Dashing Thru The Snow.....

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NS VIA Fan

Conductor
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Sep 24, 2011
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I've always enjoyed riding the train in winter......and especially during a snow storm when it's warm and cozy on board! So with some vacation time to use and a storm expected.....I booked a trip on VIA's OCEAN......840 miles overnight to Montreal

With the snow due to arrive that night....I headed out in the afternoon for the 2 hr drive to YHZ the Halifax International Airport where I dropped my car off as I would be returning by plane.....then took the Metro-X bus downtown. I was staying at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel.....a former CN Hotel directly connected inside to the adjacent VIA Station and an easy walk to the train in the morning.















 
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NS VIA Fan

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Departure was ontime at 1pm and I was quite surprised we didn't have more on board as out at the Airport there were lots of cancellations (red) and delays posted (below) We had around 10 in the sleepers and 30 in coach but the train did fill considerably from Moncton and west. Maritime Bus/Coach Atlantic which shares the station with VIA had a bus loading for New Brunswick at the same time but I think I'd prefer to be on the train!





First call to lunch came at 1:15. I had the Ocean's signature Seafood Chowder along with Chicken a la King. And keep in mind.....there is no Chef on the train. All meals are pre-prepared by a caterer, chilled the reheated on board in Convection Ovens....no microwaved and IMHO very good!











I was able to snag a Cabin for 2 with Shower in one of the Renaissance Sleepers and IMHO a better ride and better amenities than in an older Budd Chateau Sleeper. The tight-seal between Ren cars also permits a continuous passage without doors & vestibules through the Ren section of the consist.....and particularly nice in winter vs having to step outside between the Budd Sleepers.





 
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NS VIA Fan

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Now for a lazy afternoon up in the Park Car Dome......with complementary coffee, tea and snacks as we rolled through the storm.













We were ontime into Moncton......



 

NS VIA Fan

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....... and a few minutes to get off to record our 19 car consist. Today's train was mixed Budd-Renaissance equipment:

2 F40PH3s
1 Budd Baggage
4 Budd Coaches
1 Ren Transition
1 Ren Coach
1 Ren Service/Lounge
1 Ren Diner
1 Ren Service/Lounge
2 Ren Sleepers
1 Ren Transition
5 Budd Chateau Sleepers
1 Budd Dome Obs 'Revelstoke Park'







Second call to dinner was at 7:30 and I had the Honey Pecan Crusted Chicken along with Chocolate-Caramel Cake for dessert.









North of Bathurst the night sky cleared and sitting up in the Dome it was almost as bright as day with the full moon on the fresh snow. Near Charlo you can look 20km across the Baie de Chaleur to the lights along the Gaspe coast.

Time for bed and with the time zone change from Atlantic to Eastern, I got an extra hour sleep...waking as we were sitting in Joffre yard a half-hour early. We had to wait for VIA #33 before we could head out on the single track across the Quebec Bridge to our stop in suburban Sainte-Foy.





 

Tom Booth

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Jul 5, 2019
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flitcraft

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Jan 10, 2018
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Your pictures are priceless advertising for the Ocean! Thanks so much for posting them, and thanks for reminding me of that scrumptious chocolate caramel cake. I'm usually pretty good about declining dessert--at my age, my calorie burning doesn't require it--but ooh, la, la, that cake...
 

JRR

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Jul 17, 2017
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As the others have said, thanks for the great report and pictures. Looking forward to doing this trip again. Loved it the first time and also really liked Halifax both times we were there.
 

jiml

OBS Chief
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Feb 27, 2019
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Great report as usual. Agree about the food and the ride of the Renaissance cars, although we did the Park car in both directions. That's the area that the Budds really show their age. I was surprised there were that many sleepers this time of year vs. the mostly Ren consist. Any observations on occupancy?
 

NS VIA Fan

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Sep 24, 2011
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…... I was surprised there were that many sleepers this time of year vs. the mostly Ren consist. Any observations on occupancy?
This was the Ocean that had left Montreal on Sunday night January 5. The last of the Holiday Rush and was probably pretty full. This train was returning to Montreal where some cars would now be removed at the MMC...leaving a shorter off-season consist. We had about 10 in sleepers leaving Halifax and did pick-up a number of passengers along the way especially in Moncton and through northern New Brunswick but certainly not enough to fill those 7 sleepers.
 

jiml

OBS Chief
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Feb 27, 2019
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This was the Ocean that had left Montreal on Sunday night January 5. The last of the Holiday Rush and was probably pretty full. This train was returning to Montreal where some cars would now be removed at the MMC...leaving a shorter off-season consist. We had about 10 in sleepers leaving Halifax and did pick-up a number of passengers along the way especially in Moncton and through northern New Brunswick but certainly not enough to fill those 7 sleepers.
Got it. Makes total sense.
 

Seaboard92

Conductor
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Dec 31, 2014
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The Ocean probably is my favorite of the VIA Long Distance trains. It at least has the real LD train vibe as more people use it for actual transportation.
 

Wolverine72

Train Attendant
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Sep 19, 2016
Messages
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Winter travel by train through the snow is my favorite also. The more snow the better as I sit back in my roomette nice and cosy.
I still prefer car travel in the summer where I create the itinerary.
 
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