Stainless Steel "Ocean"

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Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby marquisofmississauga » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:57 am

There appear to have been no postings on this forum in 26 days. So I will try to inject some life in it.

VIA is substituting a HEP consist of the "Ocean" ex-Montreal today, Wed. 29th March and the return from Halifax on Friday the 31st. Reservia has been updated to show the change in equipment. This may please trainspotters but paying passengers may not be so happy about it, especially those who have booked single occupancy of a Renaissance double room with shower.

This substitution happened to me several years ago. VIA informed me that my accommodation had been changed from the Renaissance double room with shower to a Château roomette. I said I had paid the (admittedly modest) surcharge for single occupancy of a double and I did not want a roomette. I was told I would have to pay the usual stiff supplement that is charged for a double room on the Budd equipment. A supervisor agreed that I should get what I paid for (minus the private shower, of course) so I was happy. I was lucky to be able to get a double because the Château sleepers have only three double rooms. Some lucky people would have received a drawing room. But most people who have single occupancy of the Ren. doubles are put in roomettes, of which there are plenty.

I'm not sure the reason for this substitution of equipment tonight. The e/b Ocean of Sunday 26th March had engine trouble and one unit was removed at Drummondville, causing a four-hour delay. The train got later and the arrival in Halifax was over six hours late at 00:10. That consist is returning to Montreal today. If I find out the reasons for today's substitution I will post it.
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby chriskay » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:40 am

Very interesting - I also am curious as to the reason. Thanks for sharing.

If I knew ahead of time I'd be more likely to book a special trip on the Ocean out east to visit family.
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby NS VIA FAN » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:15 pm

That old Budd stuff might be 'purdy' to look at....but I'll take a smooth riding Renn anyday over the constant rattle and vibrate of the Budds.
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby marquisofmississauga » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:12 am

marquisofmississauga wrote:... That consist is returning to Montreal today. ...


Oops, I didn't mean to say "today" on the day I posted this. The Budd consist arrives in Halifax today (Thursday) and is departing for Montreal on Friday. All types of accommodation are available except for the suite (twin cabins for 2) and drawing room (large cabin for 2) in the Park car.
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby timberley » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:50 am

I don't know the exact reason, but there are apparently some serious issues with one set of Renaissance equipment so it is being removed from service for maintenance.

Though only the one round trip is showing in Reservia right now, I've heard from multiple sources (within VIA and from a passenger on board today's #14) that the Budd set will be staying on the Ocean for at least a few weeks while that Renaissance set is worked on. In many ways this is quite a bit like what they did before the service cuts in 2012, when one Ren set was pulled for work over the off-season and a Budd set was swapped in.

Presumably further equipment changes should show up in Reservia as they're confirmed and passengers are notified - but nothing is there yet.

Here's the consist for 14 that's en route today:

6408
6406
8623 - Baggage
8140 - Coach
8138 - Coach
8505 - Skyline
8407 - Emerald (Diner)
8211 - Chateau Lasalle
8202 - Chateau Bienville
8313 - Butler Manor
8208 - Chateau Dollier
8716 - Tweedsmuir Park

The real oddball there is the Manor sleeper. Those are rare in the east, and I believe the last time we had one down here was in the summer of 2012, when a few peak-season trains had a Manor stuck on ahead of the Park to add sleeper capacity.
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby timberley » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:51 am

Watched 14 arrive yesterday and 15 leave today, though I didn't get a chance to get any decent photos. The consist was, indeed, what was posted.

Reservia has now updated to show that the Budd set will operate on the next trip as well. #14 leaving Montreal on Sunday was updated earlier today to show Budd accommodations, and #15 on Wednesday out of Halifax was just updated a short while ago to show the same (there was a lag of a few hours after that 14 had been changed).

The indication is that it will be on for a while (I was told a few weeks, someone else heard 1 to 2 months), but it's not yet clear if VIA will update the equipment in the system for a longer projected period of time soon, or if they'll just keep waiting until a few days before each departure to update.
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby timberley » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:06 pm

Now got word back from VIA that the Budd set is scheduled to be on the Ocean until the end of April, operating on this rotation with the one Ren set - so every other departure at each end will be Budd equipped.

