Article questions VIA direction

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Those interested in some analysis of pending VIA concerns, including funding, fleet replacement and the proposed new corridor route, may be interested in this newspaper article. Disregarding the post office stuff, the author makes some interesting points including:
If you’re unfamiliar with Via’s financials, I’ll advise you to sit down now. In 2023, the average passenger on The Canadian line was subsidized by the taxpayer to the tune of $1,014.77. Revenues on the route were less than half of expenses. And your average Canadian can’t even hope to ride...
and
Committing billions of dollars to a new rail corridor between Toronto and Quebec City without a firm idea as to whether it’s “high-frequency” or “high-speed” is a bit like committing billions to a new housing development without knowing whether it’s bungalows or high-rise condos.
which addresses the dirty little secret that VIA's much-touted new route won't be much faster between Toronto and Montreal than the current CN routing because it is not the relatively straight line of the current route nor will it be true high-speed despite the media hype.

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/travel/ne..._&cvid=fd6ac7d15c0a4e359ea1d963f8e7568d&ei=25
 
"five-hour trip between Montreal and Toronto", I looked it up and that is the fast train. The other trains that connect through Ottawa are 7 to 8 hours in travel time. For perspective, Toronto is 330 miles from Montreal. Boston to NY on Amtrak can be as fast as 3 hours 50 minutes to as slow as 4 hours 20 minutes. The distance is 230 miles, so 100 miles less travel distance than Montreal to Toronto. So a 5 hour train trip between Montreal and Toronto is not terrible for the distance.
 
"five-hour trip between Montreal and Toronto", I looked it up and that is the fast train. The other trains that connect through Ottawa are 7 to 8 hours in travel time. For perspective, Toronto is 330 miles from Montreal. Boston to NY on Amtrak can be as fast as 3 hours 50 minutes to as slow as 4 hours 20 minutes. The distance is 230 miles, so 100 miles less travel distance than Montreal to Toronto. So a 5 hour train trip between Montreal and Toronto is not terrible for the distance.
And rail miles between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are about 350 (thank you, RPA timetables) and the landscape flashes by in a brisk...7 hours and 20 minutes. More in the morning with padding. Montreal to Toronto in 5 hours looks pretty good.

My favorite comparison point is Berlin-Munich, as it’s virtually an identical distance as Toronto-Montreal (504 km or 313 miles “as the crow flies”):
https://x.com/jutattatw/status/1548466456181895171

Basically, it took the opening of a 48 mile long 186 mph HSR segment (Nürnberg-Ingolstadt) to get the travel time below 6:30 hours and another 167 miles (Erfurt-Ebensfeld) to get the travel time below the magical 4 hours which so many rail fans north of the border believe to be the absolute most they should have to tolerate:
IMG_5897.jpeg
 
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Am I reading that table correctly in that the travel time on the Corridor went up about 40 minutes over the past 40 years?
The Turbotrain was only scheduled at 3:59 for its first launch (which only lasted a feww days) and then returned with minimum travel times of 4:10-4:15. 3:59 was only scheduled over longer periods for the 5pm LRC train (today’s 68/69). and long after the Turbotrain had been retired. Considering that the fastest scheduled travel time is 4:53 today (train 668), minimum travel times increased by 54 minutes over the last 20 years…
 
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My favorite comparison point is Berlin-Munich, as it’s virtually an identical distance as Toronto-Montreal (504 km or 313 miles “as the crow flies”):
https://x.com/jutattatw/status/1548466456181895171

Basically, it took the opening of a 48 mile long 186 mph HSR segment (Nürnberg-Ingolstadt) to get the travel time below 6:30 hours and another 167 miles (Erfurt-Ebensfeld) to get the travel time below the magical 4 hours which so many rail fans north of the border believe to be the absolute most they should have to tolerate:
View attachment 36791
Keeping in mind for the early years that there was a border crossing on the Berlin <> Munich route and infrastructure problems. One can see the difference in this table between 1991 and 1992.

In the Unity timetable effective 2 Jun 91 till 30 May 92, it was faster to go from Berlin to Munich by changing IC trains in Gõttingen than to take the direct lines.
 
Keeping in mind for the early years that there was a border crossing on the Berlin <> Munich route and infrastructure problems. One can see the difference in this table between 1991 and 1992.

In the Unity timetable effective 2 Jun 91 till 30 May 92, it was faster to go from Berlin to Munich by changing IC trains in Gõttingen than to take the direct lines.
As a German rail fan and timetable nerd who left his home country only 15 years ago, I am very aware of this. Nevertheless, by 2000, the rail infrastructure in Eastern Germany had been modernized to more than adequate standards and still only enabled travel times (in excess of 6.5 hours) passengers between Montreal and Toronto didn’t have to endure since the steam era…
 
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Am I reading that table correctly in that the travel time on the Corridor went up about 40 minutes over the past 40 years?
Come to think about it, not just on the VIA Corridor, but in general, on most North American passenger train routes, even going back, say 70 years. Even now, I don't believe Amtrak has a NEC train as quick as the 1969 "Nonstop" Metroliner between NYP and WAS....
 
Come to think about it, not just on the VIA Corridor, but in general, on most North American passenger train routes, even going back, say 70 years. Even now, I don't believe Amtrak has a NEC train as quick as the 1969 "Nonstop" Metroliner between NYP and WAS....
Looking up the non-stops on the New York to Washington run, I came across an interesting book. Of course Philadelphia objected. But Penn Central ran a nonstop in a 1969-1970 period, after the Metroliners had been reduced down to 120 mph, and the travel time was 2h30m. Then Amtrak ran one a day in 2019, at 2h35m. Perhaps nothing in between. But you folks are more expert than me.

For a real expert, how about E. M. Frimbo, the World's Greatest Railroad Buff? In 1969 one of the occasional pieces about his train adventures ran in the New Yorker, entitled "Frimbo on the Metroliner." You could transport many of the issues he discussed to today. The hollowing out of long-distance bus service, for example, and the issue of highway safety. The railroads making it hard to get from New York to Hartford after 6:05pm. The railroads intentionally enfeebling service to upstate New York. Removal of dining cars. Problems with connections in Chicago (intentional at the time). Intercity train service to Boston done cut-rate because they have public transit rail anyway. But he thought the Metroliner was a good change, and hoped the government would take it over.

E. M. Frimbo was the pseudonym of Rogers E. M. Whitaker, and his scribe was Tony Hiss, back when shorter pieces in the New Yorker were unsigned. (Time went even further and ran most stories without a byline in the 1950s.) In 1974 Whitaker and Hiss published their train stories in a book, All Aboard with E. M. Frimbo. It's serious, but also silly. Next to the Metroliner story is an illustration of "An early Swiss progenitor of the Metroliner," depicting the 1906-07 Ganz FS Class E.360 that ran through the Simplon Tunnel, without explanation.

The New Yorker archives are subscriber only, but you can "check out" the book from the Internet Archive for an hour, for free: https://archive.org/details/allaboardwithemf00whit/
 
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Check link below to trains.com article on Via's "Ocean" slowdown. CN again with "slow orders" because they do not maintain track for higher speeds. In the end, it is the responsibility of Canada's government, regardless of who leads it, to pressure CN. https://www.trains.com/trn/news-rev...ng-cn-track-adds-time-to-vias-ocean-analysis/
Unless VIA or the federal government have any legal guarantees regarding certain minimum track quality standards and speed limits, it will be very difficult for either party to compell CN without opening their chequebooks…
 
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