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 bdawe
I think VIA has long come to accept that the Canadian is primarily a tourism operation with shades of political cover, given it's 2 or 3 a week schedule depending on the season and a timetable that's more appropriate for six-axle heavyweights and steamers than it is for any post-1950 passenger train.

The Ocean has somewhat more of a plausible social-service obligation at least
  by Tadman
bdawe wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 10:00 am The Ocean has somewhat more of a plausible social-service obligation at least
What's frustrating about that is it does not make any attempt to interface with other modes of transport out there that actually do provide very necessary transport. The Bella Desgagnes ferry and Tshiuten Railroad operate into very remote territory near the Ocean route, and there is no interline service, no transfer service, etc... making it impossible to transfer from one to the other without staying a night or three.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Corner bet---

Both the "Canadian" and "Ocean" are done for.

If Amtrak succeeds is whacking their LD system by 57% (Daily to Tri-Weekly) then "the opposition" can forcefully argue "no one needs 'em anymore". With the "two a week" frequency, plus showing up "whenever", it's hard to make any kind of "essential" argument. The unreliability means the tour operator will plan itineraeies without. What if there were a "rail to cruise to fly home" package offered by a high end operator and marketed to clientele for whom inconvenience is not in the lexicon?

Need I say more?
  by R36 Combine Coach
Other than a luxury rail tour, the Canadian seems past its due date. But there are some rural villages in northern Ontario accessed only by the Canadian.
  by exvalley
It would not surprise me if they announce a longer term "hiatus" for those trains only to have them never return.

It's a bummer for me personally because I had a reservation on The Ocean for May 22nd. So close but so far...
  by marquisofmississauga
exvalley wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 9:48 am
bdawe wrote: Thu May 07, 2020 9:26 am Sure, but when you were already losing $600 a ticket for the Canadian in the first place and hemorrhaging money elsewhere, management in Montreal might be looking for an excuse not to open up that expense if they don't have to.
Now that actually makes sense. Or more specifically, if you truly believe that summer bookings will remain extremely low - which is a reasonable assumption. After all, summer is the most profitable season.

The problem with this approach is that it reinforces that train travel is not a public necessity. This is in stark contrast to the approach that Amtrak is taking, whether or not Amtrak's hands were tied due to funding requirements.

If the Ocean never returns, I will be sad that I came so close, yet so far from riding it.
A friend who has no computer asked me to check summer bookings for the Canadian - just out of curiosity. The day before VIA cancelled the Canadian until November I checked about 15 randomly selected days. In July and August just about every day I checked was sold out in sleepers, although Prestige was available on many of them. In September, there were several days with some berths and cabins available but Prestige was sold out on most of those days.

With the border closed to non-essential travel for the foreseeable future and the requirement for 14 days of quarantine for those who do enter Canada it was apparent this busy summer season wasn't likely to go as planned. (At the time I write this the US-Canada border closure has been extended until 21 July. The Prime Minister has previously said he will keep it closed for months if necessary.)

A few days ago VIA announced that the Canadian will resume in November, but only for Economy class. Sleeper Plus and Prestige will start in January. Strangely, Reservia is still offering sleeper space for November and December. I have been in touch with two people at VIA and the word is that existing reservations for sleeping cars are still valid - at least for the time being. No new bookings can be made, despite what it appears to indicate on Reservia. A decision will be made later and we have been advised to hold on to our bookings. We can, of course, cancel if we wish to due to this uncertainty.
An 'Atlantic Bubble' was just announced effective July 3rd that will allow residents of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador to travel within the 4 Atlantic Provinces without having to isolate for 14 days.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-e ... -1.5625133

I guess an 'Intercity Ocean' could now resume between Halifax and Campbellton......but we all know that's not going to happen! ;)

Anyone crossing the New Brunswick-Quebec border or coming into the Atlantic Provinces from elsewhere in Canada will still have to isolate for 14 days.
  by R36 Combine Coach
I would be doubtful about service resuming by end 2020, given the ongoing situation and second wave.