Apparently it's a slow manual process to update ReserVIA with the different equipment, so it may take another week to do all the updates.

I just happen to be travelling on 15 the Friday after next and on 14 the following Friday, and was informed after inquiring to the VIA customer service email that my trains should both end up as Budd - they said I should get an official email about a week before departure with my new room assignments.

I'm one of those who will gladly take a Budd any day, so I'm not complaining :) Rattle and shake as they might, I love everything else about riding them...
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby NS VIA FAN » Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:40 am

timberley wrote:I'm one of those who will gladly take a Budd any day, so I'm not complaining :) Rattle and shake as they might, I love everything else about riding them...

Enjoy!......I hope others are as accepting of a downgrade to that old Budd equipment as you are. Sure those Budds are 'Purdy' to look at but the majority riding are not railfans.

Even on a Business Class trip to Quebec City last weekend......the ride quality of the refurbished LRC was lacking in comparison to the smoothness of the Ren consist on the return trip to Montreal
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby timberley » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:52 am

NS VIA FAN wrote:Enjoy!......I hope others are as accepting of a downgrade to that old Budd equipment as you are. Sure those Budds are 'Purdy' to look at but the majority riding are not railfans.

Even on a Business Class trip to Quebec City last weekend......the ride quality of the refurbished LRC was lacking in comparison to the smoothness of the Ren consist on the return trip to Montreal


I will fully admit it - if ride quality is the *only* thing you care about, then the Rens definitely win. They are undeniably smoother riding and much quieter, and I also quite like the well-sealed aspect of them (walking between cars is much easier and more pleasant than in the Budd vestibules...though I do enjoy the snow blowing in during the winter :P )

But my general preference for the Budd equipment has nothing to do with them looking "purdier" (I actually think the Rens look pretty awesome :) ), and everything to do with actually riding them. My initial preference came from riding them in coach - my first many many Ocean trips were in economy/coach while I was a student, and I first ended up on a Budd set by accident when it was operating during the off-season. I liked virtually everything better about it. Sure, I didn't get a single seat (something I do like about the Rens), but I actually had enough leg room to stretch out properly, a seat that reclined enough and was comfortable enough to more easily sleep in, waay better night-time lighting (those lights along the floor in the Rens are terrible at night - I find they get right in my eyes as I try to get into a comfy sleeping position). Plus bathrooms that were bigger than a closet, and a proper lounge (not that sad excuse for one in the Rens, which can seat about 6 people), and a DOME! For coach passengers, the Budds win every day of the week, easy, unless the only things you want are a single seat and a smoother ride.

I also find the sleepers far more comfortable - more room, more options. As a single passenger, while I am pleased that the Ren single-occupancy surcharge is lower, I hate the fact that I ALWAYS have to pay it. If I don't want a coach seat, I have no other option but to go for a bedroom - so why should I get charged extra just because I don't have someone travelling with me? So with the Budds, I do like having the option to pick single-occupancy accommodations that save some $$. I've also found the beds in every one of the Budd accommodations are much more comfortable than the narrow, hard Ren beds (especially the bottom bunk in the Rens, which tend to have a bit of a slant that makes you feel like you're going to roll out of bed....). I can put up with a bit more noise and rattling if I'm in a comfier bed.

Anyway, having said all that, I know that's just my opinion :) But as I've said before, it is my opinion as a traveller riding this train, not just as a railfan photographing it.

What I've found very interesting over the years is seeing the different opinions from various people who ride that train. I've been riding regularly for 10 years now (coming up on the 10th anniversary of my first trip later this year!), and I've talked to a lot of people on board over those years - the majority of them average folks, not railfans. I have heard a pretty wide variety of opinions about the types of equipment. Just like you, I've heard some people complain about the Budds because they don't ride as well as the Rens, and they have an older feel to them. But I've also talked to a lot of people who liked the different accommodation options in the Budds, found the beds and coaches more comfortable, liked the Skyline for coach passengers, appreciated some different food options in the proper diner, etc.

