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 marquisofmississauga
Today's Canadian departing Toronto had eight sleepers (nine, including the Park car.) This is the same length of train that I departed on last year on the 20th of April. With only the one dining car, it made for very full sittings which I expect to be the case on today's train.

I am booked to depart Toronto next week on the 21st. VIA advises me there are 12 sleepers plus the Park car. That means two diners and, it is hoped, a Skyline (Activity) car paired with each diner. Business is quite good. In the 1990s, the summer-length trains didn't start until the beginning of May. In the first few years of Silver and Blue Class upgraded service - which started in 1992 - the regular summer consist was only five or six sleepers.

VIA has advised a friend of mine that the new menus were expected to start on the 10th of April, but they are not yet posted on their Website.
  by goodnightjohnwayne
The level of patronage for the Canadian is amazing considering it is a less than daily train on a less scenic route. I would hope that at some point, increased patronage, and a PM from Alberta, would result in a return to service through Calgary?
Is it too much to hope for?
  by jp1822
VIA can show patronage increasing as much as it wants, but that won't influence any decision to get a train into Calgary. It's going to take a major game of politics, let alone dealing with Rocky Mountaineer Rail (RMR) Tours to give up its stronghold on the CP route from Calgary - Banff - Kamloops - Vancouver. VIA was hoping for some service restoration with some capacity improvements that the CP was doing on the line, but that didn't pan out. VIA has claimed it has the equipment to run an overnight train from Calgary to Vancouver tri-weekly. I'd probably back it up so the current Canadian would split at Winnipeg, with one section heading on the northernly CN and the other on the southernly CP routes.

I don't know why RMR is so determined in this situation on the CP route, in general. RMR has invaded VIA's turf on the Skeena route now with its "Frasier Discovery Train." Let alone the fact that RMR has no interest in serving local communities, which the CP line is directly in line with (more so than the northernly CN route (west of Winnipeg). Plus VIA could operate a tri-weekly train year-round, something that RMR does not do. RMR caters to a tourist industry. VIA Rail on the old CP route could actually cater to both, but if you wanted daylight rail travel to see the CP route from Calgary to Vancouver - then you would choose RMR. If you just need basic transportation or something different, then you would choose VIA Rail Canada, if VIA Rail got a passenger train restored on the CP route.

The Edmonton-Calgary high speed rail line has been talked about, but nothing has become of that either. It has faded further into the depths of Canada's passenger rail saga.

Glad to hear the Canadian is getting longer. But it better have descent OTP to get returning passengers, as it has been reported the new schedule is that much better than the old schedule when it comes to OTP - and now affecting west and eastbound trains (where before it was largely the eastbound train that got slammed).
  by RailsForever
Am sitting in my room at the Royal York overlooking Union Station (lucky to have this room). Just happened to glance out the window last night around 10 and saw the Canadian departing. Amazingly long train, more so since I'm normally an Amtrak rider and anything more than a couple sleepers seems pretty rare. Just a beautiful train with the four domes, I believe... A great reminder of what a great train is to look like. May it never change.
  by jp1822
VIA seems to have found its niche with long distance trains that travel overnight - ensure they have enough sleepers to meet capacity. For the most part VIA can add sleepers to meet demand, whereas Amtrak has a limited supply of sleepers - especially when demand is outstripped on Amtrak's single level trains in the East. Granted it VIA has less overnight trains to run than Amtrak, but at least they have the equipment. The Ocean will also get longer as demand requires. VIA also has distinguised service classes for its sleeper service, particularly the Ocean when it offers either Comfort Sleeper or Easterly Class (giving passengers access to the VIA's trademark car - the Park Dome/Lounge Car.