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VIA Rail

kEiThZ

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It’s pretty clear from the small amount that has been communicated about HFR that VIA already has a proposed strategy for electrification.

HFR in particular will have to be driven by what GO and AMT do. Also, there's so many options here. For example, using OCS for the suburban and urban areas and simply running on biodiesel for rest would cut 80-90% of emissions with very little investment required.

Maybe they'll choose to build OCS for the whole HFR corridor. But there are plenty of relatively lower investment options that would yield a great ROI on both emissions and operating cost reduction.
 

nfitz

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The last thing via needs is to split up a married set and butcher them like they did to the LRCs
Since when were the LRCs married sets? I don't recall anything like that except the Turbo. The LRCs certainly weren't married in the early to mid-1980s when I used to ride them every week.
 

ssiguy2

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This thread is is about VIA rail and, contrary to what some of you may think, there are people in Canada who do not live between QC & Toronto.

Bio-fuels are also an option for the the rest of the country outside the cherished Corridor {London/Windsor excepted} but outside To/QC I don't think so in terms of practicality. The freight companies are going hydrogen and they will build the infrastructure to support a nationwide system and VIA could piggy-back onto that infrastructure.

Tier 4 locos do have drastically lower pollution emissions but still create GHG ones so will not do anything to reach net-zero. They are most certainly an improvement but reaching net-zero will not be possible.
 

kEiThZ

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Bio-fuels are also an option for the the rest of the country outside the cherished Corridor {London/Windsor excepted} but outside To/QC I don't think so in terms of practicality.

It's hilarious that you think supplying hydrogen to rural areas is easier than supplying biofuels. Did you take chemistry in high school and study the Ideal Gas Law? That should help you understand why your idea here is nonsensical.

The freight companies are going hydrogen and they will build the infrastructure to support a nationwide system and VIA could piggy-back onto that infrastructure.

The freight companies are dabbling with a lot of things. And ultimately they will pick whatever offers the best ROI. They aren't going for absolutely zero emissions, because there's no business case for that. And the business case for any emissions abatement technology is based entirely on the cost of emissions (aka carbon price). It's going to require an extraordinarily high carbon price (think thousands per tonne) to make 100% emissions abatement make sense.

Tier 4 locos do have drastically lower pollution emissions but still create GHG ones so will not do anything to reach net-zero. They are most certainly an improvement but reaching net-zero will not be possible.

Net zero is a national committment. Not an individual commitment. Your argument is akin to saying that you personally must have a net zero footprint by 2050. I hope you understand how ridiculous that is.

Next, net zero does not mean zero emissions. This is a misunderstanding you keep propagating. Net zero means emissions are balanced out by reductions on the other side. This could well mean that some companies will have some emissions which will then be compensated by carbon removal of some kind.
 

Urban Sky

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Without having worked at VIA for almost a full year by now, I would assume that they still have enough fleet left to operate the 82% schedule they operated last autumn/Christmas, which would be quite an improvement over the current 65% schedule:


And, as it happens, all but the following Corridor trains seem to get restored as of June 9, which strongly suggests they have enough fleet to run near pre-pandemic levels:

Finally found the time to crunch the numbers and it appears that the upcoming June 6 schedule change will bring VIA's scheduled train mileage in the Corridor to 84.4% 88.1% of pre-Covid levels, which would be even higher than the 82.4% last winter:

1651586949576.png

Note: in an earlier version of this post, I miscalculated the weekly TRTO-OTTW mileage for the new 2022-09-06 schedule as 42,816 rather than 49,060, thus understating total Corridor mileage.

The last thing via needs is to split up a married set and butcher them like they did to the LRCs
via bought them as semi permanent trainsets so they should stay that way to simplify maintenance and logistics. They are a passenger railroad so they should run like one with their rolling stock. No mixing around like freight trains
Semi-permanently coupled means nothing more than that the train has to visit a maintenance center before re-configuring the train. If you check the Wikipedia article on the Venture cars and specifically the section of Amtrak's intended operations of on the Northeast Corridor, you will see that these cars can be very flexibly propelled:

Amtrak Northeast Corridor​

Amtrak has made a firm order for 75 Venture trainsets for intercity routes that operate over its Northeast Corridor. The trainsets will be built in three configurations, each tailored to the capacity and propulsion needs of the routes over which they will operate. All trainsets will include an ALC-42E Charger locomotive [i.e. electric] on one end of the consist and a cab control passenger car on the opposite end. Onboard, there will be a car with a food service area and a mix of Coach Class and Business Class seating.[26]

