The 'Ocean'......First Run! (with photos)

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NS VIA Fan

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After nearly 17 months......here's the first run of VIA's Ocean making it's way west through Truro, Nova Scotia this afternoon..... August 11, 2021.

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The Ocean now uses a hybrid mix of Budd and Renaissance equipment. As the train is no longer turned in Halifax it will operate with a bi-directional consist and the power will just run around to the opposite end. Previously the F40's had run 'Elephant Style' (nose to tail) They are now back to back.

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The train has a baggage car on each end so one will always be adjacent to the locomotives and convenient to the 2nd Engineer in the cab as he also does baggage car duty.


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The Ocean is only making one round trip each week between Halifax and Montreal but once Covid restrictions ease.....the schedule will be expanded this fall and there is still hope a Skyline Dome Car will be added.
 

WWW

No real RR Job
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How does the 2nd engineer get to the bag car ? VIA locos have a nose door ?
Liken to the same situation with Amtrak locomotives ?
From the photos must be a spider man act - or Hollywood stunt artist ?
Yes without a nose door or gantry walkway how is this done while the train is in motion ?

What a shame that that container yard wouldn't allow the turn of the train ONCE A WEEK !
 

NS VIA Fan

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How does the 2nd engineer get to the bag car ? VIA locos have a nose door ?
Actually quite simple 🤔

Open cab door. Climb down and meet station agent with cart at baggage car door (2nd Engineer below in safety vest) Load baggage into car and return to cab. Resume duties of 2nd Engineer and Train Conductor. (VIA does not have Conductors in the back)

It's worked for 25 years...shouldn't be any different now!

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NS VIA Fan

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What a shame that that container yard wouldn't allow the turn of the train ONCE A WEEK !

No need! Looks like a bi-directional train will work just fine with the locomotive only needing to run around the consist now.

And it's not just ONCE AWEEK! as the Ocean will return to it's normal schedule this fall when covid restrictions are lifted. Besides.....with the arrival of ships like the Marco Pole now that space occupied by the loop track is needed and it was removed.

 

Palmland

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So that’s the end of Park cars at the end of the train? Are coach seats turned or half face each other? lets hope this doesn’t happen with the Canadian.
 

NS VIA Fan

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So that’s the end of Park cars at the end of the train? Are coach seats turned or half face each other? lets hope this doesn’t happen with the Canadian.
Yes.....the end of the Park Car (but a Skyline will probably be added when covid restrictions ease) and the Budd coaches in the photos above are the same as on the Canadian with reversible seats and all recently refurbished. (VIA also has two Ren Coaches in this consist and one is running in reverse)
 

Seaboard92

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That is a shame about the Park Cars. That is one of my favorite memories on Christmas Eve a few years ago speeding across the maritimes with the snow swirling behind us in the Park Car. I guess the Hudson Bay can get one on each consist now.
 

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Remember what happened in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade -
"NO TICKET" (on the blimp) - IJ kicked the ****'s off !

Well I don't think that VIA is going to go that extreme but maybe you will be let off easy at a remote grade crossing ! LOL !

It could be as simple as collecting tickets as one boards the train done by one of the car attendants -
OR tickets collected at the Depot/Station boarding gate.
Maybe VIA has a manifest of those paid fares ?

But what the "AE" it is Canada you know !
 

Seaboard92

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How does ticket collection happen?
VIA Rail has a service manager who stays with the train the whole route (EX Canadian). This person lifts all the tickets and is also the manager of the entire OBS staff. So on the Ocean the SM works Halifax-Montreal-Halifax.

The Canadian has two SMs. Vancouver-Winnipeg-Vancouver, and Toronto-Winnipeg-Toronto. The entire OBS crew swaps at Winnipeg.

On the whole VIA crews are far better than Amtrak crews as far as customer service and being consistently friendly.

I'm sure someone on the VIA forums will correct me and tell me I know nothing about the SM position.
 

Cal

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VIA Rail has a service manager who stays with the train the whole route (EX Canadian). This person lifts all the tickets and is also the manager of the entire OBS staff. So on the Ocean the SM works Halifax-Montreal-Halifax.

The Canadian has two SMs. Vancouver-Winnipeg-Vancouver, and Toronto-Winnipeg-Toronto. The entire OBS crew swaps at Winnipeg.

On the whole VIA crews are far better than Amtrak crews as far as customer service and being consistently friendly.

I'm sure someone on the VIA forums will correct me and tell me I know nothing about the SM position.
No different than on Amtrak except it's a 'Service Manager' or attendant that scans your ticket.
I can always trust AU to have good information. Thanks y'all
 

NS VIA Fan

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VIA Rail has a service manager who stays with the train the whole route (EX Canadian). This person lifts all the tickets and is also the manager of the entire OBS staff. So on the Ocean the SM works Halifax-Montreal-Halifax.

The Canadian has two SMs. Vancouver-Winnipeg-Vancouver, and Toronto-Winnipeg-Toronto. The entire OBS crew swaps at Winnipeg.

On the whole VIA crews are far better than Amtrak crews as far as customer service and being consistently friendly.

