VIA Canadian and the Canadians

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Bingo! After learning about the difference between Room F and the other "cabins for two" on this forum, I have been trying to change to that from my purchased Room B, several times, to no avail. But this morning, after being on hold for 45 minutes, I finally reached an agent who was able to find one, and change my booking, at no additional charge. So really looking forward to my first ever ride in a former "Compartment".:cool:

Thanks to those who gave that tip!:)
Sweet! Last time I rode the Canadian I tried the same thing, but the OBS Chief occupied the room so I didn't get it!
 
Sweet! Last time I rode the Canadian I tried the same thing, but the OBS Chief occupied the room so I didn't get it!
Apparently, there are more than one of them on the train...each of the sleepers has one, so either someone canceled, or they added an additional car since I first booked. So it pays to be perseverant sometimes...;)
 
The only room better than F on a VIA non-Prestige sleeper is the drawing room in the unconverted Chateau or Park cars. They're the perfect solution for seniors who like two beds on the same level, as I can tell you from experience. Both cars have become rarities since the Park was dropped from the Ocean and the Chateaus were relegated to the Hudson Bay or used as crew dorms.
 
My #1 advice to any night train travellers is to adjust their sleep schedule to maximize the daylight views on the scenery. Another one would be to download an offline map like “OSMAnd” to be able to track the train’s current position without mobile/cell phone reception…
Very good recommendation, I just returned and multiple times I wished I had taken a map to refer to while traversing the country.
 
The only room better than F on a VIA non-Prestige sleeper is the drawing room in the unconverted Chateau or Park cars. They're the perfect solution for seniors who like two beds on the same level, as I can tell you from experience. Both cars have become rarities since the Park was dropped from the Ocean and the Chateaus were relegated to the Hudson Bay or used as crew dorms.
I wonder why they withdrew them for use on the Canadian? When they did run them, I would imagine they would charge more for a drawing room, as they should if they contain three beds. So they would not be a bargain like the 'F' room is now. Or, did they used to charge more for the 'F' room than the other bedrooms?
Via has not one clue about operating these cars. The drawing room cars should be totally recodtitioned and sold for two or more passengers not as a "Triple Bedroom". I gave up on the "Canadian".
Agreed! I might even pay extra to ride in one, if they offered them on the Canadian. I mean for a reasonable upcharge, not the exorbitant one that they demand for the Prestige rooms...
Why shouldn't they sell them as a "cabin for three"? I'm sure there is some demand for that...
 
I did ride in the drawing rooms a few times when the Chateau cars were still in regular use on the Ocean, in the '90s and early '00s, and once in the Park car drawing room. They carried a higher price than a bedroom but were more spacious and perfect for two parents and child, which described our family by the latter years of that period.
 
Via has not one clue about operating these cars. The drawing room cars should be totally recodtitioned and sold for two or more passengers not as a "Triple Bedroom". I gave up on the "Canadian".
The Chateaus are in pretty rough condition. It would be impossible to offer a consistent service standard when mixing them with Manors and tour operatirs would certainly balk if some of their customers ended up in one. But as I can confirm from my own experiences from being outside, inside VIA and outside again, the less information and insights you have, the easier it is to make some deceptively obvious suggestions…
 
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Not knowing their history, I am curious as to why VIA Rail refurbed the Manor sleepers, but not the Chateau?
 
Or, did they used to charge more for the 'F' room than the other bedrooms?
Possibly in the early days of VIA, the F room (compartment) had a higher fare than the other bedrooms. I am not sure when the compartment got blended in with the other bedrooms for fare and reservation purposes but maybe someone has that information.

Prior to VIA, Canadian Pacific charged more for a compartment than for a bedroom. According to the April 1966 Canadian Pacific timetable, between Montreal and Vancouver, fares were as follows:

Bedroom for one passenger - $164.50; for two passengers - $220.00

Compartment for one passenger - $214.00; for two passengers - $270.00

Drawing Room for one passenger - $232.00; for two passengers - $288.00; for three passengers - $344.00

There were all-inclusive fares and included meals at that time.
 
