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 timberley
So for the second time this month, VIA Rail has been forced to cancel trains between Montreal and Toronto due to a CN derailment, this time at Oshawa.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/der ... story.html

It sounds like a pretty small derailment, but it means more delays and people being bused. Once again, it gets me thinking about how much better off VIA would be if they actually operated on their own tracks. It would eliminate regular service delays waiting for freight trains to clear, slower speeds on tracks built for (and used by) heavy freights, being at the whims of CN track maintenance, and then now and then having delays from freight derailments.

I know there are a host of economic and practical reasons why that won't happen, but it would make sense...
  by marquisofmississauga
Every time a line blockage occurs, VIA loses some of their passengers, especially those paying the higher fares. Other than some Canadian railfans, most people who choose to travel by train, especially in Business Class (formerly known as VIA 1), do not appreciate a long bus ride. I think it would be good long-term investment to make arrangements with an airline to fly at least those passengers paying premium fares. There was a 24-hour protest blockade of the Kingston Sub. a year or two ago and Air Canada agreed to accept VIA tickets, even economy class ones, for flights to or from Ottawa or Montreal and Toronto. A friend of mine took advantage of this kind offer and was told by the Air Canada staff that VIA had been very helpful to the airlines when all airports were shut for a while after the events known as "9-11" and they were happy to reciprocate. But this doesn't happen during the all-too-frequent blockages due to derailments. It would be up to VIA to make those arrangements.

Everyone I talk to at VIA says that Porter Airlines, which flies from the almost-downtown Toronto island airport, has taken away a lot of VIA's regular passengers. Last year, whilst travelling on VIA from London to Toronto, I sat beside a businesswoman who travels monthly to Montreal who said she used to take the train all the time. Then one day there was a derailment and VIA put passengers on buses. She declined the offer of a six-hour bus ride and flew Porter for the first time. She has never taken the train since, except London-Toronto. Certainly the air fares can be a lot higher than the VIA fare to Montreal, but leisure passengers can save a bundle by booking well in advance. For my upcoming trip from Toronto to Quebec City, I decided to fly Porter one-way. I got an unusually low fare of $55 which, with various government and airport imposed surcharges, came to a total of $113, which is cheaper than VIA's cheapest economy class ticket. By flying one-way I can arrive in Quebec in time for lunch with friends and save one night's hotel bill. I will return by train, on a discounted Business Class ticket, because I almost never fly anywhere on a round-trip basis.
  by timberley
While this isn't affecting VIA, CN just had another derailment today along the GO line in Burlington (between Appelby and Burlington GO stations), blocking the line to commuter traffic for hours.

http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoa ... 10671.html

I thought for a second when I read about it being by the GO station that it was just another bit about the Oshawa derailment, before realizing this was another, but not too far away, line. Definitely not a good last two months for CN in Southern Ontario....at least VIA Rail service wasn't affected this time, but it can't have been fun for all the morning commuters.
  by Ken V
timberley wrote:....at least VIA Rail service wasn't affected this time....
VIA uses the same tracks as GO for their Windsor and Niagara Falls trains. It appears VIA was able to get by on the one open track without significant delays however.