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 NS VIA FAN
 
Just playing Devil’s Advocate here......

Is it time for the Ocean to be privatized? The public has long ago voted that they prefer flying or highway travel to rail. For example, today (a Sunday) on the Ocean you have a capacity of about 250 persons from Halifax and Moncton to Montreal (with connections to Ottawa and Toronto). But flying today you have the following available:

Halifax – Montreal: 750 seats
Halifax – Ottawa: 650 seats
Halifax – Toronto: 1,300 seats

Moncton – Montreal: 200 seats
Moncton – Ottawa: 200 seats
Moncton – Toronto: 450 seats

That’s a total of nearly 3,550 seats today from the Maritimes to Central Canada vs: only 250 seats on the Ocean (or nearly 25 thousand seats per week each way vs: only 750 on the Ocean) and that doesn’t include flights from Bathurst and Mont Joli, the Bus or those that just hop in their car and drive the Trans Canada which is now all 4-lane freeway except for about 60 km.

Let a company such as Rocky Mountaineer take over the Ocean. The government would still subsidize the cost to provide basic coach accommodations for those that have no other option for travel from communities such as Miramichi, Campbellton or Riviere-du-Loup. But for Sleeping Car travel, the passenger should pay the actual cost of providing that service.

As a taxpayer, I have no problem providing you with basic transportation (coach) the same as I pay for road construction but why should I be subsidizing your sleeping car travel. The same goes for the Canadian. Subsidize the basic coach portion but have Rocky Mountaineer (or similar company) take over the Sleepers. Charge what the market will bear........They certainly can run a first-class operation and don’t seem to have a problem filling their trains with tourists. The privatized trains would still provide travel to intermediate points unlike the end-point only travel on the Rocky Mountaineer today.
  by NS VIA FAN
 
Perhaps the Ocean should be cut back to Moncton in the off-season or operate coach only between Moncton and Halifax with the sleepers running only during the summer (& holidays)***.

I’ve been on the Ocean a couple of times this past winter and the coaches seemed to be doing a pretty good business but there was almost no one in the sleepers until we reached Moncton and west. They're all on those flights out of YHZ.....2 hrs vs: 24 hrs!

***Rocky Mountaineer or some other private firm could run a high-end tourist orientated operation with sleepers, domes and dining cars attached to the coach portion.
  by Eastcoaster
 
NS VIA FAN wrote:Just playing Devil’s Advocate here......

Is it time for the Ocean to be privatized?
There is simply not feasible way to render the service profitable in this area. Let's be honest, even with the greatest marketing campaign a business could put forward, the fact is that the majority of the daytime scenery (past Memramcook until Charlo on route #15) is about as exciting as 3am CBC is going to remain. One could never dare to compare the rich mountaineer's route to the ocean's. without such appeal there is simply no business to be had. The Ocean is a essential public transport method to many remote low income communities and should simply be viewed as such.
  by electricron
 
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scot ... -1.2513711
Via Rail's Maritime-Quebec passenger service in doubt.
CN announced last week that it will discontinue operations on a 70-kilometre section connecting Bathurst to Miramichi because their freight cars don't use the line.Via Rail's Ocean line runs on the same route. Spokesperson Mylène Bélanger said Via Rail will maintain the connection between Quebec and Halifax for as long as it can, but will not acquire the railway itself. CN said operations will be maintained on the tracks between Nelson Junction and Nepisiquit Junction for at least five months while the rail line is put up for sale.

Will there be any tracks left, much less a train, for a private operator to run the Ocean?
  by NS VIA FAN
 
electricron wrote:http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scot ... -1.2513711
Via Rail's Maritime-Quebec passenger service in doubt.
CN announced last week that it will discontinue operations on a 70-kilometre section.........
Actualy old news.....the CBC article is from over a month ago (dated Jan 28th)
electricron wrote: Will there be any tracks left, much less a train, for a private operator to run the Ocean?
Yes, VIA has not ruled out re-routing the Ocean on the National Transcontental Railway through Edmundston
  by electricron
 
NS VIA FAN wrote:
electricron wrote:http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scot ... -1.2513711
Via Rail's Maritime-Quebec passenger service in doubt.
CN announced last week that it will discontinue operations on a 70-kilometre section.........
Actualy old news.....the CBC article is from over a month ago (dated Jan 28th)
electricron wrote: Will there be any tracks left, much less a train, for a private operator to run the Ocean?
Yes, VIA has not ruled out re-routing the Ocean on the National Transcontental Railway through Edmundston
I realize it is old news, never-the-less, it's new to this forum. ;)
I chose the latest, almost a year old, thread on the Ocean to introduce this month old news.

It's good to read there is an alternate route available. Does VIA have trackage rights over it now, and can VIA get trackage rights over it in the future? How much will that cost?
  by NS VIA FAN
 
electricron wrote:
It's good to read there is an alternate route available. Does VIA have trackage rights over it now, and can VIA get trackage rights over it in the future? How much will that cost?
This alternative route is CN’s mainline between Quebec and the Maritimes.....Fast, CTC and shorter than the Ocean’s current route through Campbellton.

The Ocean has detoured on this line when its usual route is blocked. I experienced a “Rare Mileage Run” here a few years ago.....my trip report:

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... ston#p8095" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

This line doesn’t have the same population as the route via Campbellton but a new stop at McGivney would serve Fredericton (metro pop. 100,000.....the capital of New Brunswick) There’s also the larger towns of Grand Falls, St. Leonard and a train would have to stop in Edmundston anyway.....a divisional and crew change point.

