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VIA Rail

cplchanb

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VIA recently rebuilt the RDC on this line, so I assume they're here to stay for a while.

Is there even any dmu out there that can be legally run in canada other than the rdc? Does via have the leverage to lobby the feds to relax their dinosaur fra regs?
 

SaugeenJunction

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Is there even any dmu out there that can be legally run in canada other than the rdc? Does via have the leverage to lobby the feds to relax their dinosaur fra regs?

I think the largest obstacle is that VIA shares most of its lines with freight, thus the importance of the classification regulations. The USA will be implementing PTC (positive train control) on most lines, greatly reducing crash risk while Canada has yet to take that step. A crash between a 160-car CN train and a European-style DMU would be a bloodbath.

The only Canadian DMUs that I know of are the RDC and Nippon Sharyo DMU (UP Express), both built to North American standards. I can't see the Feds, or CN for that matter wanting lighter trains on their tracks for safety reasons. I think our best bet is to get a manufacturer too build a 21st-century DMU that has low-floor boarding (and potentially high floor too), and meets the higher crash standards.

What I am interested to see is what GO gets away with for RER, and if regulations can be changed there. GO has used Stadler Kiss trains in their promos for RER, and while they have yet to select the new rolling stock, they seem to be gunning for lighter trains. Though these trains will not see much interaction with freight, freight still does use some GO lines that will be on the core RER network during the daytime. One example is that from Oakville, CN runs a large freight train around the 6pm rush that connects to their Aldershot yard. I'm unsure if temporal seperation will be implemented, or if an exemption will be granted. Time will tell.
 

cplchanb

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I think the largest obstacle is that VIA shares most of its lines with freight, thus the importance of the classification regulations. The USA will be implementing PTC (positive train control) on most lines, greatly reducing crash risk while Canada has yet to take that step. A crash between a 160-car CN train and a European-style DMU would be a bloodbath.

The only Canadian DMUs that I know of are the RDC and Nippon Sharyo DMU (UP Express), both built to North American standards. I can't see the Feds, or CN for that matter wanting lighter trains on their tracks for safety reasons. I think our best bet is to get a manufacturer too build a 21st-century DMU that has low-floor boarding (and potentially high floor too), and meets the higher crash standards.

What I am interested to see is what GO gets away with for RER, and if regulations can be changed there. GO has used Stadler Kiss trains in their promos for RER, and while they have yet to select the new rolling stock, they seem to be gunning for lighter trains. Though these trains will not see much interaction with freight, freight still does use some GO lines that will be on the core RER network during the daytime. One example is that from Oakville, CN runs a large freight train around the 6pm rush that connects to their Aldershot yard. I'm unsure if temporal seperation will be implemented, or if an exemption will be granted. Time will tell.

you bring a good point. I guess PTC is the only saving grace for via, though unfortunately it doesnt look like they will implement it any time soon. At this rate i wonder if it would be a better investment to build dedicated lines and get a waiver than to pay suppliers extra costs to develop a very niche product.
 

steveintoronto

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A crash between a 160-car CN train and a European-style DMU would be a bloodbath.
And it wouldn't be with an RDC?

Weight of the vehicle has very little to do with the survivability outcome, which is why the US (and ostensibly Canada, as per specs for locos) now accepts the much more modern APTA certification. Crashworthiness is actually higher with APTA than it is with FRA specs, and yet weight is considerably lower. Emphasis is on usability and state of the art methods, not brute mass.
https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/rules-tco76-338.htm

Fleet renewal is considered the prelude to HFR, and thus these new trains will indeed be the ones running on a future dedicated tracks line. The RFQ/RFP has an option to order more trainsets (HFR will mean more trips), and the provision of trains running on electrified lines is also included if HFR is electrified.

The term "Fleet Renewal" is self-explanatory:

VIA Rail is looking to procure a new fleet that meets the following criteria through its fleet renewal process:

9,100 passenger seats, provided by 32 bi-directional trainsets to replace the cars and locomotives in service along the Québec City-Windsor corridor.

Enhanced Universal Accessibility features for passengers with reduced mobility, including multiple accommodations for wheelchairs and other mobility devices on the trains.

More fuel-efficient, Tier 4 Diesel engines, with the option to operate on electrified rail infrastructure as it becomes available.

Capability of trainsets to operate in either direction (push-pull) to reduce the turnaround time for trains at stations in urban centres, thereby reducing operating costs.
-------
VIA Rail is excited to confirm that following the Federal Budget 2018 it will acquire a new train fleet to replace the current rolling stock operating within the Québec City – Windsor corridor, which serves the majority of our passengers. It is expected that by 2022, we will be welcoming Canadians on board a brand new set of trains. Our current fleet, reaching the end of its useful life, has served us well over the past 35 years, but it is now time to modernize ensuring safer, faster, more frequent, more accessible and an environmentally-friendly service. With the introduction of new trains, VIA Rail can offer a better travel experience with more comfortable cars that are better adapted and more accessible to people with reduced mobility – not to mention greener. All aboard!
https://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/fleet-renewal

