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 exvalley
I took advantage of VIA Rail's Black Friday sale and booked a trip on the Ocean in late May.

A couple of questions:
1) The consist is renaissance only with the exception of the park car. I booked a room with a shower. Does anyone know when they service the sleeper cars? Specifically, when more water is added? Has anyone heard of the cars running out of water at some point during the trip?
2) How many sleeper cars are on the train that time of year? I am in car 1438, if that helps.
  by electricron
They should not have to add water between Montreal and Halifax because it should travel the entire way in less than a day.
But if they did, they could do so where they change train crews - every 8 hours or so.
  by marquisofmississauga
I'm embarrassed to admit that after dozens of trips in Renaissance sleepers I cannot recall for sure if they have been given water en route. I think it might have occurred at Campbellton, but perhaps someone else can clarify this. I have never known the water to run out for Renaissance showers even though there are six per sleeper. Nor have I ever had one freeze up during some very cold and stormy trips, although I would not be surprised if that has happened.

I have not had as good luck with Budd equipment on the Ocean, Chaleur or the Canadian. I have had many experiences with the showers freezing up.
I've been on a 'Renaissance' Ocean numerous time over the past 15 or so years since the Rens first entered service.....usually in a 'Cabin for 2' with Shower and have never heard of them running out of water.

Since a Budd Set has been substituting for one of the Ren Consists.....I’ve gone out of my way to make sure I’m on a Renaissance Ocean. But a trip to Montreal a month or so ago.....did find me in an older Budd Chateau ‘Cabin for One’ (old style Duplex Roomette) and it reinforced my thoughts on how much more I enjoy riding a Ren over a Budd Ocean. IMHO…the Rens offer a smoother, more comfortable ride with better amenities. And quiet too…..with substantial solid partitions between rooms. Not the rattling folding partition you find between the Budd Bedrooms.

When VIA started substituting a Budd set for a Ren......single travelers who were used to riding Rens now found themselves in a older style Chateau Roomette (with that toilet in the room!….and all that surrounding carpet!!) where they had originally been booked in a Ren Cabin with adjoining washroom and some even with a shower. There were loud complaints and VIA brought in additional 'Manors' offering more Bedrooms so those who were originally booked in a Ren Cabin would at least have a Budd Bedroom instead of a Roomette. (Cabin for One)

Even the smooth riding Ren Coaches offer 2&1 seating which a co-worker’s GF particularly enjoyed when travelling back and forth between Halifax and Campbellton when going to university. Same goes for the single overnight traveller.

Here's a Travelogue I posted elsewhere for a trip on a Renaissance Ocean last spring:

https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/thread ... tos.74981/
  by marquisofmississauga
Thanks for the link. As someone who is not a serious photographer I appreciate trip reports from those who are.

It is refreshing to know that some enthusiasts are as fond of the Renaissance as I am. When they were new there was a frequently read attitude that they were no good. That was the party line amongst most railfans, but "non-fans" were more generous in their critique. Most of those who would otherwise be in a roomette were ecstatic. Of course they are not perfect, but I find the pluses far outweigh the minuses.

Twice I have had a change of equipment from Ren. to Budd. The first time was during the transition period when Ren. wsa being introduced. I received a phone call telling me I was now getting a Chateau roomette. I explained politely that my ticket said "double bedroom" and I would like to get what I paid for. After some discussion with a supervisor it was agreed that I should have that.

This summer I was informed of a change in equipment. My wife and I had booked two Ren. cabins with shower. I was informed that due to the shortage of cabins for 2 in Chateau sleepers those who had booked single occupancy would not be permitted to have one. Before I could say: "Refund, please" the agent told me she noticed two people with the same surname in adjacent cabins and assumed we were travelling together. We were offered a "cabin for 3" (drawing room as I still call them) and this was satisfactory. The Chateau car that we had - and the one our friends had - needs a lot of work, not just because it is getting shabby.

Somewhere on VIA's site it states that the Renaissance is to be withdrawn in 2021. Given the slow pace of refurbishment of the Budd equipment I can hope this won't happen. The compromise of the one "mixed consist" is something I can handle.

For my next trip in April I have booked a Ren. cabin with shower for single use and there was no difficulty getting that. I was told the consist is to be similar to what it was on my late summer trip : HEP coaches, one Ren. coach, service car, diner, service car, two Ren. sleepers (line numbers 30 and 31) and a varying number of HEP sleepers and of course the Park car.
  by gaspeamtrak
I have never traveled in REN sleeper before.
With all the good things I here about them maybe I will have to give them a try!!!
I hope the live up too what you all say. :-D :-D
  by exvalley
Thank you for these responses. I must confess that I was worried about traveling in the Renaissance sleeper. So many railfans seem to prefer the Budd consist to the Renaissance consist. This puts my mind at ease.
  by Tadman
Is there a preference for eastbound or westbound as "the best ride"?

Has anybody worked in a trip on the Tshiuten train in concert with an Ocean ride? Also, I can't seem to find Tshiuten train fares on their website, anybody have experience there? It looks amazing.
Westbound in the evening between Bathurst and Campbellton be sitting in the dome to view the lights along the Gaspe coast across the Baie de Chaleur.

Eastbound ...during the early sunrises in May, June & July you have the best chance to see the Matapedia Valley in daylight.

Also...stay awake eastbound or get up early for the run across the Quebec Bridge to Gare de Sainte-Foy (Quebec City) ...then the long back-up move with the 'Park Car' leading....back to the CN mainline on the southshore.


To work a ride in on Tshiuten Rail with the Ocean, you'd have to get of in Rimouski or Mont Joli, rent a car, cross over to Baie Comeau on the ferry...then its a 230 km/3 hr drive to Sept-Iles.