New Canadian Schedule Effective 6/26

Discussion in 'VIA Rail Canada Discussion' started by zephyr17, Jun 21, 2018.

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  1. Jun 21, 2018 #1

    zephyr17

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    While I don't see a big announcement, and the PDF schedules have not been updated, new schedules have been loaded in the interactive schedule tool on the website, and also show when doing dummy bookings.

    Effective on both the Vancouver and Toronto departures next Tuesday, 6/26, the Canadian will be running on a new schedule that is roughly 9 hours longer westbound and 13 hours longer eastbound. 1 will still leave Toronto at 10:00 pm but Vancouver arrival will be 6:00 pm. 2 will now leave Vancouver at 12 noon, and arrive Toronto at 2:00 pm. The schedule is 3 days, 23 hours in both directions.

    Fraiser River Canyon will be in daylight both directions. Prime Rocky Mountain scenery between Valemount and Jasper will be basically at dawn and sunset in the summer months, in the winter it will be largely full dark in each direction.

    For me, the big downside is that it breaks the connection with the morning Cascades (516) from Seattle, which is what I use to catch it. 15 minutes is way too tight, even if customs clearance was not a factor. So now an eastbound trip will involve laying over in Vancouver. I usually do not do the Canadian in both directions, so driving up doesn't make any sense for the parking fees alone, and then there's the fact that l'd have to go back to Canada to pick up my car.

    Hopefully, CN can keep to this schedule, at least for awhile (they did okay with the last schedule extension at first).

    Now I have to decide whether or not I want to trust CN to keep the new schedule and stay with my usual one night layover in Toronto before onward travel on my upcoming late October/November trip, or build in a 3 day buffer in Toronto like I was planning before I caught wind of the schedule change.
     
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  2. Jun 21, 2018 #2

    bretton88

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    Losing the Rockies scenery is a huge negative. That takes away one of the charms of the train.
     
  3. Jun 21, 2018 #3

    Eric S

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    Did you dig into whether days of operation changed? Curious as to how much turn-around time there is in Toronto and Vancouver.
     
  4. Jun 21, 2018 #4

    zephyr17

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    Same days of operation. Toronto turnaround is 8 hours (2pm to 10 pm)
     
  5. Jun 21, 2018 #5

    Dakota 400

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    I appreciate zephyr17's information and will have to look at the new schedule. The Canadian is still on my
    "to do" list. Now, I am thinking about Fall, after High Season.
     
  6. Jun 21, 2018 #6

    zephyr17

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    New schedule PDF up for the westbound. Old one up still up for the eastbound.

    In Vancouver, 1 arrives at 6:00 pm Monday (summer only), Wednesday and Saturday. 2 leaves at 12:00 noon Tuesday, Friday and Sunday (summer only). So it has a 18 hour turnaround Monday to Tuesday and Saturday to Sunday, and a 42 hour turnaround Wednesday to Friday.

    In the winter, it has a generous Saturday to Tuesday turnaround of 66 hours, and the same 42 hour Wednesday to Friday as in the summer. Vancouver is the real maintenance base for the train, BTW. Toronto is the "away" terminal where they mostly just turn it around. Not even that, really, as they don't physically turn it in Toronto. Clean, restock, take care of minor maintenance.

    One thing I wonder is with the short 8 hour turnaround whether or not they will take the time to take it to the yard at Mimico, which is like 7 or 8 miles away, or just service it in the station (assuming GO Transit would let them just sit and take up a station track there through evening rush hour).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2018
  7. Jun 21, 2018 #7

    zephyr17

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    Best standard discount price will be when you get into the full winter pricing in November. October is still at summer fares. Also, the Park car time restrictions for Sleeper Plus come off after October 11th. I highly recommend the train in the off season rather than the summer. For one thing it is normal sized train (8 cars seems the minimum consist) not a 26 car monster, and it is not nearly as crowded.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2018
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  8. Jun 22, 2018 #8

    Dakota 400

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    As a potential Sleeper Plus customer, access to the Park Car is important. The price differential between Off Season and the Summer Season fare is a price I am not willing to pay. But.

    I'll have to seriously consider the new schedule to see if I need to change my mind in order to obtain the best viewing opportunities during the trip.
     
  9. Jun 22, 2018 #9

    zephyr17

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    In my mind, the Frasier River Canyon goes a long way towards making up for the couple of hours of the really good Rockies just west of Jasper. The Fraiser River Canyon is very scenic and the train goes through at a good time on the new schedule and spends a goodly amount of time in the canyon. And BC's Coast Mountains are nothing to sneeze at. They are as mighty as the Rockies.

    The crossing of the Rockies over Yellowhead Pass on the CN line is not nearly as lengthy or dramatic as CPs route over Rogers Pass and Kicking Horse Pass. It also isn't as dramatic or scenic as the CZ up the Front Range and then through the canyons of the Western Slope (although you can't ride that in a Budd short dome anymore, which makes up for a lot).

    You may want to take that with a grain of salt from me, though. The main attraction of the Canadian to me is the train itself. I am perfectly happy riding in the dome over the praries of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Plus hardly anybody is up there then.

    If you can travel at relatively short notice (4-8 weeks) the best prices (about 40% off) can be had on the Sleeper Plus deals page at https://www.viarail.ca/en/deals .Those deals are only for specific city pairs on specific dates.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2018
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  10. Jun 22, 2018 #10

    railiner

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    They don't actually turn the train? What do you mean by "mostly"...just turn the seats? I would hate to ride backwards that far in a seat or roomette...

    As for the very long layover on one day...that would be the day to choose, for the best chance of an "on-time" departure, I suppose....