There will be 26 six-car catenary-diesel dual-power trainsets that will include an Auxiliary Power Vehicle (APV). The APV will be the trailer car closest to the locomotive and will include a pantograph, transformers and a powered truck. In electrified territory, the APV will draw power from overhead lines, which will be fed to the powered truck and the traction motors in the locomotive. These trainsets will be used on the Carolinian, Downeaster, Keystone Service, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian and Vermonter.[26]

There will also be 24 eight-car catenary-diesel dual-power trainsets, similarly configured, for use on Northeast Regional trains including through trains to Virginia and Springfield, Massachusetts. Amtrak has options to purchase up to eight additional eight-car catenary-diesel dual-power trainsets.[26]

Amtrak will also purchase 15 six-car battery-diesel hybrid trainsets, where the trailer car closest to the locomotive will supply electricity to traction motors in the locomotive when operating around New York Penn Station, eliminating the need for third rail propulsion on the Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express and Maple Leaf. Amtrak has options to purchase up to two additional six-car battery-diesel hybrid trainsets.[26]

Also, I recall that the RFP specifically demanded that the cars need to be ready for electrification and I see no reason to doubt Siemens' ability to deliver on that promise...
 
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Bordercollie

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They are, many people in London who used to drive to the station, park their car, and take VIA 82 to Toronto. Now they are driving straight to Toronto or Aldershot (and taking the GO Train in). The baton has been mostly passed to the car/GO. It's not like people were sitting on their hands at home, not going anywhere. I'm going to echo what's been said here and in the TTC discussion, many who didn't have cars before COVID now have them.

The remaining people are either taking the milk run GO Train, Megabus, or fully remote working permanently.

Passing the baton doesn't have to mean directly replacing one train for another. Sometimes the optimal transportation strategy is a combination of car, bus, rail, air, or no transportation at all. You have to look at the big picture when making transportation decisions.

Moving on to GO, there are the reasons others have already stated for not using GO rolling stock. But further, many of the Bilevels are being sent to Ontario Northland and Alstom for refurbishment in the coming months. Thus, GO itself will also have an equipment shortage soon.

Rail capacity is likely going to be constrained until the end of the year, VIA and GO are telling commuters to consider alternatives in the interim based on their pricing/scheduling strategy (at least that's what I see as a former commuter, if anyone comes to a different conclusion, let me know).
There are still 10+ 12 car trainsets parked in random places. We are only taking about 4, six car trainsets plus a spare. I am sure they have that equipment sitting idle now.
 

roger1818

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If you check the Wikipedia article on the Venture cars and specifically the section of Amtrak's intended operations of on the Northeast Corridor, you will see that these cars can be very flexibly propelled:
From what I have read, the ALC-42E will not be electric (like the ACS-64), but will be a diesel-electric locomotive, like its sibling the ALC-42. The difference is the ALC-42E will be designed to accept power from the first car in its consist. On most trainsets for use in the North-East corridor, the first coach will have a pantograph to supply this power when catenary is available. When catenary isn't available, they can lower the pantograph and turn on the diesel generator in the locomotive, saving them from having to change locomotives (a process that currently delays trains by up to an hour, presumably because of all the safety checks required). The exception will be trains on the Empire corridor (that don't have catenary), and those trains will have a battery in the first coach instead of a pantograph, allowing them to shut off of the diesel generator in tunnels and quiet zones.


Image courtesy steamcommunity.com

Interestingly, Amtrak will apparently be replacing all of its recently acquired fully electric Siemens ACS-64 locomotives (presumably selling them to commuter railroads) to allow for more flexible operations.
 

cplchanb

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Semi-permanently coupled means nothing more than that the train has to visit a maintenance center before re-configuring the train. If you check the Wikipedia article on the Venture cars and specifically the section of Amtrak's intended operations of on the Northeast Corridor, you will see that these cars can be very flexibly propelled:
Via bought them as trainsets so in principle they should be run like them. They need to learn to stay diciplined and maintain them together as 1 train type ( irrespective of how many venture cars are pulled). Otherwise it will just be back to the days of freight train like mixed consists that just looks rag tag and unprofessional of a national passenger rail carrier.
 

Bureaucromancer

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Via bought them as trainsets so in principle they should be run like them. They need to learn to stay diciplined and maintain them together as 1 train type ( irrespective of how many venture cars are pulled). Otherwise it will just be back to the days of freight train like mixed consists that just looks rag tag and unprofessional of a national passenger rail carrier.
Breaking up the sets, mixing and matching other types of car, and changing out the locomotive are all very different matters as far as that logic goes.
 

