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#1 norfolkwesternhenry

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 09:00 PM

Hi, me and my grandma are thinking of taking the Via Rail Canadian the entire route length, and I want to catch the Adirondack with the Empire Builder dome car,  (can do this in another trip) (which rightfully belongs in front of the transition sleeper on the Empire Builder), and we are thinking of a few routes.
MSP-SEA SEA-VAC VAC-TWO TWO-MTR         MTR-NYP  LGA/JFK-MSP
    Fly      Cascades Canadian  Corridor Service Adirondack Fly
 
MSP-CHI         CHI-DET Windsor-TWO     TWO-VAC VAC-SEA SEA-MSP
Empire Builder Wolverine Corridor Service Canadian Cascades Plane
 
MSP-CHI CHI-NYP        NYP-MTR  MTR-TWO         TWO-VAC VAC-SEA SEA-MSP
EB            LSL/Cardinal Adirondack Corridor Service Canadian  Cascades Plane

 

 

 

 

Moderator Note:  edited to remove photo due to copyright issues.


Edited by pennyk, 27 June 2016 - 01:16 PM.

Empire Builder MSP-CHI (2) CHI-MSP (2) MSP-PDX (1) MSP-CBS (5.5 H late) (1) MKE-MSP (1) MSP-SEA (1) Coast Starlate PDX-EMY (1.5H late) (1) California Zephyr DEN-SLC (1H late) (1) Hiawatha CHI-MKE (1) NE Regional WAS-BAL (1) WAS-NYP (1) Acela Express BAL-WAS (1) BOS-WAS (1) Late Shore (Limited service) CHI-BOS (On Time) (1) Capitol Limited WAS-CHI (1) Texas Eagle SAS-CHI (1.5 HR late, 1 HR late) (2) CHI-SAS (1) (55 min early) Wolverine DET-DER-ARB-CHI (35 Min late) (1) Cascades SEA-VAC (1)
Non-Amtrak: VIA: Corridor Service Q.C.-Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Windsor (1) Canadian: VAC-Winnipeg 4.5 H late (1) D. C. metro, Montreal Metro, Toronto subway, Portland streetcars, BART, Metra, NYC subway, Boston subway, Twin cities Blue/Green line
train cars travelled in: Superliner: Coach, Sleeper, Diner, CCC, SSL. Amfleet: LD Café, Café/Business, coach. Viewliner: Sleeper, Diner. Acela: Café, Business, quiet car. Horizon: Coach. Talgo: coach, diner, café; non Amtrak: ex CP Via Canadian Manor cars, Park car, diner,sleeper, Skyline lounge. LRC trainset: coach (tilt de-activated)


#2 tomfuller

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 09:41 PM

I would encourage you to break the Canadian trip into at least 2 segments (3 would be better). I have been on the Canadian several times since October 2001. My stops were in Winnipeg and Jasper.

Both are worth the stop for 2 (or 3) days.

Vancouver, Jasper, Winnipeg and Toronto all have HI Hostels.



#3 norfolkwesternhenry

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 09:46 PM

This would probably be a nonstop trip, and in the winter because of Via's stupid Park car rules, and the train then only runs twice a week, and my grandma in 71, and can't take super cold weather with comfort.


Empire Builder MSP-CHI (2) CHI-MSP (2) MSP-PDX (1) MSP-CBS (5.5 H late) (1) MKE-MSP (1) MSP-SEA (1) Coast Starlate PDX-EMY (1.5H late) (1) California Zephyr DEN-SLC (1H late) (1) Hiawatha CHI-MKE (1) NE Regional WAS-BAL (1) WAS-NYP (1) Acela Express BAL-WAS (1) BOS-WAS (1) Late Shore (Limited service) CHI-BOS (On Time) (1) Capitol Limited WAS-CHI (1) Texas Eagle SAS-CHI (1.5 HR late, 1 HR late) (2) CHI-SAS (1) (55 min early) Wolverine DET-DER-ARB-CHI (35 Min late) (1) Cascades SEA-VAC (1)
Non-Amtrak: VIA: Corridor Service Q.C.-Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Windsor (1) Canadian: VAC-Winnipeg 4.5 H late (1) D. C. metro, Montreal Metro, Toronto subway, Portland streetcars, BART, Metra, NYC subway, Boston subway, Twin cities Blue/Green line
train cars travelled in: Superliner: Coach, Sleeper, Diner, CCC, SSL. Amfleet: LD Café, Café/Business, coach. Viewliner: Sleeper, Diner. Acela: Café, Business, quiet car. Horizon: Coach. Talgo: coach, diner, café; non Amtrak: ex CP Via Canadian Manor cars, Park car, diner,sleeper, Skyline lounge. LRC trainset: coach (tilt de-activated)


#4 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 10:17 PM

This would probably be a nonstop trip, and in the winter because of Via's stupid Park car rules, and the train then only runs twice a week, and my grandma in 71, and can't take super cold weather with comfort.


