Canadian and Ocean cancelled until Nov 1, 2020

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Palmetto

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I would not want the U. S. to give up Alaska. It's a magnificent State! British Columbia is a very nice Provence as well. Have not yet had the privilege to visit Alberta.

They call it "Wild Rose Country". I must say that when I drove through it over several days, I did not see one wild rose, LOL!
 

Dakota 400

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They call it "Wild Rose Country". I must say that when I drove through it over several days, I did not see one wild rose, LOL!
That's like Ohio being "the Buckeye State". Large parts of the state have no Buckeye trees that I have ever seen.
 

jiml

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But, with the southern boundary proposed by the poster, you wouldn't be getting the piece of real estate where the supposed "swamp" is located. ;)
Hey, my parents almost bought into one of those land deals when I was a child. There weren't the immigration issues and all the other stuff back then. I wasn't crazy about moving to "the middle of nowhere" and they didn't take the deal. That place turned out to be Lake Havasu, AZ.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Some folks have dual citizenship, but not many....I imagine that means they can cross the border at will (for "essential purposes", of course)...?
It can’t be that difficult to get. All 3 of my cousins have dual-citizenship.
 

Urban Sky

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Some folks have dual citizenship, but not many....I imagine that means they can cross the border at will (for "essential purposes", of course)...?
Neither Canada nor the United States deny their citizens entry. Therefore, I would assume that dual citizens never have to explain the nature of their purpose for travel, provided they show the right passport (i.e. of the country they are entering) to whatever officials question that at any border checkpoints...
 

Exvalley

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If you are a dual citizen entering a country of your citizenship, you have to show the passport for that country.

In other words, a dual citizen of Canada and the USA must show a Canadian passport when entering Canada and a United States passport when entering the United States. (For simplicity sake I have not mentioned NEXUS.)
 

Mailliw

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Is VIA Rail already going to switch to heritage equipment instead of Renaissance cars when the Ocean resumes in the fall?
 

the_traveler

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Hey, my parents almost bought into one of those land deals when I was a child. There weren't the immigration issues and all the other stuff back then. I wasn't crazy about moving to "the middle of nowhere" and they didn't take the deal. That place turned out to be Lake Havasu, AZ.
Hey, I lived 20 miles north of LHC for 7 years!
 

jiml

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Is VIA Rail already going to switch to heritage equipment instead of Renaissance cars when the Ocean resumes in the fall?
That was the plan before Covid19. With the Ocean resuming as a coach-only train* it's anyone's guess. They didn't have enough Budd coaches before, so unless some have become available through cuts elsewhere they'll have to run the Rens. The longer term hope had been that new Siemens trainsets in corridor service would free up HEP-2 coaches for use elsewhere. Of course they're not here yet.
* From VIA: "Due to the uncertainty with the COVID situation, we have blocked the sale of Sleeper Plus Class in November and December on the Ocean. This measure will remain in place until such time as we have a better understanding of the services we will be able to offer.
 

NS VIA Fan

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Is VIA Rail already going to switch to heritage equipment instead of Renaissance cars when the Ocean resumes in the fall?
VIA will lose the ability to turn the Ocean on a loop track in Halifax in November

Here' a quote from a VIA Press Release:

The solution involves using a 'hybrid' train that includes locomotives equipped with features allowing for back-to-back operations, so the trains don't need to turn around”
”Passenger cars used will have seats that can turn to align with the direction of travel to “ensure optimal comfort for passengers”


When I rode the Ocean in March just before the service was cancelled by Covid..... they were already using the 'Hybrid' type train on one of the two consists: It had the Budd Stainless Steel coaches which have reversible seats. There were no Renaissance coaches and in fact the only seats on the train that weren't reversible were the 24 dome seats in the Park Car and the 'Cabins for One' (Duplex Roomettes) in the Chateau Sleepers. There were also a couple of Renaissance Sleepers being used and Ren Bedrooms are already set up for bi-directional travel where half the rooms face the direction of travel and half face away.

What is rumored is the Ocean will use the Budd coaches (with reversible seats) along with the Ren Diner/Service Cars and Ren Sleepers as they are bi-directional.

