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zephyr17

Comparison of Vancouver-Toronto Running Times via CN 1961-2018

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On the eve of the first run over the new schedule, I thought it would be interesting to compare the running times over the years:

 

January 1961(source January 1961 Official Guide):

Super Continental CN #2/52

Dp Vancouver 6:00 pm, day 1

Ar Toronto 4:10 pm, day 4

Running time: 67:10

 

2008 (source Canadian Trackside Guide 2008):

Canadian VIA #2

Dp Vancouver 5:30 pm, day 1

Ar Toronto 8:00 pm, day 4

Running time: 71:30

Increase 4:20

 

June 2018 (source VIA schedule PDF):

Canadian VIA #2

Dp Vancouver 8:30 pm, day 1

Ar Toronto 9:30 am, day 5

Running time: 82:00

Increase: 10:30

Increase over Super Continental: 14:50

 

July 27, 2018 (source VIA schedule PDF):

Dp Vancouver 12 noon, day 1

Ar Toronto 2 pm, day 5

Running time: 95:00

Increase: 13:00

Increase over Super Continental: 27:50

 

Corrected per Trogdor's post

Edited by zephyr17

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And, just for fun...

 

January 1961(source January 1961 Official Guide):

The Canadian CP #2/12

Dp Vancouver 7:40 pm, day 1

Ar Toronto 5:10 pm, day 4

Running time: 66:30

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Interesting data, though your “increase” calculations are off. The June schedule is 10:30 longer (14:50 over Super Continental), and the July schedule is 27:50 over the Super Continental.

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Thanks, Trogdor, was doing the arithmetic at 11:30 last night and flubbed it. Corrected the post.

Edited by zephyr17

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And the CN still won't run it on time. I saw a story on Trains New Wire this week than CN will eventually double track the Edmonton-Winnepeg main line (the source of most of the Canadian's troubles), but the construction timetable is extremely lengthy. So hope is on the horizon, but it may take several decades to reach the goal.

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The sad thing is that, IIRC, the post-2008 lengthening was to get morning times on the ends...not because there was a desperate operational need, but because there was an issue that the train didn't connect to anything in Toronto once they pulled the Enterprise. At least with the schedule that we've had (on paper) you could theoretically run through to Montreal on the same day and then onwards to Halifax (via the Ocean). IIRC they even timed one of the checked luggage trains to work with it.

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Well, I just tried a Vancouver-Montreal test reservation, and it does come up with a same day connection to 668 at 5:57pm. There aren't a lot of other possible connections than Montreal and I think a same day connection to Montreal and then to the Ocean may be too much to ask these days.🙄

 

I did just look at status and right now, 11:19 pm PT, 2 is 49 minutes late, leaving Kamloops at 10:43 pm. Although the status map is showing 1:28 late at Clearwater and the map also shows the train only about a few km out of Kamloops.

Edited by zephyr17

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....At least with the schedule that we've had (on paper) you could theoretically run through to Montreal on the same day and then onwards to Halifax (via the Ocean). IIRC they even timed one of the checked luggage trains to work with it.

Schedule a practical sameday connection from the Canadian to a corridor train and onto Montreal or a corridor train from Toronto .....connecting to the Ocean in Montreal but don't try both. To many variables on each end for that rare passenger (a.k.a. Railfan) wanting to do that epic cross country journey all the way from Vancouver to Halifax non-stop. Most would want at least a one night stopover in Montreal or Toronto.

Edited by NS VIA Fan

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It was somewhat simpler when a section of the Canadian went thu to or from Montreal....they joined/split at Sudbury.

Oh...and it also served Ottawa directly on the way....

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Yeah, but I think the rail is actually gone, I know the CP route is, think CN as well, but not positive. Not just no passenger service, but no railroad.

 

CN trains split at Capreol, btw. But the VIA Canadian on CN routing never did split, only went to Toronto, IIRC.

Edited by zephyr17

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PS, I did do a through connection from Halifax (on the VIA Atlantic Limited) to the Montreal section of the Canadian to Winnipeg in 1986.

 

Better days.

Edited by zephyr17

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Yeah, but I think the rail is actually gone, I know the CP route is, think CN as well, but not positive. Not just no passenger service, but no railroad.

 

CN trains split at Capreol, btw. But the VIA Canadian on CN routing never did split, only went to Toronto, IIRC.

Yes..both the CP and CN lines are long gone that would allow a split in Sudbury/Capreol and run via Ottawa to Montreal.

After the VIA cutbacks in Nov. 1981 the Canadian still ran between Vancouver and Montreal but now via Toronto with the through car to Montreal handled in a corridor train east of Toronto. Not via Ottawa.

