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
This past Friday (August 12th), the 4th rebuilt LRC coach left IRSI and headed for Montreal on the tail of VIA 15. The most recent rebuild is coach #3328.
  by timberley
The fifth rebuilt coach, #3339, has been released from IRSI.

So at present, the following LRC coaches have been rebuilt: 3315, 3317, 3319, 3328, and 3339.

VIA Rail recently added a new updated Capital Investment page to its website, talking about the current train, track, and other infrastructure improvements. In the "trains" section, there is more information about the LRC rebuild program, including the first photo of a Business-class interior mock-up. You can view the page here:

http://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail ... investment

The page officially elaborates on VIA's plans for the rebuilt cars. Of the 98 LRC cars, the 26 Club/Business Class cars will be rebuilt as Business class cars (with new 2+1, more spacious and comfortable leather seating), while only 46 of the Economy cars will be rebuilt as Economy coaches (including those that have been released so far). The remaining 26 Economy cars will be rebuilt as "Combination" cars, which will feature Economy seating in one part of the car, and Business class seating in the other (along with larger, accessible washrooms). These cars will be used to offer a new "Premium Economy" class, offering passengers Business class seating and some perks, while not receiving the full meal. This will be priced at a rate somewhere in between Business and Economy fares.

There is a page especially on the LRC rebuild program here: http://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail ... tory/29582

According to VIA, the first Business Class car will be in service in early 2012, and the first Combination car will be in service offering mixed-class service sometime in 2012. The entire project is to be completed by 2014.
  by Silverliner II
After looking at the photos all over the place, it appears one of the cars involved in the Sunday derailment of Train #92 in Burlington was one of the rebuilt LRC's. I couldn't see a car number, but the green paint gave it away....
  by timberley
The LRC rebuild program is already tremendously far behind schedule, and just as it has finally gotten into full swing, new problems have arisen at IRSI.

Apparently, there's been another little hiccup: IRSI recently discovered a structural flaw in the floors of the LRC cars, which will require additional work to repair. Layoff notices were initially given to employees under the presumption that this would temporarily shut down production, but the employer is now recognizing that that particular decision was premature. VIA has suggested they will immediately approve any extra work required, and hopefully this will not slow production dramatically. I'm not sure if this will require exisiting rebuilds to be recalled, and it is unclear how wide-spread the problem is.

Here's the CBC story:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-bruns ... blems.html

I'm really looking forward to them finally releasing one of the new Business class cars, so hopefully they can overcome this problem soon!
  by timberley
Here's another article, talking about VIA's frustration with IRSI. They should have had 27 rebuilt cars delivered by this week, but they have only 10...and now it looks like further delays. I fear that IRSI might be killing its chances of getting future VIA work. Compare this with the CAD Rail contract to rebuild the F40 locomotives, which will be completed on time this year.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-bruns ... trial.html
  by timberley
Bad news on the IRSI rebuild program. Due to a variety of issues (details are scarce, but I think it's safe to say IRSI was not meeting their part of the contract), VIA Rail has cancelled the remainder of the LRC rebuild program with IRSI. IRSI is in serious trouble at the moment, as the provincial government is trying to push them into receivership for failing to repay major loans.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-bruns ... a-945.html

I'm not clear on whether the RDC program has been scuttled as well, although I did hear reference to "two contracts" being cancelled, so I assume it is affected as well. Either way, it looks like IRSI may be done for good. If the province gets them into receivership, they will likely liquidate their remaining assets (including their wonderful collection of RDCs), and that will be it for the company.

Although bad news for IRSI and certain to cause delays to the program, VIA will still be continuing the rebuild of its fleet. Rumours at the moment are that VIA will be having the remainder (which is still the bulk) of the work done at National Steel Car in Hamilton, but that has yet to be confirmed.
  by Trainplanner
Is there any work being undertaken on LRC overhauls or is all work totally suspended.
  by timberley
Trainplanner wrote:Is there any work being undertaken on LRC overhauls or is all work totally suspended.
At the moment all work is suspended. The courts have apparently appointed a monitor to assess the situation, and see how IRSI can work itself out of its debts. That *may* be able to save some semblance of the IRSI operation, but as far as I know right now, VIA is looking elsewhere to see where they can get the rest of the LRC work done.

They will also need to find someone else to do the rest of the Renaissance work, and likely the RDCs as well.
  by chriskay
I really hope they can salvage this work at IRSI, or at least in Moncton. The Gordon Yard is a shell of its former self and this work, while it only occupies a small corner of the vast yard area, at least brought some rail activity back.
  by Trainplanner
Thank you. Appreciate any news as it comes to hand.