But what to do about a Dome? They could just leave the Park Car off as the round-end Observation would be next to the locomotives in one direction. But if there is any intent to market the Ocean to tourists other than a point to point coach/sleeper corridor type train....it needs a 'Signature' or 'Feature' type car and this could be accomplished by using a 'Skyline Dome' instead of a 'Park Car'......and replacing the existing seating with 24 reversible type seats in a Skyline Dome just like the CP Rail Skyline did for years on the Atlantic Limited as it was not turned in Saint John.

And as noted by @jiml above.....VIA has now added to that statement that Exiting Reservations after November 1 remain valid.....leaving the possibility sleepers may return in November after they see how Covid plays out by then.

"Due to the uncertainty with the COVID situation, we have blocked the sale of Sleeper Plus Class in November and December on the Ocean. This measure will remain in place until such time as we have a better understanding of the services we will be able to offer. Existing reservations remain valid at this moment"
 

jiml

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The solution involves using a 'hybrid' train that includes locomotives equipped with features allowing for back-to-back operations, so the trains don't need to turn around”
”Passenger cars used will have seats that can turn to align with the direction of travel to “ensure optimal comfort for passengers”
Interesting excerpt from a couple of perspectives. One would assume that any set of 2 or more standard locomotives could operate in this configuration and simply run around the consist in Halifax, although VIA certainly seems to prefer "elephant-style". It's not like they need new equipment to do it however. The second quote is even more bizarre as they are eliminating (if not completed already) this possibility by modifying the 4100-series HEP-2 coaches into the 50/50 configuration, where 50% of the passengers ride backwards 100% of the time. These were the coaches slated to move to the Ocean on delivery of new corridor equipment.
 

NS VIA Fan

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Interesting excerpt from a couple of perspectives. One would assume that any set of 2 or more standard locomotives could operate in this configuration and simply run around the consist in Halifax, although VIA certainly seems to prefer "elephant-style".
VIA is modifying the F40s to run back to back instead of elephant-style. Previously they couldn't run in reverse above a certain speed.

.....and VIA will be modifying coaches for the Ocean with seats facing travel perhaps because of the greater distance than if they were operating in the corridor.

Since VIA was notified of the loss of the loop-track in Halifax....the whole consist issue seems to still be evolving and now with more time to come to a proper solution with the trains out of service due to Covid.

We'll see in November!
 

jiml

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VIA is modifying the F40s to run back to back instead of elephant-style. Previously they couldn't run in reverse above a certain speed.
I had no idea! My last trip to Montreal had an F40 and a P42 back-to-back, but the F40 was leading. So I guess the pre-Covid corridor trains that ran with an engine at either end (#67 was one), the F40 would have been "in tow" rather than operating?
 

NS VIA Fan

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I had no idea! My last trip to Montreal had an F40 and a P42 back-to-back, but the F40 was leading. So I guess the pre-Covid corridor trains that ran with an engine at either end (#67 was one), the F40 would have been "in tow" rather than operating?
Just going by discussion (from an engineer) in one of the forums I follow. Perhaps after the F40s were rebuilt about 10 years ago they were only set up to run elephant style at speed.
 

Seaboard92

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Of course there is the option to have a Park Car on both ends. The Canadian uses a captive fleet of three or four Parks with the Prestige service.

The only other train that regularly is assigned a Park Car is the Skeena which gets two from the non prestige fleet. The Hudson Bay has one Park assigned to WNPG even though there are two sets that run that service. But even with both the Skeena and Hudson Bay receiving enough to cover you still have 7 non prestige parks laying around. You could easily assign four to the Ocean to give it a dome in both directions. Now you would need to do some switching in Halifax to move the baggage car between ends, and the sleepers. But it is a working solution. A bit creative.

There was one day I sat down and reworked the entire VIA Network and I was able to expand service using the existing fleet just better utilization which VIA hasn't seamed to master yet.

I'll have to find my notes I had but I was able to give the CP Route tri weekly service VCVR-CALG, Bi Weekly CALG-TRTO. The CN Route was tri weekly VCVR-EDMT, then Bi Weekly to WNPG. With a Tri Weekly service WNPG-TRTO.

