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VIA: Temporary Covid-19 .PDF Timetable Posted

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NS VIA Fan

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VIA has posted a temporary .PDF Timetable on their web page showing what services are still running....and very little during the Covid-19 Pandemic.


In the corridor for example...there's two trains a day each way between Toronto and Montreal.....two between Toronto and Ottawa, Quebec-Montreal-Ottawa and Toronto-Windsor....along with one train to/from Sarnia.

Business Class is discontinued but a complementary snack and bottled water is being offered to all coach passengers

The remote services to Jonquiere/Senneterre, White River and Churchill are also still running. Everything else is shown as 'Suspended until further notice'

>>>>>>

Some inter-provincial travel is even being restricted. For example...except for essential trucking the border between my province (Nova Scotia) and New Brunswick is closed and if you cross you must self-isolate for 14 days. The Newfoundland Ferry has similar restrictions.

Quebec is even setting up controls between regions within the province and those travelling on VIA's remote service to Jonquiere and Seneterre may now find their travel restricted.



Stay Home....Stay Safe!
 
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NS VIA Fan

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According to the Via website today The Canadian is only suspended until May 1.
And VIA has just updated their web page (as of 3:30 today 3/28) to include that all passengers will now be checked before boarding as per the Prime Minister's address today on domestic travel:

"A series of health checks will be conducted by VIA Rail employees with customers before boarding our trains. This will include asking simple health question and looking for visible signs of illness prior to boarding.

Passengers will be denied boarding our trains if:

    • They are experiencing symptoms similar to a cold or flu (fever, cough, difficulty breathing)​
    • They have been denied boarding for travel in the last 14 days due to medical reasons related to COVID-19"​
 
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willem

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Have you heard anything about a possible extension of the coupons Via issues to status members in its reward program? They normally expire, IINM, at the end of April.
 

NS VIA Fan

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Have you heard anything about a possible extension of the coupons Via issues to status members in its reward program? They normally expire, IINM, at the end of April.
I was wondering about that too. I have one left.....also expiring the end of April. I'm going to call VIA but I'm guessing they will be extended. (VIA is very good about things like that)
 

NS VIA Fan

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In the corridor for example...there's two trains a day each way between Toronto and Montreal.....two between Toronto and Ottawa, Quebec-Montreal-Ottawa and Toronto-Windsor....along with one train to/from Sarnia.
Boy that didn't take long to change!

Starting Tuesday Mar 31 there will now only be one round-trip per day between corridor city pairs.
 
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jiml

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Interestingly, they actually didn't start this on the 23rd. Train 50, which doubles as my alarm clock, ran until mid-week. They've certainly tapered off since then, but not all-at-once as indicated in the timetable. Going from 68 sets of VIA horns a day to 8 (and now 4) is an adjustment, although freight has really picked up in the last 2 days.
 

Urban Sky

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Interestingly, they actually didn't start this on the 23rd. Train 50, which doubles as my alarm clock, ran until mid-week.
Train 50 has not operated since Monday, March 16, and train 60 hasn’t since Saturday, March 21, as the first service reduction in the Corridor (to approximately 50% of normal operations) took effect Tuesday, March 17, and the second service reduction (to 2 train pairs per day on most Corridor routes) took effect on Monday, March 23...
 
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jiml

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Train 50 has not operated since Monday, March 16, and train 60 hasn’t since Saturday, March 21, as the the first service reduction in the Corridor (to approximately 50% of normal operations) took effect Tuesday, March 17 and the second service reduction (to 2 trains per day on most Corridor routes) took effect on Monday, March 23...
Are (were) 50 and 60 no longer the same train, separated at Brockville?
 

Urban Sky

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Are (were) 50 and 60 no longer the same train, separated at Brockville?
Whenever both trains operate, they operate as the same train, which is why I also mentioned train 60 when we were talking about train 50...
 
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Anderson

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Looking at the latest schedule, it's 1x/day on the "main" routes in the Corridor (all areas covered), 1x/week on Sudbury-White River and the Quebec routes (with the Quebec routes having a strange Friday out/Sunday back schedule vs Sat out/Sun back on Sudbury-White River). And it's business as usual on the Hudson Bay.
 