I wonder how many more years of this before the silly rules and sunk costs of the Prestige Class experiment finally gets around to saving the day. Perhaps we'll be down to once-a-week-service by then.

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#5 the_traveler

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 10:18 PM

There is no same day connection from the eastbound LSL to the northbound Adirondack. The Adirondack departs SDY before the LSL arrives. (This is the first connection station between the two.) Going the other way, there is a 2 hour connection in SDY.

Taking the Cardinal either has a layover in WAS from 6 pm to 3-4 am (WAS is open 24 hours) or an overnight stay in NYC. You can also overnighting like BAL or PHL but you must take an early train about 4-5 am to connect to the Adirondack at 8:30 am.
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

#6 greatcats

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 12:39 AM

Gee, Henry, you surely have a nice grandmother. I used to do a lot of day trips with my grandmother from where we lived in northern New Jersey, but we never did anything that elaborate together. The most distance was one time to Philadelphia on the Pennsylvania Railroad, and several times to Scranton, Pennsylvania on the Erie Lackawanna. More than once we went from Hoboken by way of Port Jervis, New York to Binghamton and returned via Scranton on the Phoebe Snow. I am dating myself, but those trains came to an end in 1966. Those are fond memories. Eight years later, I was hired as a clerk by Erie Lackawanna in Hoboken and worked there for 27 years, which included the successors Contrail and New Jersey Transit. I will leave out some other messy details. Cheers.
I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.

#7 peconicstation

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 04:43 AM

To ride the great dome on the Adirondack will take some planning, and luck.

 

The great dome only runs with the Adirondack during the peak Fall Foliage season and only on alternating days, the dome itself operates between Albany and Montreal, and it is open to all passengers to use on the 1st come, 1st served basis. You can not buy a ticket for the some car.

 

Last season it was reported that the dome did not run on all dates that it was supposed to and based on reports from the road, on the days that it did run there was not

great rush of passengers to use it.

 

If you are planning an Adirondack trip as part of another train ride, remember that the Adirondack is a limited service train, there is no checked baggage service, no business class, just WiFi service and a standard NEC type cafe car.  The train itself only runs because the State of NY funds it.

 

Ken



#8 andersone

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 11:32 AM

I have a similar trip planned for 2017

we will drive to Chi and catch the LSL to Buffalo and the Maple Leaf to Toronto - Only bummer is no checked luggage on that leg,,,,

i thought of going to Windsor from Chi then on to Toronto,, the LSL seems more suited to me

Next leg is the Canadian to Jasper,, then off a couple of days to spend time at Lake Louise, according to mother the only place more beautiful than the veranda of the Many Glacier Hotel,,,,,,,then on the Rocky Mountaineer to Vancouver  - it runs south the old route to Vancouver,,, the Canadian is north of therer

After two days there we will grab the Coast Starlight (the EB doesn't do anything for me)  

I still haven't decided if i want to get off in Sacramento to catch the Zeph or go all the way to LA to catch the Chief,,,, either returns me to Chi,,,,, 


The California Zephyr  The Cardinal The Capital Limited  The City of New Orleans

The Empire Builder The Lake Shore Limited   The Texas Eagle 


#9 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 05:45 PM

I just recently rode the Maple Leaf across the border.  I suppose the reason for no checked baggage is that you do (particularly entering the USA) have to submit yourself and all your baggage for customs processing which was pretty simple and then everyone had to exit the train leaving the baggage so that K9 drug and bomb sniffing dogs could freely go through the entire train.  After that process, we were allowed to reboard and were on our way.



#10 zephyr17

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 06:19 PM

I recommend taking the Canadian eastbound, particularly if you are traveling in the off-season.  You can miss some/all of the Rockies westbound if the train is late (which it customarily is) when the days are short.  Eastbound you are basically in the Rockies most of the first full day.


Edited by zephyr17, 27 June 2016 - 08:55 PM.

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#11 Bob Dylan

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 06:25 PM

I recommend taking the Canadian eastbound, particularly if you are traveling in the off-season.  You can miss some/all of the Rockies westbound if the train is late (which is customarily is) when the days are short.  Eastbound you are basically in the Rockies most of the first full day.


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#12 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 07:46 PM

 

I recommend taking the Canadian eastbound, particularly if you are traveling in the off-season.  You can miss some/all of the Rockies westbound if the train is late (which is customarily is) when the days are short.  Eastbound you are basically in the Rockies most of the first full day.


True this!

