When did VIA Rail take over?

Discussion in 'VIA Rail Canada Discussion' started by Twin Star Rocket, Sep 6, 2018.

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  1. Sep 6, 2018 #1

    Twin Star Rocket

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    When did it transition from a marketing organization for CN passenger services to a rail passenger operator?

    When did CP service officially come under VIA Rail operations?

    Dates please--month & year!

    [i know it was generally in the 1976-78 timeframe.]
     
  2. Sep 6, 2018 #2

    Seaboard92

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    Should be 1978 if in fact this year is their fortieth anniversary they are celebrating.
     
  3. Sep 6, 2018 #3

    PerRock

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  4. Sep 7, 2018 #4

    MikefromCrete

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    And on Oct. 29, 1978, VIA took over CP rail's operations, which is apparently the date it is marking as its origin.
     
  5. Sep 7, 2018 #5

    railiner

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    Curious as to why they did it that way...

    It would be like Amtrak not "starting" until they took over the Southern Crescent or the Rio Grande Zephyr....sort of... [​IMG]
     
  6. Sep 7, 2018 #6

    Twin Star Rocket

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    Took my first non-Amtrak trip in Canada in the fall of 1977. VIA schedules and literature had been printed up.

    I got some of my tickets from CN through a travel agent in Houston before I left the States.

    I had to mail off to get my CP tickets. They did not show up in my mail box until the day before I flew to Toronto.

    Close call on that one!
     
  7. Sep 7, 2018 #7

    MikefromCrete

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    I think because before taking over the CP trains, VIA was considered just a subsidiary of CN.
     
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  8. Sep 7, 2018 #8

    railiner

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    Okay...that makes sense...
     
  9. Sep 7, 2018 #9

    Anderson

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    Yeah...IIRC, VIA was originally the passenger marketing department for CN. CP was receiving subsidies to run its trains (90% of cash losses were reimbursed by the government). CP ultimately chose to throw in the towel and asked for the government to take over the pax trains, so they all went under VIA Rail (which got spun off from CN as a result). This is also, IIRC, why VIA is basically stuck using current/former CN/CP tracks (not unlike how Amtrak didn't have automatic access to ex-Rock Island tracks or to the FEC...Rock Island discontinued their trains without joining Amtrak while FEC had already discontinued service a few years prior amid a major strike).
     
  10. Sep 7, 2018 #10

    railiner

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    Besides the CN and CP lines, there isn't much else in Canada that VIA Rail could or would operate over....perhaps Algoma Central, but not likely...

    BC Rail and ONR were already government owned when VIA Rail was created. QNS&L...forget about it...
     
  11. Sep 7, 2018 #11

    NS VIA Fan

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    After VIA Rail Canada was formed.....CN continued to operate the Roadcruiser Buses and narrow-gauge Mixed Trains in Newfoundland. The mixeds came off in 1988 with the abandonment of the railway but the bus service continued under CN until it was sold to DRL in 1996......and still operates today; http://drl-lr.com/schedule-and-fares/
     
  12. Sep 7, 2018 #12

    railiner

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    Down to one local a day? IIRC, they used to run 3 locals and one "expedo" in the summer time, including one overnite trip. They used to stop for lunch at the Gander Airport restaurant, made famous by the musical play, "Come From Away"....
     
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  13. Sep 7, 2018 #13

    NS VIA Fan

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    It's been one bus a day each way since the mid '90s. Here's a DRL run during at meal stop at Gander Airport:

    [​IMG]

    But go back to the mid '70s and several a day including the Expedo at Port-aux-Basques....waiting for a connection with the overnight CN Ferry from Nova Scotia

    76-07Scan10048.JPG

    76-07Scan10090.JPG
     
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  14. Sep 8, 2018 #14

    railiner

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    Nice shots, thanks for posting...
     
  15. Nov 12, 2019 #15

    Willbridge

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    The start--up was definitely a soft one compared to Amtrak's. I just ran across the attached 13 June 1978 consist.

    1978 06 13 CN-VIA 03 consist.jpg
     
  16. Nov 12, 2019 #16

    jiml

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    My first overnight trip on VIA was on the sleeper Ethelbert that you listed.
     
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  17. Nov 12, 2019 #17

    Inlander

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    Via has suffered extensive cutbacks over the years - the 1990 cuts must rate the worse. The system lost half its size and they rerouted the Canadian to the old CN route on the top part of the Rockies(still current route). They are both scenic but the bottom route I think is better. A private company ( Rocky mountaineer) got that prize. I can see the day when they convert the Canadian to a " Rail Cruise's similar to the Ghan and Indian Pacific in Australia and it will be in private hands. Via's main focus is on the east of course. The Government will still have to fund the hardship area trains like the Churchill service( as long as political pressure is still applied)
     
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  18. Nov 13, 2019 #18

    Willbridge

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    I was in Edmonton for the Pepin cutbacks in 1981. Although I was working for Edmonton Transit, the City had me work on keeping the transcontinental service. I've ridden both lines between Edmonton and Vancouver, BC, and I have to agree with you on scenery. However, VIA Rail (and/or the MOT) blew it by not keeping the RDC services Edmonton-Calgary and Regina-Saskatoon in connection with through fares onto Trains 1 and 2 on the CP. That forced the bigger cities on the CN to join the fight.

