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VIA Rail

littlewill1166

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Is an airline a “public service?” One pays good money for seat selection on most air carriers.

Pricing is a matter of what the market will bear. VIA is no different, although I hope they don’t aspire to airline style pricing.

- Paul
No, they don't receive subsidies from the government, they're not crown corporations, and they don't have a monopoly. AIrlines are a private service which are operated to serve their shareholders and turn a profit. VIA is public transit just like the GO Train, the TTC, YRT, MiWay, etc. Unlike private services, public services have a mandate to operate their assets in a way that benefits all Canadians (reducing congestion, reducing GHGs, etc.). If VIA isn't doing everything it can to fulfill this mandate with its corridor services, then what is the point of Canadians giving an incremental $160ish million dollars a year in subsidies towards corridor services when we're already indirectly subsidizing busses and cars which provide a similar service (transportation).
 

mdrejhon

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if you think flying in Canada is cheap you have never taken a Ryanair flight.
Yes, it's usually not cheap to fly in Canada --

But we now finally have a RyanAir-like airline called Swoop in Canada. I was able to see some $69 fare sales to fly between Toronto and Vancouver. Or those $29 Vancouver-Edmonton airfares (that pair was sometimes $19 last year). I think I saw a fare sale last year on Halifax for as low as $59 Browse 2 months out and you'll see crazy cheap stuff. And Toronto now has Flair, not as cheap as Swoop, but the $59 Toronto-Ottawa fares beginning this summer 2020 start to fall into RyanAir league territory.

(Granted, Toronto-Vancouver is actually Hamilton-Abbotsford but RyanAir plays the same game of flying into minor airports near big cities)

Flew 5 times with Swoop and... it's kind of a Canadian equivalent of RyanAir.

1583211791885.png


Just like RyanAir, must pack light -- even clothes in your laptop bag to get out of a ~$50 carry-on fee!

That said, have a Plan B if your flight is cancelled. They'll essentially abandon you at the airport and you might have to wait days for your replacement flight they offer. They're currently constrained by the lack of Westjet 737 hand-me-downs due to the Westjet 737 Max groundings, so Swoop currently doesn't have a spare backup airplane. RyanAir is known to do the passenger-abandoning game, mind you -- but at least you've got lots of European rail options as backups. Here in Canada, not so much, and we're also a bigger country, so we only can compare to RyanAir's longer-haul routes which are actually similar priced for similar distances.

Caveat emptor with both RyanAir and Swoop (and Flair), but the prices have been tempting if you travel light.

I rather take the VIA train if it's within a day trip mind you -- lots more baggage allowance, gigantic legroom, seats actually recline, etc.
 
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robmausser

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Yes, it's usually not cheap to fly in Canada --

But we now finally have a RyanAir-like airline called Swoop in Canada. I was able to see some $69 fare sales to fly between Toronto and Vancouver. Or those $29 Vancouver-Edmonton airfares (that pair was sometimes $19 last year). I think I saw a fare sale last year on Halifax for as low as $59 Browse 2 months out and you'll see crazy cheap stuff. And Toronto now has Flair, not as cheap as Swoop, but the $59 Toronto-Ottawa fares beginning this summer 2020 start to fall into RyanAir league territory.

(Granted, Toronto-Vancouver is actually Hamilton-Abbotsford but RyanAir plays the same game of flying into minor airports near big cities)

Flew 5 times with Swoop and... it's kind of a Canadian equivalent of RyanAir.

View attachment 234127

Just like RyanAir, must pack light -- even clothes in your laptop bag to get out of a ~$50 carry-on fee!

That said, have a Plan B if your flight is cancelled. They'll essentially abandon you at the airport and you may have to wait days for your return. They're currently constrained by the lack of Westjet 737 hand-me-downs due to the Westjet 737 Max groundings, so Swoop currently doesn't have a spare backup airplane. RyanAir is known to do the passenger-abandoning game, mind you -- but at least you've got lots of European rail options as backups. Here in Canada, not so much, and we're also a bigger country, so we only can compare to RyanAir's longer-haul routes which are actually similar priced for similar distances.

Caveat emptor with both RyanAir and Swoop (and Flair), but the prices have been tempting if you travel light.

I rather take the VIA train if it's within a day trip mind you -- lots more baggage allowance.

There is also Flair Air, they just announced some new routes and a new plane. But they are less stable than Swoop, at least Swoop has their big brother WestJet to bail them out.
 

Northern Light

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From the above:

For the Ocean, the loss of the Halifax rail loop will eliminate the use of currently operated Renaissance equipment, which cannot function in push-pull (bi-directional) configuration. Consequently, VIA Rail is planning the following strategic changes:

- Introducing an Eastern Intercity service in the Maritimes between Campbellton–Moncton and Moncton–Halifax to better serve the local market;

- Reconfiguring the consists, and optimizing the cycling and allocation of VIA Rail’s Long-Haul equipment.

***

VIA Rail continues to examine routing options by using the best of CN’s or CP’s routes from a customer’s perspective, such as the CP route along the picturesque north shore of Lake Superior.


