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VIA Rail

lrt's friend

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How will we ever address travel requirements in the future for people with tickets and have viral symptoms? This may sound like a stupid question with Covid, but at some point we have to reach the post-covid world and some ( hopefully most soon) viruses are not serious and people do need to get to their destinations in a timely fashion. Nobody with the common cold should be delayed for days that could impact their employment or simply not being able to get home. Will people denied boarding be able to re-book at no extra cost? I think of the implications of travel and coming down with a virus leaving you stuck high and dry somewhere. I believe that most people have picked up a virus while traveling at some point in their lives.
 

reaperexpress

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I thought the primary purpose of VIA's London-Kitchener-Toronto service was to provide a connection to Kitchener for passengers from Sarnia and Windsor, but the eastbound train 84 to Kitchener actually departs about two minutes before the eastbound train 70 arrives from Windsor. Strange.

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ack

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I thought the primary purpose of VIA's London-Kitchener-Toronto service was to provide a connection to Kitchener for passengers from Sarnia and Windsor, but the eastbound train 84 to Kitchener actually departs about two minutes before the eastbound train 70 arrives from Windsor. Strange.
The connection did work until recently, both from 70 to 84 and the other way.

70 was cancelled for the initial lockdown in March 2020 and wasn't restored until this September. Meanwhile, speeds on the Guelph sub dropped further. If I'm not mistaken, 84's last on-time arrival in Toronto was sometime that May, and by this August, it was regularly around 30' late.

When 70 was restored, they broke the connection by moving 84's departure earlier and 70's arrival later. I'm guessing this was to make 84 less likely to delay GO's new midday train, which even with this change sometimes has to wait for 84. Last Thursday for example:
1634738698357.png
 

Urban Sky

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The connection did work until recently, both from 70 to 84 and the other way.

70 was cancelled for the initial lockdown in March 2020 and wasn't restored until this September. Meanwhile, speeds on the Guelph sub dropped further. If I'm not mistaken, 84's last on-time arrival in Toronto was sometime that May, and by this August, it was regularly around 30' late.

When 70 was restored, they broke the connection by moving 84's departure earlier and 70's arrival later. I'm guessing this was to make 84 less likely to delay GO's new midday train, which even with this change sometimes has to wait for 84. Last Thursday for example:
View attachment 356876
New schedule for 84 as of November 15, as discussed on groups.io:

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Urban Sky

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What a pleasant surprise!

Interesting that 87, which suffers from similar schedule adherence issues, hasn't been updated to reflect today's travel times.

If #87 is too delayed, it will simply be stuck behind the 17:49 GO train (3977), without causing much trouble. And in the extreme case where it falls behind even the 18:19 GO train (3879), it might have to wait until that train returns as the 20:39 GO train (3836) and reaches Georgetown as 21:30:
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Source: posted by Krypto98 in the GO Transit thread
Note: ignore the 9:04/10:04/11:04/12:04/13:04/14:04/15:04 departures from Union and the 10:22/11:22/12:22/13:22/14:22/15:22/16:22 departures from Bramalea, which should have never found their way into Metrolinx' planner.
 
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reaperexpress

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Great to see that they're updating the times for 84 to be more realistic. It's a bit disappointing to see them drop the option for commuting from Sarnia/Strathroy to London but I guess not many people were doing that anyway.

I'm surprised the Kitchener-Toronto travel time didn't drop more. The new timetable schedules 1:34, which is only a 1-minute reduction. Via did seem to be able to achieve the current scheduled travel times through that segment, and by November the travel time from Kitchener to Guelph will be about 3 minutes shorter than today.

I'm also surprised that the new departure from London doesn't really line up with any Windsor-London-Brantford-Toronto trains. Transferring from Windsor toward Kitchener is now a 144-minute transfer (arrive 7:30 on #70, depart 9:54 on #84), and transferring from Sarnia toward Brantford is now a 50-minute transfer (arrive 9:54 on #84, depart 10:44 on #72). Though even with nearly an hour sitting in London, the latter transfer gets you to Toronto 33 minutes sooner than staying on #84 (13:05 vs 13:38). I would have thought that more passengers to Sarnia would be heading to Toronto than to Kitchener, in which case rerouting 84 via Brantford and having a separate London-Kitchener (GO?) trip would vastly reduce the number of transfers as well as getting people to their destinations much faster on average. It would also fill the awkwardly-large gap in the current London-Toronto schedule, with no arrivals at Union between 10:10 and 13:05.
 
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crs1026

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Great to see that they're updating the times for 84 to be more realistic. It's a bit disappointing to see them drop the option for commuting from Sarnia/Strathroy to London but I guess not many people were doing that anyway.

I am mobile and can’t look it up, but it would be interesting to see how connections from 84 to trains to the east have changed. One new through haul passenger from Sarnia to Kingston is more revenue than three Sarnia London commuters, and a better load factor improvement. The departure time from Sarnia was a little early for travellers (as opposed to commuters).

Traditionally (warning:seniors’ moment) the through connections from Kitchener were carefully dovetailed to departures to the east, and vv.

- Paul
 

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I am mobile and can’t look it up, but it would be interesting to see how connections from 84 to trains to the east have changed. One new through haul passenger from Sarnia to Kingston is more revenue than three Sarnia London commuters, and a better load factor improvement. The departure time from Sarnia was a little early for travellers (as opposed to commuters).

Traditionally (warning:seniors’ moment) the through connections from Kitchener were carefully dovetailed to departures to the east, and vv.

