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VIA Rail

reaperexpress

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Unless VIA is able to secure a sixth slot for London-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'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...
It seems you interpreted my post as implying that VIA's schedulers are incompetent, which was not at all my intent. My musings into train timetables is purely recreational, and as such you need not forward my resumé to your former colleagues.

My first point is indeed that a sixth slot from London-Toronto would be extremely helpful not only for London-Toronto travel, but even more so for Sarnia-Toronto travel. I am in no way implying that this is a benefit that VIA's staff is ignoring and I am fully aware that such a slot dependant on negotiations with CN. Remember that I am looking at this from the perspective of a citizen, rather than the perspective of a civil servant. That means that although a rejection from CN is the end of the story for VIA's scheduler, citizens may proceed to think about negotiation options beyond the routine scheduling process, such as funding targeted infrastructure investments or even legislative reform regarding the responsibilities of Class 1 freight railways to reasonably accommodate passenger service.

I have also taken a look at the new Kitchener Line schedules, and I agree with your conclusion that the proposed timing for 84 is one of the only feasible timetables along the line. Indeed I noticed that moving 84 to a later slot makes it theoretically possible for the first westbound GO train to Kitchener to depart an hour earlier. Though it doesn't allow it to come back to Toronto an hour earlier, so that would probably be undesirable from an equipment utilisation perspective. My point is simply that the upcoming timing of 84 is not determined by connections at either end, which makes me wonder whether there's enough justification for 84/87 to exist at all. I wonder if a re-timed London-Toronto GO trip could do a better job of connecting Windsor/Sarnia riders to Kitchener/Guelph.
 
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roger1818

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This video was in my feed the other day. I thought it strange for a corridor train to have 2 locomotives (both an F40PH-2 and a P42DC)
at the front of the train with both facing forward.


And then 10 days later, the same thing with two different locomotives:


Why would VIA be doing this? Are they repositioning locomotives?
 

crs1026

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This video was in my feed the other day. I thought it strange for a corridor train to have 2 locomotives (both an F40PH-2 and a P42DC)
at the front of the train with both facing forward.

Why would VIA be doing this? Are they repositioning locomotives?

Happens all the time - when they need to reposition locomotives, either because they are needed elsewhere, or it’s time for maintenance.

- Paul
 

Bordercollie

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It seems you interpreted my post as implying that VIA's schedulers are incompetent, which was not at all my intent. My musings into train timetables is purely recreational, and as such you need not forward my resumé to your former colleagues.

My first point is indeed that a sixth slot from London-Toronto would be extremely helpful not only for London-Toronto travel, but even more so for Sarnia-Toronto travel. I am in no way implying that this is a benefit that VIA's staff is ignoring and I am fully aware that such a slot dependant on negotiations with CN. Remember that I am looking at this from the perspective of a citizen, rather than the perspective of a civil servant. That means that although a rejection from CN is the end of the story for VIA's scheduler, citizens may proceed to think about negotiation options beyond the routine scheduling process, such as funding targeted infrastructure investments or even legislative reform regarding the responsibilities of Class 1 freight railways to reasonably accommodate passenger service.

I have also taken a look at the new Kitchener Line schedules, and I agree with your conclusion that the proposed timing for 84 is one of the only feasible timetables along the line. Indeed I noticed that moving 84 to a later slot makes it theoretically possible for the first westbound GO train to Kitchener to depart an hour earlier. Though it doesn't allow it to come back to Toronto an hour earlier, so that would probably be undesirable from an equipment utilisation perspective. My point is simply that the upcoming timing of 84 is not determined by connections at either end, which makes me wonder whether there's enough justification for 84/87 to exist at all. I wonder if a re-timed London-Toronto GO trip could do a better job of connecting Windsor/Sarnia riders to Kitchener/Guelph.
Can't they meet at Stratford? I thought that the station track is for one direction and the yard track is for the other direction.
 

Urban Sky

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It seems you interpreted my post as implying that VIA's schedulers are incompetent, which was not at all my intent. My musings into train timetables is purely recreational, and as such you need not forward my resumé to your former colleagues.

