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VIA Rail

roger1818

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Well, I fall back on my long-standing projection that once HFR is moved to the Havelock line, VIA's use of the Kingston route will face even more constraints beyond what's there today.

That brings up a very good point. From CN's perspective, separate trains from Toronto to Kingston and Kingston to Montreal or Ottawa would be more disruptive than a single train from Toronto to Montreal or Ottawa (on lakeshore via Kingston), so it might be easier for VIA to have one train along the entire route than two trains that terminate/originate in Kingston.

I am assuming something like 4-6 departures per day to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal each.

Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson tweeted this map in 2017 about post HFR frequency of service in Kingston. It shows 12 trains a day to Toronto and 6 trains to each of Ottawa and Montreal. That is down slightly from the pre COVID service of 17 westbound and 13 eastbound trains on weekdays.


Assuming the fleet is sized for the 1-2 peak departures, I would bet around needing 3 coaches (2 economy + 1 business). I'll leave it the more knowledgeable to judge whether that is best delivered by DMU or a loco pulled train.

That is about what I would expect. Given that 3 cars is about the break even point for DMUs vs conventional trains, I don't see the advantage of introducing a new train type into VIA's fleet.

Also, given that most modern DMUs come in fixed, preconfigured train lengths, with permanent (not semi-permanent) couplers, they provide much less operational flexibility to adjust for seasonal demand or long term growth.
 

roger1818

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The solution to Niagara Falls NY getting GO service is allow walk-overs across the bridge, even without NEXUS. Americans could park at the Amtrak station and cross the bridge.

The logistics of clearing trains at the border is too complicated otherwise, especially since the US station is literally across the bridge from the Canadian one.

The logistics become much easier if the station on the NY side has pre-clearance facilities. Do you really think many people who regularly commute across the boarder don't have a NEXUS? The bigger issue is waling across the bridge wouldn't be very nice on a cold winter morning.

The big question is, what would be in it for Ontario to provide such a service to commuters who aren't paying taxes to the Ontario government? Niagara Falls NY would have to heavily subsidize the service, possibly to the point that the extension becomes profitable for Metrolinx.
 

micheal_can

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That brings up a very good point. From CN's perspective, separate trains from Toronto to Kingston and Kingston to Montreal or Ottawa would be more disruptive than a single train from Toronto to Montreal or Ottawa (on lakeshore via Kingston), so it might be easier for VIA to have one train along the entire route than two trains that terminate/originate in Kingston.



Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson tweeted this map in 2017 about post HFR frequency of service in Kingston. It shows 12 trains a day to Toronto and 6 trains to each of Ottawa and Montreal. That is down slightly from the pre COVID service of 17 westbound and 13 eastbound trains on weekdays.




That is about what I would expect. Given that 3 cars is about the break even point for DMUs vs conventional trains, I don't see the advantage of introducing a new train type into VIA's fleet.

Also, given that most modern DMUs come in fixed, preconfigured train lengths, with permanent (not semi-permanent) couplers, they provide much less operational flexibility to adjust for seasonal demand or long term growth.

My thoughts go to what Eastern ON will look like post HFR. Will we see a drop in trains outside the HFR? ill they be shorter? Will they be so short that DMUs make sense?
 

kEiThZ

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The solution to Niagara Falls NY getting GO service is allow walk-overs across the bridge, even without NEXUS. Americans could park at the Amtrak station and cross the bridge.

The logistics of clearing trains at the border is too complicated otherwise, especially since the US station is literally across the bridge from the Canadian one.


LOL. That's definitely not happening. But there's an argument to be made for VIA to bolster it's Niagara service and to terminate in Niagara Falls, NY. That might provide sufficient extra passengers to justify additional frequencies.
 

crs1026

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I am assuming something like 4-6 departures per day to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal each. Assuming the fleet is sized for the 1-2 peak departures, I would bet around needing 3 coaches (2 economy + 1 business). I'll leave it the more knowledgeable to judge whether that is best delivered by DMU or a loco pulled train.

I was persuaded by comments in this thread some time ago (a couple of years maybe?) to the effect that where intermediate points only have three or four stopping trains today, there would be little or no improvement on that, and that these stops would be compressed into all-stops trains - whereas today those stops are staggered across the whole lineup with any single train only stopping once or twice.

If the map posted by @roger1818 with 12 runs Toronto-Kingston with 6 each to Ottawa and Montreal is authoritatively coming from VIA, and they have confidence that CN will allow that post-HFR, then I'm definitely out to lunch. That's a reasonable service pattern. But I would want signatures in blood ;-) (And, is that 6 trains each direction, or total?)

