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

Moderator: Ken V

  by Tadman
Back in the day of twin streamliners across the country, did Via differentiate one as the premium train and one as the standard train? From what I understand, when it was CP and CN, the Canadian was a nicer/premium operation while the Super was a decent train but not as nice as the Canadian. Your thoughts are appreciated.
Back in the CP and CN days......I always thought of the Canadian as serving an older group of passengers looking for a “cruise” experience similar to today. The younger crowd and backpacker types seemed to ride the Super Continental as CN’s “Red-White-Blue” plan offered some pretty cheap transcontinental fares.

After VIA took over, the fares on one route vs the other were identical and there much intermingling of equipment. The Canadian retained its Park Car and the Super.....its xMILW Sceneramic Dome but the Canadian was no longer solid Budd Stainless Steel with Blue xCN Dayniters added. Sleepers and Coaches were also swapped between the trains in Winnipeg so passengers on one route could reach cities on the other route. You could find a blue E-series sleeper on the Canadian or Stainless on the Super. (I've checked several consists from that era but haven't found a Park Car on the Super)

In November 1981 the Super Continental was discontinued on CN between Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver and replaced by daytime trains operating: Winnipeg-Regina-Saskatoon.....and Saskatoon to Edmonton. CN was now freight only between Winnipeg (Portage la Prairie) and Edmonton via Melville (route of today’s Canadian) and between Jasper (Red Pass Jct) and Vancouver. The Skeena (from Prince Rupert) was extended to also run from Jasper to Edmonton.

June 3, 1984: A new train....the Panorama was introduced between Winnipeg and Edmonton. Returning passenger service to the CN line via Melville and replacing the daytime train via Regina. It also replaced the Skeena between Edmonton and Prince Rupert. Basically a through Winnipeg to Prince Rupert train (tri-weekly west of Edmonton) It also used Amtrak Superliner equipment between Winnipeg and Edmonton for several months.

June 1, 1985: The Super Continental was relaunched but only from Winnipeg west (not from Toronto or Montreal). Replacing the Panorama between Winnipeg and Jasper and extended through to Vancouver (returning passenger service to CN between Red Pass Jct. and Vancouver) The Skeena name returned as a through Edmonton to Prince Rupert train attached to the Super Continental between Edmonton and Jasper tri-weekly.

In the next round of VIA cutback.....The Canadian replaced the Super Continental on the CN route in January 1990 and still follows this route today. Since then.....The Canadian has returned to short sections of CP under directional running agreements in Ontario and in the Fraser and Thompson River Canyons in BC.