My first point is indeed that a sixth slot from London-Toronto would be extremely helpful not only for London-Toronto travel, but even more so for Sarnia-Toronto travel. I am in no way implying that this is a benefit that VIA's staff is ignoring and I am fully aware that such a slot dependant on negotiations with CN. Remember that I am looking at this from the perspective of a citizen, rather than the perspective of a civil servant. That means that although a rejection from CN is the end of the story for VIA's scheduler, citizens may proceed to think about negotiation options beyond the routine scheduling process, such as funding targeted infrastructure investments or even legislative reform regarding the responsibilities of Class 1 freight railways to reasonably accommodate passenger service.

I have also taken a look at the new Kitchener Line schedules, and I agree with your conclusion that the proposed timing for 84 is one of the only feasible timetables along the line. Indeed I noticed that moving 84 to a later slot makes it theoretically possible for the first westbound GO train to Kitchener to depart an hour earlier. Though it doesn't allow it to come back to Toronto an hour earlier, so that would probably be undesirable from an equipment utilisation perspective. My point is simply that the upcoming timing of 84 is not determined by connections at either end, which makes me wonder whether there's enough justification for 84/87 to exist at all. I wonder if a re-timed London-Toronto GO trip could do a better job of connecting Windsor/Sarnia riders to Kitchener/Guelph.
I am aware you are neither looking for a new job nor believing that you would be more qualified to do the job of VIA's timetablers. However, when you say that seeing #84's new schedule makes you doubt that the connections "were carefully timed", I feel compelled to point out that there hardly was any choice since there are only four gaps in the timetable which allow to sneak through Georgetown, which leaves only six slots:
  • Slot A: Operate between GO#3904 and GO#3956 (dep. Kitchener 05:09 and 06:02, respectively)
  • Slot B: Sneak through Georgetown between GO#3812 (dep. 09:30) and GO#3911 (dep. 10:35)
  • Slot C: Sneak through Georgetown between GO#3818 (dep. 12:30) and GO#3917 (dep. 13:35)
  • Slot D: Sneak through Georgetown between GO#3824 (dep. 15:32) and GO#3923 (dep. 16:35)
  • Slot E: Sneak through Georgetown between GO#3836 (dep. 21:30) and GO#3935 (dep. 22:35)
  • Slot F: Operate after the arrivals of GO#3935 in Kitchener (arr. 23:28) and of GO #3937 in Guelph (arr. 00:04)
Of these six possible slots, 2 depart Sarnia before 6am and 2 arrive in Toronto after 10 pm, which only leaves Slots C and D - and in order to allow passengers from Sarnia and intermediary stations to spend any time in Toronto, Slot C was the only plausible choice:
1635040534144.png


That said, I fully agree with you that if the infrastructure owner is unable or unwilling to provide more timetable flexibility than only two at least potentially viable slots per day, then there is little point in attempting to provide any Corridor services on that route at all. Nevertheless, the Kitchener Corridor still remains the only corridor over which fast and frequent passenger rail service between Toronto and London seems conceivable within our lifetimes...

Can't they meet at Stratford? I thought that the station track is for one direction and the yard track is for the other direction.
That is the topic of a debate we are currently having at Groups.io:

In any case, the absurd lack of time windows to sneak through Georgetown is the dominating timetable constraint which dictates what is possible West of Georgetown, but with the windows being 3 hours apart and the travel time being almost exactly 90 minutes between Georgetown and Stratford, Stratford might be the only place where you could possibly meet. However, such a meet would escalate the risk of cascading trains (where a delayed westbound train delays the eastbound train at Stratford, which in turn delays the outbound GO train at Georgetown, which will then delay the westbound GO train in Kitchener) - and this might be exactly the kind of operational risk Metrolinx would be reluctant to accept...
 