NS VIA Fan

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Looking at the latest schedule, it's 1x/day on the "main" routes in the Corridor (all areas covered)

Yes.....see my post above of March 29.

1x/week on Sudbury-White River and the Quebec routes (with the Quebec routes having a strange Friday out/Sunday back schedule vs Sat out/Sun back on Sudbury-White River). And it's business as usual on the Hudson Bay.

Not strange at all for the Quebec routes to Jonquiere and Senneterre. It's been like that for years and allows those using the service a weekend at their camp or cabin in the woods with a Friday afternoon departure and a Sunday evening return. Look at the packed parking lot on a Friday at the Riviere-a-Pierre station in my post here:


Personally....I'd love to be at a cabin in the woods right now and I'd be staying longer than just a weekend!
 

willem

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Have you heard anything about a possible extension of the coupons Via issues to status members in its reward program?
I was wondering about that too. I have one left.....also expiring the end of April. I'm going to call VIA but I'm guessing they will be extended. (VIA is very good about things like that)
I called; the rep said there are no extensions. If anyone hears something different, please post an update here.
 

NS VIA Fan

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I called; the rep said there are no extensions. If anyone hears something different, please post an update here.
Cashed mine in yesterday for the points value. My travel this year (2019-20) easily met the requirement to retain status so I'll get new coupons beginning on May 1
 

NS VIA Fan

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The Ocean is now shown as cancelled “until further notice” on the VIA Travel Advisory of Apr 16:


…….but the Canadian is shown as resuming on June 1 (I'd keep checking though!)

The Quebec-New Brunswick Border is closed as well as the border with Nova Scotia so I guess it's conceivable an Ocean passenger (if it were running) would have to detrain in Campbellton and self isolate for 14 days.....but you're not suppose to be travelling anyway!! (there are exemptions for essential workers crossing the New Brunswick border)

And it seems to be working. New Brunswick has a population of 750,000. There are currently 117 Covid cases in the Province. There have been 0 deaths and 83 have recovered!
 

jiml

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If the shutdown continues much longer, I'm not sure the same VIA Rail will emerge when things return to "normal". Of course the same could be said for Amtrak.:confused:
 

jiml

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I was at my storage unit today (which backs onto the main line). It was nice to see westbound VIA #63 go screaming by on schedule. It's really quiet around here without the daily parade. :confused:
 

willem

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I'm going to call VIA but I'm guessing they will be extended. (VIA is very good about things like that)
Well, not only did VIA not extend the coupons, the COVID policy regarding status is a non-policy (unless I'm misunderstanding). Here is what the COVID policy says. (It's a screen shot because the VIA web site would not let me copy the text.)
Screen Shot 2020-08-16 at 16.18.44.png

But the normal policy says this.
VIA Préférence program
At the end of the “qualifying period,” membership levels are calculated and confirmed to each member. Starting May 1 until April 30 of the following year, qualified members will enjoy the advantage of a higher level for a 12-month period, which is called the “benefit period.”
My reading is that my status, which had been scheduled to expire next April 30, has been extended to...April 30. Please show me where I'm wrong.
 

Trogdor

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It says they “extended existing Privilège and Premier status,” meaning past-tense, which depending on when it was written, implies they are referring to status that would have expired on April 30, 2020.
 

jiml

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VIA has reinstated some frequencies in their main corridor effective this week. They have also restored full food cart service in economy and a modified meal service in Business Class, which is once again available. The bulk of restored trains are in Quebec (between Quebec City and Montreal or Ottawa) - perhaps a reflection of more demand. The rest of the corridor has a few extra trains, although the claim of 6 departures daily between Toronto and Montreal, for example, is a bit misleading since it actually means 3 in each direction as opposed to 6 round-trips. Still a positive step given the direction Amtrak is heading.

Unfortunately nothing new yet for the Canadian or Ocean routes.
 

