Discussion of Canadian Passenger Rail Services such as AMT (Montreal), Go Transit (Toronto), VIA Rail, and other Canadian Railways and Transit

Moderator: Ken V

Here’s the consist for the westbound “Canadian” that departed Toronto for Vancouver on Thursday, May 20, 2004. It’s nearly a half mile long and will be quite a sight rolling across the prairies at 80mph+

6435 F40
6434 F40
6405 F40
8610 Baggage
8101 Coach
8129 Coach
Skyline 8507 Dome
Lorne Manor
Monk Manor
Bliss Manor
Skyline 8512 Dome
Empress Diner
Fraser Manor
Draper Manor
Dawson Manor
Drummond Manor
Dunsmuir Manor
Franklin Manor
Chateau Varennes
Chateau Richelieu
Chateau Rouville
Chateau Papineau
Chateau Radisson
Skyline 8517 Dome
Imperial Diner
Laird Manor
Burton Manor
Douglas Manor
Assiniboine Park Dome Observation

ReserVIA is showing the train as sold out for Roomettes, Bedrooms and Drawing Rooms but some coach seats and Upper/Lower Berths are still available.

Note that since the Ocean is being converted to Renaissance equipment, it’s Chateau sleepers are now appearing on the Canadian. They offer additional Drawing Rooms (three beds) that are usually in shot supply.
  by bill haithcoat
I will be riding the Canadian in mid-September of this year. How long can I anticipate it will be during that season?
  by marquisofmississauga
The summer-length Canadian usually continues until early November. VIA will, however, reduce or increase the number of sleepers to meet demand. The normal average summer consist is three coaches, skyline (coach class), three Manor sleepers, skyline, diner, six Manor sleepers, skyline, diner, three Manor sleepers and Park car. This spring, there have been more Chateau sleepers operated than normal. Last summer's patronage was very light, compared to normal, and there were many consists that did not have the usual 12 sleepers.

I saw the Tuesday 25 May consist in Toronto and there were three diner/skyline sets and six Chateau sleepers in addition to the 12 Manor cars.

  by rubensfan
how many sleeping cars on the half mile canadian?

  by viafan
In the listing above there are 17 sleepers - all Budd sleepers are named Manor or Chateau. The Park car (observation) also has sleeping accommodations).

Harold Nicholson
  by jhdeasy
This consist has 17.5 sleepers (let's count the PARK car as 0.5 sleeper) and only 2 coaches.

So many sleepers/beds and relatively few coaches/seats compared to the typical Amtrak long distance train, which might have two sleepers and 4 or 5 coaches.

What do you think accounts for the difference?

One factor could be Via's sizeable inventory of sleepers, compared to Amtrak's seemingly smaller inventory of sleepers.

  by AmtrakFan
That is a very long train they will prorably be late due to doubling the Platform and why do they only have 3 Coaches?

AmtrakFan :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

  by marquisofmississauga
It is very rare indeed to see more than three coaches on the Canadian. It is simply a matter of demand. In fact, recently, the number of coaches has usually been only two. One Service Manager aboard the train told me that VIA will limit the number of coaches whenever possible in order to make it more feasable to add another sleeper. Especially in the summer, this brings in a lot of revenue for VIA. CN charges VIA per car, so whether it is a coach or sleeper, the cost of carrying it is the same.
  by p42
usually the chateau sleepers are operated on the Ocean and Chaleur

  by missthealcos
Not anymore, they regularly show up on the Canadian again now.
  by Richard Y
I am considering a repeat of a trip I made about 8 yrs ago. It would be from Vancouver, BC, on the Rocky Mountaineer, to Jasper. Then from Jasper back to Vancouver aboard the VIA.
I went to the VIA website and they talk about 3 services: VIA-1, Silver and Blue, and the Constillation. Would the "Silver and Blue" be the train from Jasper back to Vancouver?
As far as the "Manor", "Chateau", and "Park" sleeper cars, do they incorporate the sleeper units illustrated on the VIA web site? The VIA site shows the basic single and double sleeping units, which are the ones I probably would book.
Thanks. Richard

  by Ken V
"Silver and Blue" is VIA's label for first class (sleeper) accomodations on the Canadian. This would be the one available between Jasper and Vancouver.

"VIA-1" is the daytime first class service in the Quebec-City/Windsor Corridor and "Constellation" applies only to the overnight Montreal/Toronto trains. There's also Easterly class on the Montreal/Halifax Ocean, Totem class on the Jasper/Prince Rupert Skeena etc.

While the layout of rooms on the "Manor", "Chateau", and, "Park" cars differ, I've found the basic accomodations are more or less similar. Those more experienced with these can provide better advice.

  by downbeat
The pictures and diagrams shown here:
represent the accomodations you might find aboard the Canadian (Manor, Château and Park sleepers).

  by AmtrakFan
Will the Ocean going to Ressiances free up enough Cars to make a Daily Candian?


  by marquisofmississauga
In therory, yes. There are two significant problems. One is political: any attempt by VIA to increase service in the western end of the run will bring howls of outrage from the Rocky Mountaineer people. Mr. Armstrong is extremely well-connected politically to all the right-wing politicians in the west. Remember a few years back VIA was going to run the Canadian six-days a week between Edmonton & Vancouver? Brochures were printed, but Mr. Armstrong got the expanded service cancelled. Similarly, any hopes of the "real" route of the Canadian being restored between Calgary & Vancouver is just wishful thinking. The previous Transport Minister, David Collenette, wanted to see this happen, but after the negative comments by the premiers of Alberta & B.C and the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce (or some such organisation), the CPR and even some federal Liberals, he conceded it wasn't going to happen.

The other problem with daily operation is that the trains would have to be much shorter. There are enough Park cars, but not enough diners and Skyline cars to maintain long trains of the current summer length. The extra cost of operating seven shorter trains per week as opposed to running three long ones would be huge. Although it has been reported that the Canadian makes a modest profit during some of the summer months in some years, the overall losses are quite significant and VIA simply can't afford to increase this loss. When VIA considered the six-day-a-week summer-only service through the mountains, they had to prove to the government that this would not result in the need for a further subsidy.