    I haven't actually looked it up, but for a schedule that long between Vancouver and Toronto, it might be faster to cross the border twice, and take Amtrak the whole way via Buffalo, Chicago, and Seattle....maybe even cheaper....for those only looking for transportation, and not a 'cruise'..... [​IMG]
     
  11. Jun 22, 2018 #11

    jebr

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    It's faster (and bookable on amtrak.com) to go via Amtrak from Vancouver to Toronto. Comparing one date, December 14:

    Amtrak: Leave Vancouver at 11:30 AM on the Thruway bus to Seattle. Connect to the 4:40 PM Empire Builder arriving in Chicago on December 16 at 3:55 PM. In Chicago, change to the 9:30 PM Lake Shore Limited, arriving in Buffalo at 8:46 AM on December 17. Take the 3:01 PM Maple Leaf to Toronto, arriving at 7:41 PM.

    Thus, the departure from Vancouver is at 11:30 AM on December 14, with arrival in Toronto at 7:41 PM on December 17

    VIA: Leave Vancouver at noon on December 14. Arrive in Toronto at 2 PM on December 18.

    Amtrak is 18 hours and 19 minutes faster than VIA, and runs daily (though some days might require using the multi-city option if Amtrak didn't build it in ARROW.) That's including two border crossings and three transfers, two of which are around 6 hours long. That's extremely disappointing performance for VIA and CN.

    (By the way, you could shave off another 7 hours by using the overnight Greyhound/Amtrak Thruway bus from Chicago to Toronto. That'd arrive at 1:05 PM on December 17, a full day earlier than VIA.)
     
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  12. Jun 22, 2018 #12

    cpotisch

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    Is the Amtrak option Maple Leaf to Lake Shore Limited to Empire Builder to Cascades?
     
  13. Jun 22, 2018 #13

    Ryan

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    Vancouver to Toronto would be those trains in the opposite direction.
     
  14. Jun 22, 2018 #14

    flitcraft

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    We just took the Canadian last week and were running late enough that we saw the Thompson-Fraser River portion of the trip in full daylight, and I have to say I thought it even more scenic than the Rockies portion, which is not at all to downplay the splendor of that route.

    For me, the downside of a fall/winter trip is the limited hours of daylight. Traveling around the solstice, we got dawn beginning around 4 am and sunset well after nine!
     
  15. Jun 22, 2018 #15

    zephyr17

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    It takes a different route out of Toronto than it does coming in, so it in essence makes a big loop through the station.
    Specifically, 2 arrives via CN's Bala Sub and pulls into Toronto Union Station heading west. 1 pulls out heading west onto CN's Newmarket Sub. The huge summer consist is too long to wye on any nearby facilities.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2018
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  16. Jun 22, 2018 #16

    cpotisch

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    Thanks. Got the trip reversed in my head.
     
  17. Jun 23, 2018 #17

    railiner

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    Oh yeah, I heard about that, but forgot it...thanks for clarifying. I feel better now... [​IMG]
     
  18. Jun 23, 2018 #18

    NS VIA Fan

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    You will see mountains on the new schedule except during the shortest days of the year.....and now you gain the daylight run through the Fraser and Thompson River Canyons and IMHO.....scenery that rivals the mountain views.

    Also keep in mind.....this is directional running territory. The eastbound Canadian is on the CPR for 250km from near Mission BC to south of Ashcroft. The westbound Canadian is on CN running down the opposite walls of the canyon....crossing the river a couple of times
     
  19. Jun 23, 2018 #19

    NS VIA Fan

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    Here's a sketch showing the loop through Toronto I made from a trip about 10 years ago and is still route the Canadian follows today. To wye a train as long as the Canadian..it would have to head about 40 miles west on the Oakville Sub to Bayview on the route to London.

    Canadian Route Thru Toronto.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2018
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  20. Jun 23, 2018 #20

    cpotisch

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    Wait, so they wye the train with passengers onboard, on the way out of Toronto? Find it surprising that they haven't felt it was worth it to put that track in and never have to wye it there again.
     
  21. Jun 23, 2018 #21

    NS VIA Fan

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    The train is not being 'wyed'.....it's just making a big loop around the city all in a forward direction except for a short back-up move at Snider to get from the Newmarket Sub to the York Sub. Today...there is no place to put a connecting track in the SE Quadrant at Snyder:

    https://goo.gl/maps/9B6in744kgw

    Wyeing or backing up with passengers aboard is certainly not unusual. The Ocean does it at Quebec City on each run. After running over the Quebec Bridge to reach the suburban Ste Foy station...it backs up 3 miles with the Park Car Dome Observation leading to regain the mainline to Halifax on the south shore of the St Lawrence River.
     
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  22. Jun 23, 2018 #22

    railiner

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    Seems like a waste of time to go over the bridge and back, since they don't go all the way into Gare Palais, anyway. Since they no longer have the line thru Levis, why not just stop at Charny, for Quebec City passenger's?
     
  23. Jun 23, 2018 #23

    NS VIA Fan

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    After the line through Levis was abandoned in '98......the Ocean had to run into or back out of Charny from the Montreal – Halifax mainline. Then the Charny station was closed....and the Ocean just continued on over the Quebec Bridge an additional 2 miles to the suburban station at Ste-Foy where full station services were available. To go all the way into Gare du Palais would add about an hour round-trip and the platforms there couldn't handle the 20 car + Oceans running today. Ste-Foy can.
     
  24. Jun 23, 2018 #24

    zephyr17

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    If CN doesn't need it for freight movements, and apparently they do not, it won't happen. And Via doesn't have the money, or will, to do it for just 6 trains a week (max).
     
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  25. Jun 24, 2018 #25

    railiner

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    I am not familiar with the route...so they have to leave the mainline to go into and out of Charny as well?

    If that is the case, isn't there some place along the mainline at its closest point to Quebec City where they could establish a station, to eliminate that move, as well?
     

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