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Bordercollie

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I am aware you are neither looking for a new job nor believing that you would be more qualified to do the job of VIA's timetablers. However, when you say that seeing #84's new schedule makes you doubt that the connections "were carefully timed", I feel compelled to point out that there hardly was any choice since there are only four gaps in the timetable which allow to sneak through Georgetown, which leaves only six slots:
  • Slot A: Operate between GO#3904 and GO#3956 (dep. Kitchener 05:09 and 06:02, respectively)
  • Slot B: Sneak through Georgetown between GO#3812 (dep. 09:30) and GO#3911 (dep. 10:35)
  • Slot C: Sneak through Georgetown between GO#3818 (dep. 12:30) and GO#3917 (dep. 13:35)
  • Slot D: Sneak through Georgetown between GO#3824 (dep. 15:32) and GO#3923 (dep. 16:35)
  • Slot E: Sneak through Georgetown between GO#3836 (dep. 21:30) and GO#3935 (dep. 22:35)
  • Slot F: Operate after the arrivals of GO#3935 in Kitchener (arr. 23:28) and of GO #3937 in Guelph (arr. 00:04)
Of these six possible slots, 2 depart Sarnia before 6am and 2 arrive in Toronto after 10 pm, which only leaves Slots C and D - and in order to allow passengers from Sarnia and intermediary stations to spend any time in Toronto, Slot C was an obvious choice:
View attachment 357804

That said, I fully agree with you that if the infrastructure owner is unable or unwilling to provide more timetable flexibility than only two at least potentially viable slots per day, then there is little point in attempting to provide any Corridor services on that route at all. Nevertheless, the Kitchener Corridor still remains the only corridor over which fast and frequent passenger rail service between Toronto and London seems conceivable within our lifetimes...


That is the topic of a debate we are currently having at Groups.io:

In any case, the absurd lack of time windows to sneak through Georgetown is the dominating timetable constraint which dictates what is possible West of Georgetown, but with the windows being 3 hours apart and the travel time being almost exactly 90 minutes between Georgetown and Stratford, Stratford might be the only place where you could possibly meet. However, such a meet would escalate the risk of cascading trains (where a delayed westbound train delays the eastbound train at Stratford, which in turn delays the outbound GO train at Georgetown, which will then delay the westbound GO train in Kitchener) - and this might be exactly the kind of operational risk Metrolinx would be reluctant to accept...
But CN only runs 2? Trains per day between Kitchener and London. And does GXER have any daily runs?

I guess either building a passing tracks somewhere or decreasing travel times by upgrading the track would be the only way to increase frequencies.

Even doubling the current speed between London and Kitchener would be a significant improvement.
 

Urban Sky

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But CN only runs 2? Trains per day between Kitchener and London. And does GXER have any daily runs?

I guess either building a passing tracks somewhere or decreasing travel times by upgrading the track would be the only way to increase frequencies.

Even doubling the current speed between London and Kitchener would be a significant improvement.
This might be a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation: with the current infrastructure it's virtually impossible to increase train frequencies any further and with the current frequencies it's difficult to justify significant investments (especially West of Kitchener). Thankfully, Metrolinx seems to be determined to turn the Kitchener Corridor to something which is at least remotely as performant as such a high-density corridor should be, but progress is still painfully slow...
 

littlewill1166

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This video was in my feed the other day. I thought it strange for a corridor train to have 2 locomotives (both an F40PH-2 and a P42DC)
at the front of the train with both facing forward.


And then 10 days later, the same thing with two different locomotives:


Why would VIA be doing this? Are they repositioning locomotives?
In Southwestern Ontario, they do it in the Autumn because of the steep grade near Brantford combined with falling leaves on the track causing wheel slip. Having 2 Locos increases traction.
 

smallspy

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I guess Sanders don't cut it?
All VIA locomotives have had their sanders removed - all had been disabled since the late 1990s or very early 2000s.

The claims given at the time was that they helped reduce maintenance requirements, but a lot of people within the railway industry balked at that.