So at the end of the day, I guess it just depends what things are most important to you :-)
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby NeoArashi » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:58 am

marquisofmississauga wrote:I'm not sure the reason for this substitution of equipment tonight. The e/b Ocean of Sunday 26th March had engine trouble and one unit was removed at Drummondville, causing a four-hour delay. The train got later and the arrival in Halifax was over six hours late at 00:10. That consist is returning to Montreal today. If I find out the reasons for today's substitution I will post it.

Lol, Drummunville seems cursed at this point, lol.

On janurary 3rd 2016, me and my GF were at Montreal. I was leaving to Halifax, and she left 30 minutes earlier to Quebec City. Unknown to us, by the time we took our respective trains another Via Rail train was stuck at Drummonville. We were BOTH stuck there for around 2 hours (*advertisement mode, activated* if you watch my Wonders of Canada season 3 episode 1 on youtube, you'll see, lol) My GF got almost 3 hours late (she got a 50% disocunt for her next QC-MTL trip) while I arrived at Moncton... at the time we were supposed to be halfway between Truro and Halifax (meaning we were almost 4 hours late) However, the Via staff ordered a massive ammount of St-Hubert chicken as compensation (as we would arrive after the usual dinner time)


timberley wrote:I'm one of those who will gladly take a Budd any day, so I'm not complaining :) Rattle and shake as they might, I love everything else about riding them...


So do I, but as I just booked a Cabin for 2 trip for early May, I hope they won't try to pull off the same s*** they tried to pull on the TC. Granted, it's only for the going trip. Booked a good ol' regular bench for the return trip, so I'll gladly take a budd if that's what they have to offer.

Maybe I like those budds due to nostalgia? Before I was 20 years old, I only ever took the Montreal-Seneterre trainss which ALWAYS has budds equiped.
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby timberley » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:54 pm

NeoArashi wrote:So do I, but as I just booked a Cabin for 2 trip for early May, I hope they won't try to pull off the same s*** they tried to pull on the TC. Granted, it's only for the going trip. Booked a good ol' regular bench for the return trip, so I'll gladly take a budd if that's what they have to offer.


What dates are you travelling? If you follow the current rotation, you can figure out if that would be Budd or Ren. Right now the Budds will be on #15 out of Halifax tomorrow, and then on #14 out of Montreal on Friday. Since there are only two sets of equipment running, it will be a simple back and forth (i.e. each date at each end will alternate equipment types, so from Halifax this Wednesday will be Budd, Friday Renaissance, Sunday Budd, Wednesday Renaissance, etc...opposite for Montreal)

Once it's uploaded into the online system you can see by selecting a trip and looking at the drop-down for sleeper accommodations (if you see berths and cabins for 1, it's Budd), but so far only trains up to next Sunday have been updated. I've been told it's a very slow manual process, so it could take a while to get them all in.

Right now the last trains that I know for sure are supposed to be Budd equipped will be #14 on April 26th and then #15 on April 28th. But that could change as the date approaches, depending on just how much work they need to do on that Ren set...
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby marquisofmississauga » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:23 pm

timberley wrote:...
What I've found very interesting over the years is seeing the different opinions from various people who ride that train. I've been riding regularly for 10 years now (coming up on the 10th anniversary of my first trip later this year!), and I've talked to a lot of people on board over those years - the majority of them average folks, not railfans. I have heard a pretty wide variety of opinions about the types of equipment. Just like you, I've heard some people complain about the Budds because they don't ride as well as the Rens, and they have an older feel to them. But I've also talked to a lot of people who liked the different accommodation options in the Budds, found the beds and coaches more comfortable, liked the Skyline for coach passengers, appreciated some different food options in the proper diner, etc.

So at the end of the day, I guess it just depends what things are most important to you :-)


I can't recall how many trips in Ren. sleepers I have taken. I stopped counting at 30 or maybe 35. Several of those trips were on the now-discontinued "Enterprise". I have never had a serious problem with my cabin. Once I had an electrical outlet that was dead and once there was some minor flooding from the shower. I wish I could say the same for the Budd sleepers, even the recently refurbished Manor sleepers used on the "Canadian." I have had to change rooms several times due to toilets that don't work, a sink that was causing major flooding, and air vents that were seized in the off position. (Sometimes a crunched paper cup can be shoved into the vent to prop it open.)

