Canada Coast-to-Coast

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PaulDobbs

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
94
One thing that I haven't decided yet is whether to take my scanner. I don't know about the laws in Canada and the various provinces concerning scanners. I also wonder about problems at the border with scanners. And finally, I don't know what frequencies to listen on.
 

zephyr17

Conductor
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
4,020
I have traveled on the Canadian every year for the last 5 years and always carry a scanner with no problems. I wouldn't use it in a car, though, that is where you may get into trouble with provincial laws.

No problems with them at the border.

You really only need two channels:

CN end to end road channel 161.415 (CN Channel 1/AAR channel 87)

Via onboard service/train to head end communication: 160.200 (AAR channel 6)

Via OBS crews use the radio to communicate, so you get to hear a lot more on that via channel than you do on Amtrak (like "we need more ice in the Park car"). And there are much fewer PA announcements like "...conductor to the IC..." that are so annoying on Amtrak. There is no train intercom, they use the radio.

Also you'll know why you have been stuck in a siding for 2 hours (typically waiting for meets with like 4 non clearing CN freights).

As always, be considerate of your fellow passengers and use earphones.
 

PaulDobbs

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
94
Thank you. An excellent answer. I got out my scanner instructions and figured out how to scan just these two frequencies. Do you know what frequencies I will need on the Ocean?
 

zephyr17

Conductor
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
4,020
Thank you. An excellent answer. I got out my scanner instructions and figured out how to scan just these two frequencies. Do you know what frequencies I will need on the Ocean?
The same. The CN road channel and Via OBS/head end communication channel are system wide for both.
 

PaulDobbs

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
94
Yet another question: Are there available electrical outlets in the Prestige class rooms? I use a map application on my iPad to track my trips. It doesn't need an internet connection, but it eats up battery pretty fast. In an Amtrak bedroom, I always run an extension cord over to the center of the window so that I can charge my iPad, iPhone and watch overnight, plus when I need to during the day.

I understand that there are outlets in the Panorama Car and the Bullet Lounge, but not in the domes.
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
Messages
2
Yes, but I would bring a power strip with me to make sure that I could charge numerous items. There’s an outlet in the room and one in the bathroom.
 

PaulDobbs

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
94
Where is the outlet in the room? It does not seem to show up on any of the pictures.
 

john small berries

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 19, 2016
Messages
22
New question: Traveling in August, when this Texan is going to be acclimated to 90 to 100 degree days (I still think in Fahrenheit), am I going to want to carry more than the nylon windbreaker that I always carry on Amtrak against overachieving air conditioning?

Also, I am starting to be tempted to upgrade to Prestige class on the Canadian. I'd like to hear some comments pro and con, other than the ridiculous cost. I have the money, and at 75, with house and car paid for, not much else to spend it on.
My wife, sister, 87 year old mother and I did a group from Toronto to Vancouver in Prestige last fall. SWMBO and I had the B room in the Park car. It was superb. The rooms are about as described and the food and service was excellent. From Toronto we had a really great crew but west from Winnipeg we had what I can only describe as the most fun, service oriented crew that I have ever had. We ended up the trip with several new varieties of liquor to try at home and two empty Crystal Head vodka bottles, the second facilitated by regular rounds of Cesars in the dome. The scenery was great, having the family was perfect, and the accommodations were first rate. The room outlet was on the shelf by the bathroom, but I have a long cord on my CPAP so it wasn't a problem. Food was varied and just about perfect. It was really expensive but soooo worth it.
 

aeh

Joined
May 30, 2019
Messages
2
Look up the 360 views on VIA’s site, you can spot the outlet location. You’ll need to know if you’re in a Renaissance, Chateau, or Manor bedroom. Or just look at all of them.
 

Chessie

Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 23, 2016
Messages
160
Can I book a coast to coast ticket between Vancouver and Halifax with guaranteed connections with VIA Rail?
 

zephyr17

Conductor
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
4,020
Can I book a coast to coast ticket between Vancouver and Halifax with guaranteed connections with VIA Rail?
You certainly can book a Vancouver to Halifax trip, and Via does guarantee connections, but it requires at least one overnight layover, and VIA does not appear to offer through ticketing on the website possibly because of that.

The Canadian arrives at 2:29 PM (theoretically) at Toronto Tuesdays and Fridays, and the Ocean leaves Montreal at 7:00 PM Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. So the closest connection you could make would be to arrive Tuesday, overnight at Toronto, then take a Corridor train to Montreal on Wednesday to catch the Ocean with a Toronto-Halifax ticket.

The Canadian generally has not been having its 24 hour plus lateness issues on the new schedule (a 24 hour late #1 recently notwithstanding), so that would be a fairly safe option.

I would book it with an agent at 888-VIA-RAIL instead of the website, though. It might be guaranteed if it were on single reservation which an agent could do.
 

atm79

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
36
You certainly can book a Vancouver to Halifax trip, and Via does guarantee connections, but it requires at least one overnight layover, and VIA does not appear to offer through ticketing on the website possibly because of that.