    And, of course the CN line had market momentum because the CP was easing its way out of the passenger business prior to VIA. While working in 1973-74 for a Japanese tour wholesaler as their Americas rep I could pick up the phone in SF and get a sleeper added to the Super Continental (they would run it Vancouver to Edmonton). The CP would courteously ask me to wait while they looked for unsold space on the diverse types of rooms of the standard Canadian consist.

    American readers should take note of the 1981 VIA cutbacks because the Winnipeg-West changes were almost exactly what Amtrak's Anderson was recently proposing. And the results were disastrous. So disastrous that we were able to get some amelioration work done, but the big daily Super Continental consist listed here was to be no more.

    Pix are from the 77-78 transition period.

    CNTr2MtRobson27Dec77.jpg
    CNTr2StephenInLounge27Dec77.jpg

    CNCamroseStephenJun78.jpg
     
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  19. Nov 13, 2019 #19

    Seaboard92

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    I’ve heard that one reason the Canadian wont ever be rerouted back to the CP is because of Rocky Mountaineer’s lobbying.
     
  20. Nov 14, 2019 #20

    jiml

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    Lobbying may not be the right word, but it's close. It's probably more that VIA can't afford to pay CP as much as Rocky Mountaineer does for the trackage rights. VIA has always had a historical "relationship" (some might say sweetheart deal) with CN, as documented previously in this thread, and a very low percentage of VIA trains have ever run on CP tracks. Currently there is one, and it is a mandated route. There have been others over the years, but when a route is discontinued - think original Canadian, Atlantic Limited, and so on, it is always the CN routing that survives.

    The only other place in Canada that passenger trains have significant presence on CP is in Montreal commuter service. Toronto's GO service, while a much larger operation, features only one CP route out of seven and it is the shortest, with little freight interference. Even an eastern extension of GO trains which was to feature a short segment on CP is now under review. Apparently continuing on CN could cost half as much and be ready in half the time. Money talks.
     
  21. Nov 14, 2019 #21

    Seaboard92

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    I think when CP wined and dined me really bought good favor in my head. I have a very positive outlook on CP at the moment.
     
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  22. Nov 14, 2019 #22

    railiner

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    DIdn’t VIA RAIL actually start out as a “service brand” of CN (like Amtrak’s ‘Acela’), in its very early years, and later became an independent crown corporation?

    I would imagine a lot of the management of VIA came from CN, and that combined, could account for VIA’s continued closer relationship with CN vs CP...
     
  23. Nov 15, 2019 #23

    NS VIA Fan

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    Exactly!

    Equipment was even branded as ‘VIA CN’ for the first couple of years until VIA Rail Canada Inc was formed as a separate Crown Corporation.

    Here’s the first ‘VIA CN’ Timetable from April 1976.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]r
     
  24. Nov 15, 2019 #24

    railiner

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    Love those shots, especially handsome is that Railiner 6107 in VIA RAIL livery...
     
  25. Jan 2, 2020 #25

    Willbridge

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    I've run across some more transition period consists (great for scale modelers who have a mish-mash of equipment).

    CPR Train 302 of 13 Dec 77 departing South Edmonton on time

    Dayliner 9105 - CP

    CNR Train 9 of 27 Dec 77 arriving Jasper from Edmonton with white flags

    Freight unit - CN
    Freight unit - CN
    Heater car - VIA
    Baggage - VIA
    Baggage-Cafe - CN (deadhead?)
    Coach - CN
    Coach - CN5456
    Diner - CN1349
    Sleeper - 'Green Point' - VIA
    Business - 'Peace River' - NAR

    VIA Train 3 departing Edmonton on 28 Jul 79 at 17h35

    Engine - VIA6506 (A)
    Engine - VIA6615 (B)
    Engine - VIA6607 (B)
    Baggage - VIA9616
    Sleeper - 'Riviere Cloche' - VIA (as dorm?)
    Coach - VIA5458
    Coach - VIA5474
    Cafe - VIA761
    Coach - VIA5714 (Daynighter?)
    Sleeper - 'Englee' - VIA
    Sleeper - 'Endcliffe' - CN
    Sleeper - 'Green Cabin' - VIA
    Diner - VIA1377
    Lounge - CN hvywt 'Bonsoir' replacing CN ex-Milwaukee Road "Jasper'
    Sleeper - 'Drummond Manor' - CP
    Sleeper - "Chateau Maisonneuve - VIA

    The notes on Train 3 were not very legible, but these give an idea of the transition.

    VIA Train 302 of 17 Aug 79 departing South Edmonton 3 minutes late. Further time lost sawing around a freight blocking the main line in the yard.

    Engine - VIA1416 (A)
    Baggage-Dormitory CP600 (though no checked baggage service)
    Coach - CP104 (60 seats)

    This substituted for an RDC-2 damaged in a grade crossing accident with farm machinery near Didsbury, Alberta.
     
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