- Paul
An arrival time of 13:38 into Toronto currently allows you connections to:
  • #66 dep. 15:17 to Montreal (arr. 20:18)
  • #46 dep. 15:32 to Ottawa (arr. 20:14)
  • #68 dep. 17:02 to Montreal (arr. 22:13)
  • #54 dep. 17:32 to Ottawa (arr. 22:11)
  • #668 dep. 18:02 to Montreal (arr. 22:55)
Other than the connection to the Ocean (dep. Montreal at 19:00 [Edit: and more importantly: train #28 to Quebec City, dep. 18:25] - previously reachable from Sarnia using #64 from Toronto), I don't see any connections which were made impossible due to the schedule change of #84...
 
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nfitz

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I'm surprised the Kitchener-Toronto travel time didn't drop more. The new timetable schedules 1:34, which is only a 1-minute reduction.
It looks like that they increased the Malton-Union (eastbound) travel time from 21 to 25 minutes and increased the Malton dwell by a minute. So it's a 6-minute reduction from Kitchener to Malton!

Perhaps VIA has taken to the padding the schedules at Union, the same way that GO has been doing increasingly through recent years!
 

reaperexpress

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I am mobile and can’t look it up, but it would be interesting to see how connections from 84 to trains to the east have changed. One new through haul passenger from Sarnia to Kingston is more revenue than three Sarnia London commuters, and a better load factor improvement. The departure time from Sarnia was a little early for travellers (as opposed to commuters).

Traditionally (warning:seniors’ moment) the through connections from Kitchener were carefully dovetailed to departures to the east, and vv.

- Paul
Well if they're interested in attracting trips from Sarnia/Strathroy to anywhere east of London, they need to reroute 84/87 via Brantford, which would save them 90 minutes compared to sitting on the current train. I find it hard to imagine someone sitting through the whole 5h slog via the current route, and then waiting two hours in Toronto for a connecting train further east.
An arrival time of 13:38 into Toronto currently allows you connections to:
  • #66 dep. 15:17 to Montreal (arr. 20:18)
  • #46 dep. 15:32 to Ottawa (arr. 20:14)
  • #68 dep. 17:02 to Montreal (arr. 22:13)
  • #54 dep. 17:32 to Ottawa (arr. 22:11)
  • #668 dep. 18:02 to Montreal (arr. 22:55)
Other than the connection to the Ocean (dep. Montreal at 19:00 - previously reachable from Sarnia using #64 from Toronto), I don't see any connections which were made impossible due to the schedule change of #84...
I don't think the question was whether connections were possible, but rather whether they were carefully timed. Given that the shortest transfer is well over an hour, I think the answer is no.
 

Urban Sky

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It looks like that they increased the Malton-Union (eastbound) travel time from 21 to 25 minutes and increased the Malton dwell by a minute. So it's a 6-minute reduction from Kitchener to Malton!

Perhaps VIA has taken to the padding the schedules at Union, the same way that GO has been doing increasingly through recent years!
The respective host railroad has the final word about runtimes. It has the power to approve or refuse any train slot requests...

Well if they're interested in attracting trips from Sarnia/Strathroy to anywhere east of London, they need to reroute 84/87 via Brantford, which would save them 90 minutes compared to sitting on the current train. I find it hard to imagine someone sitting through the whole 5h slog via the current route, and then waiting two hours in Toronto for a connecting train further east.
Unless VIA is able to secure a sixth slot for London-Brantford-Toronto, the only way to re-route Sarnia-Toronto via Brantford is to extend 82 and 83 to Sarnia, which would result in an ungodly departure time in Sarnia (something like 5:15) and a high risk that train 82 already departs late in London. As long as Sarnia-London is partly single-tracked, the decision between inconveniencing passengers from Sarnia (which want a shorter travel time to Toronto) or the existing passengers on #82 (which are highly sensitive to delayed arrivals in Toronto) is a very easy one to make...

I don't think the question was whether connections were possible, but rather whether they were carefully timed. Given that the shortest transfer is well over an hour, I think the answer is no.
I'm looking forward to your suggestion for an alternative time slot for #84, which respects the following constraints, given that there currently is no possibility to meet anywhere between Silver Junction (where the Guelph Sub splits from the Halton Sub West of Georgetown) and Kelly's siding (a few miles Southwest of St. Marys):
  1. Must arrive in Kitchener well before the departure time of GO#3956 (dep. 06:02) or after the departure of GO#3812 (dep. 08:39), as the poor OTP and very long signal spacing makes it almost impossible to fit within two GO trains operating at 30 minutes intervals).
  2. Must arrive in Georgetown well before the departure of GO#3956 (dep. 06:53) or after the departure of GO#3812 (dep. 09:30).
  3. Must arrive in Georgetown well before the departure of GO#3911 (dep. 10:35) or after the departure of GO#3818 (dep. 12:30).
  4. Must arrive in Georgetown well before the departure of GO#3917 (dep. 13:35) or after the departure of GO#3824 (dep. 15:32).
  5. Must arrive in Georgetown well before the departure of GO#3923 (dep. 16:35) or after the departure of GO#3836 (dep. 21:30).
  6. Must arrive in Georgetown well before the departure of GO#3935 (dep. 22:35) or after the arrivals of GO#3935 in Kitchener (arr. 23:28) and of GO #3937 in Guelph (arr. 00:04).
If you are able to come up with a timetable slot which satisfies above constraints and allows for better connections in Toronto without resulting in an even earlier departure time than currently (i.e. 06:10), I will happily forward your job application to my former colleagues at VIA's timetable department...
 
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