know if that is so they can free up consists for the LRC refurbishment?

Also, where are they getting the extra cars from?