A train on this route also has the potential to attract US passengers. A new station in St. Leonard would be less than a mile from the old Bangor and Aroostook Station in VanBuren, Maine that hasn’t seen a passenger train since the Potatoland Special in 1960. Also Madawaska, Maine is just across the river from Edmundston, NB.

And at Estcourt you can't get much closer to the US/Canada Border. The bottom of the high railway fill at the south end of the lake IS the border.

https://www.google.ca/maps/preview/@47. ... a=!3m1!1e3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Highball
 
NS VIA FAN wrote:This line doesn’t have the same population as the route via Campbellton but a new stop at McGivney would serve Fredericton (metro pop. 100,000.....the capital of New Brunswick) There’s also the larger towns of Grand Falls, St. Leonard and a train would have to stop in Edmundston anyway.....a divisional and crew change point.
A good point NS VIA FAN,to reference of ridership from the Fredericton area, which hasn't had much mention in most news items, of the potential re route of the Ocean to the NTR. A new Route # 8 highway bypass has been built North from Fredericton toward Newcastle ( paving to be completed this year ), which joins Route 8 just South of McGivney. This new highway alignment would allow a quick access to McGivney for F'ton area train users. The small station in McGivney used when the Edmundston / Moncton RDC service ran ( that service part of the cuts to all regional RDC services in the Maritimes, January 1990 ) still exists ....I believe some platform work was done around the station last year by CN. Passenger ridership lost in Northern New Brunswick if the Ocean is rerouted, should be more than offset by F'ton area traffic, in addition to that of Northwest New Brunswick .....Grand Falls, Edmundston area.

I am one that senses the Ocean will be rerouted over the NTR. Last year when CN first announced their possible abandonment of a portion of the ICR's Newcastle Sub., they stated the Ocean could be easily accomodated on the NTR. More importantly, almost 4 hours could be shaved off the Ocean's current schedule by running over the NTR .... the current schedule end to end ( Hfx - Mtl ) is too long for marketing the train as a good travel option, in my opinion.

Last Thursday Transport Minister Lisa Raitt appeared before a House of Commons Transportation Committee, announcing among other matters, that VIA Service through New Brunswick would not cease " because they have another route " .... so as some observers have stated from the Minister's statement ... the possibility exists the Newcastle Sub may still be saved, however the indications seems clear, that the Ocean would be rerouted, not cancelled as others believe, by the 70 km abandonment portion of the Newcastle Sub.

Here is a link to a recent CBC Article concerning the Maritime Bus Co. struggles to meet ridership goals on the Campbellton - Moncton route ....... there is a reference to VIA in the article.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/maritime-bus-s ... 24090.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by NH2060
 
Wasn't the current route selected -after the Atlantic was discontinued across Maine- because at the time at least a handful of politicians (PM included?) represented towns along the line? Sounds like it was never meant to be on the current routing to begin with so perhaps this could be the silver lining?
  by NS VIA FAN
 
NH2060 wrote:Wasn't the current route selected -after the Atlantic was discontinued across Maine- because at the time at least a handful of politicians (PM included?) represented towns along the line? Sounds like it was never meant to be on the current routing to begin with so perhaps this could be the silver lining?
No, the ICR (Intercolonial Rwy) route the Ocean follows today through Campbellton was always the predominate passenger route between Montreal and the Maritimes beginning in the late 1800’s. The Ocean has been on this route since 1904 except for a brief period in the late 1960's when it ran on the NTR via Edmundston.

The Atlantic Limited was a CPR train between Montreal and Saint John only across Maine. It wasn’t extended to Halifax until 1979 after VIA took over.

Where the CNR was operating multiple 10 to 15 cars trains a day through Campbellton, the CPR Atlantic was a short little “pocket streamliner” across Maine. (but it did have a dome!)

Image
  by labaienordique
 
Feds to fund repairs to N.B. Via Rail link
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-bruns ... -1.2638146" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by NeoArashi
 
labaienordique wrote:Feds to fund repairs to N.B. Via Rail link
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-bruns ... -1.2638146" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

That is good news. I guess that means the ocean will keep on existing? XD
  by dowlingm
 
"Existing" is a pretty poor show. In order to rebuild rail as a contributor to Atlantic Canada transport there should be a train into and out of Halifax daily, even if it can only make it to Sackville or Moncton before turning for home.

Getting back to the original premise of the thread, the reality is that as far as Mountaineer goes, they have a different business model to VIA. No doubt they feel they could make money on Ocean but a lot of the smaller communities who have kicked up a fuss about Ocean retention would not be served by a service similar to that RM offers in BC. That is a firm not shy about lobbying Transport Canada not only in their own interest but to restrict VIA's: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... le4101792/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by NS VIA FAN
 
dowlingm wrote: Getting back to the original premise of the thread, the reality is that as far as Mountaineer goes, they have a different business model to VIA. No doubt they feel they could make money on Ocean but a lot of the smaller communities who have kicked up a fuss about Ocean retention would not be served by a service similar to that RM offers in BC.
As I previously said.........
NS VIA FAN wrote: As a taxpayer, I have no problem providing you with basic transportation (coach) the same as I pay for road construction but why should I be subsidizing your sleeping car travel. The same goes for the Canadian. Subsidize the basic coach portion but have Rocky Mountaineer (or similar company) take over the Sleepers. Charge what the market will bear........They certainly can run a first-class operation and don’t seem to have a problem filling their trains with tourists. The privatized trains would still provide travel to intermediate points unlike the end-point only travel on the Rocky Mountaineer today.
This could be VIA continuing to run a subsidized basic coach and meal service but have the sleepers run by others.
  by dowlingm
 
That will be an interesting industrial relations exercise given the rather different setups.