I'm sure someone on the VIA forums will correct me and tell me I know nothing about the SM position.
I think you covered it quite well. The 'Service Manager' is a customer service position.....where the Engineer, 2nd Engineer are operating positions, handling the old conductor positions and they do not deal with the passengers.
 
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Urban Sky

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I'm sure someone on the VIA forums will correct me and tell me I know nothing about the SM position.
Why would I? We might strongly disagree about what service modification proposals are realistic and actionable (as desirable as they might be, at least in theory!) given the complex constraints and difficult environment by which VIA is limited in all its decisions, but I do appreciate your operational knowledge and your passion to share your ideas and to provide comprehensive answers to the questions asked by other forumers...

Greetings from Montreal!
 
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west point

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It is a shame that VIA has even less clout than Amtrak dealing with freight RRs. I cannot believe that CN wasn't required to build at least a wye or balloon track to turn the ocean.
 

NS VIA Fan

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It is a shame that VIA has even less clout than Amtrak dealing with freight RRs. I cannot believe that CN wasn't required to build at least a wye or balloon track to turn the ocean.

Why should CN be required to construct a Wye or Loop for VIA? The cost would be prohibitive and there is no need. Sure a Park Car was nice but at what cost?

Now it looks like the bi-directional concept with the F40s just running around the consist is going to work just fine. If VIA is looking for a signature car for the Ocean.....it's an easy solution to install reversible seats in a Skyline Dome and certainly a lot cheaper than building a wye!
 

zephyr17

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So that’s the end of Park cars at the end of the train? Are coach seats turned or half face each other? lets hope this doesn’t happen with the Canadian.
Doubtful. There are no issues with turning the train for the Canadian. There's a wye at the station throat in Vancouver. In Toronto the train makes a big U turn loop, the eastbound train pulling into Toronto east to to west from the Bala Sub and pulling out westward on the Newmarket Sub. It backs up through the junction at Snider from the Newmarket Sub onto the York Sub, the proceeds eastwards on the York Sub to Doncaster where it returns to the Bala Sub.

The Bala Sub is a major CN line and also hosts a lot of Metrolinx commuter trains, the Newmarket Sub is now owned by Metrolinx and likewise hosts a lot of commuter service. The York Sub hosts heavy freight traffic. None are endangered.
 
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zephyr17

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I think you covered it quite well. The 'Service Manager' is a customer service position.....where the Engineer, 2nd Engineer are operating positions, handling the old conductor positions and they do not deal with the passengers.
And I think the existence of the Service Manager position is vital to the quality and consistency of VIA's onboard service. Amtrak needs to adopt a similar approach if they ever get serious about improving their onboard service.
 

jruff001

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VIA Rail has a service manager who stays with the train the whole route (EX Canadian). This person lifts all the tickets and is also the manager of the entire OBS staff. So on the Ocean the SM works Halifax-Montreal-Halifax.

The Canadian has two SMs. Vancouver-Winnipeg-Vancouver, and Toronto-Winnipeg-Toronto. The entire OBS crew swaps at Winnipeg.
Do the SMs also lift tickets at all stations throughout the night? Just wondering when they get a rest break; I assume they are not on required to be on duty 24 hrs/day.
 

zephyr17

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Do the SMs also lift tickets at all stations throughout the night? Just wondering when they get a rest break; I assume they are not on required to be on duty 24 hrs/day.
On the Canadian there is an SM and Assistant SM. They can spell each other. They also have a manifest of where people are scheduled to get on that they pick up at major stations. The Canadian actually makes relatively few stops. If memory serves, only stops it is sure to stop at are Vancouver, Kamloops, Jasper, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Melville, Winnipeg, Sioux Lookout, Hornepayne, Capreol and Toronto. It'll often go 6-8 hours without stopping. Most of the stops are flag stops and the train doesn't stop unless there is someone manifested there. On any given trip, it'll make some of the other stops (all aboard, Ottermere!) but it skips most of them.

So they don't really have to be on duty all night to lift tickets. If somebody is manifested for, say, Gogama, either the SM or ASM will get up and do it. In that sense, it isn't like Amtrak where there are firm station stops throughout the night.
 
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NS VIA Fan

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On the Canadian there is an SM and Assistant SM. They can spell each other. They also have a manifest of where people are scheduled to get on that they pick up at major stations.......
Same goes for the Ocean but it does have several firm + flag stops in the wee hours of the morning through eastern Quebec at Amqui, Mont Joli, Rimouski (pop 50,000 and always a busy stop) Trois-Pistols, Riviere-du-Loup, La Pocatiere etc.
 

NS VIA Fan

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So in today's electronic world there is no such thing as an authentic "flag stop?"

There's still a few and it depends on the train.

Here's VIA Train #601 from Montreal to Jonquiere, Quebec. Note at Summit Club “Stops on request when traveller is seen by train staff”....... but at Summit station 2 minutes away “For a stop at this station, reservations are required at least 40 minutes before the train departs from its station of origin”.......which is Montreal at 815am.

Jonquiere.jpgJonquiere 1.jpg


Here's the stop at Club Summit. There's no roads and a snowmobile meets the train in winter or an ATV in summer.



Then there's just the stop beside the track where the passengers unload their gear and walk off to their cabin in the woods.



And the busy stop at Stadacona.....again no roads just snowmobiles!


 
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