An ‘Ocean’ Mileage Run (with lots of photos!)

Discussion in 'Travelogues / Trip Reports' started by NS VIA Fan, Apr 5, 2019.

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  1. Apr 5, 2019 #1

    NS VIA Fan

    NS VIA Fan

    NS VIA Fan

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    March 31….another year was ending in VIA Rail Canada’s ‘Preference’ (frequent flyer) Program and I needed a few more miles/points ($’s spent) to retain status and that would be easy!...... just take a quick trip on the ‘Ocean’..…covering the 840 miles overnight from Halifax to Montreal.

    I dropped my car off at YHZ…..the Halifax International Airport so I could have a fast get-away when I returned by plane Saturday……then hopped a Metro Transit bus heading downtown to the VIA Station….shared with Maritime Bus and also part of the Westin (a former CN Hotel)

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    The ‘Ocean’ boarded at 12:20 for an OT departure at 1pm with plenty of time to walk forward for photos and record the consist: F40PH2’s 6407 and 6418 leading 13 ‘Renaissance’ cars including 3 Coaches and 5 Sleepers along with a Budd Dome-Observation ‘Revelstoke Park’ bringing up the rear.

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    First Call to lunch was at 1:15 and I headed for the Diner. It’s a Table Car only with just a small pantry in the centre for preparing morning toast, serving drinks and desserts etc…..but no Kitchen or Chef on-board. Instead....meals come from an airline caterer "Gate Gourmet"....and are heated in a Convection Oven (NOT a Microwave) in the adjacent Service/Lounge Car.....then replated on real dishware (no plastic here!) I had the Ocean’s signature Fish Chowder (thick!) along with the Shrimp Alfredo.

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  2. Apr 5, 2019 #2

    NS VIA Fan

    NS VIA Fan

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    Now up to the Dome for a lazy sunny afternoon with snacks, coffee and tea set out in the Observation Car as we headed for New Brunswick……

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    You can also sit in the Sleeper Lounge car where Wi-Fi is available (note the antenna on the car roof)

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    Arrival into Moncton for a servicing stop was right on-time at 5pm. There had not been many onboard leaving Halifax but we did fill considerably from Moncton > west.

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  3. Apr 5, 2019 #3

    NS VIA Fan

    NS VIA Fan

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    Dinner out of Moncton was a 5, 6:30 or 8pm. I chose the second sitting and another great meal: Grilled Pork Loin and a Chocolate Carmel Cake for dessert.

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    Here’s the wine list featuring Nova Scotia Wines.

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    Sleeping cars on the Ocean are not named but carry a theme with photos throughout the car.....mine was ‘Nova Scotia Vineyards’…..and note in the above photo looking from one sleeper into the next…..the tight-sealed, heated vestibule and the doors between cars left open allowing a continuous passage through the train from one end to the other. Great when it’s -20 outside.

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  4. Apr 5, 2019 #4

    NS VIA Fan

    NS VIA Fan

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    Here’s a tour of my Renaissance Sleeper ‘Cabin for 2 with Shower’

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    When I woke the next morning at 5:45am we were 20 minutes early and sitting in Joffre Yard across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City. We had to wait for VIA #33 to clear before heading out over the Quebec Bridge to the suburban Saint-Foy Station.

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    And then a 3 mile back-up move across the bridge to reach CN’s Halifax-Montreal Mainline again on the southshore. (note the Trainman with radio taking a seat at the rear window of the Park Car for the back-up)

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  5. Apr 5, 2019 #5

    NS VIA Fan

    NS VIA Fan

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    Breakfast departing Saint-Foy at 6:30 was a Ham and Cheese Quiche: (Meals are included for Sleeper Passengers but notice the Menu footnotes: Economy (coach) Passengers are invited into the diner with a set breakfast at $12 ($10 continental) or dinner for $19.

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    Now onto Montreal where we would have been early at 10am except for a short pause approaching Gare Centrale…..which showed us 5 min late on the arrivals board!

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    I spent the day in Montreal riding some commuter trains……

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  6. Apr 5, 2019 #6

    NS VIA Fan

    NS VIA Fan

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    Then onto Ottawa…..

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    And keeping to a railroad theme….”Porter’ Airlines got me back to Halifax on a quick 90 min. Bombardier Q400 flight. Complimentary beer, wine or soft drinks are offered to all and served in a real glass along with a snack!

