News   Jun 23, 2021
 220     1 
News   Jun 22, 2021
 11K     6 
News   Jun 22, 2021
 1.4K     0 

VIA Rail

gabe

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
3,765
Reaction score
879
Masks don't protect the person wearing them, rather they protect others. Given that VIA staff interact with dozens of passengers daily, many staff members could have the disease and be asymptomatic. Requiring VIA staff to wear masks would help to mitigate this possibility.

Nope sorry that's not true, unless it's a N-95 mask, those cheap dust masks don't do squat. They are made for dust, not for germs. It even says on the package. You sneeze or cough it will go through the mask. I work in construction i only use them for dust, if i'm around chemicals or aerosols or mould, i will wear a respirator.
 

littlewill1166

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 25, 2017
Messages
286
Reaction score
193
So because of a safety concern you would have chosen a more dangerous way to get there?
In normal times, yes driving is more dangerous. But we you consider the increased risk of contracting COVID-19, and the safety issues of leaving cars unstaffed. And you balance that with the fact that there are fewer cars on the road reducing the risk of a collision, along with the fact that I have to take public transit from the train station to my school. The dangers roughly balance out.
 

littlewill1166

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 25, 2017
Messages
286
Reaction score
193
Nope sorry that's not true, unless it's a N-95 mask, those cheap dust masks don't do squat. They are made for dust, not for germs. It even says on the package. You sneeze or cough it will go through the mask. I work in construction i only use them for dust, if i'm around chemicals or aerosols or mould, i will wear a respirator.
I was talking about surgical masks.
 

lenaitch

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
3,026
Reaction score
2,636
^I may get a chorus of “OK, Old guy” for this comment....but.....

...back in the days before VIA adopted the Service Manager model, the crew for a 14-car Rapido was a head end trainperson and a conductor, who sat together near the front of the consst, and a rear end trainperson, who rode in the last car.

I don’t recall anyone complaining about safety or service quality.

- Paul

Which begs the question - what, if any, are the TC regs for passenger train crews (beyond train operating crew)? I know there are mandated flight attendant numbers per size of aircraft.
 

littlewill1166

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 25, 2017
Messages
286
Reaction score
193
Which begs the question - what, if any, are the TC regs for passenger train crews (beyond train operating crew)? I know there are mandated flight attendant numbers per size of aircraft.
I don't think there are any.
^I may get a chorus of “OK, Old guy” for this comment....but.....

...back in the days before VIA adopted the Service Manager model, the crew for a 14-car Rapido was a head end trainperson and a conductor, who sat together near the front of the consst, and a rear end trainperson, who rode in the last car.

I don’t recall anyone complaining about safety or service quality.

- Paul
If you look at this from the point of view you described. Having staff members sitting in the deadhead car chatting and doing pretty much nothing is unnecessary, and taxpayers really shouldn't be helping to subsidize this.

Edit: At the end of the day, I'm just trying to say that VIA employees should be doing the job that they are being paid to do, especially the safety related part.
 

lenaitch

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
3,026
Reaction score
2,636
I don't think there are any.

If you look at this from the point of view you described. Having staff members sitting in the deadhead car chatting and doing pretty much nothing is unnecessary, and taxpayers really shouldn't be helping to subsidize this.

Edit: At the end of the day, I'm just trying to say that VIA employees should be doing the job that they are being paid to do, especially the safety related part.

I suppose I'm missing the argument. If there is a safety component to their roles (actually in the position descriptor and/or mandated) then they need to be there. Whether the 'there' means in a specific car or just nearby I don't know. If they are just what their name implies - customer service - then perhaps not, they're there to feed you juice and cookies or whatever. It's been a while but the last time I was on a GO train, the only employee on the train outside of the engine/control cab was the conductor.
 

smallspy

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
4,403
Reaction score
4,336
^I may get a chorus of “OK, Old guy” for this comment....but.....

...back in the days before VIA adopted the Service Manager model, the crew for a 14-car Rapido was a head end trainperson and a conductor, who sat together near the front of the consst, and a rear end trainperson, who rode in the last car.

I don’t recall anyone complaining about safety or service quality.

- Paul

You forgot about the staff in the café-bar-lounge/café-coach-lounge or diner, depending on which train it was.....

Dan
 

littlewill1166

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 25, 2017
Messages
286
Reaction score
193
Did you miss the part where the WHO said not to wear them? Caregivers need them more than VIA or transit employees. If there were millions of them hanging around, ok fine, but there aren't.

Yes, I know, in some ways you can say that VIA employees are caregivers but I'm not going to go down that path. It's just that onboard employees are avoiding social contact by sitting in an empty train car. While this prevents the spread of COVID-19 both through passenger-to-staff spread, and staff-to-passenger spread, it compromises safety in the event of an evacuation. Wearing a mask would help to mitigate employee-to-passenger spread, reducing the need for staff to self isolate in a separate train car and helping to ensure passenger safety. I understand that wearing a mask is only partially effective at preventing COVID-19. But by self-isolating, the crew are compromising the safety of passengers in another way. This is why I said that VIA should suspend service ASAP. At this time, there isn't any way for the crew to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 without also compromising on the safe operation of the train itself.