I have no idea what the precise DMU-Charger threshold is. Since VIA doesn't have data with either post-RDC DMU's or the Chargers I doubt they have a firm position either. The issue is likely moot - until HFR changes some political and bureaucratic minds about the value of the investment, I can't see VIA going back to the well a second time. But they might some day.... all the more reason to wean our mindset away from pulling aged Budd RDC's out of the museums where they belong.

- Paul
 

ManyQuestions

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That would defeat the entire purpose of the Kingston hub; avoiding cascading delays and optimizing schedules for Kingston. Given that Kingston will still on a freight corridor, the only way to do that is to have train service originate and terminate in Kingston.

Has the HFR planning included anything about the construction of a layover facility in Kingston or station upgrades? Given that the station is currently located directly on the mainline, leaving trains at the platforms between runs will likely be impossible. Likewise, forcing passengers to transfer in Kingston if traveling through would likely require some significant station capacity and comfort upgrades.

The solution to Niagara Falls NY getting GO service is allow walk-overs across the bridge

Why would Niagara NY even get GO service? That seems to be well within the distance that should be better served by intercity rail? I do not see why I train from Toronto to Niagara or Buffalo should use urban transit vehicles rather than coaches configured for intercity travel. Traveling between Ottawa and Montreal by VIA rail takes about as long at present and will be further accelerated with the completion of HFR. I know that there is not a defined crossover between local and intercity trains, but a route designed for end-to-end travel with a trip time of about two hours seems to be solidly within the intercity category. The reason for my earlier question about what units GO used for their weekend Niagara service was that I thought that it was strange that such a route be operated with commuter equipment.
 

roger1818

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My thoughts go to what Eastern ON will look like post HFR. Will we see a drop in trains outside the HFR? ill they be shorter? Will they be so short that DMUs make sense?

Yes they will be shorter (VIA currently uses 5-7 car trains along these routes). The question is will they be short enough for DMUs to make sense? VIA will have the best information for determining this, but looking at VIA's Total passengers at stations (boarding and deboarding) in 2018 for the top 6 stations along the "lakeshore" corridor (ignoring Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Fallowfield and Dorval as they will have HFR, but including Oshawa as it won't).

RankStationTotal Passengers
5KINGSTON456,586
9OSHAWA207,037
12BELLEVILLE146,395
13COBOURG136,541
18BROCKVILLE61,305
20CORNWALL55,890
Total1,063,754

Now if you divide that by 52, you get 20,457 passengers per week. Assuming ridership remains the same, and that there will be 12 trains a day weekdays, 10 trains on Saturdays and 8 trains on Sundays (a guesstimate) each way, that is a total of 78 train each way or 156 trains total per week. Divide that out and you get an average of 131 passengers per train, using 2018 ridership. With a schedule that tailored for the lakeshore service rather than to/from Ottawa and Montreal, that number should grow significantly (this is just a starting point). One of VIA's new "Extra short," 3 car trains will have a capacity of 176 passengers, so that will be a good starting point, and more cars can be added seasonally as ridership grows.

I admit these calculations assume that no one is traveling between those stations (instead they are going to/from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa or one of the other stations not listed), but I also ignored the smaller stations (like PORT HOPE, GUILDWOOD, TRENTON JCT, etc.), so that should balance out reasonably well.
 

micheal_can

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Yes they will be shorter (VIA currently uses 5-7 car trains along these routes). The question is will they be short enough for DMUs to make sense? VIA will have the best information for determining this, but looking at VIA's Total passengers at stations (boarding and deboarding) in 2018 for the top 6 stations along the "lakeshore" corridor (ignoring Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Fallowfield and Dorval as they will have HFR, but including Oshawa as it won't).

RankStationTotal Passengers
5KINGSTON456,586
9OSHAWA207,037
12BELLEVILLE146,395
13COBOURG136,541
18BROCKVILLE61,305
20CORNWALL55,890
Total1,063,754

Now if you divide that by 52, you get 20,457 passengers per week. Assuming ridership remains the same, and that there will be 12 trains a day weekdays, 10 trains on Saturdays and 8 trains on Sundays (a guesstimate) each way, that is a total of 78 train each way or 156 trains total per week. Divide that out and you get an average of 131 passengers per train, using 2018 ridership. With a schedule that tailored for the lakeshore service rather than to/from Ottawa and Montreal, that number should grow significantly (this is just a starting point). One of VIA's new "Extra short," 3 car trains will have a capacity of 176 passengers, so that will be a good starting point, and more cars can be added seasonally as ridership grows.

