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VIA Rail Service in Alberta

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  • #16
    @ Expat- Plenty of ppl still take the bus between Edmonton and Calgary, particularly in winter. Both Greyhound and Red Arrow run (presumably profitable) routes, several times a day! Heck, Red Arrow even started a discount bus route (myebus.ca)!!
    So , no reason why Via can't run a profitable service here (I would take it for sure).

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    • #17
      Originally posted by howie View Post
      It's still a LOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGG way shorter than 24 hours. Edmonton-Vancouver. Been there, done that, never again.

      And about it "being the journey", well, 24 hours in clunky old 1950's coaching stock with tatty compartments with the air of 60 years of old socks (and that was in the highly touted Silver and Blue class), that's not my idea of train travel.
      Have you ever taken a train through our mountains... It's about the journey...
      "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

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      • #18
        Originally posted by howie View Post
        It's still a LOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGG way shorter than 24 hours. Edmonton-Vancouver. Been there, done that, never again.

        And about it "being the journey", well, 24 hours in clunky old 1950's coaching stock with tatty compartments with the air of 60 years of old socks (and that was in the highly touted Silver and Blue class), that's not my idea of train travel.
        Took the train to Quebec City this summer. While economy class is still stuck with the original stock, all the sleepers have been renovated and look quite luxurious (unfortunately I was traveling economy).
        Mike

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        • #19
          Originally posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
          Originally posted by howie View Post
          It's still a LOOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGG way shorter than 24 hours. Edmonton-Vancouver. Been there, done that, never again.

          And about it "being the journey", well, 24 hours in clunky old 1950's coaching stock with tatty compartments with the air of 60 years of old socks (and that was in the highly touted Silver and Blue class), that's not my idea of train travel.
          Have you ever taken a train through our mountains... It's about the journey...
          Hi edp. As I said, I've done the Edm-Van run and back and, obviously, there's no disputing the magnificent scenery. It's what you have to go through to view it from the ratbag of a train. The one positive I do give VIA kudos for is the cheerful service of the staff and the excellent dining. So it ain't all bad.
          Nisi Dominus Frustra

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          • #20
            The VIA Rail journey is great as long as you're actually moving. Sitting on the track for long periods of time waiting for a freight train to pass the other way is not very enjoyable.
            “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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            • #21
              I have always argued that:
              1. HSR to Calgary should be developed and operated by VIA
              2. Edmonton should and is naturally positioned to become a rail hub in western canada as it is already on the east-west route. with addition to Calgary line Edmonton would be at the rail's cross=the hub. This might encourage additional route development to more frequent Jasper services, a line North, and so on.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
                The VIA Rail journey is great as long as you're actually moving. Sitting on the track for long periods of time waiting for a freight train to pass the other way is not very enjoyable.
                Sdm. Although train service in Canada is far from ideal... We have what we have.

                People who take it accept the current situation...

                Canada will be left behind if it doesn't start investing in rail infrastructure again.
                "Do you give people who already use transit a better service, or do you build it where they don't use it in the hopes they might start to use it?" Nenshi

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by TerryH View Post
                  Actually, this article explains the history of Alberta rail travel a lot better: http://www.forthjunction.com/passenger-rail.htm
                  Fantastic read, thanks for that. I hadn't realized how recently the Edmonton-Calgary rail corridor was operative.

                  I also don't get the need for hsr. The Budd dayliner apparently took 3.5hrs from city to city which is fine. You can't drive downtown Edmonton to downtown Calgary in that time. Plus with the train you don't have to drive, you can enjoy the trip.
                  I don't get why its thought that airtravel is so much better. Edmonton International is hardly convenient and one has to factor in the time to go there, get through customs, debark at Calgary international, and get transportation to downtown from there.
                  I'd be interested in knowing what the real difference in time is. Plus I'd rather travel on a train anytime I can.

