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VIA Rail

Just out of interest: what cross-border connections are there actually left for VIA to create or improve? Adirondack and Cascades have no potential for internal Canadian travel and are therefore best left with Amtrak, the Maple Leaf is constrained by the Seway bridge at Saint-Catherines, which pretty much only leaves Toronto-Windsor-Detroit(-Chicago), where the current $44 million proposal is by far the cheapest way to achieve a cross-border connection…
Don’t forget the possible extension of Vermonter from St Albans VT to Montreal if customs ever opens at the latter
 
Don’t forget the possible extension of Vermonter from St Albans VT to Montreal if customs ever opens at the latter
Given that restoring that cross-border service is contingent on opening a pre-clearance facility in Montréal, there is absolutely no reason why VIA should operate such a service which would only transport to passengers to/from destinations within the United States…
 
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I won't repeat what I just said in the other thread here, but on the premise that money should go where most needed..... each of these international links will offset perhaps a single airplane load of passengers per day.

Can we spend that money better within Canada? Certainly. $44M spent on better tracks between Windsor and Toronto will take more cars off the 401 than a Windsor-Detroit customs facility. (the international links may feed connecting long distance trains, that contribution should be acknowledged in the business case.... but a single train a day link to Montreal that Snowbirds use to go to Florida for the winter removes only a discrete number of cars from I-87)

If international service could be achieved cheaply and without the huge effort to redirect two very rigid border service agencies, I would be all for it. And if it gradually emerges - also good. But maybe there are more important hills to die on in the near term. I can be patient with this one.

- Paul
 
I won't repeat what I just said in the other thread here, but on the premise that money should go where most needed..... each of these international links will offset perhaps a single airplane load of passengers per day.

Can we spend that money better within Canada? Certainly. $44M spent on better tracks between Windsor and Toronto will take more cars off the 401 than a Windsor-Detroit customs facility. (the international links may feed connecting long distance trains, that contribution should be acknowledged in the business case.... but a single train a day link to Montreal that Snowbirds use to go to Florida for the winter removes only a discrete number of cars from I-87)

If international service could be achieved cheaply and without the huge effort to redirect two very rigid border service agencies, I would be all for it. And if it gradually emerges - also good. But maybe there are more important hills to die on in the near term. I can be patient with this one.

- Paul
Fully agreed, though extending all Toronto-Windsor services to Detroit should result in a more significant increase in ridership. However, the capital cost of doing so would also be considerably higher than the $44 million projected here for a border facility in Windsor…
 
Fully agreed, though extending all Toronto-Windsor services to Detroit should result in a more significant increase in ridership. However, the capital cost of doing so would also be considerably higher than the $44 million projected here for a border facility in Windsor…

This is why I predict that when the bids come in, and Ottawa has the choice between spending (fake numbers for illustration only) $30B on HSR T-O-M versus $15B on vanilla HFR and $xB for other needs across the corridor, they choose the latter. Within that envelope, the cost of these further is affordable and likely drives ridership further than HSR alone would.

- Paul
 
I won't repeat what I just said in the other thread here, but on the premise that money should go where most needed..... each of these international links will offset perhaps a single airplane load of passengers per day.

Can we spend that money better within Canada? Certainly. $44M spent on better tracks between Windsor and Toronto will take more cars off the 401 than a Windsor-Detroit customs facility. (the international links may feed connecting long distance trains, that contribution should be acknowledged in the business case.... but a single train a day link to Montreal that Snowbirds use to go to Florida for the winter removes only a discrete number of cars from I-87)

If international service could be achieved cheaply and without the huge effort to redirect two very rigid border service agencies, I would be all for it. And if it gradually emerges - also good. But maybe there are more important hills to die on in the near term. I can be patient with this one.

- Paul
One thought that goes along with your layered or staged priorities in funding and service is, for want of a better term, induced demand. If a rail service is sufficient to pull people from other modes to a degree that has a congestion or environmental benefit, then it would seem to deserve a higher priority. Routes that have a significant commuter or business travel load would, to me, be in that group. If the argument impacts more discretionary travel, it should sit lower. There is only so much money to throw at the issue, and spending serious coin to make a weekend pub crawl easier should be lower on the list. I think this also applies to some calls for GO expansion as well.
 
