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 briann
Probably this thread should now say "No" train to Churchill. If you haven't seen VIA's advisory (on viarail.ca), please note the following:

"Travel Advisory!
Following the closing of a portion of the railway in Northern Manitoba due to a freight train derailment, VIA RailCanada will continue offering basic rail services between Winnipeg and Gillam, until further notice.

Departures of train #692 from Gillam are scheduled on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Wednesdays' departures of train #692 will operate to The Pas. Train #693 will depart from Winnipeg on Sundays and Tuesdays. It will originate in The Pas on Fridays. Both trains will operate according to the normal schedule.

No alternate transportation between Gillam and Churchill is being offered at this time."

Moderator's note: This post was originally made in the Train to Churchill thread.
  by NeoArashi
VIA Rail Will Only Resume Service Between Gillam and Churchill Once All Safety Requirements Are Met

Winnipeg, June 25, 2014 ‎– VIA Rail Canada (viarail.ca) will conduct a thorough safety assessment on the Hechmer subdivision when the line between Gillam and Churchill is declared open by OmniTRAX, the owners of the railway line in Northern Manitoba. The Corporation intends to resume its passenger train service once its rigorous safety requirements have been met, in order to ensure the safety of all of VIA Rail’s passengers and employees. It is working with the track owners to safely resume the passenger service to Churchill.

Following the safety inspections completed last week, VIA Rail concluded that certain conditions would have to be met prior to resuming its passenger train service. All freight and passenger train services are currently suspended by OmniTRAX which closed the line between Churchill and Gillam.
Source: http://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail ... -between-g" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

So that means that Churchill is almost completely blocked off the society? I know planes fly there, and during the summer, ships go there too, but isn't the train the most used method of transportation for anyone living north of Thompson?
  by NeoArashi
Despite my trip to Halifax in a mere 5 days, I decided to plan (hopefully will get enough money for that) a trip to churchill.

Now to save time, because I am going to take several days off (and not on my vacations, unlike my trip to halifax), I decided to take a flight from Quebec City to Winnipeg, planning to arrive the same day I will leave on train to Winnipeg (so I don't have to stay in Winnipeg, a train ride there would not only take 2 days, but I would have to stay 2 days on both ways to Winnipeg) take the train, stay 2 days in churchill, and take a plane back to Québec city. Do you think that would be possible? Are Winnipeg-Churchill known to be very late (as in Montreal-Senneterre-late) or do I have a good chance of missing a flight thanks to the train?

Also, I saw that an ''Upper berth'' ticket only cost double the price of the economy ticket, only I will have a bed + meals included. Would it be better to just get something to eat at Winnipeg and Churchill (for the way back)?

If all goes according to plan, I may get there in March 2015 (Are there still polar bears there at that time?)
  by marquisofmississauga
This brief article from the Winnipeg Free Press - and also a hard-to-find posting on VIA's Website - does not give the reason. A posting elsewhere on the Internet says that there was a derailment on the "Y" at Thompson, but this has not been acknowledged by VIA.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breaki ... 54801.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Ken V
According to a CBC News report, it was northbound VIA train 693 bound for Churchill that derailed shortly after departing Thompson. A photo caption states the stranded passengers were shuttled back to Thompson using a Hudson Bay Railway locomotive and caboose.
  by Mark0f0
Recently on the news, there's been lots of talk about the Port of Churchill essentially being shut down, and scheduled freight service being reduced to 1X weekly to Churchill. The owners of the tracks and the port, Omnitrax, looking to sell their stake.

The wise part of me believes that the 'writing is on the wall" for VIA's service to Churchill. With minimal freight service, VIA, with their 6 trains a week over the track, will be the prime user of the line and the implied dramatic escalation in costs is probably too much even for VIA to stomach in Montreal.

Is my assessment reasonable? Is it really going to happen?
This may be just a tactic to speed up negations by Omnitrax with the Government or a First Nation group to take over the operations of the railway and the port......So it will be interesting to see what happens to VIA's service between Winnipeg and Churchill.

Perhaps not a through train all the way to Winnipeg.....but the isolated communities along this line north of The Pas (pronounced Paw) and Thompson and on into Churchill would still require some type of passenger service. The operations could be turned over to a First Nation group just as VIA did with the Pukatawagan train....also in northern Manitoba and now operated by the Keewatin Railway:

http://www.krcrail.ca/passenger-service" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Here's the Pukatawagan Mixed that still uses the old VIA Blue Fleet equipment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkMaHnRUduY" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Tadman
I seem to recall hearing about Park cars being on the Hudson Bay train this winter/spring for extra service to see the northern lights. Anybody know about this or have a link to the right site? I cant find anything on the Via site. Thanks.
  by Mark0f0
They'd be using the older, non-Prestige'd Park cars. So you should be able to determine this by looking up what they're actually selling on the various trains using the VIA website. "Cabin for 3".
  by Ken V
I also heard this, however,
VIA Rail wrote:A Park car will be added to the following trains and dates:

Train 693: June 26 to Aug 9 and Oct 2 to Nov 8
Train 692: June 30 to Aug 13 and Oct 6 to Nov 12
Train 690: June 28 to Aug 9 and Oct 4 to Nov 8
Train 691: July 1 to Aug 12 and Oct 7 to Nov 11
From http://www.viarail.ca/en/explore-our-de ... eper-class" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It doesn't look like there will be a Park car for the northern lights.

The presence of a cabin for 3 does not guarantee a Park as bedroom A in a Chateau sleeper is also a cabin for 3.
  by jhdeasy
Trains magazine reports a trainset of Via equipment is "trapped" at Churchill, unable to return to Winnipeg.
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