                  I don't buy for an instant that this corridor isn't viable. Via Rail runs several services that are not viable. They just chronically show very little interest in serving the Prairie provinces. If you can operate the Churchill line, and the Malahat, and the Atlantic run, then numbers would suggest you could do more than 3 trains a week through all of Western Canada.

                  Just to note in August in Jasper we were enjoying the day at the station and the Via Rail "Canadian" was 24 cars in length. Both at arrival and departure. It was the longest Via Rail train I'd ever seen. I talked to the Via Staff about it and it was plum full. Sold out. I think they were using every car they had available for this one. It wasn't any special occasion. It does denote the demand.

                  Not only should Via Rail do Edmonton-Red Deer-Calgary but the National service should be around 5 times per week at least in peak times of the year. 3 times is just silly given the increasing interest and ridership.

                  Just to note as well that while most of Western Canada gets next to no service that Via Rail has started relatively new services to such places as Senneterre, Jonquiere, and Gaspe. Also now a spur line from the Churchill run that goes to Pukatawagan. This is 3 times/week service btw. Apparently all of Western Canada is about as important to Via Rail as these low ridership lines. Should be noted that Gaspe also has its own dedicated run all the way from Montreal. It isn't a spur line emanating from the "Ocean" which one would think it should be. Apparently Via Rail has money to burn in Eastern Canada, primarily Quebec, but forget it if you're in Alberta. We're just paying for it.
                  Last edited by Replacement; 09-12-2012, 12:26 PM.
                  "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

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                  • #24
                    ^ I'm pretty sure the Canadian is 5x a week during the summer, the 3x a week is just a winter reduction.
                    Mike

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                    • #25
                      It is a darn shame what western Canadian rail travel has become.

                      The idea of a Fort McMurray to Lethbridge corridor is enticing. That being said, I've talked to folks at the railways and the top speed on the line from Edmonton to Fort McMurray and Calgary to Lethbridge for passenger place it under 40 mph (64 km/h). At that speed, I'm driving or taking the bus.

                      What is truly a shame is the Edmonton to Jasper run. In this day and age it is completely unacceptable for a car/bus trip to travel faster and beat a train trip. I truly believe with enough double tracking and straightning of the line, VIA Rail from Edmonton to Jasper could be faster than driving. But CN controls the line.

                      In Canada, CN and CP own the rails, thus dictate the rules. VIA Rail passenger trains run only as a matter of public policy. The Canadian (Toronto to Vancouver / Jasper to Edmonton) is an International Tourist product providing trans-continental service. Same as The Ocean (Halifax to Montreal). Jasper to Prince Rupert is actually a rural/remote service. Believe it or not, there are communities along this line where the train is the only way in or out. Same as Winnipeg to Churchill and Pukatawagan, Montreal to Senneterre and Montreal to Gaspe.

                      I foresee a day in Alberta when Edmonton and Calgary are connected by high-speed rail (320 km/h or faster) and the railways from Edmonton to Jasper, Fort McMurray, and Saskatoon are fixed up so they can handle 200 km/h trains on the existing lines. Can you imagine downtown Edmonton to Saskatoon in 2 hours 45 minutes? or Fort McMurray in 2 hours and 30 minutes? or Jasper in 2 hours? or how about Calgary to Medicine or Lethbridge in 1.5 hours?

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by chrisvazquez7 View Post
                        So this topic has been bothering me for a while. How come VIA Rail hasn't been creating routes in Alberta? What is the history behind the service between Edmonton and Calgary and why did it stop?
                        If you want a history of passenger rail service in Canada, wiki is a good place to start:
                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Via_Rail
                        “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          I thought I read at one time that CN allows private cars to run on all of its lines. I imagine that also includes non-main line subdivisions and spurs (other than short industrial ones).

                          The problem with people avoiding rail travel is many just want to get from point A to point B ASAP and to heck with the travel being part of the experience. The same thing is happening with Greyhound. Used to be a great tourist mode of travel, having several routes that get to the same city, several runs on most routes a day, and getting off and on at any stop if one wanted to spend the night in a motel. Now, one has to declare when they leave and when they'll return, no unscheduled stops along the way without paying extra and re-declaring travel times and, to top it off, security searches.

