The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

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The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby marquisofmississauga » Sun May 27, 2018 6:28 am

VIA is finally doing something about the lengthy delays of the Canadian. Number 1 which should have arrived in Vancouver Wednesday arrived Friday approximately 45 hours late. Number 1 which should have departed Toronto Thursday was rescheduled to depart Friday at 19:30 but was cancelled mid-afternoon. The Vancouver departure of Tuesday the 29th has also been cancelled.

Number 1 of Saturday the 26th departed Toronto on time. This consist was the train that should have departed on Thursday the 24th. The Vancouver departure of #2 on Friday the 25th was only a few minutes late.

The most interesting statement in this press release is that VIA is planning on a new and longer schedule for the peak-season.

https://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rai ... departures
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby Mark0f0 » Sun May 27, 2018 2:02 pm

So probably a 2X weekly service in the summer now. With an absolute maximum length allowed configuration :(.
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby CHTT1 » Sun May 27, 2018 3:19 pm

Where do you get that? The press release says the next two scheduled departures are May 27 and May 29. Sounds like 3X a week to me.
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby marquisofmississauga » Sun May 27, 2018 4:58 pm

There is no indication that the number of trains is being reduced. Reservia is still selling three trains a week on the same days of the week that they have been for years. Of course this could change at some future time.

I see an immediate benefit to the cancellation of last Thursday's scheduled Toronto departure. That consist departed as #1 Saturday on time. Train #2 that should have arrived on Saturday arrived about 3:00 a.m. Sunday and it will depart on Tuesday. Train #2 that is due to arrive on Tuesday will become Thursday's #1 - and so on. This would appear to mess up the crew rotation but it may be cheaper in the long run for VIA to deal with the issue this way.
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby mdvle » Sun May 27, 2018 7:57 pm

How much time does VIA have in the schedule for each turnaround? Unless it is substantial then making it trip longer time wise inherently will mean that fewer train can run given I assume in the peak summer season VIA doesn't have an abundance of spare equipment.

That said it may not be 2 trains a week but maybe 5 trains every 2 weeks.
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby Mark0f0 » Sun May 27, 2018 11:57 pm

CHTT1 wrote:Where do you get that? The press release says the next two scheduled departures are May 27 and May 29. Sounds like 3X a week to me.


How could they change the schedule, but still maintain a 3X weekly service? With only 5 sets of equipment?

As it stands, they basically are running things flat out, with no dwell time on either end except the minimum required for maintenance and mandatory crew rest. Which wasn't even enough recently, hence the forced cancellation of a turnaround/departure on each end.

If they were to split the equipment up and create a 6th set, they'd run into the problem of being short a Prestige Park and a Prestige Sleeper, at the very least. Probably would be short a refurbished diner as well.
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby marquisofmississauga » Mon May 28, 2018 7:07 am

Mark0f0 wrote:
CHTT1 wrote:Where do you get that? The press release says the next two scheduled departures are May 27 and May 29. Sounds like 3X a week to me.


How could they change the schedule, but still maintain a 3X weekly service? With only 5 sets of equipment?

As it stands, they basically are running things flat out, with no dwell time on either end except the minimum required for maintenance and mandatory crew rest. Which wasn't even enough recently, hence the forced cancellation of a turnaround/departure on each end.

If they were to split the equipment up and create a 6th set, they'd run into the problem of being short a Prestige Park and a Prestige Sleeper, at the very least. Probably would be short a refurbished diner as well.


In the off-peak season with two departures per week it takes three sets of equipment and in the peak season it takes four sets for the three departures a week. There are only four Prestige Park cars and eight Prestige Château sleepers. All of these are in use in the peak season so there are no spares at all. Last summer all 40 Manor sleepers were frequently in service. Eight were on each of the four consists on the entire route and in addition two sets of four regularly operated between Vancouver and Jasper.

In Toronto there are same day turnarounds of only 12 and a half hours. There is plenty of servicing time in Vancouver. In peak season the train due to arrive in Vancouver on Monday morning departs Tuesday evening; Wednesday's arrival departs Friday and Saturday's arrival departs Sunday. In the off-peak season there is no Monday arrival and no Sunday departure. There is plenty of extra equipment kept in Vancouver in the off-peak season. I don' t know why in winter there isn't a spare set in Toronto as there was (except for a Prestige Park car) for a couple of years.

As I was told, any trains sets in excess of four would not be able to offer Prestige service.

Regarding the popularity of Prestige service, I checked five dates in August at random and five in September. Prestige was sold out on all days except one in August. Cabins for 2 were also sold out on half of those dates.
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby Mark0f0 » Wed May 30, 2018 3:42 am

Yes my mistake, forgot they only had 4 sets for 6X weekly.

If Prestige is selling that well, maybe there's a case for doing a 3rd car per set. As far as I know, if a Prestige car goes mechanical, there's literally no substitution possible and those passengers will be forcibly downgraded. The Parks used in Northern BC desperately need to go on the modernization program as well (believe the coaches used have already been slated for modernization!).
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:39 am

So here is "a modest proposal", from this member who has ridden VIA once almost forty years ago - and really does not expect to again (maybe in the next life).