Dan
 

TerryJohnson

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I am aware you are neither looking for a new job nor believing that you would be more qualified to do the job of VIA's timetablers. However, when you say that seeing #84's new schedule makes you doubt that the connections "were carefully timed", I feel compelled to point out that there hardly was any choice since there are only four gaps in the timetable which allow to sneak through Georgetown, which leaves only six slots:
  • Slot A: Operate between GO#3904 and GO#3956 (dep. Kitchener 05:09 and 06:02, respectively)
  • Slot B: Sneak through Georgetown between GO#3812 (dep. 09:30) and GO#3911 (dep. 10:35)
  • Slot C: Sneak through Georgetown between GO#3818 (dep. 12:30) and GO#3917 (dep. 13:35)
  • Slot D: Sneak through Georgetown between GO#3824 (dep. 15:32) and GO#3923 (dep. 16:35)
  • Slot E: Sneak through Georgetown between GO#3836 (dep. 21:30) and GO#3935 (dep. 22:35)
  • Slot F: Operate after the arrivals of GO#3935 in Kitchener (arr. 23:28) and of GO #3937 in Guelph (arr. 00:04)
Of these six possible slots, 2 depart Sarnia before 6am and 2 arrive in Toronto after 10 pm, which only leaves Slots C and D - and in order to allow passengers from Sarnia and intermediary stations to spend any time in Toronto, Slot C was the only plausible choice:
View attachment 357804

That said, I fully agree with you that if the infrastructure owner is unable or unwilling to provide more timetable flexibility than only two at least potentially viable slots per day, then there is little point in attempting to provide any Corridor services on that route at all. Nevertheless, the Kitchener Corridor still remains the only corridor over which fast and frequent passenger rail service between Toronto and London seems conceivable within our lifetimes...

....

In any case, the absurd lack of time windows to sneak through Georgetown is the dominating timetable constraint which dictates what is possible West of Georgetown, but with the windows being 3 hours apart and the travel time being almost exactly 90 minutes between Georgetown and Stratford, Stratford might be the only place where you could possibly meet. However, such a meet would escalate the risk of cascading trains (where a delayed westbound train delays the eastbound train at Stratford, which in turn delays the outbound GO train at Georgetown, which will then delay the westbound GO train in Kitchener) - and this might be exactly the kind of operational risk Metrolinx would be reluctant to accept...

I hope this doesn't seem backstabbing to our friends at VIA Rail, but passing the torch on the NML to Metrolinx now seems like the only sensible outcome.

The new schedule of 84 is inevitable, but so is a terrible drop in ridership as a result of lost connections at London, not getting to Kitchener until noon, any reasonable trip to Toronto requiring a hotel night, and onward connections to Ottawa and Montreal not arriving in those cities until after 8pm. Dropping all the VIA slots could give Metrolinx scope to run a viable service level of at least four round trips, and reason to spend the $25M needed to fix that track so the journey time isn't an absurd four hours. Add a CTC controlled siding at Shakespeare, halfway between Guelph and Kellys, and the service could be made almost respectable once the upgrades east of Kitchener are complete.

The upside of this is that running 84 over the Dundas, between 70 and 72, and 87 between 75 and 79 would make an excellent additional pair of trains for London. If 82/83 are also extended back to Sarnia then the service potentially becomes much better with "business" and "leisure" timings each way. That would require more stabling track at Sarnia, using the old Tempo yard, while allowing tracks 2/3 in London to be equipped with 575V shore power for GO stabling. My understanding from CN sources is that an additional round trip or two on the Dundas is something they would countenance, once work they're already doing in the Woodstock area is complete. If we're ambitious and willing to pay CN to put back the second track of the Strathroy, then 85 to Sarnia (between 71 and 73) and 88 (after 78) also become possible. At that point, the SWO services would probably be good enough for induced demand to kick in and support further improvements.
 

Bordercollie

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A bit off topic here but what is the plan to replace the 1000 Amfleet cars? Will Siemens have the capacity to build that many cars within a reasonable time frame?

With Bombardier now defunct I guess Alstom could build more Superliners if ordered?

I'm asking because it would be a good way for VIA to get some long distance cars at a bargain.

Are the horizon cars going to be first to be retired?
 

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