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                          • #28
                            Via’s reduction in service over the past several months has included:

                            Cutting in half the Ocean line between Halifax and Montreal, via northern New Brunswick, to only three trips per week in each direction.
                            The Canadian route between Toronto and Vancouver has been reduced from three to two trips per week during the off-season.
                            Ontario cities such as Sarnia, Kitchener and Stratford, Ont. have seen key stops reduced.
                            Fewers stops at cities such as Belleville or Cornwall along the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal line.
                            Twenty per cent of stations are now unstaffed, most recently including Kitchener, Ont. and Sackville, N.B. In some New Brunswick towns, the disabled are taken by van to Moncton to help board the train.

                            http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/...-via-rail-cuts

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by ike9126 View Post
                              ^ I'm pretty sure the Canadian is 5x a week during the summer, the 3x a week is just a winter reduction.
                              No, its always been 3X/week as long as I can remember. I've taken it several times.

                              AS Terry mentioned above the Canadian is now being reduced to two trains/week this winter. Disgraceful service to Western Canada.
                              Last edited by Replacement; 09-12-2012, 10:53 PM.
                              "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Cod Father View Post
                                It is a darn shame what western Canadian rail travel has become.

                                The idea of a Fort McMurray to Lethbridge corridor is enticing. That being said, I've talked to folks at the railways and the top speed on the line from Edmonton to Fort McMurray and Calgary to Lethbridge for passenger place it under 40 mph (64 km/h). At that speed, I'm driving or taking the bus.

                                What is truly a shame is the Edmonton to Jasper run. In this day and age it is completely unacceptable for a car/bus trip to travel faster and beat a train trip. I truly believe with enough double tracking and straightning of the line, VIA Rail from Edmonton to Jasper could be faster than driving. But CN controls the line.

                                In Canada, CN and CP own the rails, thus dictate the rules. VIA Rail passenger trains run only as a matter of public policy. The Canadian (Toronto to Vancouver / Jasper to Edmonton) is an International Tourist product providing trans-continental service. Same as The Ocean (Halifax to Montreal). Jasper to Prince Rupert is actually a rural/remote service. Believe it or not, there are communities along this line where the train is the only way in or out. Same as Winnipeg to Churchill and Pukatawagan, Montreal to Senneterre and Montreal to Gaspe.

                                I foresee a day in Alberta when Edmonton and Calgary are connected by high-speed rail (320 km/h or faster) and the railways from Edmonton to Jasper, Fort McMurray, and Saskatoon are fixed up so they can handle 200 km/h trains on the existing lines. Can you imagine downtown Edmonton to Saskatoon in 2 hours 45 minutes? or Fort McMurray in 2 hours and 30 minutes? or Jasper in 2 hours? or how about Calgary to Medicine or Lethbridge in 1.5 hours?

                                I don't think a high speed rail line between Edmonton and Calgary would be good for Edmonton. I think it would be good for Calgary, and I suppose that's the albertan way...whats good for Calgary is good for Alberta because Calgary is the new Toronto...you know, the center of the universe.

                                I would much prefer to see a high speed rail link between Edmonton and jasper, that way we could cater to tourism the same way Calgary does with banff, although I'm sure HSR would make the trip between Edmonton and Jasper quicker then the drive from Calgary to Banff, which might make the Edmonton-Banff tourism a stronger...which would be met with opposition from the south...

                                As well, I would like to see a high speed rail link between Edmonton and Fort McMurray. A fast enough line so a guy could leave work at the mines and be home for supper in Edmonton. That line would be extremely beneficial and probably extremely opposed by not only Fort McMurray (obvious reasons as its cheaper to live in Edmonton than the fort) but Calgary as well (because it would make Edmonton more important to the oil sands...which we can't have).
                                Last edited by GranaryMan; 10-12-2012, 08:19 AM.

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