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VIA Rail

As long as Amtrak's per-capita ridership is one-quarter lower than that of VIA (despite a much more favorable operating environment like enforceable rights towards its host railroads and the NEC being entirely in public ownership), I'm really puzzled as to why rail fans keep looking enviously to our Southern Neighbor (of all passenger railway networks available in the world!) to get inspiration for their turnaround strategies...

Your stats, are, of course valid. But your curiosity puzzles me.

Rail Fans, as potential passengers are fans of more service.

That's all that's being articulated here; more service equals greater ridership; better service equals greater ridership.
They are, in fact, making the VIA HFR case, and simply using the Amtrak numbers to buttress that to extend the argument to other Canadian services outside the corridor.

The argument's logic is sound.

A lower dollar investment (vs high speed rail) can achieve a material gain in ridership and help rebuild a more robust passenger rail service.
The Amtrak example is the only implemented example (on select routes) in North America.

Its relatable; and avoids the "but we're not Europe or we're not China/Japan etc." argument.
 
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Is it just me or post pandemic VIA pricing in the corridor is about double the Price? I get that there are additional costs and makeup for lost revenue but I think it's a bit excessive.

Also to point out that sometimes taking the train on an expensive day was on par with flying but that's not the case. One way from Ottawa to Toronto is in the $400 range.
I just noticed this too as I was planning for an overnight stay in Ottawa in December.

It seems Economy-Escape is sold out on every train so the next cheapest option available to me was a $424 round trip for two in Economy. A bit absurd if you ask me, especially when flying with Air Canada and WestJet is $270, and even cheaper with Flair.

I guess I'm flying again.
 
I just noticed this too as I was planning for an overnight stay in Ottawa in December.

It seems Economy-Escape is sold out on every train so the next cheapest option available to me was a $424 round trip for two in Economy. A bit absurd if you ask me, especially when flying with Air Canada and WestJet is $270, and even cheaper with Flair.

I guess I'm flying again.
They may add more trips by then. Which should open up seats.

The trainmaster? On 72 told me that they are coming back in August but I haven't seen an announcement yet.
 
I've also noticed that there it is much more difficult to get lower priced tickets tickets than before the pandemic. I think this might be because they eliminated the cheapest ~$60 OTT-MTL rt tickets and the rest are selling out much earlier because afaik capacity is still a quarter of the pre-pandemic levels on this route given reduced frequencies and no aisle seats. Whatever the reason, I have transitioned to making almost the entirety of my now nearly semi-weekly trips by car to save money. It's just hard to justify spending over double the full-trip cost to travel with VIA with the limited frequencies and the need to book even further in advance, especially now that I have easier access to a car.

I only bring this up because these personal observations have really proved to me that HFR is a good idea, especially if it can lead to lower ticket prices than HSR. While the lowest possible travel times are great for marketing and prestige, speeds are not the only factor in mode selection and will be less important than flexibility on shorter routes such as my regular OTT-MTL trip. Of course this isn't to say that HSR would be bad, I understand that it could in theory reduce ticket costs if all CAPEX if paid by the government and not infrabank loans, but I now have a greater appreciation of lower speed rail and really hope that VIA will introduce flexible tickets if they can get HFR built.
 
I'm surprised that they included route like Regina-Winnipeg and Regina-Calgary without considering current local political projects like Montreal-Sherbrooke and Toronto-North Bay. The latter seem significantly more likely to be potentially reintroduced, but ofc all would be interesting.

https://www.latribune.ca/actualites...e-est-lancee-28d148a0d9738a7181b7f8c20621ca4a
 
From the article linked above; a table that I think might spark some discussion:

View attachment 341917

The one column that is missing in this table (and the table for US corridors) is the population. Ridership is driven by demand and population is a decent indicator of potential demand (though there are other factors).
 
The one column that is missing in this table (and the table for US corridors) is the population. Ridership is driven by demand and population is a decent indicator of potential demand (though there are other factors).
This is why I think that Edmonton-Calgary-Banff and maybe Montreal-Sherbrooke are likely to be the only viable new VIA routes, even though that is still fairly unlikely. If those routes can't get built with frequent service then i don't really see much point in further expanding rail into more regions that can barely support bus networks, even though I live in a town that lost regular passenger rail service in 92 that I would use if reinstated. The replacement bus network is faster and more frequent than the former train yet it still suffers from extremely low ridership simply due to low population density.
 
This is why I think that Edmonton-Calgary-Banff and maybe Montreal-Sherbrooke are likely to be the only viable new VIA routes, even though that is still fairly unlikely. If those routes can't get built with frequent service then i don't really see much point in further expanding rail into more regions that can barely support bus networks, even though I live in a town that lost regular passenger rail service in 92 that I would use if reinstated. The replacement bus network is faster and more frequent than the former train yet it still suffers from extremely low ridership simply due to low population density.

I would add Vancouver-Seattle (and on to Portland) to the list (249 (plus 299) km and metro populations of 2.5, 4.0 and 2.8 million respectively). Prior to COVID, Amtrak was running 2 trains a day between Vancouver and Seattle. To increase that, significant (and very expensive) upgrades would be necessary through White Rock and across the Fraser River. Hardly a value proposition if they are only wanting to add two additional trains a day like the table suggests. Now if they could go to 8 or more trains a day, then the economics could be different.

One puzzle is this is listed as a "Former VIA Rail route" on the table. Did VIA ever operate a train on this route?
 
I would add Vancouver-Seattle (and on to Portland) to the list (249 (plus 299) km and metro populations of 2.5, 4.0 and 2.8 million respectively). Prior to COVID, Amtrak was running 2 trains a day between Vancouver and Seattle. To increase that, significant (and very expensive) upgrades would be necessary through White Rock and across the Fraser River. Hardly a value proposition if they are only wanting to add two additional trains a day like the table suggests. Now if they could go to 8 or more trains a day, then the economics could be different.

One puzzle is this is listed as a "Former VIA Rail route" on the table. Did VIA ever operate a train on this route?

Already listed:

1629227156736.png
 
I would add Vancouver-Seattle (and on to Portland) to the list (249 (plus 299) km and metro populations of 2.5, 4.0 and 2.8 million respectively). Prior to COVID, Amtrak was running 2 trains a day between Vancouver and Seattle. To increase that, significant (and very expensive) upgrades would be necessary through White Rock and across the Fraser River. Hardly a value proposition if they are only wanting to add two additional trains a day like the table suggests. Now if they could go to 8 or more trains a day, then the economics could be different.

One puzzle is this is listed as a "Former VIA Rail route" on the table. Did VIA ever operate a train on this route?

Amtrak can service this corridor.

And already proposes to add an additional frequency in the next few years.
 
Amtrak can service this corridor.

Amtrak does serve this corridor. My question is why the article says it was once served by VIA Rail.

And already proposes to add an additional frequency in the next few years.

AFAIK, the additional frequencies will only be added if there are track upgrades north of the 49th.
 
AFAIK, the additional frequencies will only be added if there are track upgrades north of the 49th.

I don't recall seeing that as a requirement in the Amtrak plan explicitly, but that doesn't mean it that its not implicit.
 

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