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Via Rail's Long Distance Trains


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#1 CSXfoamer1997

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 09:47 PM

Unlike most of Amtrak's LD trains, all of Via Rail's LD trains only run 2 to 3 days a week.

 

Is there a particular reason why Via Rail's LD trains are not daily?

 

If they run daily, it'll probably likely increase ridership.



#2 Train2104

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 10:01 PM

VIA's per-passenger operating subsidies outside the corridor are far, far greater than those on Amtrak's long distance services.

 

The "remote trains" (basically anything outside the Corridor that isn't the Ocean or the Canadian) are extremely heavily subsidized, but they exist for the benefit of rural communities who have poor to nonexistant road access.

 

Unlike say the California Zephyr, the Canadian is almost entirely operated on a tourist train model. It is explicitly marketed, operated, and managed that way, for it attracts well-off tourists from around the world. Yes it also serves remote communities, but that's an after-effect (it only has one or two coach cars, compared to the 5 to 10+ sleepers depending on the season) Since the proportion of riders that are actually riding to get somewhere is much lower than it is on Amtrak, non-daily service doesn't lead to such a huge ridership decline.



#3 lyke99

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 08:40 PM

Following cuts in 1989-90, VIA greatly downsized its fleet. Daily service would reduce consists quite a bit. As said, operating on the tourism model, less than daily service is not a huge issue. On the other hand, one of the common criticisms of VIA outside of the corridor is that trains are run on the public dime for the benefit of foreign tourists. Daily service would make the trains more useful to average Canadian citizens.


Edited by lyke99, 23 January 2016 - 09:31 PM.


#4 XHRTSP

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 01:32 AM

If Via decided to do say a daily Canadian, would they even have the equipment to do so?

#5 zephyr17

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Posted 21 January 2016 - 01:43 PM

Yes, if the train was a reasonable size on the order of the orignal CP Canadian and the pre-1990 Via Canadian of about 8-12 cars and they recalled most of the Park cars from other service (Ocean, Skeena in the summer).  They'd probably need to shorten the schedule back to the traditional 3 nights instead of the current hugely padded (for good reason) 4 night schedule.  Also, since not every Park car was modified, Prestige Class might be an issue.

 

No if each train had to be the 26 car behemoth they run in the summer.

 

They are running a LOT fewer trains than they ran before the huge 1990 cut back, which included complete retirement of the ex-CN "Blue Fleet".  They kept all of the stainless CP stuff.  They could not put back all the services (daily Vancouver-Winnepeg Super Continental via Jasper, daily Vancouver-Montreal/Toronto Canadian via Banff, daily Ocean, daily Atlantic Limited, I think the Skeena was daily, too but I could be wrong about that), but they could make a shorter Canadian daily.


Edited by zephyr17, 21 January 2016 - 01:55 PM.

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#6 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 12:51 PM

A daily transcontinental Canadian makes no sense. Service needs to be 3 trains per week year 'round and not reduced to 2/week in winter. A 3/week schedule should be sufficient for the cruise-type operation the Canadian is today plus cover the remote service obligations in Northern Ontario. There is such little population in Northern Ontario it just doesn't require a daily operation.

Across the Prairies where there are population centres, the Canadian should be supplemented by a daily intercity type service linking Winnipeg-Regina-Saskatoon-Edmonton and Winnipeg-Regina-Calgary. There's been talk of HSR for years between Calgary and Edmonton and each city has a population of over a million. Don't know if HSR will ever happen but a higher speed intercity service is certainly justified.

Through Winnipeg Toronto passengers are on those 2 1/2 hr flights vs 32 hours by train. Even if the Canadian was rerouted through Thunder Bay I don't believe there would be sufficient population for a daily train. Even Greyhound has cut way back on the number of schedules across Northern Ontario.

Some might say the Nipigon Bridge incident of two weeks ago shows how vulnerable we are for surface transportation. But that was a onetime occurrence. If it happens again..deal with it even if it requires a temporary rail service. And besidesthe Nipigon River crossing will be twinned by 2017 anyway.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

In the Maritimes the Ocean should run at least 6 times weekly if not daily between Montreal and Moncton. For passengers wanting to continue onto Halifax, the Ocean would connect with the new regional/intercity service VIA has already proposed to begin this year. Halifax passengers going to central Canada long ago abandoned VIA for the frequent 2 hr flights and the competition from 3 airlines vs 24 hrs train ride Perhaps an Ocean could run through to Halifax in the summer and during holidays.