Edit: Depending on how you look at it you can also say that there isn't any way for the crew to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 without being a waste of taxpayer money (by just sitting in an empty train car and getting up once to open and close a door).

I suppose I'm missing the argument. If there is a safety component to their roles (actually in the position descriptor and/or mandated) then they need to be there. Whether the 'there' means in a specific car or just nearby I don't know. If they are just what their name implies - customer service - then perhaps not, they're there to feed you juice and cookies or whatever. It's been a while but the last time I was on a GO train, the only employee on the train outside of the engine/control cab was the conductor.

The head end crew are ultimately responsible for the safe movement of the train. The on-bard crew (service managers, service attendants) are responsible for assisting the head-end crew in ensuring the safe movement of the train and for providing customer service. This includes assisting passengers to evacuate in the event that something goes wrong. About a year ago, there was an incident on Amtrak Acela where two halves of the train detached from each other. If all the crew were in one half of the train, I think that you can imagine what would happen to passengers in the other (unstaffed) half of the train.
 
Last edited:

crs1026

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
7,044
Reaction score
9,912
You forgot about the staff in the café-bar-lounge/café-coach-lounge or diner, depending on which train it was.....

Dan

Fair point, but apropos the current discussion - OBS staff stayed at their station in the snack counter/bar car, and had no role or presence in the passenger coaches.

- Paul
 

lenaitch

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
3,026
Reaction score
2,636
Yes, I know, in some ways you can say that VIA employees are caregivers but I'm not going to go down that path. It's just that onboard employees are avoiding social contact by sitting in an empty train car. While this prevents the spread of COVID-19 both through passenger-to-staff spread, and staff-to-passenger spread, it compromises safety in the event of an evacuation. Wearing a mask would help to mitigate employee-to-passenger spread, reducing the need for staff to self isolate in a separate train car and helping to ensure passenger safety. I understand that wearing a mask is only partially effective at preventing COVID-19. But by self-isolating, the crew are compromising the safety of passengers in another way. This is why I said that VIA should suspend service ASAP. At this time, there isn't any way for the crew to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 without also compromising on the safe operation of the train itself.

Edit: Depending on how you look at it you can also say that there isn't any way for the crew to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 without being a waste of taxpayer money (by just sitting in an empty train car and getting up once to open and close a door).



The head end crew are ultimately responsible for the safe movement of the train. The on-bard crew (service managers, service attendants) are responsible for assisting the head-end crew in ensuring the safe movement of the train and for providing customer service. This includes assisting passengers to evacuate in the event that something goes wrong. About a year ago, there was an incident on Amtrak Acela where two halves of the train detached from each other. If all the crew were in one half of the train, I think that you can imagine what would happen to passengers in the other (unstaffed) half of the train.

Is that an official descriptor? Using the train separation argument, then a crew member must be in every car at all times.

You seem to have a bug in your ear about VIA onboard staff. How many 'onboard staff' does a crowded GO train have to assist in an emergency? Eliminating VIA runs might impact workers who have to use it as a commuter service - not everybody can work from home or simply stay home, and the remote service mandate runs might strand people.
 

Urban Sky

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 5, 2014
Messages
899
Reaction score
1,755
Location
Montreal
I really try my best to not pass my judgement on follow contributors, especially when they indirectly pay my salary through the fare revenue they generate, but I draw a line when some of my colleagues get attacked here for being out there trying to keep this country running and performing their duties *exactly* the way they were told to do it, while I can read these repulsive comments from the comfort and safety of my home office.

I hoped for most of the last 24 hours (encouraged by your comment that you had already purchased a 3 years’ supply of toilet paper last summer) that you were just joking, but I’m no longer expecting a “okay, guys, I was just pulling your leg, I actually am grateful for everyone who still does his duty out there and helps to keep this country running while public life shuts down progressively!” at this point, where each of your comments seems to be followed by an even more moronic-sounding one…

But let me start with one simple question: Have you ever taken a GO train? And if you did, how many crew members were sitting in your car, how many in the car in front of you and how many in the back of you? I’m asking because I would like to know what makes you believe that one single on-board crew member can safely evacuate 12 cars with up to 2000 passengers (even more with standees), whereas two or three crew members sitting in a car adjacent to one partly filled with passengers can’t?

Then, why do you think you got handed a pre-packaged complimentary snack-with-water-bottle box rather than having a crew member running up and down the aisle with his minibar trolley to sell you snacks or drinks? Because if you had reflected on it, you might have realized that the reason for these changes is to minimize interactions between passengers and staff, in order to keep both safe.


Having staff members sitting in the deadhead car chatting and doing pretty much nothing is unnecessary, and taxpayers really shouldn't be helping to subsidize this.
Edit: At the end of the day, I'm just trying to say that VIA employees should be doing the job that they are being paid to do, especially the safety related part.
Has it ever crossed your mind that these employees might just be following the guidelines they have been given, just like any responsible employer would identify and actively encourage work processes which minimize the exposure of his employees to potential hazards to their health? So what should these employees in your opinion do between their primary duties of helping passengers board and deboard their train, which would put them and the passengers on board at less risk than them sitting isolated from their passengers? Yes, sure, we can put away with on-board crews, but who would assist passengers during boarding and deboarding? And who would assist the passengers in the case of medical emergencies or the need to evacuate the train?

