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 NeoArashi
Last time I went to Quebec's Gare Du Palais for some info, my question ended up into a chat between fellow train fans (the clerk seemed to really enjoy train travelling) And told me that Via didn't kill the Montreal-Gaspé train, but are waiting for the tracks and infrastructure to be repaired before sending trains over there. At first I wasn't sure if she was BSing me or not, but then I took a copy of the latest timetable, and the thing basicly confirmed what the lady said.

Just a few minutes ago, I went to check something on Via's website (Going to Riviere-du-Loup in a few days, and wanted to check if a train ride would be possible, alas, it won't be :( ) but I saw this message:

Travel advisory!
During infrastructure work currently in progress, trains 16 and 17 will not be operating, and train service between Matapédia and Gaspé will be suspended. As an alternative, you can travel on trains 14 and 15 operating between Montréal and Matapédia.

For more information, please contact our telephone sales office at 1 888 VIA-RAIL (888 842-7245), TTY 800-268-9503 (hearing impaired).

Please focus on the Italic part of the message. Are the ''current work'' of the infrastructure repair rumor or fact? Does that mean the ''Chaleur'' will be back soon (By soon, I mean within a few months to a year)?
  by dowlingm
As far as I can make out, the track owners used the wrong chemicals to control weeds resulting in corrosion. They claim to have fixed the issues but VIA feel they are not receiving assurances necessary for them to restore service. It will be interesting to see now that summer is coming and a new government has been elected in Quebec but given that the region decided to stick with what is now the Opposition party in the Assembly, it remains to be seen how much of a priority the Province will make this with the Feds,
  by NeoArashi
Oh yeah, Gaspesie residents are mostly separatists. I hope Couillard will do something, nonetheless.
  by timberley
I wouldn't make too much of the "currently in progress" line. VIA has effectively been saying exactly that since this all started, so it's not any indication that things are getting any closer to happening. Yes, the cancelling of the train (first scaling back to New Carlisle, then to Matapedia, then altogether) was because of required maintenance on the line. Work has been ongoing for some time, and although the Gaspesie folks have had several successful evaluations, VIA has come back each time and said they need something more to be done (some speculate this is a sort of pushing back the goalposts on VIA's part).

There has been some optimism that the train could resume at least partial service by this summer, but I wouldn't bet on it (as much as I'd like to see it happen). At least VIA has kept it in the system and on the schedules though, unlike the "temporary" suspension of service on Vancouver Island that seems to have become permanent (with VIA removing any reference to that service from their website, etc)
  by NeoArashi
I see. I was wondering that because it was the first time I see this warning on the website.
  by timberley
I know they had had something similar up there a while back when it was first suspended, and I think there was something if you went poking around for info specifically about that train.

The SCFG was apparently optimistic that VIA could resume service to New Carlisle in June, as they have completed all of the work that was supposed to have been done on that stretch of the line. However, according to MP Phillip Toone, VIA has informed them that they cannot resume service in June because they laid off all their staff in the region. No clear indication if that just means they'll have to delay until they rehire staff, or if they're not planning to do anything about it at this time.

Here's the press release from Mr. Toone: http://philiptoone.ndp.ca/rail-service- ... ilip-toone

None of this stuff should be a surprise to VIA. It has been very clear what the SCFGs plans were, and what sort of timelines they were talking about.
  by NeoArashi
Ok... So basicly, now VIA has the means to resume service but don't want to hire new employees there? WTF is wrong with them? As someone said in the link sent by the above poster, they don't seem to notice the importance of tourism in that region. MOST people traveling to eastern Canada by plane end up in Toronto, Montreal, Otawa or Halifax, and in neither of these town, getting to the Gaspesie region is pretty hard except by bus (and even then, only from Montreal or Quebec) And some people take the Montreal-Gaspé train for the scenery, not only for the convinience.