Opinions on the Ren. sleepers do indeed vary. A certain consistency is that those who have the cabin for double occupancy prefer the Budd bedrooms (especially room F in a Manor sleeper) but those in single occupancy prefer the Ren. room over a "cabin for 1" or roomette as many of us still call it. There was only one person of the many I have spoken to who said it didn't matter whether he had a Ren. double or a roomette and no-one preferred a roomette (except one person who made it clear he was a railfan).

Further to my informal surveys of paying passengers: all of those who had a shower-equipped room liked that feature and everyone liked being able to lock the door from the outside. Women like being able to lock their purses in their accommodation. I concede the shower in the Budd sleepers is better than the one in the toilet annex of Ren. sleepers, but I have never had a Ren. shower freeze in winter. My experience with winter trips on the "Canadian" and the former "Chaleur" is that some and often all showers freeze. The other problem with the one shower in the Budd sleeper is that it is often so busy in the morning some can't use it before breakfast. I can't be seen in polite society without a shampoo so if I can't get access to any shower on the train I have to wash my hair in the sink. :-D
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby NeoArashi » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:38 pm

timberley wrote:
NeoArashi wrote:So do I, but as I just booked a Cabin for 2 trip for early May, I hope they won't try to pull off the same s*** they tried to pull on the TC. Granted, it's only for the going trip. Booked a good ol' regular bench for the return trip, so I'll gladly take a budd if that's what they have to offer.


What dates are you travelling? If you follow the current rotation, you can figure out if that would be Budd or Ren. Right now the Budds will be on #15 out of Halifax tomorrow, and then on #14 out of Montreal on Friday. Since there are only two sets of equipment running, it will be a simple back and forth (i.e. each date at each end will alternate equipment types, so from Halifax this Wednesday will be Budd, Friday Renaissance, Sunday Budd, Wednesday Renaissance, etc...opposite for Montreal)

Once it's uploaded into the online system you can see by selecting a trip and looking at the drop-down for sleeper accommodations (if you see berths and cabins for 1, it's Budd), but so far only trains up to next Sunday have been updated. I've been told it's a very slow manual process, so it could take a while to get them all in.

Right now the last trains that I know for sure are supposed to be Budd equipped will be #14 on April 26th and then #15 on April 28th. But that could change as the date approaches, depending on just how much work they need to do on that Ren set...


Doing Montreal-Halifax in a "Cabin for 2- Shower" on may 5th
Doing Halifax-Sainte-Foy in econimy class on the 10th of may.
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby timberley » Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:59 am

NeoArashi wrote:Doing Montreal-Halifax in a "Cabin for 2- Shower" on may 5th
Doing Halifax-Sainte-Foy in econimy class on the 10th of may.


Well if they do extend the Budd set beyond the end of April, your May 5th trip would end up being Budd and your May 10th return would still be Renaissance. There's a good chance that the Budds will be off by then and back to just Renaissance, but we'll see. You probably wouldn't get a notice about the change until very close to your departure.

If you do get changed and bumped to a roomette instead of a bedroom, I'd say it's worth calling VIA and asking if you can keep the bedroom assignment. But if you do end up in a roomette, they're supposed to give you a refund to make up the difference (since a roomette is cheaper to book).
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Re: Stainless Steel "Ocean"

Postby timberley » Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:30 am

marquisofmississauga wrote:I can't recall how many trips in Ren. sleepers I have taken. I stopped counting at 30 or maybe 35. Several of those trips were on the now-discontinued "Enterprise". I have never had a serious problem with my cabin. Once I had an electrical outlet that was dead and once there was some minor flooding from the shower. I wish I could say the same for the Budd sleepers, even the recently refurbished Manor sleepers used on the "Canadian." I have had to change rooms several times due to toilets that don't work, a sink that was causing major flooding, and air vents that were seized in the off position. (Sometimes a crunched paper cup can be shoved into the vent to prop it open.)


I'm in a similar boat re: how many trips I've taken - on the Ocean in general (coach or sleeper) I gave up counting past 50 several years ago - I do kind of wish I had a proper tally!

Admittedly I have made far fewer trips on Budd equipment, as it's only been an option when it's running on the Ocean (my first trip on the Canadian is coming up in under 2 weeks...), and I haven't run into any of the common issues. But I fully recognize I may just have been lucky.