Then I managed to turn the maritimes into six day a week service between Matapedia and Montreal, and tri weekly both to Gaspe and Halifax. It actually wasn't that hard to do it. It just takes creativity which VIA sorely lacks.
 

Seaboard92

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Just to further prove my point on VIA's inefficiency with equipment utilization.

Before they started running the Hybrid Ocean with the Chateaus. You had a fleet that is 24 cars strong that was only utilizing two cars for the Hudson Bay on a daily basis one in each trainset, and four cars in the Canadian sets being used as a crew dorm. So a sixteen percent utilization rate. When I re did the network a lot of the service enhancements I was proposing were pulling from the other 20 cars to be split up. And not running massive 25 car Canadians instead splitting them into shorter trains that run more frequent to provide better service to Canadians.

Now the Skyline cars VIA has a very high utilization rate on those. Of the 15 cars that are in service today they utilize 12 on the Canadian, and two on the Hudson bay making for fourteen of 15 cars with a rate of 93 percent.

Budd built dining cars also have a high utilization rate. Of the 12 cars in service they are using eight in Canadian service during the summer peak, and occasionally one or two on the Hudson Bay but that hasn't happened in the last year. So even with those in service that's ten cars for a rate of 83 percent.

The Manor Fleet consists of 40 cars and in the summer peak they have 12 Manors on a consist between all four sets that's 36 cars for 90 percent utilization.

From a stand point of serving transportation needs better VIA is doing a poor job at utilizing the fleet because you could split the Canadian from four large trainsets into eight smaller ones, running more frequently. Of course you need CN to do a better job dispatching as well.
 

Willbridge

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I would not want the U. S. to give up Alaska. It's a magnificent State! British Columbia is a very nice Province as well. Have not yet had the privilege to visit Alberta.
Alberta is in many ways comparable to Colorado or Montana, just a few degrees cooler. Edmonton, the capital city, is the same latitude as Berlin, so if you want to take photos there are many summer hours of daylight. Back in the olden days of the 1970's there were local trains that would take you to obscure Prairie towns east, and a choice of transcontinental trains that would take you west through the Rockies.

The rural hospital system is better than in the U.S., so in case distancing fails in remote places, there's a chance of getting good care.

1976001.jpg
 

jiml

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There was one day I sat down and reworked the entire VIA Network and I was able to expand service using the existing fleet just better utilization which VIA hasn't seamed to master yet.
Then you feel our pain. This is an exercise many of us have done repeatedly over the years. VIA is a lot like Amtrak - lack of a plan, political interference and strange budget choices, all while embellishing routes that don't need it while ignoring unserved potential.
 

NS VIA Fan

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Of course there is the option to have a Park Car on both ends. The Canadian uses a captive fleet of three or four Parks with the Prestige service.

Sure they could run a 'Park' on each end.....but in one direction it would be separated from the Sleeper Class passengers it's intended for.

From the news release quoted above I think VIA has already determined the make-up of the Ocean in November with the loss of turning capabilities in Halifax. Now they're working on that re-configuration of cars during the Covid hiatus.......but the question remains.....will there be a dome??

I think VIA is looking for a simple solution for Halifax and just the requirement to run the units around to the opposite end be properly positioned to depart the next day.

I'm also wondering if they will reposition the baggage car also along with the units as the 'Second Engineer' handles the baggage car duties and this would be difficult if he had to go to the opposite end of the train.


Then I managed to turn the maritimes into six day a week service between Matapedia and Montreal, and tri weekly both to Gaspe and Halifax. It actually wasn't that hard to do it. It just takes creativity which VIA sorely lacks.

That's the way VIA did it back in the '90s. The Ocean departed Halifax on We, Fr, Su and the Chaleur departed Gaspe on Mo, Th, Sa......offering 6 day/week service between Matapedia and Montreal.

The 'Atlantic' was also running. It departed Halifax on Mo, Th, & Sa......so Halifax-Moncton also got 6 day/week service.





When the Atlantic was discontinued in December 1994 the Ocean started running 6 days/week and the Chaleur was combined with it between Matapedia and Montreal on 3 of those days. And that's the way they ran until the Ocean again went tri-weekly in 2012 and the Chaleur was 'temporally' suspended..


