VIA Ocean discussion

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Article in today's Boston Globe about a trip on the Ocean. Generally very positive. I think there is a paywall if you are not a Globe subscriber, but there are a limited number of free articles for non-subs.

They bemoan the absence of a dome observation car. I didn't comment because I wasn't positive of the reason, but I think they removed the loop in Halifax, so they can't physically turn the train around. I'm pretty sure I read that here. This means they just separate the engines in Halifax, run them past the train on a parallel track and re-couple them to the other end. The former observation car had a curved back and was designed to run at the end of the train, not the beginning, so they just removed it completely. The Canadian runs with multiple observation cars (according to videos people have posted here), and the ones in the middle of the train would work perfectly well in this situation. Do they not have enough spares so they could replace the observation car on the Ocean with one of these? Or is it an Amtrak-style "the spread-sheet (based on spurious assumptions like passengers don't really care about the quality of the service) says the ridership will put up with anything" penny-wise management decisions. Why did they decide to eliminate the turning loop in the first place?

The article talks a lot about the food. It would fit right in here at Amtrak Unlimited, where all Comment Threads ultimately settle down to discussing the food! (When I was searching for this thread, I found two that were related to the Via Ocean, one - this one - for general Ocean discussion and one specifically devoted to Ocean menus. All the other posts on this, the second page of this comment thread, discuss menus. Oh, well, I can't deny food is important!)
 
The current consists of the Ocean are mostly comprised of Renaissance coaches which cannot be coupled to a conventional Budd car without a transition car. This would place any dome car at one end of the consist or the other, and I'm not sure how many of the Skylines still have rotatable seats lessening the practicality of a dome in one direction. A recent video of Montreal's maintenance facility showed several Skylines parked, so perhaps one or more will return when peak season consists regain Budd sleepers.
 
Hey that's me! This was right before taking a 90 minute delay for a braking issue, about half of which was made up prior to Montreal. One of the HEP sleepers was revenue service, one for crew and one was empty.

A few crew on the 14 I was on days earlier seemed like seasonal trainees.

The 14 I was on was sold out, very busy! The 15 in the video above was maybe 65% sold?
 
why doesn't VIA just reverse train until it can arrive at location to wye train? That could be done going into destination instead of next day? Might be more available to passengers that could be getting ready to arrive at Ocean's destination.
 
why doesn't VIA just reverse train until it can arrive at location to wye train? That could be done going into destination instead of next day? Might be more available to passengers that could be getting ready to arrive at Ocean's destination.
Could you please explain in a bit more detail what you are suggesting? Thanks.
 
Could you please explain in a bit more detail what you are suggesting? Thanks.
Maybe referring to the east end of the Ocean travel - - - ?
At Halifax the Ocean was turned in a container freight yard for the next day trip.
But the yard got too busy with too many containers curtailing that reversal.
A suitable WYE point is not found for kilometers/miles - - - requiring a locomotive and the
rest of the train to run in reverse or trainman in the aft most car of the consist at reduced speed.
One can not simply run a whole train through a roundhouse to reverse travel in lieu of a WYE.
A lot to do with customer comfort having seats facing the forward movement and having
the locomotives with vision to that direction.

A train consist of 3 locomotives and 20 some cars needs some space to reverse doing this
in one simple move.
 
why doesn't VIA just reverse train until it can arrive at location to wye train? That could be done going into destination instead of next day? Might be more available to passengers that could be getting ready to arrive at Ocean's destination.
There is a wye at Windsor, but you'd have to cut the engines off and run them around and you'd need the whole wye cleared - no other trains waiting (not sure if that's a busy area or not).

But yes, you could wye the inbound train at Windsor, run the locomotives around so they could pull the consist into Halifax. Then the engines run around as usual and you have the correct consist order for the next day.
 
There is a wye at Windsor, but you'd have to cut the engines off and run them around and you'd need the whole wye cleared - no other trains waiting (not sure if that's a busy area or not).

But yes, you could wye the inbound train at Windsor, run the locomotives around so they could pull the consist into Halifax. Then the engines run around as usual and you have the correct consist order for the next day.
I have Google map Windsor Junction and having trouble finding that WYE - there is an old CN turn table map center:

https://www.google.com/maps/@44.6605509,-63.6243677,1705m/data=!3m1!1e3?entry=ttu

Zooom IN- OUT to see more less detail - - - - -

I did find sidings that the locomotives could reverse ends
 
Try here: https://www.google.com/maps/@44.786,-63.641,466m/data=!3m1!1e3?entry=ttu

It is not a good solution, 20km as the crow flies and probably 30km by rail from downtown Halifax.
OK - the WYE is visible as a wye but something about the tracks (roadbed) leaves much to be desired.