The issues I've had with Ren sleepers have been mostly minor, like bathroom doors that wouldn't shut properly, blinds that were falling apart (less an issue now that they've replaced with curtains), toilets failing (on two trips), and on one occasion a shower that had only one temperature setting - SCALDING! Same applied for the water in the sink... I also had one recent trip where the bathroom door got jammed while I was inside it, because a metal strip on the wall had peeled back and blocked the door! Fortunately I had someone else with me on that trip...

There are a couple of chronic little issues that bug me with them, like the bathroom light not being able to shut off (the light bleed under the door is right across from your face in a rear-facing room), uncomfortable day-time seating, weird cupboard design, and the beds being just not that comfy (I actually like the upper bunk considerably better than the lower). Funnily enough, people always complain about rattles in the Budds, but the worst rattling issue I've ever had was with the ladder in a Ren sleeper...

marquisofmississauga wrote: Opinions on the Ren. sleepers do indeed vary. A certain consistency is that those who have the cabin for double occupancy prefer the Budd bedrooms (especially room F in a Manor sleeper) but those in single occupancy prefer the Ren. room over a "cabin for 1" or roomette as many of us still call it. There was only one person of the many I have spoken to who said it didn't matter whether he had a Ren. double or a roomette and no-one preferred a roomette (except one person who made it clear he was a railfan).


I'm really torn re: Ren bedroom vs. roomette - I like the roomettes, and generally have a comfier sleep in them, but I'll admit that the ride quality can become a major issue at times. I generally spend very little time in my room, but I can appreciate the extra space in a Ren and the much smoother ride when you're near the centre of the car.

marquisofmississauga wrote:Further to my informal surveys of paying passengers: all of those who had a shower-equipped room liked that feature and everyone liked being able to lock the door from the outside. Women like being able to lock their purses in their accommodation. I concede the shower in the Budd sleepers is better than the one in the toilet annex of Ren. sleepers, but I have never had a Ren. shower freeze in winter. My experience with winter trips on the "Canadian" and the former "Chaleur" is that some and often all showers freeze. The other problem with the one shower in the Budd sleeper is that it is often so busy in the morning some can't use it before breakfast. I can't be seen in polite society without a shampoo so if I can't get access to any shower on the train I have to wash my hair in the sink. :-D


Completely agree on how nice it is to have a shower in the room, plus ability to lock the rooms. My girlfriend is a big fan of both of these features, the former because she'd rather not have to go down a public hallway to get to the shower! I completely hear you re: the need for a shower - I've only once travelled in a Ren room that didn't have one, and that was back when you used to save a few $$ for the non-shower rooms. Of course I've made many, many overnight coach trips where showering was not an option....I always made sure to have a hat of some sort with me to wear the next morning :P

The shower freezing issue is definitely a problem. I'm surprised VIA still hasn't come up with a way to address that, though I suspect that would require some major plumbing work...

But the Renaissance cars are far from immune to winter problems. The showers may not freeze, but I've made plenty of winter trips where we ran into major problems because of the poor winterization of those cars. One of the biggest issues I've run into is with the multitude of pneumatic systems on board. In really cold winter weather, they often run into issues with losing air pressure (especially further back in the sleepers), which causes problems with doors, toilets, showers, and even the car suspension. I've had trips where whole cars had their toilets out of order, and in one wild example, we had the suspension completely fail in the last two sleepers. The Rens might be smooth riding normally, but with that out of commission I have never in my life been on a wilder, bouncier, train ride! Thankfully the Park was there to escape to.


At the end of the day, I think both types equipment have their pros and cons. What I would love to see would be new sleeper equipment built with some of the more modern elements of the Renaissance cars (smoother ride, better sealed diaphragms and vestibules, more en-suite showers, etc), but built to North American standards - i.e. wider and taller cars, at least one other type of accommodation to offer a mid-priced single-person sleeper accommodation, better winterized, etc. Might be dreaming a bit, but the reality is those Renaissance cars aren't going to last forever....they're already having major issues (body corrosion, lack of replacement parts, increasingly expensive to maintain), so I'd love for VIA to be able to look at new long-distance equipment sooner rather than later...
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