 

Here's the 'Canadian' attached to the 'Lakeshore' at Brockville ON in Jan. 1983

post-5655-0-00708400-1532867908_thumb.jpg

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In June 1985 VIA did restore a section of the Canadian via Ottawa but it was a short train with only a through coach, Skyline and sleeper. The main train ran to/fr Toronto with the through cars added/split at Sudbury. This lasted until the big VIA cut in January 1990. Here's the w/b 'Canadian' at Dorval in June 1985.

post-5655-0-37859600-1532868062_thumb.jpg

post-5655-0-23676700-1532868078_thumb.jpg

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Great shots!

Now if I only had a "time-machine"....(sigh).... :)

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Well, the first couple of runs of 2 on the new schedule are looking pretty good. Right now 2(27) is 5 minutes late at Nakina, and 2(29) is on time at Evansburg. Train loses up to 2-3 hours, then makes it up in the "pad" at major stops like Jasper and Winnipeg, the various pads being in both the scheduled arrival and a padded dwell. For example, 2 was 2:09 late at Portage la Prairie, arrived 3:36 late at Winnipeg (20:36 actual, scheduled arrival 17:00) out of Winnipeg on time at 22:00. Worst time down aside from Winnipeg appears to have been at Unity, where it was 2:43 down, made up some pad at Saskatoon, where it arrived only 59 minutes late. That is how I imagined this schedule working, with the train apparently losing some significant time at intermediate points, then making it up at least partially in pad at more "major" points. But CN is still kind of at the edge even so. If the train was much later at Winnipeg, it would have been late out. They need 60-90 minutes to do servicing/restocking/recrew at Winnipeg.

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Here's the schedule for Canadian Northern's*** Transcontinental Service in summer 1917....101 years ago. It took a day longer than even the Canadians new schedule.

 

(***Canadian Northern became part of Canadian National when it was formed a year or so later)

 

Route was a bit different but mileage was similar: 2,909 vs 2,778. Same route as the 'Canadian' today as far as Longlac but then it went via Port Arthur-Fort William (Thunder Bay)....into the US at Rainy River ON and across northern Minnesota south of Lake of the Woods then to Winnipeg. Between Winnipeg and Edmonton it used what is todays' CN's secondary line across the prairies through Dauphin, Humbolt and North Battleford..north of the Grand Trunk Pacific mainline the Canadian uses.

 

From Edmontonthrough Jasper and onto Kamloops and Vancouver....same route as today except for a few line relocations

post-5655-0-72918000-1533052516_thumb.jpg

Edited by NS VIA Fan

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Love those old timetables, thanks for posting them!

Interesting how they made the tight GN connection to Seattle at New Westminster. Kind of reminiscent of connecting between New York and the Maritimes at St. Lambert, at the other end of the country...

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Wait, how did the "Continental Limited" get from Toronto to Montreal in about four hours? Doesn't the Ocean take about a day to do a similar trip?

Edited by cpotisch

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Wait, how did the "Continental Limited" get from Toronto to Montreal in about four hours? Doesn't the Ocean take about a day to do a similar trip?

I don't know about the first one probably faster running. But the second one the Ocean terminates in Montreal and doesn't go any further.

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Wait, how did the "Continental Limited" get from Toronto to Montreal in about four hours?

Are you looking at the boldface running times on the second page? Look at the actual schedule instead (and the map at the top) -- there were separate Montreal and Toronto sections that combined at Capreol, Ontario.

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Wait, how did the "Continental Limited" get from Toronto to Montreal in about four hours?

Are you looking at the boldface running times on the second page? Look at the actual schedule instead (and the map at the top) -- there were separate Montreal and Toronto sections that combined at Capreol, Ontario.

 

Thanks. I saw the running times on page 2 and the description that it runs "Montreal - Ottawa - Toronto - ... - Vancouver", so assumed it was one train running the whole route.

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Wait, how did the "Continental Limited" get from Toronto to Montreal in about four hours? Doesn't the Ocean take about a day to do a similar trip?

I don't know about the first one probably faster running. But the second one the Ocean terminates in Montreal and doesn't go any further.
Also, some VIA corridor trains do run Montreal to Toronto in under five hours.

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Wait, how did the "Continental Limited" get from Toronto to Montreal in about four hours? Doesn't the Ocean take about a day to do a similar trip?

I don't know about the first one probably faster running. But the second one the Ocean terminates in Montreal and doesn't go any further.
Also, some VIA corridor trains do run Montreal to Toronto in under five hours.

 

The Turbo Train ran it in 3 hours, 59 minutes. https://www.mtlblog.com/lifestyle/the-forgotten-montreal-to-toronto-luxury-train

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