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Lonestar648

Canadian delayed almost 48 hours - potential new schedule coming.

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I'm glad I rode The Canadian back when it was only a few hours late and had not yet become the unmitigated dumpster fire it is today. I'm not sure what VIA hopes to gain by "negotiating" from a position of extreme weakness. CN can do whatever they want no matter how it affects VIA and regardless of what anyone else happens to think about it. At this point VIA's only lasting hope is to enlist the help of their government.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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I am scared to see what the new schedule will be for this winter when we are planning to make the trip, though maybe since the schedule will be new, CN will try to keep the train on time for the short term.

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Whatever VIA offers this fall, during the off-peak season, I am determined to make the trip...while I still have the chance. The nice thing about being retired is no worries about getting there or back on time...

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If CN doesn't even make a pretense of keeping the new schedule for a while, then VIA might have grounds to hit them for negotiating in bad faith. I don't pretend to know how such a case would go, but my guess is that they'll make a passing attempt to keep the new schedule for at least a season.

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I wonder, what would the result be, if VIA simply asked CN what the schedule should be (and not accepting "no train at all" as an answer); a schedule that CN felt they could reliably maintain?

And once agreement over it was reached, have some kind of penalty/reward incentive for fulfilling it?

 

I suppose CN would not trap themselves into such an agreement, no matter how reasonable it might look... :rolleyes:

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It didn't take long after the two cancellations to get the system back to normal, for CN to delay VIA Canadian so much that #1 is departing Toronto almost 24 hours late again. I would think this is a major embarrassment for the Canadian government who depends on foreign travelers, especially in the summer.

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Maybe that is CN's strategy....to get some government handouts for more double tracking or longer sidings? :unsure:

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The solution is not schedule lengthening, but consist shortening or siding lengthening. The Canadian freight trains are simply too long, longer than the US counterparts, that they just won't fit the sidings.

 

If the freight train can pull clear of the entry to a siding, the VIA train can enter the (shortish) siding. The Freight train reverses to clear the front of the siding, and the VIA train can pull out ahead of the freight. Not ever going to happen in the real world, but I want commission if it does! :D

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The solution is not schedule lengthening, but consist shortening or siding lengthening. The Canadian freight trains are simply too long, longer than the US counterparts, that they just won't fit the sidings.

 

If the freight train can pull clear of the entry to a siding, the VIA train can enter the (shortish) siding. The Freight train reverses to clear the front of the siding, and the VIA train can pull out ahead of the freight. Not ever going to happen in the real world, but I want commission if it does! :D

 

Doesn't work if the VIA train can't fit into the siding, though.

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Looks like VIA basically needs to increase the turn in Toronto to overnight and take the kl\lumps using 5 consists to run three times a week service., or something like that. Individual trains will perhaps not be as long as they have been when fewer consists could suffice.

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And CN should shorten their consists to a more manageable length, as well. I remember what a great job the old Rio Grande did on getting trains over its road, by running them,

"fast, short, and frequent".... :)

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Railroading has changed since the days of the Rio Grande. It's all ran for the Wall Street Hedge Fund investors now and they want to do the maximum amount without paying the most amount of money.

 

For those on Wall Street who have never worked on a railroad in their life they ask "why can't we merge these two trains Into one and pay just one crew." What they fail to realize is that different sidings are different lengths and most of the super trains can't fit.

 

They also fail to realize that draw bars can only take so much weight before they start to give, of course management blames the crew. But it's next to impossible to run a train that's stretched out over two or more hills. And when the freight pulls a knuckle or a draw bar it stops up the entire line.

 

So the main issue is we are running for Wall Street we aren't running a railroad in the traditional sense anymore.

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CN is not going to run shorter trains. That would wreck their precious operating ratio, make the Wall St. boys mad and cut down the executives' bonuses.

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CN isn't going to run shorter trains nor will they run fewer since their business is increasing. VIA is stuck losing 24 - 48 hours on each run with no options available to them. Changing the schedule to add 24 hours benefits no one since soon CN dispatchers will start delaying VIA again. So does VIA keep redoing the schedule adding another 24 hours? CN would love for VIA to eliminate the Canadian. Not sure the Canadian citizens would be happy to have their hallmark train, featured on the back of one of their bills, canceled because freight dispatchers can not dispatch the freight trains correctly.

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I'm not blaming dispatchers because they have an incredibly hard job. And if anyone wants to see how they would preform I recommend the free computer game Train Dispatcher II to see if they can do any better. I myself am decent at it.

 

But they are juggling an awful lot of things at one time between trains currently on the territory, broken down trains, trains profiled to run on a territory, effectively managing a single track railroad and keeping it fluid, crew time allowed, and my personal favorite siding length.

 

To give an example from the game one scenario is the EX Seaboard Airline Main from Richmond Main Street to Raleigh during World War II. You lose one point for every minute of lost running time, and five points for every minute you delay a passenger train. Keep in mind the Seaboard was fielding roughly twelve passenger trains north out of Raleigh, roughly fifteen pairs of freights from locals, to an unknown variety of war extras.

