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
 
I've seen a few pics of the ex-CP dome cars running at night (see link) and I'm curious how the lighting is inside the actual domed seating area. If you travel by train much at night, you know that the normal passenger compartments are fairly well lit and seeing out the windows into the dark is not easy. One can only see the outside by using a magazine to block the reflection of the interior lights.

So in the domed section, do they have dimmed lights to allow passengers to see the surrounding landscape? Or is it commuter-car bright?

Thanks.

Pic of park car at night: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.p ... 84&nseq=47
  by chriskay
 
In my experience, if it's the Park Car reserved for sleeping car passengers, the lights are turned off at night, with the exception of footlights.

For the Skyline car, if they're permitting anyone in other classes of travel to enter, they usually leave the lights on at night to discourage people from sleeping there. Of course this all but renders useless the dome once the sun sets, since you really can't see anything for the glare.
  by timberley
 
Chriskay is quite right. The standard practice (with VIA) is to turn off the ceiling lights in the Park dome after dark, and keep only the footlights lit. This allows for an excellent view out of the dome, especially in the refurbished Parks with their new black-painted dome ceilings (helps minimize glare).

Skyline domes accessible to coach passengers usually leave the lights on at night. For example, when the ocean was running with a Budd consist, the forward Skyline dome was fully lit while the rear Park dome was darkened. There are a surprising number of people from the coaches who seem interested in lying across the dome seats to sleep, so keeping the lights on helps. It also creates an atmosphere that, although useless for seeing anything, is often quite upbeat with travellers congregating and socializing.

VIA is currently running a Skyline instead of a Park on the rear of the Ocean, and they're doing the same thing as they would with the Park since it is only accessible to Sleeper passengers. Ceiling lights off, just enough light to see where to step down into the aisle, and a beautiful view! (well, if there's anything outside to see that is...on a moonlit night in the winter, with snow on the ground...that view is quite breathtaking!)
  by jp1822
 
timberley wrote:Chriskay is quite right. The standard practice (with VIA) is to turn off the ceiling lights in the Park dome after dark, and keep only the footlights lit. This allows for an excellent view out of the dome, especially in the refurbished Parks with their new black-painted dome ceilings (helps minimize glare).

Skyline domes accessible to coach passengers usually leave the lights on at night. For example, when the ocean was running with a Budd consist, the forward Skyline dome was fully lit while the rear Park dome was darkened. There are a surprising number of people from the coaches who seem interested in lying across the dome seats to sleep, so keeping the lights on helps. It also creates an atmosphere that, although useless for seeing anything, is often quite upbeat with travellers congregating and socializing.

VIA is currently running a Skyline instead of a Park on the rear of the Ocean, and they're doing the same thing as they would with the Park since it is only accessible to Sleeper passengers. Ceiling lights off, just enough light to see where to step down into the aisle, and a beautiful view! (well, if there's anything outside to see that is...on a moonlit night in the winter, with snow on the ground...that view is quite breathtaking!)

With a Skyline on the rear of the Ocean, are they running "touring class" on the Ocean, or just the added convenience of a Skyline (dome) for all sleeping car passengers?
  by marquisofmississauga
 
The Skyline car is available to sleeping car passengers. At this time there is no Touring Class - or Sleeper Plus as they now call it. Strangely, over the Christmas season Sleeper Plus class was offered but there was no Park car, just the Skyline at the end. The cabins in the Park car are available for booking for the Sleeper Plus summer/early autumn period.
  by jp1822
 
marquisofmississauga wrote:The Skyline car is available to sleeping car passengers. At this time there is no Touring Class - or Sleeper Plus as they now call it. Strangely, over the Christmas season Sleeper Plus class was offered but there was no Park car, just the Skyline at the end. The cabins in the Park car are available for booking for the Sleeper Plus summer/early autumn period.
Well, there are enough Skyline Dome Cars to go around these days and the Renaissance Lounge is far from being classified as a true lounge for a train like the Ocean. I am glad VIA has decided to tack this car on the end even in the off season. VIA will likely try and reserve the Park Car for "Sleeper Plus" in peak season only. Ironic that they didn't have it tacked on for the Christmas season.