Urban Sky

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Via bought them as trainsets so in principle they should be run like them. They need to learn to stay diciplined and maintain them together as 1 train type ( irrespective of how many venture cars are pulled). Otherwise it will just be back to the days of freight train like mixed consists that just looks rag tag and unprofessional of a national passenger rail carrier.
I wasn't not talking about mixing HEP cars into the Siemens trains and having the whole thing hauled by an F40 locomotive. I was talking about asking Siemens once a decision for electrification has been made by VIA to adjust the trainset (by either delivering additional pieces of equipment or by modifying the 32 trainsets they are currently delivering) so that it can be operated electrically.

However, looking back at the RFQ document for the ongoing fleet renewal, the ability to retroactively electrify the trainsets was indeed only a requirement for the "additional trainsets" which would be delivered for HFR specifically:

1651600576475.png
 
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cplchanb

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I wasn't not talking about mixing HEP cars into the Siemens trains and having the whole thing hauled by an F40 locomotive. I was talking about asking Siemens once a decision for electrification has been made by VIA to adjust the trainset (by either delivering additional pieces of equipment or by modifying the 32 trainsets they are currently delivering) so that it can be operated electrically.

However, looking back at the RFQ document for the ongoing fleet renewal, the ability to retroactively electrify the trainsets was indeed only a requirement for the "additional trainsets" which would be delivered for HFR specifically:

View attachment 397640
fair enough. I was responding to comments from previous suggesting Via use the chargers on the legacy network on other cars.
But yes the trainsets can be expanded or contracted depending on the service levels.
 

Bordercollie

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fair enough. I was responding to comments from previous suggesting Via use the chargers on the legacy network on other cars.
But yes the trainsets can be expanded or contracted depending on the service levels.
It's still a few years out before those of of service LRC cars can be replaced with venture trainsets. I guess there is no way to extend the life of some of the cars that are in better shape to keep them going?

Again this is why leasing GO trains for shorter trips makes sense. Kingston to Toronto and Toronto to London. That would free up equipment for longer routes.
 

cplchanb

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It's still a few years out before those of of service LRC cars can be replaced with venture trainsets. I guess there is no way to extend the life of some of the cars that are in better shape to keep them going?

Again this is why leasing GO trains for shorter trips makes sense. Kingston to Toronto and Toronto to London. That would free up equipment for longer routes.
There is some logic into this...espcially when electric locos start to arrive. Im sure they have surplus bi levels to spare
 

Bordercollie

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There is some logic into this...espcially when electric locos start to arrive. Im sure they have surplus bi levels to spare
Really all you would need to do would be to add raised island platforms for wheel chairs. And then in the Reservation system add GO train seating configuration with spacing or just assume that the seat count is the same as LRC's. It would be nice to get additional revenue since the capacity is there.

You could do assigned seating by putting stickers above the seats. May need racks for luggage or take out seats to allow for luggage.

Metrolinx crews would need to be qualified to run to Kingston and a contract for overnight accommodation in Kingston would be required. I guess since the voltage is different trains would need to idle overnight in the wye. Or deadhead in the morning, which is the equivalent to going from Kitchener to London.
 

Urban Sky

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From what I have read, the ALC-42E will not be electric (like the ACS-64), but will be a diesel-electric locomotive, like its sibling the ALC-42. The difference is the ALC-42E will be designed to accept power from the first car in its consist. On most trainsets for use in the North-East corridor, the first coach will have a pantograph to supply this power when catenary is available. When catenary isn't available, they can lower the pantograph and turn on the diesel generator in the locomotive, saving them from having to change locomotives (a process that currently delays trains by up to an hour, presumably because of all the safety checks required). The exception will be trains on the Empire corridor (that don't have catenary), and those trains will have a battery in the first coach instead of a pantograph, allowing them to shut off of the diesel generator in tunnels and quiet zones.


Image courtesy steamcommunity.com

Interestingly, Amtrak will apparently be replacing all of its recently acquired fully electric Siemens ACS-64 locomotives (presumably selling them to commuter railroads) to allow for more flexible operations.
Thanks for making me aware of the ALC-42Es being diesel-electric, not purely electric. Also interesting to see that they are giving away their ACS-64 locomotives...!

fair enough. I was responding to comments from previous suggesting Via use the chargers on the legacy network on other cars.
But yes the trainsets can be expanded or contracted depending on the service levels.
I somehow thought that the locomotives share AAR couplers with the first coach, but indeed, the locomotives can only be deployed in Siemens trainsets (which explains why the extra locomotive was attached so awkwardly at the end of the trainset rather than in front of it):
1651624066439.png

Source: Cool Trains In Montreal (via Youtube)

Nevertheless, I don't see much risk of these 32 trainsets becoming obsolete within their lifespan, as full electrification of VIA's network will take decades, regardless of the technology chosen...
 

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