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VIA Rail


Can we keep Corridor discussion here in the future:

 
Interesting interview with VIA‘s CEO, as discussed over on Groups.io:
What expectations do rail passengers have and how can you make rail travel more attractive?

Mario Péloquin:
The world is recognizing that humanity is facing an existential climate crisis and we urgently need efficient, low-carbon transportation. We're all striving to make our world more connected, more accessible, and more equitable for all. In the face of these challenges, passenger rail offers a way forward.

In Canada, the Toronto-Vancouver line that runs through Edmonton, the Winnipeg-Churchill line and the eastern line from Montreal-Halifax all offer spectacular experiences that are truly unique in the world. VIA is also an essential link for indigenous peoples across the country and particularly in these regions. These trains date back to the 1950s in some cases; they require costly maintenance and lack the accessibility and comfort expected by modern travellers. Those cars and locomotives continue to operate thanks to VIA’s resourceful maintenance teams who keep them in service.

The long-distance and regional trains need to be retired and replaced. And soon.

It’s important to understand that it takes about a decade to procure this kind of equipment. If we don’t start this process right away, there is a real risk that there will be an impact on the level of service we offer across Canada. That would be a lost opportunity.

And it would be a terrible blow to some communities who rely on passenger rail service. In short, the need is urgent and the time to start replacing our long-distance and regional trains is now.

VIA Rail has a plan and we have delivered a vision to the government that outlines what we can do with new trains. We call it “Renewing the National Dream”, a build-up on the original dream to unite the entire nation in the late 1800s.

Fleet renewal across Canada offers much more than preservation of service. We believe it will be a catalyst for a new golden age of rail travel in this country, one that spurs economic growth throughout the nation. A new fleet will support equity by serving most regions of Canada and reaching up to 72 percent of the population, all while dramatically improving accessibility.

The train services operating across the country will be a renewed symbol of national pride. New trains for all of Canada will allow VIA Rail to build on its vision to link communities, to foster broad-based economic growth in the regions we serve and to promote reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous peoples.
 
I'm currently in Surrey B.C. assisting with operations at CN's Vancouver Intermodal yard.

Had an unexpected train spotting moment yesterday. Sometime around 4 or 5pm,Via Rail's Canadian rode right be the yard, on the main line, heading east. First time seeing the train in person. Or atleast seeing it moving on the tracks.

I could see the people sitting in the train from my crane. Unfortunately the train didn't appear full. 1 or 2 of the rail cars seemed empty.
 
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Finally, a Via Rail CEO that seems to sing my tune.

Well, only part way. That interview repeatedly uses the term "replace", never uses the term "expand". The CEO makes one reference to "more communities" which does not necessarily mean "more trains" or "more routes".

Googling "National Dream Via Rail Canada" takes one to pages from advocacy groups, but we have yet to see what VIA's pitch actually is.

There's a thread on groups.io about how the parliamentary Transport Committee crossed the street to avoid endorsing a fleet replacement.

The latest VIA CEO's interview reminds me of the interviews with YDS in 2014-2015 about HFR. We can see how the pace quickened after those.

- Paul
 
Well, only part way. That interview repeatedly uses the term "replace", never uses the term "expand". The CEO makes one reference to "more communities" which does not necessarily mean "more trains" or "more routes".

Googling "National Dream Via Rail Canada" takes one to pages from advocacy groups, but we have yet to see what VIA's pitch actually is.

There's a thread on groups.io about how the parliamentary Transport Committee crossed the street to avoid endorsing a fleet replacement.

The latest VIA CEO's interview reminds me of the interviews with YDS in 2014-2015 about HFR. We can see how the pace quickened after those.

- Paul
I am not holding my breath waiting for anything, but just like the person who sand the song of HxR and it had many people liking the tune, this tune is something I like. Whether anything substantive happens will be up to the federal government to do. I doubt anything will be added to this federal budget, but it would be nice.
 
Well, only part way. That interview repeatedly uses the term "replace", never uses the term "expand". The CEO makes one reference to "more communities" which does not necessarily mean "more trains" or "more routes".