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  7. Apr 5, 2019 #7

    OBS

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    OBS

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    Great report, thanks!
     
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  8. Apr 5, 2019 #8

    Locobill

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    Nice trip report. It’s interesting seeing how Via compares to Amtrak. How do the prices compare for a similar distance?
     
  9. Apr 5, 2019 #9

    jiml

    jiml

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    Great review. Haven't done the route in many years - before the addition of the Renaissance cars. How does their bedroom size/layout compare with the old style in the Park car?
     
  10. Apr 5, 2019 #10

    mediaman

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    mediaman

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    Thank you for the photos and descriptions, very informative!
     
  11. Apr 5, 2019 #11

    gaspeamtrak

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    gaspeamtrak

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    Excellent report !!!
    Just wondering how the project in Ottawa to make the platforms hi level like Central Station is going ?
    Is it all of the platforms in Ottawa or just a few???
    Just wondering?
    Thank you for sharing !!! :):):)

     
  12. Apr 5, 2019 #12

    railiner

    railiner

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    Superb report...thanks so much for posting!:)
     
  13. Apr 5, 2019 #13

    NS VIA Fan

    NS VIA Fan

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    I believe all Ottawa Platforms will eventually be High Level….but for now only the one adjacent to the building. Here’s a couple of pictures from last fall:

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  14. Apr 5, 2019 #14

    Railroad Bill

    Railroad Bill

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    Thanks for the great trip report. Brought back wonderful memories of our round trip on the Ocean a few years ago. A class train with quality food and personnel. Loved spending a few days in Halifax touring the city, stayed at the Westin. Want to return to Halifax someday
     
  15. Apr 5, 2019 #15

    Dakota 400

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    Dakota 400

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    Thank you for an interesting report and very good photos! I found the menus that were offered and the pictures of what was served quite interesting in comparison to what Amtrak seems able to currently provide.
     
  16. Apr 5, 2019 #16

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

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    You’ve now made me want to ride the Ocean again. Good thing I have a coupon available.
     
  17. Apr 6, 2019 #17

    FastTrains

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    I rode the Ocean about 20 years ago. Would love to do it again. Great trip report with excellent photos. Thanks!!
     
  18. Apr 6, 2019 #18

    Brian Battuello

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    Brian Battuello

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    Great pictures, thanks for the memories! Have taken the Ocean RT once and Canadian 1 way twice. Amazing.
     
  19. Apr 14, 2019 #19

    gaspeamtrak

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    gaspeamtrak

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    Thank you for answering that question about the platforms in Ottawa...
     
  20. Apr 20, 2019 #20

    crescent-zephyr

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    I need to get up there and ride the ocean! Love that the park cars are still the traditional set up.
     
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  21. Apr 20, 2019 #21

    OBS

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    Totally agree, dislike the new arrangement.
     
  22. Apr 21, 2019 #22

    Maverickstation

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    Great trip report, we enjoyed a trip on the Ocean late summer of 2017, and the Park Car is a treasure to enjoy. The Dining Car service was excellent and we really enjoyed the fact that the diners had tables for 2.

    Your comments about Porter Airlines were spot on. We use Porter several times a year from Boston to Toronto, and there service is second to none. Plus for Toronto they fly into Billy Bishop Airport which is opposite downtown Toronto.
     
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  23. Jun 3, 2019 #23

    gaspeamtrak

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    gaspeamtrak

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    I'm just looking at this trip report again and it was your inspiration of this story for me to make this trip which I haven't done in "years"
    I just lost my wife a month ago and and "dear aunt is about to pass on to... :(:(:(
    I'm making a whirlwind trip 4 day trip leaving on a Friday from Toronto and coming back on Sunday with a night at the "The Weston Nova Scotian"
    Thank you again for posting this and giving me hope again that life goes on!!! :):):)
     
  24. Jun 3, 2019 #24

    jiml

    jiml

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    Sorry to hear of your loss. Hopefully the trip will provide a bit of a break.

    Please do report on your trip. We are doing the same routing later in the fall, including the same hotel. I've been gathering perspectives from others I know, as it has been many years since travelling this route. If not already, be sure to join Marriott Rewards aka Bonvoy, since the Westin is now part of the chain.
     
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  25. Jun 4, 2019 #25

    NS VIA Fan

    NS VIA Fan

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    Sorry for your loss.
    Glad my trip was an inspiration…giving you something to look forward to. DO enjoy!
     
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