Crossing the Line

Discussion in 'Travelogues / Trip Reports' started by Seaboard92, Oct 3, 2019.

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  1. Oct 3, 2019 #26

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

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    Sunrise outside of Winnipeg.

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    Kokanee Park the car from Silver Streak.

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    Winnipeg.

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    Canadian National with an extreme zoom lens.

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    A freight crossing over the river in Winnipeg.

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    The Canadian at Winnipeg.

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    The Canadian departing Winnipeg.

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    Downtown Winnipeg.

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    Air Canada at Winnipeg.

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    My bedroom at the Fairmont Palliser.
     
  2. Oct 3, 2019 #27

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

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    The lobby of the Fairmont Palliser.

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    Calgary Tower

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    The pedestrian street.

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    The pedestrian street in Calgary.

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    Frankfurt U Bahn train on the CTrain.

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    A train emerging from the library.

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    An u Bahn rounding a corner.

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    An u Bahn crossing the Bow River.

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    Downtown Calgary.

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    CTrain crossing the Bow River
     
  3. Oct 3, 2019 #28

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

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    The Fairmont Palliser.

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    Yum.

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    Even more yum
     
  4. Oct 3, 2019 #29

    Seaboard92

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    Day 11: VIA and Ottawa

    I arrived in Toronto a bit later than my original schedule because of my flight change but I had barely enough time to make my connection. So I walked briskly across the terminal to the Union-Pearson Express and missed the first train because of fiddling with the ticket machine. Either way I got the second train and made it to Union Station at 6:25 AM for my 6:40 AM Train No. 50 the York Ottawa Section.

    I settled into my business class seat on the lake side and waited for departure. We departed exactly on time and it was a routine run. Nothing really special to report other than it was a letdown compared to the previous day on board the Royal Canadian Pacific. We arrived in Ottawa early next to an actual streamliner bound for Toronto with six or seven Budd cars. Once disembarking from the LRC I went straight into the terminal

    I attempted to see if the baggage room would store my luggage for the day but it was closed so I chose to drag my suitcase around with me all day. I went straight out to the new O Train station in front of the VIA terminal and took it to the Parliament station. And one wouldn’t expect for a new light rail station that opened four days prior to smell like a homeless man let Niagara Falls go. But it reeked. I took a stroll for about an hour outside Parliament till finding a sidewalk cafe on the pedestrian street that again felt like Europe.

    I was wondering why my cafe had a lot of police walking by it, till eventually I noticed there was a Tim Hortons next door. Which then instantly answered all of my questions. After I finished my meal which was so so I went back to the VIA station with about thirty minutes to spare. For the thirty minutes before boarding I relaxed in the business lounge before they let us board Train No. 26 the Frontenac for Quebec City.

    This train boarded from Ottawa’s newest platform the high level closest to the building. Our train had two LRC coaches, and two LRC business class cars. The train departed exactly on time and only made one stop between Ottawa and Dorval despite have two in the timetable. I skipped the free meal because it really wasn’t what I was wanting.

    I detrained in Dorval a few minutes early and proceeded to watch two commuter trains, a freight, and two VIA trains under the flight path for nearby YUL. Around five I took a taxi cab over to the airport and had little delay with customs or security. I then waited for my flight to New York Laguardia to board. Our flight on a tiny EMB135 was super easy. And I managed to do some flightseeing by noticing Lake Champlain and Albany. After deplaning I went over to Shake Shack to get a bite to eat knowing my next plane would arrive late.

    After that I eventually found my way to the B Gates from the C Gates which isn’t really marked well. The bus was easy enough to ride airside just not marked well. They kept delaying the flight to the point I was worried they would cancel it. I talked to a nice librarian who ended up also sitting next to me on the flight while we were delayed and changing gates.

    We had a smooth easy flight on another EMB135 down the eastern seaboard. Our incoming aircraft was cancelled so they found another one from Canada they ferried down for us. It was a clear night so a person was able to flightsee. And if you travel as often as I do you could make out New York, NY, Newark, NJ, New Brunswick, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, Baltimore, MD, and Washington, DC. I was mostly able to figure the cities out based on their bridges and water because I travel often enough to know those.

    We arrived a hair before one AM and I could cut the humidity with a knife. Compared to snowing in the Rockies two days prior. Then I grabbed my bag and slept in the car home. Then back to my normal life.
     
  5. Oct 3, 2019 #30

    Seaboard92

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    Toronto Union Station.

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    The remains of the Enterprise. The Kingston-Toronto train.

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    Looking at Lake Ontario.

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    A VIA Ottawa-Toronto train.

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    Ottawa Station.

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    Canadian Parliament

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    Another beautiful Fairmont property.

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    Ottawa Union Station. Far nicer than the VIA station.

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    The pedestrian mall.

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    New and old
     
  6. Oct 3, 2019 #31

    Seaboard92

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    The O Train

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    A CN local along the mainline.

