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About greatwestern

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    Train Attendant

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    Bristol England

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  1. greatwestern

    Over night luggage storage in Seattle?

    I also left my (small) case in Seattle last year before boarding the Empire Builder, having arrived on the morning Cascades from Vancouver. If I remember correctly I was charged $6 but I have not got any information on overnight storage charges.
  2. The inquest into this death has been told that the young lady who died was hit by a tree or a branch after leaning out of a window. The inquest has been opened and adjourned at a Coroners' Court.
  3. The station is located one mile to the north-east of a small but prominent knoll known as Sugar Loaf. A Sugarloaf was the traditional form in which refined sugar used to be produced and a number of hills/mountains resembling that shape are named/nicknamed because of that resemblance.
  4. To Devil's Advocate - Perhaps my use of the word "victim" in my post could have been better chosen however a dictionary definition "a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action" does seem to fit the circumstances. The death of this person, however described, is very sad. Like others posting here I have often looked out of these opening windows to check signal aspects/platform allocation etc. but I am fully aware of the need to be mindful of potential hazards.
  5. greatwestern

    New VIA 'Canadian' Schedules for Summer '19

    I have now received an email from Via saying that there is a schedule change and advising me to view the changes by following a link and entering my confirmation number. On doing this it does indeed show my departure at 9:30 from Toronto and arrival in Vancouver at 08:00. On following the further link to get the "complete schedule of your train" it advises me that there is no departure on my date (Sunday) and the next service departs on Tuesday at 22:00 !!!! Bugs in their system I believe. (The system will allow me to book a Sunday 09:30 departure).
  6. The train that the victim was travelling on must have been an HST 125. Although doors are locked remotely by the train crew whilst moving (at one time they were not), the only way the doors can be opened at stations is by the passengers using an outside door handle - from inside the train the window has to be pulled down to access the outside handle. Windows are slid up and down and are not locked at any time. I live in Bristol and frequently travel on these trains and there is at least a foot (probably 18 inches) of clearance at the tightest of locations between the train and any obstruction although shrubbery and tree branches are prone to encroach. There is clear signage advising passengers not to lean out of windows. This type of train on the Great Western Routes is largely being replaced by Hitachi hybrid (Diesel & Electric) sets on which there are no opening windows and doors are electrically opened and closed once remotely locked/unlocked by the train crew.
  7. greatwestern

    New VIA 'Canadian' Schedules for Summer '19

    In July this year I booked Toronto to Vancouver for early June 2019 anticipating (and receiving my boarding pass for) a Saturday departure at 22:00 arriving Vancouver on Wednesday at 18:00. Subsequently I received a replacement boarding pass for a Sunday departure at 14:00 arriving Vancouver Thursday 10:00. (Resulting in me having to change hotel arrangements for both Toronto and Vancouver - I had already booked flights from the UK based on the original "booking"). I now anticipate a further revised boarding pass with the Sunday 09:30 departure/Thursday 08:00 arrival !! Having had a very difficult vacation in June this year when I had major problems on Via, Amtrak and on my flight home to to the UK, I'm just hoping that these pre-journey changes (which so far have not blown my airline bookings) are the only surprises I get for my trip next year which again involves Amtrak as well as Via.
  8. greatwestern

    New Canadian Schedule Effective 6/26

    Current scheduled departure from Winnipeg 10:00am (previously 11:45am). I have just received new boarding pass from Via for a Sunday 2pm departure from Toronto next June (was originally booked on a Saturday 10pm departure). Now getting into Vancouver 1 day later than planned and I have to arrange an extra night's hotel in Toronto after my already booked flight in from the UK and cancel 1 night of my Vancouver hotel booking. I thought I had covered all the bases by giving myself more "dwell" time in Vancouver next year following my somewhat troublesome holiday on Via and Amtrak this year (see my July 2018 comments against the thread I started in January this year headed “Very late running of Via’s Canadian”). I didn’t see this sort of change coming (and presumably the Via rep whom I emailed prior to making my online booking had no inkling of this change).
  9. greatwestern