(In the late 1980s...the Ocean was a Montreal-Moncton only train. You had to change to VIA's Atlantic in Moncton to continue to Halifax)

#7 zephyr17

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 02:00 PM

The thriving metropolis of Hornepayne doesn't need daily service?  ;)


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#8 jis

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 02:26 PM

Not to mention my favorite Sioux Lookout :P

Edited by jis, 22 January 2016 - 06:00 PM.


#9 Bob Dylan

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 04:04 PM

And Metropolitan Sudbury Junction, another hot spot!😕
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
".. I ride on a Mail Train Baby, can't buy a thrill.."--I said that!
 
"..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#10 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 04:44 PM

And Metropolitan Sudbury Junction, another hot spot!


Actually a bit larger than Hornepayne (pop 1,050) or Sioux Lookout (pop 5,000)......the greater Sudbury area has about 160,000.

#11 Bob Dylan

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Posted 22 January 2016 - 04:57 PM

And Metropolitan Sudbury Junction, another hot spot!

Actually a bit larger than Hornepayne (pop 1,050) or Sioux Lookout (pop 5,000)......the greater Sudbury area has about 160,000.
Right, but back in the day the Trains stopped IN Sudbury, not out in the sticks! Similar to Edmonton where the Station is out by the Airport, not in the City!

And I still remember PM Tredeau the Elder giving the finger to the yahoos in Sudbury during a stop while he was touring the Country via Train!

Edited by Bob Dylan, 22 January 2016 - 05:01 PM.

"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 
".. I ride on a Mail Train Baby, can't buy a thrill.."--I said that!
 
"..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#12 Anderson

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Posted 25 January 2016 - 11:48 PM

A daily transcontinental Canadian makes no sense. Service needs to be 3 trains per week year 'round and not reduced to 2/week in winter. A 3/week schedule should be sufficient for the cruise-type operation the Canadian is today plus cover the remote service obligations in Northern Ontario. There is such little population in Northern Ontario it just doesn't require a daily operation.

Across the Prairies where there are population centres, the Canadian should be supplemented by a daily intercity type service linking Winnipeg-Regina-Saskatoon-Edmonton and Winnipeg-Regina-Calgary. There's been talk of HSR for years between Calgary and Edmonton and each city has a population of over a million. Don't know if HSR will ever happen but a higher speed intercity service is certainly justified.

Through Winnipeg Toronto passengers are on those 2 1/2 hr flights vs 32 hours by train. Even if the Canadian was rerouted through Thunder Bay I don't believe there would be sufficient population for a daily train. Even Greyhound has cut way back on the number of schedules across Northern Ontario.

Some might say the Nipigon Bridge incident of two weeks ago shows how vulnerable we are for surface transportation. But that was a onetime occurrence. If it happens again..deal with it even if it requires a temporary rail service. And besidesthe Nipigon River crossing will be twinned by 2017 anyway.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

In the Maritimes the Ocean should run at least 6 times weekly if not daily between Montreal and Moncton. For passengers wanting to continue onto Halifax, the Ocean would connect with the new regional/intercity service VIA has already proposed to begin this year. Halifax passengers going to central Canada long ago abandoned VIA for the frequent 2 hr flights and the competition from 3 airlines vs 24 hrs train ride Perhaps an Ocean could run through to Halifax in the summer and during holidays.

(In the late 1980s...the Ocean was a Montreal-Moncton only train. You had to change to VIA's Atlantic in Moncton to continue to Halifax)

Honestly, I generally agree with you.  What I'd probably want to do, however, is run a higher-frequency service but offer through service Toronto-Winnipeg via the two different routes (e.g. CN and CP).  I'd say 2-3x weekly on the present (CN) route and 3x weekly on the Sudbury (CP) route on account of the larger populations on/near the latter route (Sudbury/Thunder Bay trumps Hornpayne).

