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VIA Rail Service in Alberta

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  • #46
    I believe the snow train ran for 2-3 years... but agree it was poorly marketed.


    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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    • #47
      I remember the snow train. It was using a spare locomotive and the panoramic cars from the Skeena's Totem Class. It being the off season for tourists on the Jasper to Prince Rupert run, the cars were easy to get.

      If there is to be any new inter-city passenger rail service at all in Alberta, the service has to be faster than driving or taking the bus. 5.5 hrs to Jasper from Edmonton on the train in this day and age is unacceptable.

      I believe the trip could be brought down to 2 hrs if the track is straightened, doubled were warranted, modern rolling stock purchased, and the passenger train was given priority over freight.

      But set a target, why not get the train down to 4 hrs where a noticeable impact on ridership would be noted.

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      • #48
        So I was talking to somebody today who flew in from NYC. First time in Edmonton, and as I drove him in from the airport, he asked if there was a train between Edmonton and Calgary. He didn't believe me at first when I said no.

        It really bothers me how VIA Rail, a crown corporation, does not service Western Canada the way it does in Ontario and Quebec. The Calgary-Edmonton Corridor could be profitable like the Windsor-Quebec City Corridor. The track is there, it's fast. CP owns it, but VIA runs on CP tracks in Ontario. Upgrade a few sidings, it could work. Every time trains are brought up in Alberta, people always find a reason to say no. But I think it's embarrassing that a corridor of 2.9 million people does not have a similar level of service as VIA has between Toronto and Windsor, for example.

        If you had trains every hour, with a travel time between 2.5 and 3 hours, and cheap enough, I think it would be attractive enough. I'm sure this is all reasonable. Yes, freight trains get in the way. Reality is, the CP line is way overbuilt right now for the level of traffic on it. There's room. The infrastructure is pretty much there. We just need to get it going!

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        • #49
          Not going to happen. I took the dayliner a few times before it was discontinued and there's no way there's the traffic to support hourly service. the GTA has a population of over 6 million. Windsor/Detroit is around 5 million and that's not counting London, Hamilton, etc. Even with a population much greater than the Edmonton/Calgary corridor, Via only runs 4 times a day between the two cities.

          The only way rail would work is if it was faster and cheaper than flying.

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          • #50
            the CP line is not way over built right now. The Dayliner IIRC used to take about 4 - 5 hours to go Edmonton to Calgary.
            A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

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            • #51
              Triple the population and then we can talk.


              Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Medwards View Post
                the CP line is not way over built right now. The Dayliner IIRC used to take about 4 - 5 hours to go Edmonton to Calgary.
                I work for CP, so I know the current state of the line. Freight trains are able to go 55 mph for a majority of the journey, which means passenger trains could probably reach up to 80 mph. The subdivision is controlled by ABS signals, meaning trains can go faster than on track without signals. Obviously some upgrading would happen if service was introduced. But I think just extending a few sidings would be sufficient.

                I’m not super familiar with the Dayliner, but that was a different beast, in a different era. People’s reliance on cars isn’t as prevelant as it was in the 70’s.

                Originally posted by IanO View Post
                Triple the population and then we can talk.
                That’s insane. You must be thinking about HSR. I agree, we’re not at a population to support that yet. But regular intercity trains? Look almost anywhere else in the world, 2.9 million is enough to support intercity rail travel.

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                • #53
                  I love trains and would take it all day long over flying, but most would not.


                  Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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                  • #54
                    That’s pretty pessimistic. It’s all about level of service, advertising, incentives, etc. I’m sure the ridership could be there. It works in most of the world with populations less than ours.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by chrisvazquez7
                      Look almost anywhere else in the world, 2.9 million is enough to support intercity rail travel.


                      What are some similar examples, out of curiosity? And when I say similar, I mean that they're 300 km apart with virtually no significant population centers or stops in between, and no further connections on either end to speak of. I just don't see how it would be viable when you can catch a bus for something like $60 each way, with roughly the same travel time, and buses leaving every hour or two. It would require significant subsidization and even then, would likely be inferior to taking the bus in terms of frequency.

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                      • #56
                        Dallas to Houston... fairly comparable to Edmonton to Calgary... much larger population, no train between the two.
                        A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by chrisvazquez7 View Post
                          That’s pretty pessimistic. It’s all about level of service, advertising, incentives, etc. I’m sure the ridership could be there. It works in most of the world with populations less than ours.
                          I don't think there is enough demand to get to a level of service that would be worthy of running a train.

                          Just looking at the AATD on Highway 2, the lowest point is around 20,000 cars, and that includes more than just traffic going between the two major cities.
                          A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

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                          • #58
                            ^^ But there are trains between Oklahoma City and Dallas, and San Antonio and Dallas, and neither OKC or San Antonio are near as big as Houston. The difference, of course, being there is no portion of the Amtrak network in the USA that connects only two midsize cities, it is all a part of the much larger network and routes between major centers.

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                            • #59
                              The Edmonton-Calgary corridor doesn’t have a major population centre (1 M) for another 1,000 km.
                              "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by KevinW View Post
                                ^^ But there are trains between Oklahoma City and Dallas, and San Antonio and Dallas, and neither OKC or San Antonio are near as big as Houston. The difference, of course, being there is no portion of the Amtrak network in the USA that connects only two midsize cities, it is all a part of the much larger network and routes between major centers.
                                and of that amtrak service, most of it is at best twice daily. Not hourly service being bandied about above.
                                A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

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