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 Gilbert B Norman
 
The Bob Johnston article regarding VIA in August TRAINS would suggest to a reader that off-Corridor, "they're done for".

There is no longer means to wye a train at Halifax, which means Coach seats need be turned, if they even can in that equipment they bought second hand from somewhere overseas, and if they continue to assign a Dome-obs, that will no longer be an obs, but rather a "listen to the music" and "smoke gets in your eyes" experience.

Sleeping and Dining service are gone from the Churchill train. I guess the Canadian Northern service through Kapitachuan Club is still around. There is no highway into many of those communities up there - including that noted where I was dumped during Aug '56 for three weeks in a canoe (not my idea of fun).

The thought from the Johnston piece that really floored me was that to support their dwindling passenger and political support base, VIA must attract the well heeled carriage trade to the trains. Problem is that with The Canadian's unreliability - even with a 48 hour schedule pad since I rode it during '65 - no high end tour "wholesaler" will touch it.

It's simply "TILT; Game Over".
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
Other than "essential services", they are really done. Impressive 50 years ago they ran with 48 hour schedule
padding in 1965, and I would believe they would have served more of an "essential" service then than now,
especially with many rural villages and flag stops since vanished.
  by marquisofmississauga
 
VIA had their so-called Annual Public Meeting on Thursday 13th inst. As usual there was little information given that we don't know, but answers to questions from passengers and other interested parties are provided. Many questions are not answered properly, but some were. On the subject of the "Canadian" and the "Ocean" it was confirmed that service will resume in November. It was not mentioned that sleeping cars may not be available until January, although that is showing on the booking site called Reservia. My friends and I booked a sleeping car trip on the "Canadian" for November and our bookings are valid until a decision is made but no new bookings for November and December are being accepted for now.

Information for the revised consist of the "Ocean" is sparse, but it will be a hybrid train with HEP and Renaissance equipment. (One of the two consists for this train was already a hybrid train as of last autumn.) The Renaissance has excellent "accessible" accommodation in both a sleeper and a coach, something the 65-year-old Budd equipment does not. Rumour has it that the Park car will be replaced with a Skyline car; most of the coaches will be HEP so the seats can be turned; and the locomotives will be arranged in a back-to-back pattern so they can be moved to the opposite end of the train to pull it backwards. This reverse operation could be annoying to those travelling in cabins for one (roomettes) but those in cabins for 2 (double bedrooms) won' t notice much difference. Although it is not confirmed, I suspect the Renaissance dining car arrangement will remain. The 48-seat diner is spacious, with wide tables for four on one side and tables for 2 on the other. Panels already exist between the tables. There is a small galley in the centre of the car, dividing it into two 24-seat sections. I feel much safer from peoples' coughes and sneezes in a Renaissance diner than the cramped Budd diner. VIA has previously expressed a concern about keeping two chefs safe - as in "physical distance" - in the dining car's kitchen. That is not a problem with the Renaissance diner as there is a service car adjacent to each end in which one person heats and plates the meals.
  by urr304
 
The Via Corridor is still sort of broken.

They are supposed to get better service, but at one point withe only one each route it would have taken three days to go from Quebec to those far western points such as Sarnia and Windsor. Now, if not east of Montreal you can do it in one day, east of Montreal you would have to overnight somewhere to continue to those places beyond Toronto.

I understand the Winnipeg-Churchill service has essential service protocol, but no sleeper for a two day trip! I know most are going to and from intermediate points. I guess you take along your own thermos and refill at The Pas [0145-0230] or Thompson [1200-1700, second day].

No service on The Canadian at all, even if in segments, too bad.

From what I can gather you will get a box lunch and water, no coffee, no tea, no other liquid refreshment? I know Amtrak has enough valid criticism but I do not think they would have done these actions.

Forty years ago this month, I went from Vancouver-Montreal via The Super Continental to Winnipeg and cross platform transfer to the Canadian to Montreal, four days, three nights. That was in the middle of the wheat rush and no Precision Scheduling.
  by Pensyfan19
 
There is a paywalled article on Trains.com which states Via Rail has postponed the restart of the Canadian and Ocean INDEFINITELY.

Does this mean... they´re gone for good??? :(

Is there any way these lines could eventually be restored???

Here´s the article just in case.
https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2 ... n-canadian
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Pennsy, I think the Copyright Police, as well as the Moderator Mr. Ken V, will allow this Fair Use quotation:
VIA Rail Canada has postponed resumption of its triweekly Halifax-Montreal Ocean and twice-weekly Toronto-Vancouver, British Columbia, Canadian indefinitely, according to a news release issued last Friday and Trains News Wire reservation center inquiries. This is contrary to the passenger carrier's addition of trains to its Quebec City-Windsor, Ontario, corridor....VIA discontinued its two long-distance trains in March, and previously announced plans to relaunch them on Nov. 1.
Hard as it be for a young railfan like yourself, who surely was hoping someday to ride both, there is presently COVID to address. Unlike down here where a Constitution has other ideas, the Provinces are free to close borders with one another (it seems like any sovereign nation that continues to recognize Her Majesty as Head of State, is like empowered).

OK; now COVID WILL be over (my guess; Xmas '21), but you still must address that "The Gospel According to Saint Ewing" was written on the CN. Adaptation of PSR simply means any train disrupting the flow of traffic simply get over the road when it can. CN has become a very busy single tracked road. As a result, do not expect any kind of improved timekeeping, all of which means the operators of high end tours, having needs to connect with cruiselines and airlines, as well attending high end public events, so that their clientele paying through the nose to have a seamless experience, will stay happy happy. Trains delayed 24 hours over a 90hr schedule, don't make for many of such.