 

The Seaboard at the time was a CTC bidirectional single track main line, with frequent sidings of varying lengths. The first few times I played this round I had the issue of trying to pass a 5,000 foot freight train with a 1,000 foot passenger train in a 1,500 foot siding. Guess who went in the hole?

 

The game also has other fun scenarios like Grand Central Rush hour, all metro north lines, and some rather large terminals. I highly recommend it if your computer is compatible

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I can't really blame the dispatchers in most cases, but I think we can reasonably blame the railroads for allowing situations like this to both occur and persist for an extended period. Obviously, meltdowns happen on occasion, and I can't blame a railroad for not wanting to turn away presumably high-dollar traffic. I wish that VIA, Amtrak, etc. would get payments to at least cover the resulting passenger inconvenience, if not to make up for some share of lost revenue (fraught with difficulties as such would be), but I can at least understand that lines can get jammed up because Reasons.

What I can blame them for is not turning around and investing either in their physical plant (new double-tracking or additional/longer sidings to accommodate the longer trains) or in their fleet (breaking some two-mile trains into two one-mile trains, albeit at the cost of some of their operating margin). Some blame can also go to the amount of track that has been ripped out over the years (which is not to blame them for all of it...dispatching improvements (such as from computers) and a natural decline in some markets likely justify some reductions on this front, and I think we can also blame the railroads for not trying to negotiate better policies with respect to taxation of tracks.

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I can't really blame the dispatchers in most cases, but I think we can reasonably blame the railroads for allowing situations like this to both occur and persist for an extended period. Obviously, meltdowns happen on occasion, and I can't blame a railroad for not wanting to turn away presumably high-dollar traffic. I wish that VIA, Amtrak, etc. would get payments to at least cover the resulting passenger inconvenience, if not to make up for some share of lost revenue (fraught with difficulties as such would be), but I can at least understand that lines can get jammed up because Reasons.

 

What I can blame them for is not turning around and investing either in their physical plant (new double-tracking or additional/longer sidings to accommodate the longer trains) or in their fleet (breaking some two-mile trains into two one-mile trains, albeit at the cost of some of their operating margin). Some blame can also go to the amount of track that has been ripped out over the years (which is not to blame them for all of it...dispatching improvements (such as from computers) and a natural decline in some markets likely justify some reductions on this front, and I think we can also blame the railroads for not trying to negotiate better policies with respect to taxation of tracks.

I agree with you on everything you've said to a point. The issue as I've stated earlier is you have Wall Street basically calling the shots at the railroad. Which basically means the men on the ground are being forced to do a lot more with a lot less. That's the largest issue here. And unfortunately it will continue to be this way while hedge funds, and large Wall Street investors are calling the shots.

 

I believe if I'm not mistaken that they are making massive capacity upgrades this summer all over the linen which like the BNSF Hi Line will be difficult with the sheer volume of traffic. The basic moral of the story is Wall Street shouldn't be running a railroad as all they care about is operating ratio. It's a public service and should be operated as such.

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If it is a public service, perhaps the government should stop the real estate tax, and only collect from them income or sales taxes? And in doing so, require them to invest all of the tax savings back into the track infrastructure.

 

Would that be a fair solution for both the carrier's and the government?

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Came across this tonight... apparently one passenger was angry enough over a 19 hour delay, they created a website to vent their frustration.

 

http://thecanadiantrain.com/

 

When I took the train last summer, we were 8-12 hours late. It does reach some fast speeds through the prairies, but I didn't feel unsafe at any point of my 300+ hours on the train last July

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"Don't Ride" seems to be marked by hyperbole, e.g., " I swear the diner must have swayed THREE FEET from side to side and shook violently. Passengers were SCREAMING--and I'm not talking about kids. Adults were SCREAMING! Profanity was being shouted." One might suspect there is/was more going on here than meets the eye. My experience agrees with that described by OBS Chief.

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Came across this tonight... apparently one passenger was angry enough over a 19 hour delay, they created a website to vent their frustration.

 

http://thecanadiantrain.com/

 

When I took the train last summer, we were 8-12 hours late. It does reach some fast speeds through the prairies, but I didn't feel unsafe at any point of my 300+ hours on the train last July

I hate those sites. That person clearly doesn't understand physics and the capabilities of the tracks and train cars. VIA makes it very clear that the Canadian has pretty catastrophic timekeeping, and that passengers should schedule their trip accordingly.

 

"I will admit that I have no proof of this, only my gut feeling as someone who has ridden many trains."

 

Someone's "gut feeling" is not an objective source. I highly doubt that adults were screaming and the train was literally flying off the tracks. Uncomfortable does not mean unsafe.

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Considering the persons budget, and his extreme under-appreciation of the beauty of the wide open plains, I'm curious why he didn't take an excursion with the Rocky Mountaineer instead?

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