Not knowing their history, I am curious as to why VIA Rail refurbed the Manor sleepers, but not the Chateau?
Disregarding the open sections, the Chateau cars have 8 single bedrooms, 3 double bedrooms and the triple bedroom while the Manor cars have 4 single bedrooms and 6 double bedrooms.

So if the market is for accommodations for two people traveling together, the Manors have more capacity. In addition, the Chateau single bedrooms are on two levels with some being lower and some upper. They always struck me as being rather cramped looking accomodations. The Manor bedrooms just look more inviting.

I don't know if the Chateau single bedrooms would be considered true duplex roomettes or not since I don't consider myself an expert on this subject but they certainly look similar to me.
 
the Chateau single bedrooms are on two levels with some being lower and some upper.
Sounds a little like Slumbercoach that Amtrak had back in the day. (I rode Slumbercoach in the Lake Shore Limited back in the early 80s. I had a double Slumbercoach compartment to myself, but the single Slumbercoach compartments were on 2 levels.)
 
Disregarding the open sections, the Chateau cars have 8 single bedrooms, 3 double bedrooms and the triple bedroom while the Manor cars have 4 single bedrooms and 6 double bedrooms.

So if the market is for accommodations for two people traveling together, the Manors have more capacity. In addition, the Chateau single bedrooms are on two levels with some being lower and some upper. They always struck me as being rather cramped looking accomodations. The Manor bedrooms just look more inviting.

I don't know if the Chateau single bedrooms would be considered true duplex roomettes or not since I don't consider myself an expert on this subject but they certainly look similar to me.
There was another type of Pullman accommodation, albeit very rare...it was a Duplex Single Room. While the Duplex Roomette for one was smaller than a standard Roomette for one, more like a Single Slumbercoach room, the Duplex Single Room was a bit larger than the standard Roomette. It also was on two levels, but it was crosswise to the car, like Double Bedrooms are, just smaller than them. So, very different from a Duplex Roomette.
 
Sounds a little like Slumbercoach that Amtrak had back in the day. (I rode Slumbercoach in the Lake Shore Limited back in the early 80s. I had a double Slumbercoach compartment to myself, but the single Slumbercoach compartments were on 2 levels.)
The exception to that were the 16-10 type Slumbercoaches inherited from the NYC. Unlike the more common 24-8 type, there were 4 out of the 16 Single Rooms, that were identical in size and layout to the Double Rooms, except, they only had one bed installed, and were sold as a Single, at the same fares as the Duplex Single Slumbercoach rooms. For those in the know, they always tried to score one of those "bonus" rooms, which besides more floor space and uncramped accommodation, they had the larger window that the Doubles had.
 
I don't know if the Chateau single bedrooms would be considered true duplex roomettes or not since I don't consider myself an expert on this subject but they certainly look similar to me.
I think the Chateau roomettes were called duplex roomettes in pre-VIA days. Although they resembled the slumbercoach single rooms in terms of overlapping one another, I remember them as much more spacious, if maybe a bit smaller than a standard roomette.

As I recall the Chateau cars were beautifully restored when they were converted to HEP in the early '90s, though they were heavily used on the runs to the Maritimes over the next decade, and they were occasionally seen on the Canadian as well. I would guess a similar restoration could be undertaken again if they have mechanical life left in them, but AFAIK the only ones that have been redone are the ones VIA gutted and turned into Prestige cars.
 
"I would guess a similar restoration could be undertaken again if they have mechanical life left in them, but AFAIK the only ones that have been redone are the ones VIA gutted and turned into Prestige cars."

Not entirely true. Via uses Chateau sleepers on the Ocean and the Churchill train. Some have had upholstery replaced since the 1980s HEP rebuilding, but overall they are well worn.

There is a procurement process underway for one last rebuild for the stainless steel fleet to see them through until new LD equipment is ready. It is not clear what the scope of this work will be, but I expect it to include some heavy mechanical work as well as cosmetic updating.
 