They're done for; and if that be the case, sorry you missed out. Strange as it sounds, I was once young myself.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:38 am, edited 4 times in total.
  by Pensyfan19
 
Iḿ reading other articles and they´re stating that Via is just delaying them past November 1st since COVID cases are rising in some parts of Canada, so hopefully this is just an extension of the suspension instead of a full-on discontinuance of the two routes,
  by NS VIA FAN
 
Pensyfan19 wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:20 am Iḿ reading other articles and they´re stating that Via is just delaying them past November 1st since COVID cases are rising in some parts of Canada, so hopefully this is just an extension of the suspension instead of a full-on discontinuance of the two routes,
VIA has now revised the note on their web page from Indefinitely to at least November 30 for the Ocean.....and existing reservations for December still remain valid......but that could change


"All trains on this route are cancelled until November 30.
Due to the uncertainty with the COVID situation, departures of the Ocean in November 2020 have been cancelled and sales for departures in December 2020 have been suspended. This measure will remain in place until such time as we have a better understanding of the services we will be able to offer. Existing reservations for departures in December 2020 remain valid at this moment"



The problem with running the Ocean is the Quebec-New Brunswick Border.

Anyone on the Ocean when it crossed into New Brunswick at Campbellton would have to self-quarantine for 14 days. VIA could split and run the Ocean between Halifax-Moncton-Campbellton only...but people just aren't travelling to make that worthwhile. I went to Moncton last week. I've taken the Ocean previously but this time I was quite happy to be in my own car!

As a resident of the Atlantic Provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland/Labrador) I can travel freely within those four provinces without the 14 day quarantine requirement. And I've had a great summer seeing the sights in those provinces including a week's camping trip in Newfoundland.

Total population of the four Atlantic Provinces is 2.5 million and we have only 4 active Covid Cases.....and there have been no new cases in Nova Scotia in a week.

In Quebec...there's been a spike in Cases in 3 Regions: Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches.....the Appalachian area of eastern Quebec the 'Ocean' passes through so people here are in no rush to see that Quebec-New Brunswick border reopen anytime soon!

You can still fly or drive into the Atlantic Provinces but you're going to have to quarantine for 14 days! And for essential travel and trucking for example..... you can still cross the border from Quebec. Same for the Maine (US)–New Brunswick Border.

Manitoba.....about mid-point on the 'Canadians' route also has quarantine requirements. And again....people just aren't travelling especially the foreign tourists that make up a large portion of the travelers on the 'Canadian'
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:06 am Unlike down here where a Constitution has other ideas, the Provinces are free to close borders with one another (it seems like any sovereign nation that continues to recognize Her Majesty as Head of State, is like empowered).
Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy** with a motto of 'Peace, Order and Good Government' and what that represents was no more evident than that 'S**t Show' I witnessed in the debate last night from your 'Head of State' down there!!

(**Our head of state is Queen Elizabeth II but the Constitution limits her powers in government and she is considered a figurehead leader only)

Our 'Charter of Rights and Freedoms' (Constitution) like yours guarantees free movement throughout the country but in extenuating circumstances such as this health crises the provinces can impose restrictions......and those restrictions are also subject to constitutional challenges in court which are happening right now.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
NS VIA FAN wrote: Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:53 am
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:06 am Unlike down here where a Constitution has other ideas, the Provinces are free to close borders with one another (it seems like any sovereign nation that continues to recognize Her Majesty as Head of State, is like empowered).
Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy** with a motto of 'Peace, Order and Good Government' and what that represents was no more evident than that 'S**t Show' I witnessed in the debate last night from your 'Head of State' down there!!
Mr. Hadfield, off topic and political. but I couldn't agree with you more.

I watched a half hour, then listened after I went to bed. I fell asleep before it ended.

If the purpose of these debates is to help an undecided voter decide, that "Jerry Springer charade" failed miserably.

Moderator's note: I'll allow this to stand but any further comments on the debate will be deleted.
  by Mollie
 
We have the same problem with border closures in Australia. I really hope VIA get these services up and running again - they've spent a lot of money introducing Prestige on the Canadian etc so I can't imagine they won't!

The Canadian is even on the Canadian $10 bill!
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mollie wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:33 pm We have the same problem with border closures in Australia. I really hope VIA get these services up and running again - they've spent a lot of money introducing Prestige on the Canadian etc so I can't imagine they won't!
So my Niece who resides in Sydney (Pymble) has noted to me. Husband has family in QLD (fairly good sized city not that far from NSW border - Southport perchance); but guess what - no go.

Meanwhile, back on the rails in this Continent, Prestige Class (must be nice; better be at CD$ 8K for a jaunt) doesn't draw too well with Abercrombie & Kent or Tauck if their clientele miss their cruise from Vancouver to Alaska - and I don't think a, say, 12hr, 1200 klick "bustecatchup" from Edmonton will wear too well on those folk.

Finally, back in my Canadian rail travel days, circa '65, I had to do just such a "catch up". Seems like the Great Northern Winnipeg Limited was way late and missed connecting with CN #9, Panorama. So it was off to CYWG and a "catch up" to CYXE.

The Air Canada flight on a Vickers Viscount to Saskatoon was "flightseeing supremo". Perfect weather and a FL140 or thereabouts. Never will there be a commercial aircraft with those windows again.