• Newbie to Riding VIA Rail's Canadian

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Canada. For specific railroad questions, see Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.

Moderator: Ken V

  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Hello,
About a year from now, a friend and I are considering taking the westbound VIA Rail Canadian train in its entirety. My friend rode the entire eastbound Canadian years ago but I haven't ridden the Canadian at all. I have some questions.
1. At what points of the Canadian route do the westbound and eastbound segments split? I know that one of the segments is between Kamloops and Toronto. Are there any other segments of the Canadian route where the east and west split?
2. Where are the best railfanning points of interests to view from the train?
  by Fritz
 
njt,
The Canadian is an amazing train ride with incredible service. I've ridden several times (both eastbound and westbound) and have always enjoyed the trips.

There's at least two areas of directional running: 1) between Toronto and Sudbury, Ontario and between Kamloops and Vancouver, British Columbia. Others can likely provide more specifics such as actual station names and mileposts where the directional running begins and ends.

As far as scenery, obviously the Canadian Rockies are the highlight but I like the forests of northern Ontario and the prairies of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta too.
Enjoy a great trip,
Fritz
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Fritz,
Thanks again. Yes, in addition to the separate routing from Kamloops North to Vancouver and vice versa, both the westbound and the eastbound trains take different routings between Toronto and Sudbury Jct. I can see that because according to the timetable, it looks like Eastbound VIA Train # 2 serves Parry Sound on the CN trackage while the westbound Train # 1 runs on CP Rail. What is the reason for the eastbound and westbound not sharing the same right of way?

I have heard plenty of great things about the scenery. I look forward to taking pictures of the scenery from the trains along with one end of the train while I am sitting in the other. I want to ride the VIA heritage equipment as much as possible before it is all retired. I believe that the Canadian government will be looking at replacement options for the VIA long distance trains fairly soon.
  by ExCon90
 
Regarding the split from Sudbury Jct. east, I've been told it's to save turning the train at Toronto, although there may be more to it than that.
  by Fritz
 
njt,
I think that, in both cases, the use of different routes eastbound and westbound are due to the fact that the host railroads (CN and CP in both instances) have trackage rights on each others' lines, so that they can use directional running to run their freights. That is, they use one line for eastbounds and the other line for westbounds. To maintain the flow of traffic, the Canadian follows the same patterns. As you noted, this sometimes requires them to use different stations eastbound and westbound.

One great thing about the Canadian is the Budd dome cars (I think VIA calls them Skylines). In my view, they are best place for taking photos looking both forward and to the rear (as well as to the side), as you can get photos with your train in the foreground and other trains or scenery in the background. They are simply the best!
Best,
Fritz
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
It sounds like those different routes that the eastbound and westbound take always happen when the train is running. I can certainly understand the reason for the different route running being that VIA doesn't want to wye the Canadian set. It's a long set during the off season a million times longer during the peak season. I look forward to riding those Budd Dome cars. I know that they might not be around forever along with the rest of the HEP fleet so I want to ride them as much as possible.
  by NS VIA FAN
 
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 7:37 pm It sounds like those different routes that the eastbound and westbound take always happen when the train is running. I can certainly understand the reason for the different route running being that VIA doesn't want to wye the Canadian set.......
The Directional Running has nothing to do with turning the Canadian. This is done in Toronto by 'Looping' the train through the city on different routes.

The e/b Canadian comes down the Bala Subdivision......passes thru Union Station and when ready to depart heads up the Newmarket Sub to Snider. Crosses across Toronto's northern suburbs on the York Sub to Doncaster where it regains the Bala Subdivision again and continues west to Vancouver.

Image
  by NS VIA FAN
 
Directional Running is for operational purposes of CN and CP and they've agreed to share trackage in certain area to keep train movements fluid. The Canadian just follows the traffic flows.

In the east.....all westbound trains (CN,CP & VIA) run on CP and all eastbound trains run on CN roughly between Parry Sound and near Sudbury.

The westbound Canadian leaves CN at Boyne/Reynolds near Parry Sound and enters CP for approx 160 km of directional running.....then crosses back to CN at Wanup (near Sudbury)

Eastbound, the Canadian stays on CN through the Wanup/St Cloud diamond where the north end of directional running begins and just continues south on the Bala Sub towards Toronto.

The westbound Canadian uses the CP Station in Parry Sound and the eastbound Canadian, the CN Station.

The CP route is a bit more scenic.....crossing the high bridge above Parry Sound Harbour then along Georgian Bay.


In the west there is about 260 kms of Directional Running through the Thompson and Fraser River Canyons. All eastbound CN, CP, VIA & Rocky Mountaineer trains are on CP and all westbound trains are on CN. The westbound Canadian stays on CN all the way to Vancouver.

The eastbound Canadian crosses over to CP near Mission.....then returns to CN north of Ashcroft.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
According to a VIA Press Release, they plan to resume operation of The Canadian over the entire Toronto-Vancouver route Once Weekly effective Eastward May 17.

The "all the way" Roomette fare is set at CD$1379.

It appears that the Domes and Lounges will be off limits and that food will be consumed in room or at seat.

Also of interest; COVID cases are on the rise up there, and Provinces are empowered to close their borders with one another. If such becomes the case, how they plan to operate a transcontinental service escapes me.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Yes. The cases are still going up north of the border and I don't blame the border for being closed for some more time. Well there are people who need to use the train to get from a remote area to the city but I believe that many people have cars and don't mind driving. My plans for riding the Canadian in 2022 aren't guaranteed to happen. If it doesn't happen in 2022, I may be waiting a couple more years and hopefully things will be better with on time performance as I heard that CN and VIA don't play well with each other.