THE magazine of railroading


Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Canadian passenger news

8 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    December, 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 8,110 posts
Canadian passenger news
Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, August 04, 2017 1:13 PM

Canadian media is slowly starting to look at CN's handling of  VIA's  trains 1 & 2.  Several of the trains are showing over 12 hour + delays today


  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Fort Worth, TX
  • 388 posts
Posted by VerMontanan on Friday, August 04, 2017 6:22 PM

Thanks for the post.  The quote from the paper, "During a summer when more Canadians and international travellers than ever are riding VIA Rail’s transcontinental train, the Canadian, CN is trashing the schedule and the reputation of what is regarded as the world’s finest long-distance passenger train" is misleading.  The "Canadian" is a farce as transportation providing no value to on line communities.  Its amenities might be nice, but they pale in importance to a conveyence that runs two or three times a week and 16 hours late at that....

Mark Meyer

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 8,311 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Friday, August 04, 2017 7:31 PM

From what I hear now, I am glad that I no longer have plans to ride VIA. My wife and I made two trips each way on the Canadian, and greatly enjoyed all of them, though we had a few anxious hours on the last trip (8 years ago) when we were delayed in arriving in Toronto because a freight in front of us had trouble. As it was, we made our connection in Toronto with our train for Montreal, and our connection in Montreal for the Ocean. I had checked a suitcase from Jasper to Moncton--and it arrived there with us.

On our first trip to Canada, in 1997, I planned a day that worried my wife--breakfast on the morning train from Montreal to Quebec City, lunch on the first train back to Montreal, and dinner on the next train to Toronto. We had no difficulty at all, with all the trains running on time.

Three years ago, I went from Vancouver to Edmonton, back to Jasper, to Prince Rupert and back, and then to Vancouver. We left Jasper late, but I did have a few hours in Vancouver before taking the evening train for Seattle.

I would not consider either trip now.


  • Member since
    March, 2013
  • 571 posts
Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Saturday, August 05, 2017 1:04 AM

CN is clogged with freight again, just like 3-4 years ago.  Not enough double track or long sidings coupled with too many underpowered freights and not enough crews (many did not return when finally recalled from layoff, surprise surprise) to run them causes this congestion, just like it has before.

The economy (especially the oilfield) must be recovering.  Oil-by-rail is back with a vengeance, at least in western Canada, and frac sand volumes have tripled in my area, with more being moved in unit trains instead of as loose car freight.  Intermodal is up too, Prince Rupert seems to be handling nearly 3 trains each way per day, every one over 10,000'.  Forest products shipments are also still strong, perhaps we have not yet felt the true effects of the latest softwood lumber dispute.

But meanwhile the Canadian suffers again, just like it has before.  I know this would hurt many remote communities but moving it back to the CP route through northern Ontario would be the one biggest step towards having an on-time train again.  CP's line is pretty quiet these days from what I've heard, and a huge chunk of the CN-related delays happen on our northern Ontario zone, which has almost no double track and a relatively low number of sidings over 6500', which today means only VIA will fit in them.  CN also does not seem to be targeting this line for double-tracking, unlike the Edmonton-Winnipeg corridor (the other segment where most delays happen, Edmonton-Vancouver is relatively fluid by comparison).  Perhaps a twice or thrice-weekly dayliner could be substituted over the CN line for remote community access. 

Has VIA actually explored this option recently?  I've been hearing rumours about it for the past few years, but have yet to see anything real or official.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • 43 posts
Posted by ghCBNS on Saturday, August 05, 2017 6:37 AM


I certainly wouldn't write-off a VIA trip because the Canadian runs late. It is the exception.

There are numerous trains on several routes in the Quebec City to Windsor Corridor and they generally run on time. For an experience......try VIA Business Class which, unlike Amtrak Business Class...offers lounge access, hot meals, complementary wine, beer and liquor and a hot towel service to freshen up

And there's the Ocean between Montreal and Halifax...also generally running on-time. You don't need to ride the Canadian for the 'Park Car' Dome Observation.......there's also one on the Ocean. This summer it's been running with 5 coaches and 8 or 9 sleepers along with a diner + a couple of lounge/service cars and has 'sold-out' on several trip.






  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 8,311 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Saturday, August 05, 2017 7:27 AM

I'm glad to hear that the Ocean still has at least one consist with decent equipment. When my wife and I went to Halifax, we had Renaisance equipment both ways, but on our last trip, to Moncton, we had a drawing room and a dome car eastbound, but there was no observation car.


  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • 43 posts
Posted by ghCBNS on Saturday, August 05, 2017 8:10 AM


The Ocean runs with 'Renaissance' cars but there's always a Budd 'Park Car' Dome Observation attached to the rear. This summer they've also been running one Budd 'Chateau' sleeper just ahead of the Park Car but it is for crew accommodation. The remainder of the 8 or 9 sleepers running are 'Renaissance' sleepers with bedroom accommodation and more than half having private showers in each room.




  • Member since
    October, 2014
  • 121 posts
Posted by Gramp on Saturday, August 05, 2017 11:05 PM

Is the Royal Canadian Pacific service on hiatus while Canada 150 tour is operating?


  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • 165 posts
Posted by Railvt on Tuesday, August 08, 2017 1:36 PM

Public trips (open sale to individual riders) on the Royal Canadian Pacific train ended with the arrival of the now (thank God departed to wreck CSX) E Hunter Harrison. The RCP train remained "open" for charters, but no public trips. Fortunately the equipment remains on the property. EHH of course also ended the use of the lovingly restored CPR 4-6-4 Hudson, but it too lingers in the roundhouse. Unfortunately Harrison accoloytes still run the CPR, but time is longer than the tenure of any group of managers. If they don't dispose of the CP historical collection of course the RCP could roll and the Hudson steam again.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Trains free email newsletter
Connect with us

Search the Community