 

Once at Winnipeg you've got a choice: You could hit one route (Saskatoon-Edmonton or Regina-Calgary) close to daily or you could hit both routes about 3x weekly (take your pick).  I'd be inclined to supplement either set of service with a "Hoosier State"-type train on the "off" days at least as far as Edmonton/Calgary (and possibly Jasper/Banff depending on seasonal ridership patterns) which would connect to the "other" train in Winnipeg (as well as to/from the ex-Polar Bear).  Basically you'd get close-to-daily or daily service Toronto-Winnipeg, Winnipeg-Calgary/Edmonton, and Winnipeg-Vancouver (and yes, I'd be inclined towards a rail line of some sort Calgary-Edmonton as well...they're only about 180 miles apart, so service between them in 2:30 or so should be eminently doable on 90-110 MPH running considering there's only one midsized population center between them...a service with 3 intervening stops (suburban Calgary, Red Deer, and suburban Edmonton) and a lot of flat land to work with).


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#13 ainamkartma

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 03:48 PM

 

 

And Metropolitan Sudbury Junction, another hot spot!

Actually a bit larger than Hornepayne (pop 1,050) or Sioux Lookout (pop 5,000)......the greater Sudbury area has about 160,000.
Right, but back in the day the Trains stopped IN Sudbury, not out in the sticks! Similar to Edmonton where the Station is out by the Airport, not in the City!

 

 

Just so nobody is misled, it should perhaps be mentioned that although the Edmonton Via Station and Edmonton airport are both way out in the sticks, very far from downtown, the Via station is _north_ of the city and airport is _south_ of the city.  In no sense is the station "by the airport".  According to the google, it is a forty minute drive between them.

 

Ainam "that's a looong walk, but too short of a cab ride shared with a cutie I met on the Canadian" Kartma



#14 zephyr17

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 03:57 PM

 

 

 

And Metropolitan Sudbury Junction, another hot spot!

Actually a bit larger than Hornepayne (pop 1,050) or Sioux Lookout (pop 5,000)......the greater Sudbury area has about 160,000.
Right, but back in the day the Trains stopped IN Sudbury, not out in the sticks! Similar to Edmonton where the Station is out by the Airport, not in the City!

 

 

Just so nobody is misled, it should perhaps be mentioned that although the Edmonton Via Station and Edmonton airport are both way out in the sticks, very far from downtown, the Via station is _north_ of the city and airport is _south_ of the city.  In no sense is the station "by the airport".  According to the google, it is a forty minute drive between them.

 

Ainam "that's a looong walk, but too short of a cab ride shared with a cutie I met on the Canadian" Kartma

 

The confusion is probably because the Via station really is by an airport, just not THE airport.  It is right beside Edmonton Municipal Airport, but Edmonton International Airport is south of the city.  I have no idea if there are any commercial flights into Edmonton Municipal.


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#15 Eric S

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 05:07 PM

I believe the VIA Rail station is next to the former (now closed) Edmonton City Centre Airport.



#16 zephyr17

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 05:18 PM

I knew it was next to an airport, I've been there.  Google Maps called it Edmonton Municipal.


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#17 Eric S

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 06:14 PM

A few years ago, before the airport closed, I ate breakfast on the Canadian and watched as they cleared snow from the runway there.



#18 Caesar La Rock

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 06:30 PM

I'm curious, how many railcars does Via have now compared to many years ago, when they operated Ex-CN passenger cars? 



#19 ainamkartma

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 06:37 PM

I believe the VIA Rail station is next to the former (now closed) Edmonton City Centre Airport.

 

Yes, I am afraid google earth shows piles of gravel where the runways of Edmonton Municipal used to be.

 

Ainam "probably carrying the gravel away by truck, too" Kartma



#20 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 03:16 AM

In the '60s, '70s & '80, the almost downtown Edmonton Municipal Airport and the close-in Calgary Airport along with the nearly hourly Pacific Western '737 "Airbus" (no reservation-buy onboard) frequency...was probably one of the reason CP's and later VIA's train service between the two cities never saw its full potential.

The 'Chinook' between Edmonton-Calgary was one of the earliest routes of CP's fast new light-weight trains in the 1930s

http://www.forthjunc...senger-rail.htm

The runs were fast and would occasionally be included in Trains Magazine's yearly 'Speed Survey' with some of the fastest point to point timings in North America.

Passenger service ended in 1985 and was down to a one or two unit RDC 'Dayliner' by then.

VIA closed their station on the lower floor of the CN Tower in downtown Edmonton and moved out to the site next to the now closed Municipal Airport in 1998.

Edited by NS VIA Fan, 11 February 2016 - 04:02 AM.





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