In the meantime, shocking news from Ottawa. An MP is going to ride a transcontinental train:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/taylor-bachrach-train-1.7061205
Unfortunately he's not in a position to have any real effect, representing the third party unlikely to form government and, in fairness, supporting more big government involvement in trying financial times. It's a hard thing to sell. That said, the support for VIA outside the Toronto-Quebec corridor is most welcome.
 
In the meantime, shocking news from Ottawa. An MP is going to ride a transcontinental train:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/taylor-bachrach-train-1.7061205
If I was wanting to ride the Canadian would certainly want to be on that train's departure date. Much more likely to be on time. Now CN is going to be in one of those dammed if it does or dammed if not keeping to Via's schedule. Either way will more or less prove that legislation is needed.
 
In short: transforming the Skeena to overnight trains would require spare cars VIA doesn’t own, additional funding VIA won‘t receive and would all but abandon those passengers which are the sole reason for the very existance of this train service…
As someone who used to board Amtrak's Empire Builder in the middle of the night (and always 3 hrs. late) at Fargo, ND to get home from college, and who currently lives in a small town which very nearly counts as a "flag stop" on Amtrak's Lincoln Service, I can certainly empathize with rural BC residents who need those flag stops to be during daylight hours!
 
Having used both single & double slumbercoach rooms and both duplex roomettes & roomettes, I must say that the single slumbercoach room was much smaller than a duplex roomette, which is why there were 24 single & 8 double slumbercoach rooms in a car as opposed to 24 duplex roomettes needing the whole car, e.g. Santa Fe had such cars (in lovely stainless steel). The double slumbercoach rooms were the size of a roomette with its one regular bed but they had narrower beds. Today's Amtrak roomettes are basically like double slumbercoach rooms although the latter had sinks & toilets and also higher ceilings than the Superliner roomettes (in other words the same space as the Viewliner roomettes).
 
Thank you for these kind words!
I’m always happy to share the knowledge I have obtained, but I’m at times at risk of becoming too emotionally invested, which was a main reason I left VIA. I recall from my own experience that it was much easier to criticize VIA’s Management for “not doing the right thing” before I learnt that it becomes much less clear what the right thing would be and much clearer what avenues are unfortunately not feasible (though highly desirable), the more you understand the constraints under which VIA operates.


The January 1990 schedule still sets the standard for connectivity in Jasper (with the Skeena and both directions of the Canadian meeting on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays and allowing connections in all directions), underlining VIA’s desire to compensate as much as possible for the devastating cuts taking effect that same day, despite the limited means which remained at their disposal:
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While at VIA, I was looking with the then-director of VIA’s regional services at ways to improve the schedules and services of these routes, but in the end, it was rarely possible to change anything without increasing their operating deficit (a non-starter for the federal bureaucrats overseeing VIA’s funding) or imposing hardships to some of those passengers who depend on these services. Given that these services only cost the taxpayer some $20 million in direct subsidies annually (i.e. direct operating costs minus direct revenues) or some 50 cent per Canadian, I also concluded that it’s probably best to just leave them as they are and not start asking questions which could provoke questions whether all of these services really still qualify for their “remote service” status…
During the 1990's Greyhound Lines of Canada had twice daily service between Edmonton and Prince Rupert, so at the points where the rail and bus routes converged there has been quite a decline.
 
This proposal
Daily service IMO needs to return Toronto <> Vancouver! However with a wrinkle. Schedule 3 days a week for each on both the current CN route and the previous CP route .
Either not operate on the 7th day or alternate between the 2 routes every 4 months. It would up to the marketing gurus to determine which route which days. Those days might change with the seasons.
 
This proposal
Daily service IMO needs to return Toronto <> Vancouver! However with a wrinkle. Schedule 3 days a week for each on both the current CN route and the previous CP route .
Either not operate on the 7th day or alternate between the 2 routes every 4 months. It would up to the marketing gurus to determine which route which days. Those days might change with the seasons.
VIA’s long-distance fleet is entering its eighth decade of service soon and already starting to fall apart, but all what some railfans want to think of is the perceived urgent need to expand VIA’s non-Corridor services rather than securing the survival of these services in the first place by procuring a new fleet so that it will hopefully be ready to enter service before the old fleet needs to be withdrawn…
 
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