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Canadian woes

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  • Member since
    March, 2011
  • 9 posts
Canadian woes
Posted by Toronto Fan on Monday, April 03, 2017 4:47 PM

Just completed a journey from Vancouver to Winnipeg on VIA's Canadian. On board service good, not great. Dinners excellent as always. Nothing new for forum readers, but CN has no ability, much less incentive to keep the train close to schedule. We were 8.5 hours late into Winnipeg with weather playing no role in the delay. This simply confirms for me that this train provides no viable transportation function or value for the Canadian taxpayer. In theory, the train follows the CN route to provide service to communities with precious few other options. In reality, the number of "local" passengers can consistently be accommodated in a single coach. Yes, a single coach! So, perhaps a move to the CP, as rumored last year, may not be a major problem in terms of providing service. One thing is clear to me. The current situation cannot continue.

 

Tags: Canadian
  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 761 posts
Posted by NKP guy on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 9:13 AM

   Well, apparently I have to give up the notion that everything is better in the Dominion of the North.

   Being aboard a grossly late train is a Purgatory we all endure from time to time, but your experience sounds especially frustrating and unnecessary.  My sympathies to you and all VIA LD passengers.

 

  • Member since
    September, 2014
  • 930 posts
Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 9:33 AM

NKP guy

   Well, apparently I have to give up the notion that everything is better in the Dominion of the North.

   Being aboard a grossly late train is a Purgatory we all endure from time to time, but your experience sounds especially frustrating and unnecessary.  My sympathies to you and all VIA LD passengers.

Unless I have to be some whereat a specific time or make connections, I find a really late train as a bonus. I was on auto train which ran about7 hours late. We saw parts of the route during day light hours, that you never see on the star or meoter. Just me though.

u

  • Member since
    March, 2011
  • 9 posts
Posted by Toronto Fan on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 10:15 AM

[quote user="Toronto Fan"]

Just completed a journey from Vancouver to Winnipeg on VIA's Canadian. On board service good, not great. Dinners excellent as always. Nothing new for forum readers, but CN has no ability, much less incentive to keep the train close to schedule. We were 8.5 hours late into Winnipeg with weather playing no role in the delay. This simply confirms for me that this train provides no viable transportation function or value for the Canadian taxpayer. In theory, the train follows the CN route to provide service to communities with precious few other options. In reality, the number of "local" passengers can consistently be accommodated in a single coach. Yes, a single coach! So, perhaps a move to the CP, as rumored last year, may not be a major problem in terms of providing service. One thing is clear to me. The current situation cannot continue.

I should add the following comment to my original post. It is the CN route east of Winnipeg that provides service to areas with little or no other options. 

 

 

 
  • Member since
    May, 2010
  • 138 posts
Posted by northeaster on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 3:31 PM

Just a month ago, we traveled on the Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver, a trip which we did on an annual basis for about 13 years. This trip had on flag stop in the middle of the wilderness wherein a couch passenger got off to be met by someone with a snowmobile and off they went into the darkness...real local service needs met. And, we had only 1 Prestige rider, so we had free access to the Park car. Food service was excellent but nothing like it was so many years ago on our first trip. We were late by 9 hours into Vancouver which was a first since we always used to get in early. CN had numerous problems: one of their long freights pulled a draw bar and had to be moved off in two pieces, two more were too long for a siding and we got stuck between them and according to a relieve engineer I spoke with that move got him a contrite apology from the dispatch office. The good side of all this was that we saw in daylight portions of the route along the Thompson River we had not seen before. The engineer I spoke with also said that they were handling some BNSF trains because of the closed lines south in the mountains because of the heavy snows and slides. I much preferred the old 3 day trip but VIA bowed to the awesome power of EHH's CN and left the Canadian out in the cold.

  • Member since
    June, 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 4:03 PM

northeaster

Just a month ago, we traveled on the Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver, a trip which we did on an annual basis for about 13 years. This trip had on flag stop in the middle of the wilderness wherein a couch passenger got off to be met by someone with a snowmobile and off they went into the darkness...real local service needs met. And, we had only 1 Prestige rider, so we had free access to the Park car. Food service was excellent but nothing like it was so many years ago on our first trip. We were late by 9 hours into Vancouver which was a first since we always used to get in early. CN had numerous problems: one of their long freights pulled a draw bar and had to be moved off in two pieces, two more were too long for a siding and we got stuck between them and according to a relieve engineer I spoke with that move got him a contrite apology from the dispatch office. The good side of all this was that we saw in daylight portions of the route along the Thompson River we had not seen before. The engineer I spoke with also said that they were handling some BNSF trains because of the closed lines south in the mountains because of the heavy snows and slides. I much preferred the old 3 day trip but VIA bowed to the awesome power of EHH's CN and left the Canadian out in the cold.

One of the issues I think I have observed of North American railroading is they are afraid to lay track until they see at least a 20-25 year need for it.     How long have we had 2 mile long DP freight trains and the pace to lengthen passing sidings or add crossovers in double track territory is glacially slow.    When they do add track or expand sidings they only add them long enough in most cases just to handle what they have moving now instead of projecting for the future (ex: what iteration is this where sidings had to be lengthened in the last 75 years?.....what iteration is this where the length of a freight train has increased in length?).     Sad to watch.

Directional running is just a cheap azzed band-aid, in my view to avoid spending money.

Not a lot of capacity planning going on for more than 2-3 years out.

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 9,570 posts
Posted by schlimm on Thursday, April 06, 2017 3:29 AM

CMStPnP
One of the issues I think I have observed of North American railroading is they are afraid to lay track until they see at least a 20-25 year need for it.     How long have we had 2 mile long DP freight trains and the pace to lengthen passing sidings or add crossovers in double track territory is glacially slow.    When they do add track or expand sidings they only add them long enough in most cases just to handle what they have moving now

Agree!

C&NW, CA&E, MILW, CGW and IC fan

  • Member since
    June, 2002
  • 12,624 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, April 06, 2017 4:23 AM

bnsf and some regionals and short lines may be exceptions, also kcs.

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