Does the Skyline serve any food or beverages, or merely just seating and viewing only?
  by timberley
 
jp1822 wrote: Well, there are enough Skyline Dome Cars to go around these days and the Renaissance Lounge is far from being classified as a true lounge for a train like the Ocean. I am glad VIA has decided to tack this car on the end even in the off season. VIA will likely try and reserve the Park Car for "Sleeper Plus" in peak season only. Ironic that they didn't have it tacked on for the Christmas season.

Does the Skyline serve any food or beverages, or merely just seating and viewing only?
It is indeed very nice to have, as the Ren lounges are barely adequate, and the lack of dome is always a let-down on that trip.

I'm still not entirely sure why VIA is using the Skyline instead of Park (particularly over the Christmas season...the Skyline did fill in very well though), and it is also unclear whether they will bring back a Park for the summer. One suggestion was that it's easier to J-train the Chaleur behind the Ocean (the new arrangement between Matapedia and Montreal) with a Skyline than with a Park, but I don't know if that's true. There have also been rumours that VIA might start serving some meals in the Skyline rather than the Ren diner, but that remains to be seen. Either way, Skyline access will likely be treated like the Park when Sleeper plus is offered...exclusive access for Plus passengers. Technically at Christmas the Skyline was *supposed* to be reserved for Sleeper Plus passengers only, but the on-board crews seemed to be a bit confused since it was all-sleeper access during the fall, and they were telling all sleeper passengers they could use it. Makes enough sense anyway, since it was half-empty most of the time on the trips I made over Christmas this year.

As for the second question, yes, VIA is using the Skyline for some basic snack and bar service. It's more-or-less the same as what the bar in the Park car would normally offer. Most take-out food items, as well as all meals, are still being done between the Ren Service Cars and Diner.
  by NS VIA FAN
 
timberley wrote: I'm still not entirely sure why VIA is using the Skyline instead of Park (particularly over the Christmas season...the Skyline did fill in very well though), and it is also unclear whether they will bring back a Park for the summer.
Probably not to infringe on the “Sleeper Plus Class” product and retain some of it’s exclusivity when it’s offered. And as you said the Skyline did fill in well during the short period Sleeper Plus was offered over Christmas.

The Park Car will return in June when Sleeper Plus Class is again offered. If you do sample bookings for next summer, you will find the option for “Park - Large Cabin for 2” or “Park – Twin Cabins for 2”
  by jp1822
 
VIA should have a fair amount of Park Cars and Skyline Dome Cars around for use not only on the Ocean and Canadian, but also the usuals such as the train to Prince Rupert and train to Gaspe/New Carlisle. I've always thought it would be nice to put a Skyline or what ever is in more excess on the train that run up to nothern Quebec and the Hudson Bay train!

However, it seems VIA is trying to do "private charter car service" with these "specialty cars" and of course a few of the Park Cars are tied up with conversion to the "deluxo mode." The later seems to be at a stand still though, despite having the exteriors re-done for the most part.
  by marquisofmississauga
 
jp1822 wrote:...
However, it seems VIA is trying to do "private charter car service" with these "specialty cars" and of course a few of the Park Cars are tied up with conversion to the "deluxo mode." The later seems to be at a stand still though, despite having the exteriors re-done for the most part.
The rebuild programme is continuing at the former CN roundhouse in Charny, Quebec. According to the Bytown Railway Society, the company which got the contract to do the interior work is CLN Railway Industries and Services Ferroviaires Julien. There are currently working on two Park cars (Kootenay & Laurentide) and four Château sleepers (Denonville, Dollard, Lauzon & Salaberry.) The other six cars are stored at the Toronto Maintenance Centre. The last I heard from VIA (it was in an earlier issue of Vialogue, not the most recent issue) was that the first completed sleeper will be ready this summer, but the deluxe service will start in the summer of 2014.

VIA hasn't had much luck with their rebuilding programmes, not only with the Canadian deluxe section which is about two years behind. When IRSI went into receivership in Moncton, 10 coaches and two VIA 1 (Business Class) cars were trapped inside. The New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench has allowed work to continue on those cars. CAD Railway Industries is taking over the contract. So when those 12 cars are completed (in about 19 months from when they started in October last year) less than a quarter of the LRC fleet will have been rebuilt. There were 10 LRC coaches finished before the shut-down of IRSI.
  by Montrealrail1
 
here,s a nght shot I did last year with the Revelstoke park car at St-Lambert station Qc..
Image