Does VIA provide hotels when Canadian is delayed 12 hours at origin?

Discussion in 'VIA Rail Canada Discussion' started by Lonestar648, Apr 25, 2018.

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  1. Apr 25, 2018 #1

    Lonestar648

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    I searched, but didn't find any answers to this question. When #2 is coming into Toronto 18 hours or more late, does VIA provide hotels for passengers when the #1 departure is delayed 12 or more hours for crew rest? When do they make the decision to delay #1? Do they wait until regular departure time?
     
  2. Apr 25, 2018 #2

    willem

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    I would insert a snide comment about your search abilities, but I have had enough failed searches to know that you could have made a good-faith effort and come up short.

    Your first question is partially answered in both my pre-trip report (near the end) and my trip report (near the start). I say partially because I provided one data point of Via Rail buying a hotel room for one passenger when the Canadian was rescheduled for an 11 hour late departure, but that doesn't mean it does it all the time. The rumor was that Via Rail bought hotel rooms for sleeping car passengers and not for coach passengers.

    When I boarded the Montréal to Ottawa train the morning that the Canadian was supposed to leave Toronto, the agent in Ottawa knew something was up but would only say that I would find out what when I arrived in Toronto. During the trip, I received email saying the Canadian would depart 11 hours late. When I arrived in Toronto (about five hours before scheduled departure), Via was already passing out vouchers for the hotel stay. To answer your second and third questions, I don't know and no.
     
  3. Apr 25, 2018 #3

    Lonestar648

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    Thank you for your links and information. We appreciate your details as we hope to make reservations soon for the Canadian.
     
  4. Apr 26, 2018 #4

    greatwestern

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    Willem - I had seen your previous posts referring to hotel rooms being arranged by Via for sleeper passengers delayed at Toronto but along with Lonestar648 I also would like to know whether your observation is standard procedure or not.

    I am travelling in June and I have booked a (refundable) Toronto hotel for my scheduled departure night within 30 minutes walking distance of the station as "insurance".

    If I knew for a fact that Via's standard action is to provide hotels for sleeper passengers, then I could cancel that reservation earlier rather than later when it might be too late to cancel without incurring a financial penalty.
     
  5. Apr 26, 2018 #5

    caravanman

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    I would contact VIA rail direct by email, and ask them first hand about these issues. Facts sometimes turn out not facts, when supplied by a third party, even with their best intentions.

    Ed.
     
  6. Apr 26, 2018 #6

    willem

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    (irony on) Well, not ordinary third parties, but third parties on the internet. Did you consider that? (irony off)

    Seriously, I think caravanman has a good idea about calling, but even if the Via agent says it is standard procedure, I would worry about a deviation from standard procedure on my trip. In other words, greatwestern, in your place, I would probably keep the hotel reservation.

    I have heard of one other instance of Via providing a hotel room to passengers when the Canadian was significantly delayed on its initial departure, but I have no idea if that policy is applied always, sometimes, or rarely.
     
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  7. Apr 26, 2018 #7

    greatwestern

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    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.
     
  8. Apr 26, 2018 #8

    zephyr17

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    Just noting that these days the westbound Canadian departure is almost always significanlty delayed.
     
  9. Apr 27, 2018 #9

    Lonestar648

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    For a more secure departure time, the Eastbound #2 is the one to take. Then the late arrival can be managable.
     
  10. May 15, 2018 #10

    greatwestern

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    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.
     
  11. May 15, 2018 #11

    Devil's Advocate

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    Sounds like coach class is basically SOL regardless of the reason or length of delay. Which I guess means coach travelers should set aside another couple hundred dollars for a same day booking into a nearby downtown Toronto hotel. Hopefully VIA at least provides a full refund for working age folks on a schedule.

    I guess you only get a refunded if you cancel your ticket before the original departure time.
     
  12. May 16, 2018 #12

    railiner

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    Don't know if the Canadian's station's are open 24-7, normally...but in a case of a delayed departure, I would imagine they would at least allow coach passenger's to wait until departure, if they are not going to provide them a hotel, if the coach passenger's decide to do that, for whatever reason....
     
  13. May 16, 2018 #13

    greatwestern

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    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.
     
  14. May 16, 2018 #14

    jis

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    They mention a Sleeper Plus class. Do they also have a Sleeper Minus class i.e. a Sleeper accommodation which is available without the "Plus" perchance?
     
  15. May 16, 2018 #15

    willem

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    To the best of my (limited) knowledge, no. A sleeper accommodation comes with Plus.
     