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    VIA Train No. 26 the Frontenac.

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    An AMT or EXO or whatever it is today.

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    AMT or EXO. Or whatever they feel like calling it today.

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    Canadian National at Dorval.

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    VIA bound for Montreal.

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    I am surprised to see a duel mode on the ex CP side.

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    My last Canadian train for awhile.
     
  7. Oct 3, 2019 #32

    Seaboard92

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    Final Thoughts:

    Honestly it’s unfair to compare Canadian Pacific with any of the other trains because that was in a world of its own. So I’m going to compare the two lesser products.

    First off Corridor Trains
    -Pacific Surfliner. It’s a decent train. I’m not going to hold it’s PTC problem against it. I like how the cafe works where you grab it from the shelf and pay for it like a regular store. However I don’t like the seating issues. I understand it’s an unreserved service so you are guaranteed a ride but not a seat. But I’m not a large fan of that. It seamed there were more passengers than seats. The only other unreserved service I’ve used is the Keystone.

    -Cascades. Honestly this is Amtrak’s best corridor service in my opinion (I’m not biased or anything to the northwest). The seating is comfortable, and the smaller than average passenger cabin I think makes things nicer. As well as the assigned seats make it far easier to have a seat compared to the Surfliner where most people rode standing up. The cafe has some of the best products in the network. Even though I wish they would stock more cinnamon rolls. And it has the friendliest crews I’ve ran into on corridor trains.

    -VIA Rail Corridor
    Honestly this is roughly equal to the Cascades in my book. There is slightly more legroom which is a plus. And the restroom is decent sized. However I’m not a fan of not having a lounge to visit. I find it rather boring when there is nowhere to stretch your legs besides the restroom. However the service is far better than both with warm towels, drink carts, and food included in the fare. So on the F&B part of business VIA is winning hands down. That and VIA staffs their corridor trains with a crew member per car which is far better than Amtrak who uses sometimes just two or three conductors for a NE Regional of 800 passengers.

    Long distance

    The Coast Starlight Vs. the Canadian

    First Class Lounges
    CS: Uses the LAX Metropolitan Lounge which I found to be rather small and ran by someone close to a drill sergeant. It’s also difficult to find. However the drinks and snacks were well stocked. The seating was ok even though some chairs reminded me of college.

    CA: The Vancouver Panorama Lounge is super easy to find. And the service manager at check in points it out. The chairs are nice, but the really amazing selling point is the outdoor waiting area with tables and chairs. And in the past live music. However when I arrived most of the snacks and drinks were already gone. I’m going to give the win to VIA though because it has a better vibe than Amtrak’s.

    Boarding
    CS: A kindergarten walk from the lounge to the train with a max of five passengers at a time. Which is really an odd number if I say so. And the attendant is yelling at people the entire process if you didn’t hear her initial announcement. Once trainside it isn’t that bad he attendant greets you, and helps you with your luggage.

    CA: They make boarding announcement and everyone leaves the lounge but not as part of a kindergarten walk. There are several staff members around to point you the right way or help you. But it doesn’t feel childish like Amtrak and no one is barking orders. The attendants help you load bags then welcome you to your rooms.

    Sleeping accommodations
    CS: there are three options for sleeping. A roomette with two beds that are against the wall. The space itself feels very cramped and the top bunk is claustrophobic. The bedrooms are perpendicular to the car body again bunk beds and a sofa by day. With a small restroom annex. I haven’t been in a superliner bedroom but the viewliner ones are nice and large. The family room sleeps four with a pair of bunk beds. The mattresses were ok but are fairly thin.

    CA: I had an upper berth but I’ll review all of the rooms. VIA has five to six different types of accommodations available on the Canadian. Your Upper and Lower berths which are two facing seats in the daytime, and two beds with curtains at night. These do not have walls however like Amtrak roomettes. Classic roomettes with a toilet, chair, and folding down bed. The bedroom which has a bunk bed and movable chairs around the room. Then prestige which is comparable with the Canadian Pacific Train. The mattresses on VIA are a lot thicker, and the bedding material is much nicer feeling. It’s warm, and soft. Plus chocolate on the pillows every night. Via wins this round.

    Food & Beverage
    CS: Sleeper meals are included and Coach passengers are welcome to purchase meals. The menu stays the same everyday which can get boring. The food is of so so quality. I’ve had better burgers at a college cafeteria, and the steak is alright but it’s not up there with an outback or longhorn steak house.

    CA: Sleeper meals are included but alcohol isn’t unless you are in prestige. Coach passengers are not welcome in the dining car and have no other options than cafe food. The menu rotated each day with specialties depending on what part of Canada you are in. The items also tasted on par far better than anything Amtrak has put out in years. And dining on actual china. VIA wins this round hands down.

    Lounge Spaces
    CS: This Train has a Sightseer Lounge which is good for its use. It has lovely large windows and the seats are comfortable enough. My favorite part of the car is the individual swivel seats that don’t rotate on the end. Plenty of outlets.