***

3.7.1

Eastern Intercity:

VIA Rail is currently exploring an eastern intercity corridor service from Halifax to Campbellton, which would fill in the frequency gap that was created when the Ocean was reduced from six to three weekly frequencies and benefit local travellers. It would also respond to the travel patterns of regional passengers who remain within the Maritimes (CBTN-MCTN↔HLFX).

As previously noted, passenger rail service is important to the communities of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, as illustrated by this excerpt from the CTA Review:

“Passenger rail service may be the only viable transportation option for many residents living in communities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The need for this passenger service is becoming more acute given the ageing demographic in Atlantic Canada that is highly dependent on public transportation services. We recommend that the CTA include an appropriate provision that would commit the federal government to guarantee the existing level of service as a minimum and provide appropriate resources to VIA Rail as required to continue pursuing and implementing new initiatives to rebuild the service.” — Atlantic Canada Ministers of Transportation Submission to the CTA Review January 23, 2015

An infrastructure study provided preliminary rail upgrade costs estimated at $6.3 million and Rail Diesel Car (RDC) testing has taken place on the Newcastle Subdivision. The final results are conclusive, with all crossing automatic warning devices activating as intended. In early February 2018, CN responded that the RDCs will be allowed to operate at passenger speed on the Springhill and Bedford subdivisions. Further details regarding the infrastructure upgrades are pending

1583250632641.png


***
4.1.5 Infrastructure Investments

-VIA Rail has been unsuccessful with negotiations to construct a connecting track from CN to CP as well as a detour track between Montréal and Ottawa.

-VIA Rail will consider investing in RTM and Metrolinx infrastructure proportionate to usage, where necessary and when clear contractual benefits can be guaranteed.
 
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smallspy

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From the above:

For the Ocean, the loss of the Halifax rail loop will eliminate the use of currently operated Renaissance equipment, which cannot function in push-pull (bi-directional) configuration. Consequently, VIA Rail is planning the following strategic changes:

- Introducing an Eastern Intercity service in the Maritimes between Campbellton–Moncton and Moncton–Halifax to better serve the local market;

- Reconfiguring the consists, and optimizing the cycling and allocation of VIA Rail’s Long-Haul equipment.

While the ultimate plan is to introduce a more regionally-focused service, there is a lot of concern that the plans, preparations, equipment, staff and agreements with the host railroads will not be ready in time for the closure of the balloon track later this year.

So, to that end, there is a plan in place that will see mixed trains consisting of both HEP and Renaissance equipment running the current Ocean schedule for the foreseeable future. And while the Ren cars can't be configured to run push-pull, they are bidirectional and will be used as such.

Dan
 

cplchanb

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While the ultimate plan is to introduce a more regionally-focused service, there is a lot of concern that the plans, preparations, equipment, staff and agreements with the host railroads will not be ready in time for the closure of the balloon track later this year.

So, to that end, there is a plan in place that will see mixed trains consisting of both HEP and Renaissance equipment running the current Ocean schedule for the foreseeable future. And while the Ren cars can't be configured to run push-pull, they are bidirectional and will be used as such.

Dan
hopefully they can use this as driver to buy new bi-directional sets so that this wont be an issue. Perhaps a follow on to the corridor sets? Or maybe introduce dmus to the regional routes?
 

littlewill1166

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hopefully they can use this as driver to buy new bi-directional sets so that this wont be an issue. Perhaps a follow on to the corridor sets? Or maybe introduce dmus to the regional routes?
The corporate plan says that they're using rebuilt HEP units with new LRC style seating though.
 

lenaitch

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From the above:

VIA Rail continues to examine routing options by using the best of CN’s or CP’s routes from a customer’s perspective, such as the CP route along the picturesque north shore of Lake Superior.

I'd ride that just as an excursion trip (depending if daylight scheduling), as I think many would. That area is very scenic.
 

SOS_Urbanist

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Wonder if they are considering using the Wye at Truro as a backstop to turn the train around. Place one of the two locos at the end of the Park car in a pull config and then put the other in a push config?
 

Admiral Beez

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I need to go to the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls in a few weeks. Can I take Via there from Union instead of driving? According to Google Maps it’s about a 2.5 hour drive from my place near Carlton and Sumach. Would the train be faster?
 

littlewill1166

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I need to go to the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls in a few weeks. Can I take Via there from Union instead of driving? According to Google Maps it’s about a 2.5 hour drive from my place near Carlton and Sumach. Would the train be faster?
Train is slower 90% of the time. Car is fastest, then Megabus, then VIA, then GO. People on that route who take VIA are often tourists, people going to the states, or people using passes.
 

Admiral Beez

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Train is slower 90% of the time. Car is fastest, then Megabus, then VIA, then GO. People on that route who take VIA are often tourists, people going to the states, or people using passes.
I checked the VIA site and they seem to have one express’ish train. And cheap, only $23

Review your itinerary, fare and baggage allowance
TORONTO UNION STATION
NIAGARA FALLS
Departs: 08:20Arrives: 10:16Train :97
Class: Economy - Escape fare
 

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