VIA New Corridor Trains - 2021 Update

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NS VIA Fan

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Here's the February 2021 Power Point presentation to the Next Generation Equipment Committee with updated Timelines.....and it looks like Trainset #1 is arriving in Q2 (Apr-June) this year for testing on the VIA owned Alexandria Subdivision between Ottawa and Coteau, QC.





There's already been photos of VIA's new Chargers (in Sacramento) posted on Facebook.
 

jiml

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Interesting to see the dotted line representing the CP tracks between Toronto and Ottawa. GO (Metrolinx) recently confirmed the use of the CP tracks between Oshawa and Bowmanville, ON, which might be the "first shovel in the ground" on the rumored development of that route for passenger service. Similar timeline though, so a lot of things can change.
 

Seaboard92

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I really hope VIA has a plan for the HP2 Fleet in mind for when those cars are displaced from the corridor. Might I suggest Calgary-Edmonton or would that be too much of an ask.
 

jiml

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I really hope VIA has a plan for the HP2 Fleet in mind for when those cars are displaced from the corridor. Might I suggest Calgary-Edmonton or would that be too much of an ask.
You won't get an argument from anyone but VIA. This corridor has been identified for decades (see other posts on this subject) and any service would be better than the status quo. The problem is politics - pure and simple. Alberta doesn't vote with the governing party. "No trains for you!"
 

NS VIA Fan

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I really hope VIA has a plan for the HP2 Fleet in mind for when those cars are displaced from the corridor. Might I suggest Calgary-Edmonton or would that be too much of an ask.

Just the image VIA would want to portray for a new service! 70 year old equipment that was new when the competition was flying North Stars and Viscounts between McCall Field and Edmonton Municipal Airport.

If there is anyplace for a new rail service outside of the eastern corridor it's Calgary <> Edmonton and even then.....they're really not large cities: Calgary 1.4M and Edmonton 1.3M....about 300km/180mi apart. There's a lot of travel between the two and for years when the Edmonton Municipal Airport was open close to downtown...PWA operated an Eastern Airlines style Shuttle......the 'Chieftain Airbus' between the two.

Perhaps initially the CPR track between the two cities could be upgraded but if an entirely new HSR route was built.....the Queen Elizabeth II Highway is relatively flat and straight with a wide median that could possibly accommodate a rail line.

And what stations would be used? CP Rail/Calgary Tower that hasn't seen a daily train in 31 years and Strathcona? There is no easy route to the VIA Edmonton Station and even that is in an out-of-the-way location.

Build new glass and aluminum stations (a la Brightline) downtown portraying a contemporary image with easy access to the LRT in each city. Something to grab the public's attention. Not old railcars arriving at an old heritage station!

(And would it even have to be run by VIA??)


You won't get an argument from anyone but VIA. This corridor has been identified for decades (see other posts on this subject) and any service would be better than the status quo. The problem is politics - pure and simple. Alberta doesn't vote with the governing party. "No trains for you!"

Yup.....if there was ever a 'Red State' (Province) in Canada.....it's Alberta!
 

jiml

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Build new glass and aluminum stations (a la Brightline) downtown portraying a contemporary image with easy access to the LRT in each city. Something to grab the public's attention. Not old railcars arriving at an old heritage station!

(And would it even have to be run by VIA??)
I think these are the salient two points here. Even if new equipment is not available the service has to look new. You might be able to use LRC equipment displaced by the Siemens arrivals. It's in decent shape and recently refurbished - just paint them attractively and lose the gaudy decals, but the end-point stations should be new and inviting.

Your last question is key. If Alberta wants this service they could contribute 403b-style, whether the operator is VIA or someone else. I know, VIA is a national service, serving all Canadians.:rolleyes: No one, including their senior management, actually believes that anymore. However, faced with an offer of some funding they'd have a hard time explaining non-cooperation. That said, similar funding might attract a private operator or a successful Provincial carrier (looking at you GO Transit) operating the service under contract for profit. If the service grew it could easily be spun off or turned into an Alberta-run operation. The Brightline comparison is an interesting one, and at one time there would have been more than enough Alberta money to start something similar. Now - who knows?
 

Bob Dylan

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Since Alberta is the "Texas of Canada"( Oil Rich and Red), they should be able to afford to build this Corridor with help from Ottawa, and let a Canadian " Brightline" type outfit operate it if VIA has no interest.( it seems to me that VIAs Suits are the same as Amtraks Suits are with the NEC, obsessed with the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Corridor .)
 

NS VIA Fan

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Since Alberta is the "Texas of Canada"( Oil Rich and Red), they should be able to afford to build this Corridor...........
Red Yes......but Rich?.....That's gone with the downturn in the oil and gas industry over the past few years and more so now with the pandemic. Alberta has even floated the idea of a Provincial Sales Tax (the only province without on) but that just ain't going to fly!!
 

jiml

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And what stations would be used? CP Rail/Calgary Tower that hasn't seen a daily train in 31 years and Strathcona? There is no easy route to the VIA Edmonton Station and even that is in an out-of-the-way location.
Oddly the Strathcona station appears to be in remarkably good shape - complete with ample parking,
Strathcona station.jpg
and accessing the current North Edmonton VIA station doesn't look that problematic either. It would seem to me the ideal location in Calgary wouldn't necessarily be the re-use of the former station, but rather a solid connection with their RT system and its service to both downtown and the airport. Of course if CP was being especially cooperative and granted access to their downtown complex, two Calgary stops wouldn't be out-of-the-question.

I really like the idea of using the highway right-of-way for high(er) speed too. Nothing sells train travel like passing slow-moving traffic on a clogged artery.
 

NS VIA Fan

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I don't see an easy route to VIA Edmonton other than a wide loop east on industrial trackage then back west through Calder Yard. (I've been on the Canadian when we've taken an hour to reach the station from the North Saskatchewan River Bridge) And when you reach the VIA Station you're still a ways out of the city and no access to the LRT.

But looking at this map (below).....nearly the entire old CP Rail RofW to the former CP Station site downtown near the Grandin Subway Station is still intact crossing the High Level Bridge. It is now a Heritage Trolley line (don't know how well that would go over!!) The old CP Rail RofW to downtown from the Strathcona Station is the Heritage Trolley in Purple below. The LRT Subway is Green.

Edmonton Station.jpg


Below.......could this be a HSR Station site downtown? The Heritage Trolley tracks are on the surface parallel to 109 St NW. The LRT Subway and Grandin Station is under 110 St NW...so easy access!

Edmonton Gradin.jpg
 

TheMalahat

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I really hope VIA has a plan for the HP2 Fleet in mind for when those cars are displaced from the corridor. Might I suggest Calgary-Edmonton or would that be too much of an ask.
There's definitely a plan. But are you in a safe place to hear it? 😂
 

jis

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Scuttlebutt has it that Siemens is planning to make a delivery move for the first new train set for VIA on 17th September Friday. The move will be from the Siemens plant in Sacramento (Florin) to Montreal. Exact routing is not known at this time, but presumably be handled by UP out of California handing it over eventually to CN somewhere.
 
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