One thought that goes along with your layered or staged priorities in funding and service is, for want of a better term, induced demand. If a rail service is sufficient to pull people from other modes to a degree that has a congestion or environmental benefit, then it would seem to deserve a higher priority. Routes that have a significant commuter or business travel load would, to me, be in that group. If the argument impacts more discretionary travel, it should sit lower. There is only so much money to throw at the issue, and spending serious coin to make a weekend pub crawl easier should be lower on the list. I think this also applies to some calls for GO expansion as well.

I agree - and that's why working from good business cases matters, so that say a Sudbury service doesn't get added ahead of something else that has a greater value proposition.

At the same time.....we have to play the ball where it lies..

To take your bachelor party point a bit further..... It seems like a bad decision to build infrastructure to enable hugely carbon-producing and fundamentally frivolous designer beach weddings in the Caribbean, (or the prenup bachelor and bachelorette trips to Vegas....) but if we try to intervene by raising fares or imposing say a carbon tax, people may just shell out more dollars for that, or cut back on the rose petals, rather than forego the experience. In which case, if people persist and that ridership is there, we might as well find an efficient way to get them there and back.

By that standard, hauling people going to party in Montreal is pretty tame, we might as well give them a safe low carbon way of getting there and back. Just so long as they don't wear Leafs jerseys while they are there.

- Paul

- Paul
 
Not sure if I missed the chunk of the discussion but i've had the chance to ride the new fleet a couple of times in the Corridor and it's a big upgrade over the old train sets. More space, more amenities, less roll, and better Wi-Fi!

Now we just need HFR improvements to bring those travel times down. :)
 
Not sure if I missed the chunk of the discussion but i've had the chance to ride the new fleet a couple of times in the Corridor and it's a big upgrade over the old train sets. More space, more amenities, less roll, and better Wi-Fi!

Now we just need HFR improvements to bring those travel times down. :)
I’m booked on 668 next Friday and that’s virtually my only chance to catch the new fleet before they finally increase the Montreal-Toronto deployment from that one single one-way departure per week currently:
IMG_3373.jpeg
 
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What's up with Trains 44 and 647, a pair of express services between Ottawa and Toronto? The timetables say that they will be cancelled as of next week, and trip planner says they're "temporarily unavailable"

Train 647 (Ottawa-Toronto express):
Screenshot 2023-12-08 at 16.08.35.png
Screenshot 2023-12-08 at 16.08.48.png


Train 44 (Toronto-Ottawa express):
Screenshot 2023-12-08 at 16.47.29.png
Screenshot 2023-12-08 at 16.49.01.png



Based on the astronomical ticket prices ($158 one-way for the cheapest Economy ticket, tax included), I can only assume they were very popular. Otherwise they should have lowered the ticket prices and I might have taken Via when travelling between those cities, rather than Rider Express, Flixbus, Megabus, Red Arrow or Book a Ride, which typically cost between $50 and $80 including tax (though I snagged a ticket for $25 including tax for a trip in a couple weeks).
 
Given that 44 operates six times per week (12345_7), whereas train 647 only operates twice (____5_7), I would expect that 44 won‘t disappear completely (though it would be weird to only see it 1234___).

In any case, I‘d blame fleet availability and the removal of one of the Renaissance Sets (apparently replaced by another Venture train) might have been less voluntarily than I would have liked to assume…
 
Given that 44 operates six times per week (12345_7), whereas train 647 only operates twice (____5_7), I would expect that 44 won‘t disappear completely (though it would be weird to only see it 1234___).

In any case, I‘d blame fleet availability and the removal of one of the Renaissance Sets (apparently replaced by another Venture train) might have been less voluntarily than I would have liked to assume…
With only a few Siemens sets in operation, I am surprised anything got removed from the fleet yet. I would have figured we would have seen at least 5 new ones running before they even removed one. Maybe those Renaissance cars are in worse shape than they have been letting the public know of.
 
Friendly reminder: don’t feed the bear;)

Given that 44 operates six times per week (12345_7), whereas train 647 only operates twice (____5_7), I would expect that 44 won‘t disappear completely (though it would be weird to only see it 1234___).
I checked all weekdays in the second week of January, and it seems that only the Friday has been removed from 647 (now operating: ______7) and the Sunday from 44 (now operating: 12345__). Quite possible that this saves an entire trainset (all other routes have the same timetable Monday-Friday), so most probably the least painful way to achieve this…
 

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