I would book it with an agent at 888-VIA-RAIL instead of the website, though. It might be guaranteed if it were on single reservation which an agent could do.
It works if you choose multi-city. I booked a Halifax - Vancouver trip this past winter that was all on one ticket with a 1 day 57 minute connection in Montreal. In your case, segment one would be Vancouver - Toronto and segment two would be Toronto - Halifax.
 

PaulDobbs

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
94
There are slightly less that two weeks to go before I set off on the adventure that I created this thread to discuss.

The trip is 24 days and 9820 miles long. The route is Fort Worth - Chicago - New York City - Montreal - Halifax - Toronto - Vancouver - Seattle - Chicago - Fort Worth. The trains are Texas Eagle (twice, FTW to CHI and CHI to FTW), Lake Shore Limited, Adirondack, Ocean (twice, eastbound then westbound), Corridor Train 65, Canadian, Amtrak Cascades, and Empire Builder. I have free days in Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver and two free days in Toronto to play tourist.

In the months since I made the ticket purchases, I have received a number of changes from both Amtrak and Via Rail.

Most of the Amtrak changes have been adjusted arrival times. The only Amtrak change with any impact on me (it will cost me an hour of sleep) was the change from an 8:15 departure from NYP on the Adirondack to a 7:15 departure, presumably due to the Adirondack being combined with the Maple Leaf.

Most of the Via Rail changes have also been minor: train 65 may operate late due to track work; my forward-facing seat on 65 has changed to a rear-facing seat; the westbound Ocean will depart 15 minutes early. The most recent change is the most bothersome: due to equipment changes, my cabin for 2 with shower on the eastbound Ocean has become a cabin for 1. While this is disappointing, I feel that I can handle the change.

I have new question: What differences in the way that Amtrak and Via Rail do things will surprise me, particularly with reference to boarding and diner operations? What do I need to know that years of riding Amtrak haven’t taught me?
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,739
VIA Boards the Ocean and Canadian similar to how Amtrak does from the Metro Lounges.

VIA is very strict with Carryon Stuff so you'll probably have to check any Big Bags, you will have to take what you'll need for the whole trip as Carryon!

As for Meals, the Diner Steward rotates the Seating times, so if you eat Early on One Day, you'll be on a Later Seating the next but you do get to pick your times.( Coach Passengers dont eat in the Sleeper Diner(s) and have their own Dome Car @ the Front of the Train.

Remember the Canadian uses 2 Crews with the Change in Winnipeg so be sure and tip any deserving OBS Before arrival into Winnipeg.

Expect to run Late the whole trip but with the New Schedules it's not as bad as before and you'll be having so much fun you will probably want to NEVER Arrive @ the Terminal!

Look forward to your Trip Reports, were envious.
 

willem

Conductor
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
1,015
The only Amtrak change with any impact on me (it will cost me an hour of sleep) was the change from an 8:15 departure from NYP on the Adirondack to a 7:15 departure, presumably due to the Adirondack being combined with the Maple Leaf.
Great trip. Unless you want to ride the Lake Shore Limited and the Adirondack end-to-end (which I would understand), you could stay overnight any place between Schenectady and New York City. When I took the Lake Shore Limited to connect to the Adirondack, I stayed at the Rhinecliff in (surprise) Rhinecliff. It was completely satisfactory (and a touch quirky) if unspectacular, it was an easy walk from the station, it was cheaper than New York hotels, and it allowed for a less hectic morning when catching the Adirondack. (A nice breakfast was included.) I would certainly stay there again if I were connecting from the Lake Shore Limited to the Adirondack.

As for Meals, the Diner Steward rotates the Seating times, so if you eat Early on One Day, you'll be on a Later Seating the next but you do get to pick your times.
This past May, I think I picked a supper time before the first meal and it applied to every night. Maybe I needed to request it every night, but certainly I ate at the early seating every night.
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
815
I’m almost your age and have eaten in a lot of restaurants. The best beef I’ve ever had was in the Press Gang restaurant in Halifax. It’s not cheap.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,739
Great trip. Unless you want to ride the Lake Shore Limited and the Adirondack end-to-end (which I would understand), you could stay overnight any place between Schenectady and New York City. When I took the Lake Shore Limited to connect to the Adirondack, I stayed at the Rhinecliff in (surprise) Rhinecliff. It was completely satisfactory (and a touch quirky) if unspectacular, it was an easy walk from the station, it was cheaper than New York hotels, and it allowed for a less hectic morning when catching the Adirondack. (A nice breakfast was included.) I would certainly stay there again if I were connecting from the Lake Shore Limited to the Adirondack.



This past May, I think I picked a supper time before the first meal and it applied to every night. Maybe I needed to request it every night, but certainly I ate at the early seating every night.
Appreciate the update.

Since you have taken this trip since me,( Feb of 2018) they must have changed the Procedure or else the Diner Steward has discretion in how to run their Diner!
 
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