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VIA Rail

kEiThZ

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I wonder what effect this mess will actually have on flying. Right now, only the most essential travel is happening. People are learning to do meetings on line. Except for inspections, would there really be much of a need to fly for business anymore?

Yes. This is like saying that people won't go on vacations because you can simply watch a YouTube video of the beach or the Louvre. Who travels, how often and how they get there may change. But air travel won't completely cease to exist. Yes, we will see changes. And growth has probably been wiped for at least a decade. But this also gives us a great opportunity to build out the airports and build the transit and intercity rail connections to the airport before traffic levels go back to 2019 levels.

Relevant to our discussion here is what HFR accomplishes for aviation. It bolsters YUL as a hub, by redirecting some YYZ traffic to YUL. If packaged with the REM extension to Dorval station, Ottawa residents get travel through YUL that is as transit friendly as travel through YOW and on a timescale competitive with flying via YYZ, especially taking into account backtracks for Trans-Atlantic on Sun destination travel. Putting that extra 1.3 million of Ottawa-Gatineau more firmly into YUL's catchment for long-haul flights, makes that airport more competitive with YYZ for destinations that are viable. Should take some of the pressure off YYZ.
 

cplchanb

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I found a picture of what the new interior will look like on VIA's website
View attachment 241642

theres a reason why in Japan trains with these seats are called romancecars.... tbh I'm not sure solo travellers would be 100% comfortable sitting in these seats if theres no dividing armrest in between them. also theres no recline at all.... may get unconfortable during long journeys
 

SFO-YYZ

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I found a picture of what the new interior will look like on VIA's website
View attachment 241642


Looks really comfy with a nice neutral colour scheme. Almost beats Air Canada's new domestic business class seats on the 737 MAX. Even comes with leg rests, for a fraction of the business class airfare.
 

SamStar

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Looks really comfy with a nice neutral colour scheme. Almost beats Air Canada's new domestic business class seats on the 737 MAX. Even comes with leg rests, for a fraction of the business class airfare.

I find HEP1 seats quite comfortable and the legroom is indeed better than on the AC's business class.
Looking more carefully, it seems that the seats will now be fixed in the forward position. I remember VIA crew members switching/reversing some of the seats to accommodate families years ago on the Chaleur. As far as I know, this was still possible on the HEP1 equipment used in the corridor, but not really done.
 

crs1026

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^Looking at the photos, it appears that the skeletons of the original 1955 seats remain with much refurbishment. I'm not crazy about the colours, but that's just my old fashioned tastes. They are certainly current, and the refurbishing of the seat members seems at first glance to be quite high quality.

- Paul
 

kEiThZ

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Looks really comfy with a nice neutral colour scheme. Almost beats Air Canada's new domestic business class seats on the 737 MAX. Even comes with leg rests, for a fraction of the business class airfare.

VIA has always been better than the airlines. However, it's the speed and occasionally pricing that makes it uncompetitive. HFR should improve this substantially.
 

smallspy

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^Looking at the photos, it appears that the skeletons of the original 1955 seats remain with much refurbishment. I'm not crazy about the colours, but that's just my old fashioned tastes. They are certainly current, and the refurbishing of the seat members seems at first glance to be quite high quality.

- Paul

This is the same colour palette that has been in place since the 2012 refurbishing of the Park Cars, Manor sleepers and diners (and one Skyline). The colours and materials used really do make the cars seem far more modern inside than their almost-70 year age belies.

Unfortunately, the materials themselves have not stood up well in the intervening years, with a lot of wear showing in the high-traffic areas (and most especially in the Park Cars). Hopefully they have sourced more durable materials for the coaches - which need them.

Dan
 

robmausser

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VIA has always been better than the airlines. However, it's the speed and occasionally pricing that makes it uncompetitive. HFR should improve this substantially.

Not even speed really. Reliability.

All it takes is one 2 hour delayed train and the person swears off VIA rail.
 

crs1026

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^It would be interesting to know the data for variations for gate-arrival times for Toronto-Montreal and Toronto-Ottawa flights. My impression is that these can vary widely, more than VIA's timekeeping, just because of variability in pushback and taxi times. Add in delays because the plan is already running late on the way in, and air travel is far from precision operation.

Actual minutes of delay, and perceived delay, are different things however. I wonder what the facts are for both modes.

- Paul
 

PinkLucy

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My spouse uses an app (Flight Tracker I think) where you can enter a flight number (AC123 for example) and it gives you statistics on how often it has been delayed historically. I'm sure there are other sites and apps where you can gather this info as well. And I expect it's also available for train times.
 