Theses aren't *necessarily* intended for HFR, the requirement for which will be more demanding and perhaps of a different suspension geometry too. It would be expected that HFR, whoever it is that owns the railtrack and rolling stock, will be completely electric. To presume that VIA will own their own rolling stock on a privately financed roadbed is naive, to say the least. VIA are far more likely to be the prime tenants on a leased, built for purpose, higher speed line. And any private concerns with pockets deep enough to finance it would be insane to not build it electric state-of-the-art.
VIA Rail’s current Corridor services are on non-electrified infrastructure. Since there is an urgency to replace the existing diesel powered fleet for services in the current Corridor which is provided on non-electrified infrastructure, the initial order of 32 trainsets will be diesel powered only, with a required provision for future diesel and electric operation, and will be required to be bi-directional (ability to operate in push-pull mode) to maximize efficiency. The goods and services to be provided by the supplier are referred to as the “Fleet and Services” in these RFQ Documents.
Options to acquire additional trainsets will be principally predicated on the Government of Canada's decision regarding VIA Rail's long term plan to build its own dedicated infrastructure. In the event that VIA Rail is given the authority to build its own infrastructure in the Corridor but such infrastructure is not electrified, then additional diesel only trainsets will be required to enable increased service frequencies. If VIA Rail is given the authority to build its own infrastructure and electrification is required, then the additional trainsets must be capable of both diesel and electric operation (dual-mode) at up to 125 mph, with seamless transition, and bi-directional operation. If the decision on VIA Rail's long term plan and the timeframe to implement this decision is not yet established at the time of the order for the additional trainsets, then the delivery of the additional trainsets could be deferred until the decision and schedule is available.
upload_2018-6-20_4-40-51.png
https://www.viarail.ca/sites/all/files/media/pdfs/About_VIA/new-fleet/VIA Rail Corridor Fleet Renewal Project - Request for Qualifications (Issuance Version) (English).pdf

Edit to Clarify: The chart of requirements posted above is one of many. It alone doesn't state the entire requirement needs, and conversely, states more than needed for the first tranche 32 trainsets.

Also note this:
"• the trainset can operate at 100 mph on Transport Canada Class 5 tracks, at 110 mph on FRA Class 6 tracks and at 125 mph on FRA Class 7 tracks;"

This was a point disputed recently in this or a related UT string as to (gist) "speed allowed on Cdn track"...my answer being "Canada doesn't have any Class 7 track at this time". It would appear that VIA foresee the eventuality in Canada. Without PTC, VIA trains aren't allowed to operate on US tracks.
 

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SaugeenJunction

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Theses aren't *necessarily* intended for HFR, the requirement for which will be more demanding and perhaps of a different suspension geometry too. It would be expected that HFR, whoever it is that owns the railtrack and rolling stock, will be completely electric. To presume that VIA will own their own rolling stock on a privately financed roadbed is naive, to say the least. VIA are far more likely to be the prime tenants on a leased, built for purpose, higher speed line. And any private concerns with pockets deep enough to finance it would be insane to not build it electric state-of-the-art.

Good points in previous post, but through various conversations I've had with VIA employees I've had they've expressed to me that fleet renewal is indeed for HFR too. Maybe @Urban Sky can confirm?
 

cplchanb

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Based on what? Why wouldn't they propose a Hybrid Flirt? I got the feeling that VIA is looking for BMUs more than bimodal locomotives.

Devils advocate....based on what? They mentioned push pull sets but they didn't specify mus. For all intents they could just have locos at each end call it a day
 

steveintoronto

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Good points in previous post, but through various conversations I've had with VIA employees I've had they've expressed to me that fleet renewal is indeed for HFR too. Maybe @Urban Sky can confirm?
VIA Rail’s current Corridor services are on non-electrified infrastructure. Since there is an urgency to replace the existing diesel powered fleet for services in the current Corridor which is provided on non-electrified infrastructure, the initial order of 32 trainsets will be diesel powered only, with a required provision for future diesel and electric operation, and will be required to be bi-directional (ability to operate in push-pull mode) to maximize efficiency. The goods and services to be provided by the supplier are referred to as the “Fleet and Services” in these RFQ Documents.

Options to acquire additional trainsets will be principally predicated on the Government of Canada's decision regarding VIA Rail's long term plan to build its own dedicated infrastructure. In the event that VIA Rail is given the authority to build its own infrastructure in the Corridor but such infrastructure is not electrified, then additional diesel only trainsets will be required to enable increased service frequencies. If VIA Rail is given the authority to build its own infrastructure and electrification is required, then the additional trainsets must be capable of both diesel and electric operation (dual-mode) at up to 125 mph, with seamless transition, and bi-directional operation. If the decision on VIA Rail's long term plan and the timeframe to implement this decision is not yet established at the time of the order for the additional trainsets, then the delivery of the additional trainsets could be deferred until the decision and schedule is available.
https://www.viarail.ca/sites/all/files/media/pdfs/About_VIA/new-fleet/VIA Rail Corridor Fleet Renewal Project - Request for Qualifications (Issuance Version) (English).pdf

To add the electric option, it could be as simple as replacing a DVT (control cab) with a compatible electric loco, or an electric loco w/o mechanicals of which could be added later. That would be more expensive than a DVT, or Driving Coach, albeit it could be used for baggage in the interim.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_car

Qualified companies

  • Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc.
  • Siemens Canada Limited
  • Stadler US Inc.
  • Talgo Inc.
Every one of them can supply from Europe if necessary, either assembled in whole, or assembled in a plant in Canada with some local content.