    CA: The dome is a fantastic lounge with a great 360 degree view. And a lovely forward view. The lower level of the Skyline has an inviting atmosphere as well. With a mixture of tables in the game room, and more comfortable seating near the bar. However there are not as many outlets. VIA wins this round but needs to have more outlets.

    Service
    CS: The best way I could put it is demoralized. With all of the cuts going on the east coast the crew seams fairly demoralized. They are friendly enough, but they lack the flair of the VIA crew.

    CA: VIA’s staff are always smiling and cheery even when they are ten hours late. The dining car waitresses are cutting up, laughing, and putting passengers at ease with their banter. The sleeping car porters (they use the old term) are friendly and always happy to answer any question. And they enjoy it when people talk to them or at least they act like it. The activity manager definitely is a hit because she builds good relationships with the passengers and makes it like a train family. VIA’s crew is constantly trying to make their passengers trip comfortable. Always checking if you want more to drink, and always willing to answer questions. VIA wins this round.

    Overall: VIA has the superior product in both corridor and Long Distance. Amtrak and Richard Anderson could learn how to run a passenger train from them.
     
  8. Oct 3, 2019 #33

    Seaboard92

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    Canadian Train No. 2 September 20 2019
    6425 F40PH-3
    6432 F40PH-3
    8716 Tweedsmuir Park DH to JASP
    8604 Baggage
    8119 Coach 201
    8103 Coach 202
    8516 Skyline Coach
    8318 Craig Manor 220
    8313 Butler Manor 221
    8317 Cornwall Manor 222
    1721 Panorama Car off at EDMN
    8501 Skyline A
    8407 Emerald Diner A
    8309 Brant Manor 210
    8327 Fraser Manor 211
    8331 Jarvis Manor 212
    8328 Grant Manor 213
    8329 Hearne Manor 214
    8333 Lorne Manor 215
    8517 Skyline B
    8410 Frontenac diner B
    8229 Chateau Viger
    88213 Chateau Lauzon 230
    88226 Chateau Salisbury 231
    88708 Kootenay Park 239
     
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  9. Oct 3, 2019 #34

    railiner

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    Outstanding photo's and commentary....thanks for posting!
     
  10. Oct 3, 2019 #35

    Seaboard92

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    Your welcome I will get the Royal Canadian Pacific report up here in a few minutes.
     
  11. Oct 4, 2019 #36

    jiml

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    Thoroughly enjoyed your report. Too many great observations and pictures to single out right now, but I may revisit and bring up a few for discussion. Now on to the best part...
     
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  12. Oct 4, 2019 #37

    Seaboard92

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    Thank you. I always strive to give a comprehensive report.
     
  13. Oct 5, 2019 #38

    v v

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    You put so much into this outstanding report I take my hat off to you, and thank you.
     
  14. Oct 5, 2019 #39

    Seaboard92

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    That means a lot coming from you because I look forward to your reports. And I love your reports. So that means more than I can put into words.
     
  15. Oct 5, 2019 #40

    Maglev

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    I enjoyed your trip reports and photos. Thanks for posting them for us!
     
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  16. Oct 6, 2019 #41

    Palmland

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    Seaboard, you are so fortunate to be able to travel by rail so much as a young man. 50 years from now you may look back on this as the ‘golden era’ of train travel. Thanks for sharing this with us. Your photography and detailed descriptions are impressive. Keep it up.
     
  17. Oct 6, 2019 #42

    Seaboard92

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    Thank you for the kind comments. It’s funny I always look to the 50s as the golden years. But I have a feeling you are right. The next fifty years of development are fundamentally going to change everything. I already have some lose plans for 2020-2022. All of which include finishing routes I’ve not ridden, Australia, and more in Europe.
     
  18. Oct 6, 2019 #43

    trainman74

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    Excellent report! I just wanted to note that...

    ...the Theme Building is not Art Deco, but is in the Southern California-centric "space age" Googie style.
     
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  19. Oct 8, 2019 #44

    v v

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    Careful, we are in danger of forming a mutual appreciation society... and thank you for that.
     
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  20. Oct 8, 2019 #45

    Seaboard92

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    Next time you come to the states you should come ride the railroad I’m at now. It’s a charming southern tourist railroad. And you might even bump into a former US President.
     
  21. Oct 12, 2019 #46

    v v

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    Where does that railroad run to and from? I take it it's a private company attaching cars to scheduled trains? Is there just one route or are there many, and is there a ticket class where you don't get pampered?

    Anyway, sounds interesting and thank you for suggesting it, we always like recommendations and in particular from people who know. We can't plan anything at the moment until the British disease of Brexit in lanced and at least has a direction, that could mean we never travel again!!!
     
  22. Oct 12, 2019 #47

    Seaboard92

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    I’ll send you our schedule for next year and give you something more in depth by message.
     

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