I admit these calculations assume that no one is traveling between those stations (instead they are going to/from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa or one of the other stations not listed), but I also ignored the smaller stations (like PORT HOPE, GUILDWOOD, TRENTON JCT, etc.), so that should balance out reasonably well.


131 passengers is 2 cars. A 3 car DMU might be god for those areas. This could then mean some of the older routes that have 3 or less regular cars could be switched to new DMUs.
 

roger1818

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131 passengers is 2 cars. A 3 car DMU might be god for those areas. This could then mean some of the older routes that have 3 or less regular cars could be switched to new DMUs.

Not sure why you think "A 3 car DMU might be god." It explains a lot. :p

A 3 car DMU is no better than a conventional train and would limit ability to grow ridership. As I said earlier, "given that most modern DMUs come in fixed, preconfigured train lengths, with permanent (not semi-permanent) couplers, they provide much less operational flexibility to adjust for seasonal demand or long term growth."
 

kEiThZ

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At least from Oshawa, I foresee a drop in ridership as the Ottawa and Montreal traffic shifts to the GTA East station. Right now, Oshawa and Guildwood act as the GTA stations for all traffic to/from Toronto and all points East.
 

cplchanb

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Not sure why you think "A 3 car DMU might be god." It explains a lot. :p

A 3 car DMU is no better than a conventional train and would limit ability to grow ridership. As I said earlier, "given that most modern DMUs come in fixed, preconfigured train lengths, with permanent (not semi-permanent) couplers, they provide much less operational flexibility to adjust for seasonal demand or long term growth."
The upx trains are definitely not permanently coupled as they run in 2 and 3 car formations regularly. They can easily couple married units to form a longer train at any time if required, like a 2+2. Regardless, if they really wanted to suppliers can most likely convert married pairs into semi permanent couplers if they were asked to do so. It's not new tech
 

roger1818

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At least from Oshawa, I foresee a drop in ridership as the Ottawa and Montreal traffic shifts to the GTA East station. Right now, Oshawa and Guildwood act as the GTA stations for all traffic to/from Toronto and all points East.

That is a good point. Even if we assumed the VIA passenger count at Oshawa dropped to Zero (which it wouldn't), the per train ridership would only drop to 106. I do see optimizing the lakeshore as a huge growth opportunity for VIA though, and that number should go up substantially.
 

micheal_can

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Not sure why you think "A 3 car DMU might be god." It explains a lot. :p

A 3 car DMU is no better than a conventional train and would limit ability to grow ridership. As I said earlier, "given that most modern DMUs come in fixed, preconfigured train lengths, with permanent (not semi-permanent) couplers, they provide much less operational flexibility to adjust for seasonal demand or long term growth."

... Sorry about the spelling. I think they might be good for certain routes where there is a demand, but not a high demand. Most may be of a fixed length, but that does not mean we have to use those ones. Realistically speaking, if there is a demand for more than 3 cars, then DMUs are not the answer.
Mind you, last I checked, no Corridor train is 15 cars long, but some routes need that. So, Via should look at all options to optimize the rolling stock and match it to the demand.
 

cplchanb

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... Sorry about the spelling. I think they might be good for certain routes where there is a demand, but not a high demand. Most may be of a fixed length, but that does not mean we have to use those ones. Realistically speaking, if there is a demand for more than 3 cars, then DMUs are not the answer.
Mind you, last I checked, no Corridor train is 15 cars long, but some routes need that. So, Via should look at all options to optimize the rolling stock and match it to the demand.
Not sure why people think that dmus can't be longer than 3 cars for intercity. Take for example the British super voyager class trains. They are 5 cars long and they are intercity. Obviously the regs will need to change or a supplier will need to develop a train for north America but it is possible and common to have long multiple unit trains for long distance travel. We need to get out if the mindset that honking huge diesel locos are the only way for intercity operations. In fact for most advanced nations other than North America, diesel locos are way obsolete


Also the class 800s amongst others
 

micheal_can

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Not sure why people think that dmus can't be longer than 3 cars for intercity. Take for example the British super voyager class trains. They are 5 cars long and they are intercity. Obviously the regs will need to change or a supplier will need to develop a train for north America but it is possible and common to have long multiple unit trains for long distance travel. We need to get out if the mindset that honking huge diesel locos are the only way for intercity operations. In fact for most advanced nations other than North America, diesel locos are way obsolete


Also the class 800s amongst others

I think it is for the same reason people think the existing cas for the Canadian are the only ones it should ever run with. Heaven forbid we modernize the entire fleet.
 

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