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  • VIA Rail Service in Alberta

    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?

    I think it would be reasonable to see service between Edmonton, Calgary, and Lethbridge. And also service north to Fort McMurray if the line was significantly upgraded.

    Why can VIA Rail focus most of its service on Ontario and Quebec, when it is a crown corporation? If trains between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal can be profitable, shouldn't similar levels of service be viable between Edmonton and Calgary at least?

    What are your thoughts?

  • #2
    I'd say it's because VIA leases almost all of its track from CN, which goes through Edmonton, while Calgary (and the Edmonton-Calgary Corridor) is served by Canadian Pacific.

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    • #3
      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?

      I think it would be reasonable to see service between Edmonton, Calgary, and Lethbridge. And also service north to Fort McMurray if the line was significantly upgraded.

      Why can VIA Rail focus most of its service on Ontario and Quebec, when it is a crown corporation? If trains between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal can be profitable, shouldn't similar levels of service be viable between Edmonton and Calgary at least?

      What are your thoughts?
      To be honest, I'm not sure if there's even a bus service?

      You may not be aware of this, but apparently Albertans kind of like their cars. A lot.
      "The only really positive thing one could say about Vancouver is, it’s not the rest of Canada." Oink (britishexpats.com)

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      • #4
        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?

        I think it would be reasonable to see service between Edmonton, Calgary, and Lethbridge. And also service north to Fort McMurray if the line was significantly upgraded.

        Why can VIA Rail focus most of its service on Ontario and Quebec, when it is a crown corporation? If trains between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal can be profitable, shouldn't similar levels of service be viable between Edmonton and Calgary at least?

        What are your thoughts?
        There used to be a Budd car dayliner that operated on the CP line years ago. However, there were several collisions on at-grade crossings with vehicles either racing the dayliner or ignoring to look both ways down the tracks. I believe the final straw, though, was when a switch on to a siding wasn't set back to the main tracks. A dayliner happened to hit that switch and was sent onto the siding, crashing into some parked tank cars.

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        • #5
          Actually, this article explains the history of Alberta rail travel a lot better: http://www.forthjunction.com/passenger-rail.htm

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          • #6
            VIA to Jasper is fun. I wish it was a little less expensive though.


            Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

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            • #7
              $31 one way on sale to Saskatoon from Edmonton if you can ever pick it up.

              VIA runs on CN. They continue to cut back service on the prairies because it is not profitable. Passenger rail service is a public service, it may never make money (like mass transit), but I do think a line from Calgary to Edmonton would do well if marketed properly and proper investments made by the province. It's possible we could see something in our lifetime.
              www.decl.org

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              • #8
                A VIA service from Edmonton to Calgary would work just fine IF it was a reasonably fast service. But if they followed the Edmonton to Vancouver pattern of stopping for every flaming freight train that comes along, then it's a no-hoper. Freight has the priority here, that's where the money is. So VIA is relegated to second tier, and performs like it.
                Nisi Dominus Frustra

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                • #9
                  Not only does VIA have to wait for every freight train but it also stops at every lightbulb along the way. VIA Rail to Vancouver takes over 24 hours to get there. It takes half as long to drive or take a Greyhound there, and 90 minutes to fly.
                  Last edited by Sonic Death Monkey; 07-12-2012, 04:48 PM.
                  “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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                  • #10
                    you would need to build a dedicated track for VIA on the Edmonton - Calgary corridor. If we are going that route, might as well get the whole shbang and get HSR.
                    A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
                      Not only does VIA have to wait for every freight train but it also stops at every lightbulb along the way. VIA Rail to Vancouver takes over 24 hours to get there. It takes half as long to drive or take a Greyhound there, and 90 minutes to fly.
                      Sometimes it's about the journey.. not the destination.
                      "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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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by howie View Post
                        A VIA service from Edmonton to Calgary would work just fine IF it was a reasonably fast service. But if they followed the Edmonton to Vancouver pattern of stopping for every flaming freight train that comes along, then it's a no-hoper. Freight has the priority here, that's where the money is. So VIA is relegated to second tier, and performs like it.
                        The priority of freight trains is also because they've become much larger and heavier since the heyday of passenger rail. It's much faster to stop and start a relatively light passenger train than a forty-million pound, miles-long freight train.

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                        • #13
                          ^ Cn owns the line.. CN dictates the terms... its that simple.
                          "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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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by edmonton daily photo View Post
                            Originally posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
                            Not only does VIA have to wait for every freight train but it also stops at every lightbulb along the way. VIA Rail to Vancouver takes over 24 hours to get there. It takes half as long to drive or take a Greyhound there, and 90 minutes to fly.
                            Sometimes it's about the journey.. not the destination.
                            90 minutes travel time when flying, or does that also include the time it takes to drive to the airport, check in, go through security, board the airplane, wait for the late people to get on board, taxi to the runway, fly, land, taxi to the terminal, wait for all the people "in a hurry" to push to the front of the airplane and then wait for your luggage to arrive at the carousel?

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                            • #15
                              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.
                              Nisi Dominus Frustra

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