  16. May 16, 2018 #16

    Devil's Advocate

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    Other posts have also implied/indicated that coach passengers do not receive VIA provided hotel rooms for very late trains. Thus far I'm unware of any contradictory information or evidence. VIA doesn't have control over dispatch priority but they do have control over when and how they inform current and future customers. Their website should warn passengers that massive trip altering delays are possible/likely and that if you travel in coach you may need to take care of your own needs overnight without further assistance.

    I would assume coach passengers are allowed to remain in the station while they wait for their train but can the available public seating hold an entire Canadian's worth of coach passengers? Maybe anyone who can't find a seat is able to sleep on the floor under VIA-provided newspapers.
     
  17. May 16, 2018 #17

    jis

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    Just did a quick look through the VIA web site....

    Vancouver pacific Central Station is closed between 1am and 5am.

    Jasper appears to be guaranteed to be closed between 7pm and 10am, though the open hours vary a bit by day of the week.

    Edmonton appears to be open only for a few hours around when the Canadian calls there, so that probably shifts to when the train is actually there. I am not sure.

    Prince george and Pricne Rupert are open only when the train calls.

    Those are the complete list of VIA stations in the Rockies and West region.

    The rest of the stops presumably are considered flag stops with no mentionable facilities.

    At the other end of the Canadian's run ...

    Toronto is closed between 0:45 and 5:30.

    It would appear that merely slumming in the station is probably not an option.
     
  18. May 16, 2018 #18

    cpotisch

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    It's just Economy, Sleeper Plus, or Prestige.
     
  19. May 17, 2018 #19

    Bob Dylan

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    There aren't that many Coaches on the Canadians consist, usually Two in the Off Season, and I've not seen more than 3 in the few times,I rode in the Summer when the consist is in the Twenties.

    The Lounge in Vancouver is Small, but the one in Toronto Union Station has much more room, I've not had trouble getting a seat in either while waiting to board.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2018
  20. May 17, 2018 #20

    railiner

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    If passenger's traveling coach show up for the train, and for whatever reason, were not aware of the delay, I would really be surprised if they were not allowed to remain in the station until departure, even if the station was normally closed at certain hours. To 'put them out', would seem rather harsh.

    When I worked at the Denver station in the '70's and '80's, we kept the station open for ticketed passenger's until departure time, regardless of how late the train was running, even though we normally closed at night....
     
  21. May 26, 2018 #21

    Lonestar648

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    They must keep the station open after closing time. I have seen some middle of the night origin departures. I saw a 2:30 AM departure out of Vancouver, certainly hope passenger were allowed to go to their rooms and not wait until 2 AM.
     
  22. May 28, 2018 #22

    mcropod

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    I arrived in Toronto Union Station on Via Train #2 at 0200h on 18 May, around seventeen hours after scheduled arrival time of 0930h the day before.

    Every passenger was turfed from the train, and then the station. The lounge was not open and we were all hustled out of the otherwise closed station toot sweet.

    We went to a nearby posh hotel and squatted in their lobby, thanks to the good graces of the front desk fellow, taking sympathy on our place in the life-experience spectrum.

    It was a very poor show from Via Rail, IMHO.

    BTW, as I re-entered the station later that morning, around 0800h or so, I saw those about to board the turn-around Train#1, standing in a queue for their train, which was due to depart at 2230h the previous day. They did not depart until after noon, ten hours late.
     
  23. May 28, 2018 #23

    mcropod

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    My Train #2 was delayed out of Vancouver. The previous day I’d been sent an email telling me of the delay and not to show up until several hours after its initial advice, and then another email on the day of departure to delay my arrival until near midnight.

    I suspect most pax arrived before then - I know I did. Via Rail’s tiny lounge was too small to cope, and tables and chairs were made available outside, by the platforms, but separated from them by a fence. OK on that balmy mid-May evening, but likely not much fun on a colder night.

    Via Rail brought in some cold cuts and bread - more than enough to keep the hungries at bay. The station might well have been closed otherwise, I didn’t check.

    About an hour before actual departure time (which was around 0130h from memory), we were boarded.
     
  24. May 30, 2018 #24

    FreeskierInVT

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    When I took the Canadian last summer, we were quite delayed coming east. Our scheduled arrival to Winnipeg was 20:45 but we didn't arrive until about 5:30am the next day. Passengers boarding in Winnipeg were allowed to remain in the station overnight.
     
  25. May 30, 2018 #25

    cpotisch

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    Seems like that 7 hour delay is pretty minor, given 12 or 20 hour delays are common. I could sort of see why they didn't bother providing hotels in that case. The 10+ hour delays, on the other hand.
     

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