Googling "National Dream Via Rail Canada" takes one to pages from advocacy groups, but we have yet to see what VIA's pitch actually is.

There's a thread on groups.io about how the parliamentary Transport Committee crossed the street to avoid endorsing a fleet replacement.

The latest VIA CEO's interview reminds me of the interviews with YDS in 2014-2015 about HFR. We can see how the pace quickened after those.

- Paul

Not sure how relevant any of this is. The next government will determine what gets funded. How enthusiastic is the CPC about fleet renewal at VIA? Do they have a large enough caucus to support HFR? There's a lot of talk from people who don't have the power to execute the visions they are sharing.
 
Not sure how relevant any of this is. The next government will determine what gets funded. How enthusiastic is the CPC about fleet renewal at VIA? Do they have a large enough caucus to support HFR? There's a lot of talk from people who don't have the power to execute the visions they are sharing.
What the next government will do is key. However, having a CEO who wants more than status quo is a start. For all we know, the CPC could privatize VIA.
 
Interesting article in La Presse on the long distance fleet renewal

The article mentions the Venture sets being for the HFR project. Has this been confirmed ?
 
Interesting article in La Presse on the long distance fleet renewal

The article mentions the Venture sets being for the HFR project. Has this been confirmed ?
No, and the private partnership I believe means that there are simply requirements set for the consortium picked to meet, such as speed, car size, etc and they just pick or make whatever they deem necessary.

They could pick Ventures, or use something else. It wont be the Ventures we are getting now, they are for the existing Corridor, which isn't going away with HFR.

Considering the HFR line will most likely be electrified, with future proofing towards HSR, or even starting off as HSR (Unlikely in my opinion) I would imagine something more like the
Avelia Liberty for Amtrak being used, which has the potential for 300kmh. Ventures can of course be pulled by an electric loco, but their 200kmh limit means you are basically requiring a whole new fleet should segments be worked on in the future to be brought up to 300kmh (or if a HSR from the get go)
 
Who is winding down what's left of non-corridor rail service?

I must have missed that announcement.

There is no highway (or road) to Churchhill, MB and building one would likely cost more than replacing the entire LD Fleet........

I think we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves here......
HEP cars (just like LRC cars) are already permanently withdrawn one-by-one on an almost monthly basis and VIA already doesn’t have the fleet to reintroduce trains 3/4 (the third summer-only EDMO-VCVR frequency) or to add additional peak Sleeper capacity on the Ocean and Churchill trains. At the same time, TC seems determined to not tolerate HEPs in operation past 2035 (and I’m not sure how many cars would even last that long), meaning that the current trajectory (the “Do-nothing” or “Business-As-Usual” scenario) is that VIA’s non-Corridor services will steadily fade out and completely disappear over the next 12 years:
View attachment 542397
Moving this here since this isn’t Corridor-related, but VIA has officially confirmed that the Status Quo (i.e., in absence of a new long-distance fleet having arrived by then) would mean that its non-Corridor operations will disappear in 2035:
IMG_4682.jpeg

 
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I winder if there is enough time left of the existing fleet to allow for a contract to be fulfilled and still keep service going. If not, I am wondering if there are other, used cars they can purchase to keep what is going still going. We could see the shut down of some of the service simply due to lack of equipment.
 
Moving this here since this isn’t Corridor-related, but VIA has officially confirmed that the Status Quo (i.e., in absence of a new long-distance fleet having arrived by then) would mean that its non-Corridor operations will disappear in 2035:

See... that's what happens when you try to squeeze out every last minute of these dinosaurs. They ignore the fact that procurement takes time money, and rely too much on just rebuild after rebuild until they fall apart. Now we are once again scrambling to find replacements and end up paying more. They should've replaced them 10 years ago. That's also another reason why via as a crown Corp is a dicey endeavor when it comes to procurement. They will never procure new equipment as part of a proactive fleet renewal and will push SLEPs over and over. Ironically it'll end up being more expensive over the service life to do the latter.
 

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