Trump take note.
 
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Urban Sky

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Good points in previous post, but through various conversations I've had with VIA employees I've had they've expressed to me that fleet renewal is indeed for HFR too. Maybe @Urban Sky can confirm?
I don't know what I could possibly answer that isn't already written in the two excerpts from the RFQ Steve had just posted. Maybe just this summary:
Whatever equipment VIA buys will be HFR ready.
 

mdrejhon

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Don’t forget that the current fleet (well, the LRC fleet, anyways) is already HFR capable, it’s just worn out.

The missing element for HFR is the tracks. Whatever equipment VIA buys will be HFR ready.

- Paul
If we could only reach the speeds all the way between Toronto and Ottawa that the LRCs already achieve in a small VIA-owned section of track north of Brockville enroute to Ottawa (~160kph according to my GPS speedometer), we'd already have our sub-3-hour trips today.

Tracks, tracks, tracks, tracks!
 

SaugeenJunction

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Is HFR going to be MU exclusive? Thats kind of strange . . .

Is their a study supposed to be happening on HFR? When do we expect results from that and is there really a chance in hell that it happens?

I feel like the studies may remain private. That being said, Transport Minister Marc Garneau has said that he wants to have a decision on HFR by the year's end. Also, it's a good pre-2019 election treat.
 

SaugeenJunction

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I'm on the train from Toronto Union to Ottawa today, and was doing some thinking. The Belleville-Ottawa segment is owned by VIA and highlighted in their HFR map, so I'd assume that this corridor as well (specifically the Brockville-Smiths Falls segment) would get an upgrade too, including possibly electrification? VIA has their own tracks at the Brockville station so it could be a perfect place for dual mode trains to disconnect from wires and become diesel and vice versa. Thoughts?

 

steveintoronto

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Is their a study supposed to be happening on HFR?
There's a number of them already completed.

When do we expect results from that and is there really a chance in hell that it happens?
It would take an FOI request to see them. I'm led to believe two are not supportive of a business case by VIA's terms, one is, but they were based on faulty assumptions.

Is there a chance this really happens? Yes, an excellent one, but only a very slight chance that it's within VIA's domain save for being the prime tenant. If Private Finance has the pockets to invest in this scheme, they'll do it 'right', and that's HFR+, and inevitably with off-the-shelf tried and trued EMUs going faster than the present via stock or Corridor Replacements.

The Class 7 track and 125mph is a bit of an anomaly in Canada, as max speed, let alone common sense, is dictated by grade separation. If it is catenary (inevitably) then at grade crossings are an invitation to disaster, let alone from collision. This also means that top speed will approach that of HSR, But there's another distinction, as the cost of going full HSR as opposed to HFR+ pushes up the cost geometrically for very little gain.

This won't be a case of Private Investment being brought into the Infrastructure (or other) Bank. It will be a case of the IB along with VIA being taken into a P3. And the Ontario and Quebec Gov'ts also might. This will make an excellent commuter route as well as premium express freight. As prime tenant, VIA gets to choose pathings and slots along with the consortium's own Express EMUs, either under the VIA flag, or their own. Electric locos might also be available from the Consortium to take Corridor Fleet diesel hauled consists along the electrified length, like locomotive tugs do on the Panama Canal, for instance.

The money is certainly there to do this and vastly more. Just not government money. The reason the Feds will have a share of this is to allow the Consortium preferential treatment under present and future Law.

The demand is there, It will get built.
 

steveintoronto

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So do you think Marc Garneau will give it the go ahead by the end of the year then?
First off, it's not his decision. Secondly, the Infrastructure Bank, even though they now have a CEO, isn't up and running, and any undertaking of this scale would take at least two years, more like five, to build. VIA always has made it clear that the RoW, track and infrastructure were to be privately built and owned.

So the answer is 'NO'. But I repeat, it will get built, just not by the persons claiming to want to do it. They will get what they want without having to continue their demeaning begging. All they want is to know is that their trains can arrive and depart on time, at a cost *fairly* arrived at (the costs to run on CN and CP still aren't known, not even by Parliamentary inquiries) and with partners and lessors who want to do whatever it takes to make it a success.

May 24, 2018 5:06 pm
Updated: May 24, 2018 5:09 pm
Canada Infrastructure Bank CEO says first investment could be over a year away
By Mia Rabson The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – The new chief executive of the federal infrastructure agency says it could be well into 2019 before it will be ready to announce its first investment.
[...]
https://globalnews.ca/news/4229600/canada-infrastructure-bank-investment-pierre-lavallee/
 
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