VIA/Amtrak Maple Leaf - top speed? (in Canada portion)

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rms492

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Messages
188
Hello, what is the top speed of the joint VIA/Amtrak Maple Leaf on the portion from Toronto Union Station to Niagara Falls, ON?
Thanks
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,659
No specific speeds, but since the Maple Leaf is carded at 2 + Hours for the 84 miles with 4 stops between Toronto and Niagara Falls,ON, that averages out to 42mph.

The tracks through the Yards going into to the VIA Station in Niagara Falls are very rough and Slow orders are in effect there.

Another factor is the many GO Commuter Trains that run out of Union Station in Toronto to/from Hamilton which receive priority on the VIA owned Tracks through the Toronto Suburbs on this route.

Everytime I've ridden the Maple Leaf the fastest segment was between Oakville and Hamilton. ( stop for Hamilton is called Aldershot)

The stops in Grimsby and St Catharines are brief,then the Slow orders through the yards take you into the Niagara Falls VIA Station where the Train becomes an Amtrak Train with Amtrak Crews and Food and Drink in the Cafe.

The crossing of the Niagara River on the Whirlpool Bridge is slow,(30 minutes for the 16 miles to the US Amtrak Station) .

The New Station on the US Side, when it is finished, is close to the River but the current Station where Customs and Immigration are done is in the edge of town, and Slow Orders apply all the way to the Buffalo Exchange St. Station due to the Rough Tracks.

The US Border Agents at the Niagara Falls US Amtrak stop are noted for their brusk manner

and thoroughness, and usually much time is lost during the stop here.
 

williamn

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 6, 2013
Messages
63
It was notable to me when I took this train how much nicer the VIA crew was than the Amtrak one.
 

Tennessee Traveler

Conductor
Joined
Apr 11, 2010
Messages
1,230
It was notable to me when I took this train how much nicer the VIA crew was than the Amtrak one.
That was not my experience. I found the Via crew efficient but not particularly customer concerned. I was in business class. Once the Amtrak crew boarded the business class attendant/cafe man was friendly and informative. He even let us know if the train was spotted so that we could exit either the business car door or a forward door depending on the spotting and kept us informed like that just north of Albany we would have to wait for a connecting northbound train in station so we could get off and walk along side the train while we waited for fresh air.

Not the Maple Leaf but I also rode business class on Via Rail Toronto to Montreal and return and was not happy with the service nor the rudeness of switching from LRC car to Budd car and changing all the seat assignments without notifying us before we boarded. My experience on the Via Ocean Montreal to Halifax was very pleasant and I enjoyed my sleeping car attendant and the Park car attendant and enjoyed some good just friendly communication with both. Because of the scheduling of the crew, I had the same crew in both directions even after staying four nights in Halifax.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,659
Of course it's a generalization, but IME crew members on Commuter and Corridor type trains have tended to not be as friendly as most of the Long Distance Crews no matter the Country. .

And I'd say based on many years of riding Trains in Canada and the US with thousands of trips on each, that 90% of the Canadian Rail employees were much friendlier and more professional than those here in the US.

Perhaps this has to do with the constant day to day sameness of the routes which includes lots of stressed passengers and turns the job into just another day at the office!

I have never had a single rail employee in Canada be as rude, lazy and unprofessional as some of the ones I've encountered in the US, not even close! YMMV
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,767
FWIW, the track ownership is now (from Toronto headed towards the US)

GO Transit / Metrolinx from Toronto to Burlington (a bit before Aldershot)

CN from Burlington to somewhere in the vicinity of Niagara Falls, Ontario

VIA Rail and/or Amtrak from somewhere in the vicinity of Niagara Falls, Ontario, to halfway across the bridge (the relation between VIA and Amtrak is a bit confusing here)

Amtrak from halfway across the bridge, through the new not-yet-opened Niagara Falls NY station, to a junction just past it

CSX from there eastward, through the old Niagara Falls NY station.

These ownership arrangements are all quite new, with the stuff near the bridge dating from late 2012. Basically CSX and CN wanted to get rid of the passenger-only sections of track. I believe Amtrak & VIA have not really had a chance to upgrade the tiny section of track around the bridge since they bought it, since it was an emergency purchase. I'm not actually sure how far the ownership extends on the Canadian side or what the exact arrangements are.
 
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