 
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Seaboard92

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Then you feel our pain. This is an exercise many of us have done repeatedly over the years. VIA is a lot like Amtrak - lack of a plan, political interference and strange budget choices, all while embellishing routes that don't need it while ignoring unserved potential.
VIA's service actually makes a lot of sense when you factor in the political climate of Canada in my opinion. It seams to me as an outsider that Quebec gets what Quebec wants because they know they have the power to sink any policy in any part of the country. Without Quebec's support things don't tend to get funded. Hence the corridor gets better service, and they are trying to do this higher speed line somewhere in that area. While the western provinces don't get service. The corridor has very useful service and CN for the most part manages to keep that part of the network fluid.

When I look at the Canadian rail map I see major potential in the prairies especially Alberta. Calgary-Edmonton makes a lot of sense for a Piedmont style corridor. I could even make an argument for twice daily service, a day train and an overnight train between Winnipeg and Calgary, and Winnipeg and Edmonton. Which is one reason I would want to use the HP2s after the new Siemens sets arrive for.

Sure they could run a 'Park' on each end.....but in one direction it would be separated from the Sleeper Class passengers it's intended for.

From the news release quoted above I think VIA has already determined the make-up of the Ocean in November with the loss of turning capabilities in Halifax. Now they're working on that re-configuration of cars during the Covid hiatus.......but the question remains.....will there be a dome??

I think VIA is looking for a simple solution for Halifax and just the requirement to run the units around to the opposite end be properly positioned to depart the next day.

I'm also wondering if they will reposition the baggage car also along with the units as the 'Second Engineer' handles the baggage car duties and this would be difficult if he had to go to the opposite end of the train.
I think looking at the utilization rates of cars you are unlikely to get a skyline much less two. The Canadian will always be the flagship. What would make more sense but be way more time consuming would be to run two park cars.

Have your consist set up as such.

-F40PH-3
-HP1 Baggage with Pass Thru MU
-F40PH-3
-Deadhead Park
-Coaches
-Food Service
-Sleepers
-In Service Park.

Then I'll list the switching moves. In Halifax I would do this in the yard off the Bedford Highway

Power Pack=F40PH-3, Baggage, F40PH-3, Park Car

1. Drop the rear most Park car on Track 1, pull the rest of the consist onto Track 2.
2. Drop the Sleepers, and food service cars on Track 2, then return to track 1.
3. Couple the coaches onto the Park Car on Track 1, before cutting the coaches from the power pack. Return to Track 2.
4. Couple onto the food service cars, cut the sleepers off the cut and pull the food service cars to track 1.
5. Couple the food service cars onto the coach cut, cut the power pack and return to track 2.
6. Couple back onto the sleepers cut, and drag over to Track 1 and couple onto the assembled consist. Make the cut between the Park car adjacent to the locomotive (Now the power pack is the two units, and baggage car).
7. Run around the consist on the now empty Track 2, and back onto the consist on Track 1. Then back into the station.

While its time consuming to drill the cars like this, it is a doable method to handle the problem they have. Of course the other method would be to use the Halifax CN Turntable to turn the Park Car. But you would still have to drill the train in the CN yard to move the sleepers and coaches to the appropriate locations.

The other method is to wye the train at Truro and run around on a siding. But that will add more time to the schedule.
 

jiml

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When I look at the Canadian rail map I see major potential in the prairies especially Alberta. Calgary-Edmonton makes a lot of sense for a Piedmont style corridor. I could even make an argument for twice daily service, a day train and an overnight train between Winnipeg and Calgary, and Winnipeg and Edmonton. Which is one reason I would want to use the HP2s after the new Siemens sets arrive for.
The first one is the key one. There was some discussion of moving LRC coaches to that route with the HEP-2's heading east, both once enough Siemens' sets arrive. There are a couple of options for services between Winnipeg and the two major cities in Alberta which could be looked at and there's been considerable interest in VIA serving Northwestern Ontario from Winnipeg as recently as 2 years ago: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/pressure-via-rail-return-social-media-thunder-bay-greyhound-1.4750453 which could be another use of displaced rolling stock.
 
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