    Empire Builder Timekeeping Struggles

    In response to shanghaiamtrak's question about missing the connection to the Capitol Limited, I can advise what happened when I missed the connection in June this year. Initially I was offered overnight hotel accommodation with a placement in coach on the next days Capitol (no sleepers available) but I advised them that this would probably mean I would miss my flight back to the UK. I was then given a coach booking on that evenings Lake Shore Ltd to New York which I made with about 40 minutes to spare (with change required at Albany) and then a Regional service from New York to Washington resulting in me getting into WAS about midnight on the day I was originally due to arrive on the Capitol. I was also given a voucher refund, part of which I used getting myself on an earlier service than I was booked on from New York to Washington which meant I got there before the Metro system had closed for the night and was able to get to my hotel.
  10. greatwestern

    CL from SOB to WAS (more questions)

    With regard to question 6, small items of luggage can be stored underneath the seats in the roomette (even small cases). However be aware that with the beds made up, access to items under the seats is difficult.
  11. greatwestern

    Very late running of Via's Canadian

    Having started this thread back in January, thought I would update it with my actual experience when I took my trip in June: 1. Left Toronto 12 hours late having been put up overnight in a hotel near Pearson airport at Via's expense. 2. Arrived Edmonton 17 hours late where, anticipating more serious delays, I decided to bail out and (at my expense) just managed to catch the Friday 11:45 pm Greyhound to Vancouver (with change at Kamloops). Arrived Vancouver at 5 pm Saturday - I later ascertained that Via got in about 10 pm so I would have been ok staying on board. 3. Caught the 6:35 am Cascades service to Seattle the next morning which was delayed for an hour at Bellingham due to freight blocking the line because a coupling had failed. Despite this arrived in Seattle in plenty of time. 4. Left Seattle for Chicago on the Empire Builder on time but arrived Spokane over 3 hours late due to sanders failing on our loco with us then needing to "borrow" a freight loco to ensure we got up the grades. 5. No time made up on the journey towards Chicago resulting in my connection to the Capitol Ltd being missed. At Chicago I was offered hotel accommodation and coach booking on the next day's Capitol to Washington DC (due pm of the day of my flight home meaning I would then risk missing my flight back to Dublin and then on to the UK). I was then offered overnight (9:30 pm departure) in coach on the Lake shore Ltd. changing at Albany to New York Central, then from New York Penn to Washington DC. Took this option and eventually got to my hotel at 11:30 pm so plenty of time for my next day flight. 6. Took off from Dulles about 45 minutes behind schedule towards Dublin but with very strong tail winds we were due in ahead of schedule. 7. Nearly half way across the pond a medical emergency resulted in us turning round and landing at St Johns Newfoundland (I have nothing but praise for the aircrew and the passenger doctor). We refuelled and continued onto Dublin where I had now missed my connection to the UK, but I did get put on the next available flight. 8. Arrived at my home airport only to find my checked bag had not arrived. My bag was traced and returned to me 3 days later - it was damaged !!!! All in all a pretty eventful (but not stress free) vacation, but I have gained a few new experiences such as over-night in coach on the train and on Greyhound bus.
  12. Via's policy for coach passengers cannot necessarily be inferred from the reply that I received - my enquiry to them specifically asked what their policy was in respect of my situation as a sleeper passenger. Whatever their policies are, it is pretty rough on Via that they have to take the flak for the impact of delays on passengers when they have limited control over those delays.
  13. I have now emailed VIA Rail regarding their policy in the event that departure from Toronto is significantly delayed. Their Customer Support Desk has responded as follows: "When the Canadian is significantly delayed, Sleeper Plus and Prestige Class passengers will be accommodated with a complimentary hotel accommodation." I have been advised to contact the ticket counter on the day of my scheduled departure to obtain the expected departure time and accommodation information if there is a significant delay. This is reassuring enough for me to to cancel my "back up" hotel booking before I incur any penalty.
  14. Thanks to caravanman and willem for your comments/advice. I will continue to monitor the (under)performance of the Eastbound Canadian and its effect on delaying the departure of the Westbound over the next few weeks and will likely email Via closer to my departure date to try to get a definitive idea of their "policy". In the meantime someone "in the know" may see this thread and be able to offer their knowledge/experience.