All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:34 pm

[quote="Tadman"][quote="theseaandalifesaver"]Why is track speed so slow from Vancouver, BC to The US Border? I was on the 6:35am train this morning and after an hour we were still at the city limits of Vancouver.[/quote]

Canadian National is no friend of Amtrak. There are two bottlenecks. The first is the wye leading on to Pacific Central Station trackage, CN will tie it up with intermodal trains to the port. The second is the bridge in New Westminster. I think (can't recall for sure) that's the BN-CN handoff, and a busy bridge. I've sat there for 30-45 minutes before, watching skytrains go by on the overpass.

Those two delays can be quite lengthy, and CN isn't exactly helpful for the rest of the route, either.[/quote]

That was exactly the two spots we stopped in on the ride to Seattle.
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:15 am

In Vancouver, BC, the routing that Amtrak uses is rather twisty, adding a lot of travel time to the schedule.
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby ExCon90 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:36 pm

In the summer of 1952 I rode GN's Streamlined Internationals (3 trips daily in each direction, with 2 trainsets, each including a tapered-end obs properly pointed), from Seattle to Vancouver and back, and as I recall we pretty much crawled north of the border, with periods of stopping and waiting, even then.
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:17 pm

I think even on clear track and with the speed restraints Amtrak takes at least an hour just to get out of Vancouver. Is there a quicker way they could go?
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby NorthWest » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:59 pm

^Unfortunately not really, without a lot of expensive bridging and tunneling through the middle of a city. It would help if a passenger-only track were added, but for 4-5 passenger trains a day it doesn't make sense.
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby bdawe » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:32 pm

NorthWest wrote:^Unfortunately not really, without a lot of expensive bridging and tunneling through the middle of a city. It would help if a passenger-only track were added, but for 4-5 passenger trains a day it doesn't make sense.


Well, you know how it is - "no one rides the train because they're slow and they don't come very often. The trains are slow and don't come very often 'cause no one rides them"
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby NorthWest » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:11 am

^Not entirely pleased with the situation either, and use the trains several times a year, but am a realist. Until there's a private ROW, things are going to be subject to delays. I'd love to get the bridge at New Westminster fixed because that'd help everyone. I'd also like 517 to stop losing 20-30 minutes at the border and sticking 518 at North Stanwood every night. Unless there's money, none of this will be fixed. It was hard enough to get enough funding so CBP would allow the second round trip north of Bellingham.
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby Suburban Station » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:37 am

NorthWest wrote:^Not entirely pleased with the situation either, and use the trains several times a year, but am a realist. Until there's a private ROW, things are going to be subject to delays. I'd love to get the bridge at New Westminster fixed because that'd help everyone. I'd also like 517 to stop losing 20-30 minutes at the border and sticking 518 at North Stanwood every night. Unless there's money, none of this will be fixed. It was hard enough to get enough funding so CBP would allow the second round trip north of Bellingham.

As it turned out though, the second trip was worth the effort, so why not a third trip?
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby Tadman » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:50 am

They're talking of upgrading the West Coast Express, is there a potential for commuter trains to White Rock? That might give the route a critical mass necessary for capital improvements.
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby NorthWest » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:32 am

I think that we'll see additional bus round trips before we get more trains; the Bellingham Sub is rather busy as-is. The buses are pretty popular, though.

I really doubt that any route expansion is likely for WCE. For White Rock, buses to an extended Expo Line would be cheaper and probably a lot faster.
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:25 pm

Busses are only a popular option because:

1. There's more throughout the day and the only trains that go to Vancouver either leave Seattle at 6am or arrive in Vanvouver after midnight.
2. It's cheaper. You can find, and i know from experience, $1.00 tickets from Seattle to Vancouver.
3. It's a hell of a lot faster and generally more reliable.
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby bdawe » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:50 pm

theseaandalifesaver wrote:Busses are only a popular option because:

1. There's more throughout the day and the only trains that go to Vancouver either leave Seattle at 6am or arrive in Vanvouver after midnight.
2. It's cheaper. You can find, and i know from experience, $1.00 tickets from Seattle to Vancouver.
3. It's a hell of a lot faster and generally more reliable.


WRT 3, it's not a hell of a lot faster. Bus schedules are essentially the same as train schedules, at 4 hours or worse.

Which supports my contention that Amtrak could eat the buses if they were priced better and had more frequencies.
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:31 pm

bdawe wrote:Which supports my contention that Amtrak could eat the buses if they were priced better and had more frequencies.

That’s true across the country on many routes (including several long-distance routes!) And yet, here we are :(
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:15 pm

I'm not saying i support busses over trains. I travel between Seattle and Vancouver 2-3 times a month and I commute back and forth between Amtrak, Greyhound and Bolt Bus. Every single train I've taken between the two and have delayed by at least 45 minutes. And again, the train times are less than ideal. Especially heading SEA-VAN.

The price for the train isn't the bad. If you book it two weeks in advance, it's usually around $32USD. And the bus averages between $18-25.
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Re: All Things Cascades incl Vancouver

Postby NorthWest » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:17 pm

I was talking about the Thruway buses, which extend Cascades trains north of Seattle. Not sure you can book one SEA-VAN without taking the train.
The Oregon POINT ones can be, but they're funded by the state.
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