Urban Sky

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It is interesting that you can have 1 2 hour delayed plane, yet people still will fly. And even with that airline.
I have no illusions that you will treat my explanations of "relative competitiveness" with less ignorance and contempt than the last time when I explained to you a ridiculously basic economic principle ("public goods") on SSP, but I'm always open to pleasant surprises:

Comparison of downtown-to-downtown travel times (and typical frequency at normal times) with and without an assumed 2 hour delay:
ModeMontreal-TorontoMontreal-Chicago
Airplane3 hours
(12+ flights per day)
5 hours
(multiple flights per day)
Airplane (with 2 hour delay)5 hours7 hours
Train5 hours
(6 trains per day)
24+ hours
(only one convenient connection per day,
which only works westbound)
Train (with 2 hours delay)7 hours26+ hours
Driving (no breaks or traffic)6 hours
(always available)
13+ hours
(always available)

As you can see for Montreal-Toronto, the plane remains time-competitive against the train or driving even when 2 hours delayed (though against the train only due to its higher frequency, which allow its passengers to minimize their waiting time, which would otherwise add to their perceived travel time). Conversely, the train is not time-competitive against the plane and suffering the same 2 hours delay eliminates even its time advantage (on Montreal-Toronto) over the car. Both becomes even clearer for Montreal-[Edit: Chicago], where the airplane retains a substantial travel time advantage over the other two modes even when delayed, whereas the train is already at a massive travel time disadvantage just due to its schedule...

Therefore, the only way a train can become a serious contender against the plane or driving is by offering a reasonably fast travel time (which is not just mentioned in the schedule, but reliably achieved in reality) and a frequency which is somewhat similar to flying (e.g. every 1-2 hours). We both know a project which promises to achieve both...
 
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kEiThZ

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It is interesting that you can have 1 2 hour delayed plane, yet people still will fly. And even with that airline.

Aviation delays are less frequent than VIA actually. And usually less than a VIA delay to boot. Also, you're still getting there faster than any other mode.

They can also make up speed remarkably when necessary. Wife and I were on our honeymoon flight to Barcelona. We had left 4 hrs for a separate ticket connection to Granada. Our AC Rouge bird developed an issue and the pilot turned around over Montreal. Winds, fuel dumping and slots being what they were he held over Hamilton for half an hour and then shot the approach into Pearson. Crew timed out. Half an hour for crew and aircraft change. New crew booked it to Barcelona. And we still made our connection. Including receiving and rechecking bags. Even had time at the lounge for a coffee and a snack. Railways can't execute Irregular Operations (IRROPS) like airlines can.
 

crs1026

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My spouse uses an app (Flight Tracker I think) where you can enter a flight number (AC123 for example) and it gives you statistics on how often it has been delayed historically. I'm sure there are other sites and apps where you can gather this info as well. And I expect it's also available for train times.

I use a couple of these but had never tried to pull data from them (as opposed to tracking a particular airplane or flight)

Just for fun I looked at an arbitrary 2-week history of a couple of AC Toronto-Montreal flights. I chose AC 402 YYZ-YUL and 418 YYZ-YUL, departing Pearson at 08:00 and 16:00 respectively, with arrival of 09:30 and 17:30. I chose the weeks of Feb 3 and 10, figuring that was pre-COVID and reflected potential winter conditions eg deicing. I chose these flights as they were peak-period, which would presumably be most likely to encounter apron delays, landing holds in the air, and would likely be flights that would cater to business flyers. I ignored weekend flights.

Arrival times at gate for 402: 09:12, 09:14, 09:02, 10:05, 09:53, 09:47, 09:08, 09:18, 09:52, 09:22
Arrival times at gate for 418: 17:18, 17:15, 19:02, 18:28, 17:55, 18:27, 17:16, 17:20, 19:06, 17:27

It's a small sample, but it was far more timely than I would have predicted. Even where there were delays, most would not have ruined an ongoing connection or forced someone to miss a meeting. On some days, boarding appeared to have gone extra smoothly as the flight pushed back from the gate ahead of schedule, which trains don't do. VIA also has less latitude to pad schedules in the corridor, especially if there are intermediate stops en route. So many of these arrivals were "early" relative to the published schedule.

I have had my share of horror stories when flying, but statistically, a vast number of air travellers may be arriving within their expectations.

- Paul
 
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kEiThZ

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I have had my share of horror stories when flying, but statistically, a vast number of air travellers may be arriving within their expectations.

If you fly enough you will have stories. Mostly because air trips involve connections. This is less common with rail travel. Especially in situations like Corridor travel.
 

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