Urban Sky

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The bulk of restored trains are in Quebec (between Quebec City and Montreal or Ottawa) - perhaps a reflection of more demand. The rest of the corridor has a few extra trains, although the claim of 6 departures daily between Toronto and Montreal, for example, is a bit misleading since it actually means 3 in each direction as opposed to 6 round-trips.
There were 9 new trains introduced as of September 1: 24, 29, 42, 64, 67, 71, 78, 633 and 643 (all of which are operating daily). Additionally, there are 4 new trains introduced as of of September 11 (all of which are to operate Monday, Friday and Sunday only): 46, 55, 65 and 68. This means that of the 9 new trains introduced yesterday, 4 operate exclusively within Ontario (42, 71, 78 and 643), 3 operate mostly within Ontario (64, 67 and 633), 1 operates mostly within Quebec (24) and 1 operates exclusively within Quebec (29). If you include the weekend-only frequencies, you would have 13 new trains, of which 6 operate exclusively within Ontario (42, 46, 55, 71, 78 and 643), 5 operate mostly within Ontario (64, 65, 67, 68 and 633), 1 operates mostly within Quebec (24) and 1 operates exclusively within Quebec (29). Therefore, out of 9 or 11 new trains, only 2 trains benefit Quebec more than Ontario, while half of them don't benefit Quebec at all.

This is in fact representative of the Ontario:Quebec split of corridor services over the last 60 years (i.e. with CN/CP and VIA alike), where Quebec's share of population hovered around 40% between both provinces, while its share in Corridor services hovered around only 20% (and both figures with a negative trendline):
1599101981561.png
Compiled from: my CN/CP, and VIA Rail timetable archives

I'm by no means saying that any of that represents an unjust discrimination against my home province by choice and I do acknowledge that the population in the Corridor is much more centered around Toronto than Montreal (which is naturally more conducive to offer intercity passenger rail services). Nevertheless, I am irritated by the fact that the conspiracy theory that VIA favors services in the province where its HQ is based over those services in other provinces is maintained by people who reliably turn out to be residents of Ontario, i.e. of the one province in this country which receives the overwhelming majority of VIA's services, despite commanding just over one-third of this country’s population...
 
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Anderson

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Quick note for the above: The decline in "Quebec-only" trains in the chart is a side-effect of VIA extending most of the Quebec-Montreal trains to Ottawa. I suspect that there were at least a few similar trains "back in the day" (either running on to Ottawa or Toronto) as well, but I believe the Toronto end of things has always had the critical mass to make things work better (as well as the convenient location of the Ottawa stations as just on the Ontario side of the border...that chart would look a lot different if the stations had somehow wound up in Gatineau).
 

NS VIA Fan

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Going back to the 1950s......Montreal to Quebec was a 'Pool Train' route and almost exclusively operated by CP via Trois-Riviere. CN served Quebec City with the Maritime trains (Ocean, Scotian etc) which stopped at Levis (not Gare du Palais) and you took a ferry....one mile across the St. Lawrence over to Quebec City. There were no through trains on the route VIA uses today between Montreal and Quebec City via Drummondville and Ste-Foy.

In 1964 CN acquired the exReading 'Crusader'. Refurbished the equipment and launched their new 'Champlain'. It operated between Gare du Palais in downtown Quebec City and Montreal via Drummondville (VIA Route today).

The 'Pool Train' agreement was starting to crack and ended in October 1965. CN inaugurated additional trains between Montreal and Quebec City via Drummondville. CP still operated via Trois-Riviere.

Over the years...CN and later VIA have run trains through Montreal between Quebec City and Ottawa but most required a change in Gare Centrale.

Montreal – Ottawa was not part of the Pool Train agreement and there were 3 routes. CN via Alexandria (VIA's route today) CP via Rigaud and CP on the north shore via Montebello.

All trains used Ottawa Union Station downtown until 1966 then moved to the new Station on Tramblay Rd (VIA's Station today)

The CP RDC 'Dayliners' on the route via Montebello also stopped in Hull....today's Gatineau.
 
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