Honestly, the only waste of taxpayer dollars I can see here is the subsidies you’ve received for your tuition and your student passes, because neither seems to have had much impact to inspire you to feel any responsibility and compassion for this society, as exemplified by the disgusting attitude you show-case in your following comment:
Masks don't protect the person wearing them, rather they protect others. Given that VIA staff interact with dozens of passengers daily, many staff members could have the disease and be asymptomatic. Requiring VIA staff to wear masks would help to mitigate this possibility.
Yes right, all you care is that the crews still serve you a sandwich and a drink while wearing a mask which you only expect to protect you from them, but not them from you (and from any other passenger on board the train).


Of course I would sit in car 3, but my point is that the trains should really stop operating ASAP, both because of the virus and because of the way in which they're being operated right now. It's just not safe. […]

Edit: I made the trip to clear out my locker because this thing is probably going to last into the summer, and it's safer to do it now when we're beginning to climb the mountain of misery vs the summit.
I could have taken greyhound or driven, I took VIA because I have a student pass. Had I known that that they were leaving cars unstaffed, I would have driven.
You don’t seem to grasp why only some trains are cancelled at the moment: it’s to maintain a transportation option for essential travel for which there might not be an alternative mode accessible to the traveler, while discouraging the volume of non-essential travel. You have put other passengers at risk by using a common carrier for a completely non-urgent matter and despite having an alternative mode (a car) at your disposal, which would have exposed much less people to the potential threat you pose, but which you didn’t choose for completely selfish reasons (because it would have cost you a few bucks in fuel, whereas your train is “free" to you – courtesy of the taxpayer).


In normal times, yes driving is more dangerous. But we you consider the increased risk of contracting COVID-19, and the safety issues of leaving cars unstaffed. And you balance that with the fact that there are fewer cars on the road reducing the risk of a collision, along with the fact that I have to take public transit from the train station to my school. The dangers roughly balance out.
This is actually the only somewhat sensible thing I've read from you in the last days, as the train (or any mass carrier) is no longer the "smart way to travel" in the time of a global pandemic. Even myself (who keeps saying that owning a car is just proof that you don't live at an appropriate location) drives currently every morning to drop off our toddler-aged son at my in-laws (who have generously borrowed me their car for this purpose) and my wife picks him up the same way every afternoon, just to avoid the short two-stop Metro ride.

Nevertheless, you seem to be more concerned about the risk rail accidents pose to its passengers, even though that risk (1 fatality and 271 injuries in the last 3* decades of passenger railroading in Canada, if I compiled the numbers from the 8 accidents in that Wikipedia article correctly) is dwarfed by the confirmed cases of Covid-19 in this country during the last 2 months (873 cases and 12 deaths, as of today, and rising every day) and this unfortunately shows again that you don't care about anything else than what you perceive as beneficial to yourself.


In fact, I will be submitting a complaint to TC.
Please, by all means, submit a complaint to TC, even though you already admitted yourself that you don't really believe there are any regulations which the crew behavior you have witnessed could have violated (that said, Sections 1.31-1.33 and 2.10-2.11 of the 2012 Burlington derailment TSB report might be an interesting read for you) and demonstrated serious struggles to just comprehend the essentials of the work hour regulations for Locomotive Engineers, but once you are at it: why not also write a letter to a newspaper with your name and explicit mention of your university and faculty, so that you can embarrass them as well at the same time...?


I can't tell you how disappointed I am by what you have written here in the last 48 hours and I urge you to take an hour to step back from your computer, leave your mobile phone at home and just walk for an hour around aimlessly wherever you live (keeping a safe distance to strangers, of course), in order to give you time to reflect on what you've just written before coming back to this discussion, just like I urge everyone else reading this to give you at least 24 hours to do so. I'm not a resentful person, but it will require a serious change in your attitude to gain back some of the respect you've lost in my eyes by attacking some of the brave people which still report to work every day and knowingly expose themselves to a health threat as much as it is required by their duty in order to keep at least a minimum level of public services running during this regional, national and global emergency, while people which are lucky enough to not perform any essential duties (like you and me) can barricade themselves in the comfort and safety of their homes and comment on how well these selfless people are doing their jobs...


PS: in the meanwhile, additional service reductions and measures were announced today to further discourage people from travelling and spreading the virus across communities, which will allow longer trains on the few remaining services, so that passengers can be seated more dispersed from each other (and the staff)...

*I corrected this from 4 to 3 decades, given that I somewhat miscalculated the time (34 years) which has passed since the Hinton accident, while in the meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases and deaths in Canada have increased by factor 10 and 8 (to 8,467 cases and 95 deaths at this very moment) over the last 12 days... (Edit 2020-03-31)
 
Last edited:

kEiThZ

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
10,226
Reaction score
4,224
Not that is going to happen. But I'd love to see pax rail take on staggered seating . Both for privacy and not a slight boost in health security.
 

Top