 

 

 

Dang.  I was hoping to do the Westbound trip next time.  Just seemed like a more natural flow with a better payoff at the end.  :-/


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 27 June 2016 - 08:27 PM.

If I had a tumor I'd name it Marla.


#13 lyke99

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 08:22 PM

My wife and I did a similar trip in July 2014. WIN-SEA on the Empire Builder, then SEA-VAC on the Cascades. We stayed three nights at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. VAC-TWO on The Canadian, then spent one night in Toronto at the Fairmont Royal York (just across the street from Toronto Union Station). Took a corridor train TWO-MTL and stayed three nights at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth (built above Montreal Central Station). Then came home on the Adirondack, Lake Shore Limited (switching in Schenectady), and the Empire Builder.



#14 Anderson

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 03:32 PM

 

This would probably be a nonstop trip, and in the winter because of Via's stupid Park car rules, and the train then only runs twice a week, and my grandma in 71, and can't take super cold weather with comfort.


I wonder how many more years of this before the silly rules and sunk costs of the Prestige Class experiment finally gets around to saving the day. Perhaps we'll be down to once-a-week-service by then.

 

Looking at the numbers VIA has shown, the Prestige Class experiment does seem to be paying off in terms of a reduced deficit.  I'm not sure about "saving the day" but from what I recall it's taken about a $5m whack out of the train's losses*...which IMHO is nothing to sneeze at.

 

*Yes, I know, there are all sorts of complications in terms of currency conversions and the like.


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#15 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 04:01 PM

 

 

This would probably be a nonstop trip, and in the winter because of Via's stupid Park car rules, and the train then only runs twice a week, and my grandma in 71, and can't take super cold weather with comfort.


I wonder how many more years of this before the silly rules and sunk costs of the Prestige Class experiment finally gets around to saving the day. Perhaps we'll be down to once-a-week-service by then.

 

Looking at the numbers VIA has shown, the Prestige Class experiment does seem to be paying off in terms of a reduced deficit.  I'm not sure about "saving the day" but from what I recall it's taken about a $5m whack out of the train's losses*...which IMHO is nothing to sneeze at. *Yes, I know, there are all sorts of complications in terms of currency conversions and the like.

 

How much did prestige class upgrades cost VIA to implement in the first place?


If I had a tumor I'd name it Marla.


#16 Anderson

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 03:47 PM

I can't get a breakout of it, but from what I can tell it was <C$20m (it was part of a C$28m budget that also included the LRC rebuilds).  C$12m would actually feel about right for the first round (C$1m/car for a dozen cars), which would net a 2.5 year payback time.  Even going with something really high like C$24m, payback time is <5 years at that point and VIA was able to pay for it under a short-term capex line.

 

For comparison, IIRC this is better than I came up with for the VA sleeping car project that a few of us worked up numbers for.


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#17 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 10:11 PM

I couldn't find any specifics myself either. I'm fine with accepting your estimate of $20M but in that case it doesn't sound like Prestige service will be bringing much in the way of net positive financial impact until the fifth year after introduction. For me the sparse twice weekly winter service and routine delays are bigger issues than upgrading the interior design. For me VIA's roomettes were already bordering on perfect.  Refurbish them every so many years and I'd be happy.  I'd imagine VIA is strictly prohibited from spending any of their money lobbying for improved scheduling and higher dispatch priority, but it would be interesting to see what a few extra million could do in the hands of the right politician.  Fighting fire with fire so to speak.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 01 July 2016 - 10:17 PM.

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#18 Anderson

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Posted 05 July 2016 - 12:54 PM

I couldn't find any specifics myself either. I'm fine with accepting your estimate of $20M but in that case it doesn't sound like Prestige service will be bringing much in the way of net positive financial impact until the fifth year after introduction. For me the sparse twice weekly winter service and routine delays are bigger issues than upgrading the interior design. For me VIA's roomettes were already bordering on perfect.  Refurbish them every so many years and I'd be happy.  I'd imagine VIA is strictly prohibited from spending any of their money lobbying for improved scheduling and higher dispatch priority, but it would be interesting to see what a few extra million could do in the hands of the right politician.  Fighting fire with fire so to speak.

Considering the sort of screwjob that grain producers got in the last few years (IIRC the Canadian Transport Minister either considered or implemented grain-hauling quotas on CN/CP) I'm not sure how much that would even help.  And as to the timeframe, while I'll agree with the 3-5 year timeframe for getting "into the black" (IIRC they sold something like $18m of Prestige tickets in the first year, but a lot of that was travel agents/agencies buying blocks of Prestige tickets up to three years out) being able to transfer that expense out of operating and into capex likely represents a major political gain.  All I have to say on that front is "glide path to self-sufficiency".


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