A few years ago I was on a NCL cruise ship and observed the Ocean at the Halifax station with its
Park type tail car at the station door +/- 20 cars to the locomotives almost out of sight.
At that time the Ocean was turned in that modular container yard - but that situation changed
with the freight container traffic increasing closing the loop in the yard.

The nightmare of having a depot/station with one directional flow.
 
There is a wye at Windsor, but you'd have to cut the engines off and run them around and you'd need the whole wye cleared - no other trains waiting (not sure if that's a busy area or not).

But yes, you could wye the inbound train at Windsor, run the locomotives around so they could pull the consist into Halifax. Then the engines run around as usual and you have the correct consist order for the next day.
That is the way VIA could mitigate the problem. Turning a train set short of Halifax would give a clear passenger amenity leaving Halifax. Open railway map seems to show the wye would be useable. As well there are 2nd tracks at the wye that would enable for locos to swap ends to allow front direction of train travel to Halifax. Or to make a quicker turn drop a loco and then after wyeing back Ocean onto that loco that could attach to end of train to control train to Halifax. With VIA's 2 engineers in train front that would quickly be doable after brake check.
 
OK - the WYE is visible as a wye but something about the tracks (roadbed) leaves much to be desired.
Turns out to be our mistake, not yours: a closer look at the satellite photo, and at the street view, shows that the wye has been disconnected from the main, though it could be reconnected if the switches were re-laid.

If you're going to go to that much trouble, might as well build a new track where you actually want it as build it far away. Not many options close to the historic terminal though.

Reversing the seats rather than rotating the train sure looks like the way to go.
 
If you're going to go to that much trouble, might as well build a new track where you actually want it as build it far away. Not many options close to the historic terminal though.
That would seem to be the best solutionā€¦I wonder which of those options might be the least costly?šŸ¤”
 
Turns out to be our mistake, not yours: a closer look at the satellite photo, and at the street view, shows that the wye has been disconnected from the main, though it could be reconnected if the switches were re-laid.
well... the good news is - there wouldn't be any other trains trying to use that wye! haha.
 
If I am remembering correctly, Windsor Junction is about 12 miles west of Halifax. In the late 1980s, the westbound Atlantic was scheduled to cover the distance in 19 minutes. It stopped there to pick up passengers connecting from the train up from Yarmouth, which rolled through that junction on its way to Halifax. I made the connection myself once, along with a bunch of other people, in the fall of 1989, a few months before the end of service to Yarmouth. By then the Windsor Junction station had been demolished and replaced by some kind of metal bunker.

After the 1990 VIA cuts, the southern half of the Yarmouth line was immediately abandoned, and much of the northern half was too within a decade. I guess if the wye has been disconnected, the entire line is now defunct.
 
Turns out to be our mistake, not yours: a closer look at the satellite photo, and at the street view, shows that the wye has been disconnected from the main, though it could be reconnected if the switches were re-laid.

If you're going to go to that much trouble, might as well build a new track where you actually want it as build it far away. Not many options close to the historic terminal though.

Reversing the seats rather than rotating the train sure looks like the way to go.
Reversing seats can be done easily - case in point the Alaska RR Gold Star bi-level cars.
While the Alaska RR operation (ANC-FAI) does not need to reverse its consists -
sometimes seating for 4 is great for a family or a small group - a simple lever at the seat bottom
when stepped on can facilitate rotating a row of seats to face each other.
Reverse facing seats is not really a big issue where the speed of the train is scenic -
but at high speed some folks may have experience unpleasant vertigo ?
One drawback of reversing seats maybe the reduction of under seat storage.

I have traveled by train and airplane with reverse facing seating - I don't have an issue with this -
actually I welcome the change !
 
One drawback of reversing seats maybe the reduction of under seat storage.
Another one might be restricting the recline ability of the seats that are now back to back. If the turned row was against the forward bulkhead, it wouldn't matter much, but if I was in a row directly ahead of the turned row, I would not be happy....
 
If I am remembering correctly, Windsor Junction is about 12 miles west of Halifax. In the late 1980s, the westbound Atlantic was scheduled to cover the distance in 19 minutes. It stopped there to pick up passengers connecting from the train up from Yarmouth, which rolled through that junction on its way to Halifax. I made the connection myself once, along with a bunch of other people, in the fall of 1989, a few months before the end of service to Yarmouth. By then the Windsor Junction station had been demolished and replaced by some kind of metal bunker
It's a shame that service to Yarmouth does not run anymore especially since the CAT ferry from Bar Harbor now terminates there, with no good non-car alternatives to travel from Yarmouth .

I recall another transfer point was Truro where one transferred to the train to Sydney in Cape Breton Island. We did that in 1981 transferring from and to the Atlantic. I believe the schedule for the Ocean also allowed this as I recall its impressive consist rolling into the station while we were waiting for the connection. Of course Sydney is the terminal for the ferry to Newfoundland, another car free opportunity now not possible.
 
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