Might it be time to simply drop the funny papers they call a "schedule" and simply "run it when we run it"?

Passengers would book a trip on a train identified by a "Run#", or whatever. Beyond, say, a three day window to leave an originating station, they would be notified with hopefully a 24 hour "window" as to when the train could reasonably expect to depart.

"The Canadian" is simply a tourist excursion train with off the charts fares, but reportedly with a high level of on-board service. It gets government support simply because tourism comprises a far greater portion of the Canadian GNP than same does down here. More GNP means more support in Ottawa. While surely someone does, it is "not exactly" in the market for someone wanting to ride simply in Coach for a ride from Portage La Prairie to Biggar.

Finally, before someone says "come on up and take a ride", I did so during '65 on the "giveaway" fares (CD$ 65 in a Roomette) riding WW from Winnipeg on The Panorama and returning on The Canadian. Only "glitch", the GN Winnipeg Limited misconnected with The Panorama, so some Air Canada "catch up Flightseeing" aboard a Vickers Viscount was needed to Saskatoon. I don't think he exceeded FL12, the weather was perfect, and anyone else around here who remembers the Viscount knows of its perfect flightseeing design.
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby Mark0f0 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:45 pm

Maybe the solution is to split it into 3 separate services. Vancouver-Edmonton. Edmonton-Winnipeg. Winnipeg-Toronto. Assign a set to each (2 sets to Winnipeg-Toronto), and have them run round trip 3X a week. If you want to take the train Toronto-Vancouver, there'd be mandatory overnight off-train stays in Edmonton and Winnipeg.

Certain sectors already run substantially less loaded than others. So they could lighten up the sectors with less load and redeploy on the fuller ones.

That would put train on a consistent departure from Edmonton, and they could thus offer a guaranteed reliable connection to/from the Skeena. Which could even be operated jointly until the Tete Jaune split.
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby mdvle » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:56 pm

The Canadian is a land cruise, and just like any of the ship based cruises passengers/customers expect a scheduled departure and arrival time so the rest of the holiday can be planned around it.

A schedule of it runs when it is available won't work because you can't plan a holiday around that - and the hotels in Vancouver / Toronto / possibly Edmonton would soon wise up to what was happening and charge full nights for cancellations.

Forcing people to repeatedly transfer trains would kill off the Canadian as it currently is. The Rockies portion could likely survive, but the prairie / Canadian Shield portion would die as the packing / unpacking / lugging of suitcases and other assorted belongings would kill off all but the most dedicated railfan of which there are far too few.
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby Tadman » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:34 am

That assumes people want to and do ride Toronto-Vancouver mostly. Given that Rocky short turns at Jasper, clearly the lucrative sightseeing market is okay with that. It would also allow the consist to be skinny Toronto-Winnipeg. If the majority of passengers want to see the rockies, does it make sense to drag 26 cars the entire route to Toronto when they could run straight into Edmonton Airport and put folks back on the plane home. The tracks run right across the street from YYWhatever it is.
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:03 am

Tadman wrote:The tracks run right across the street from YYWhatever it is.

IATA YEG; ICAO CYEG

The beauty of ICAO codes is you have some idea where in the world is being addressed.
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby northcornice » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:52 am

Tadman wrote:
The tracks run right across the street from YYWhatever it is.

You may be thinking of YXD which closed in 2013.
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Re: The Canadian - Cancellations and New Schedule

Postby mdvle » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:22 pm

Tadman wrote:That assumes people want to and do ride Toronto-Vancouver mostly. Given that Rocky short turns at Jasper, clearly the lucrative sightseeing market is okay with that. It would also allow the consist to be skinny Toronto-Winnipeg. If the majority of passengers want to see the rockies, does it make sense to drag 26 cars the entire route to Toronto when they could run straight into Edmonton Airport and put folks back on the plane home. The tracks run right across the street from YYWhatever it is.


Actually, I don't assume that and it wouldn't surprise me if the highest demand was Vancouver-Edmonton.

But, if you force people on the less desirable portion of the trip to go through a hassle of getting of a train, into a hotel, and then onto another train you will kill of the less desirable portion as most tourists simply won't put up with the hassle.

So regardless of how VIA/CN decide to fix the schedule issue as long as there is an Edmonton-Toronto segment the schedule has to work as a through Vancouver-Toronto train.

Which isn't the same as saying things have to operate as their currently do though in fairness am I not sure what VIA currently does.

If ridership is lower Edmonton-Toronto then it would certainly make sense add/remove equipment in Edmonton to better meet actual demand. Or alternately (again depending on what type of equipment is actually available) perhaps move to a once a week Toronto-Vancouver train with between 1 and say 4 additional Vancouver-Edmonton only trains.

But be aware any move to create a Vancouver-Edmonton only train (or portion of) would likely see legal action by Rocky Mountaineer.
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