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  #121  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2019, 3:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Innsertnamehere View Post
Even Calgary to Vancouver a real really far for a train trips trip. Calgary - Edmonton Is the only real route in the west that makes sense for a modern rail line. Vancouver - Seattle probably makes sense too, but it's not really a domestic route and should really be operated by Amtrak as it is currently.
For service between Vancouver and Seattle, check this out: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=164316.
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  #122  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2019, 4:26 PM
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Originally Posted by manny_santos View Post
There is currently no way to get to Calgary from Vancouver unless you fly or drive. Driving isn’t realistic as you pretty much have to stop somewhere in the middle to rest overnight, and not everyone wants to fly. Until last fall Greyhound was an option.

A Vancouver-Calgary train would also serve traffic to Kamloops and other destinations close to Highway 1. It would also be a link from Calgary to the Banff area.
A question: If a bus service isn't profitable between Vancouver-Calgary and an intercity coach is more efficient than a train (an intercity coach has an empty weight of ~40-55k lbs) whereas a train requires a locomotive + passenger car (>200,000 lbs.) or even a combo unit (~110,000lbs+), why should we move towards a train?

If we want to subsidize transit between cities in the name of maximum efficiency, shouldn't we use buses especially if we're subsidizing those who can't afford to either drive or fly?

A bus has the advantage of selecting a different routing too based on demand - it can stop in small towns without rail or be an express service based on the passengers' final destination.
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  #123  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2019, 4:48 PM
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Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
There is a reckoning coming. We are approaching the end times for fossil fuels (not now, not tomorrow, but within the next 25-30 years, which gives us plenty of time to plan alternatives).

The obvious answer is an enhanced passenger rail system. Electric cars will be fine for urban commuting and for short jaunts into the countryside, but limited range of electrics will remain problematic, and regional rail will be necessary for regional intercity travel. Aircraft will also still be necessary for cross continent and intercontinental travel, but high speed rail can fill the gap in between, and should be the principle option for any trip between 250-1000 km.
If Via Rail wasn't diesel-powered, I could see your point. However, for thinly trafficked routes, a train is a extraordinarily inefficient way of transporting people. They're heavy - on the order of 2-3X the weight of an intercity coach. Unless mass electrification occurs, a train with 50 people on it is much less fuel efficient than an intercity coach with the same number of people.

The most efficient way of transportation might be (I'm speculating here):

Within a dense, large city: LRT/Subway (and bus for outlying areas)
Within a small city: bus
In rural areas: electric automobile

Between cities:

Between large cities <1000km apart: high-speed rail
From a small city to a large city: Intercity coach
Between large cities >1000km apart: Airplane
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  #124  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2019, 5:07 PM
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Originally Posted by wave46 View Post
If we want to subsidize transit between cities in the name of maximum efficiency, shouldn't we use buses especially if we're subsidizing those who can't afford to either drive or fly?.
That’s my issue with VIA rail.

Mobility should be a right that is guaranteed by a public service; train travel is not a right.

VIA should be the Federal government’s agency tasked with the responsibility of maximizing intercity mobility options for Canadians. Very little of this should involve trains. Some of it will involve buses. In some cases it might even involve subsidizing and regulating operators of private vans, bushplanes, and whatever else is the most efficient way of providing affordable alternatives to relying on the car.
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  #125  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2019, 5:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wave46 View Post
A question: If a bus service isn't profitable between Vancouver-Calgary and an intercity coach is more efficient than a train (an intercity coach has an empty weight of ~40-55k lbs) whereas a train requires a locomotive + passenger car (>200,000 lbs.) or even a combo unit (~110,000lbs+), why should we move towards a train?

If we want to subsidize transit between cities in the name of maximum efficiency, shouldn't we use buses especially if we're subsidizing those who can't afford to either drive or fly?

A bus has the advantage of selecting a different routing too based on demand - it can stop in small towns without rail or be an express service based on the passengers' final destination.
I am generally a supporter of passenger rail, but one has to admit that bus (motorcoach) does have a certain number of advantages, not the least of which is a much lower outlay in terms of infrastructure - it can much more easily use what's already there than passenger rail can.
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  #126  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2019, 5:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Rollerstud98 View Post
Calgary-Vancouver isn’t even 11 hours drive time, unless on a scenic tour that’s a one day drive be there before supper. Weather permitting of course. When I drive to Kelowna I leave between 4-5am Calgary time and arrive in Kelowna 10:30-11 local time. Quick fill up and continue on my way would be in Vancouver early afternoon.
That’s still a lot of driving in one day, and not everyone would be comfortable with that (myself included).

My point is that there does need to be an alternative available to driving or flying between two of Western Canada’s largest cities.
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  #127  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2019, 5:59 PM
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Originally Posted by manny_santos View Post
That’s still a lot of driving in one day, and not everyone would be comfortable with that (myself included).

My point is that there does need to be an alternative available to driving or flying between two of Western Canada’s largest cities.
Not to get too cute here, but does there really need to be one? I'd imagine there is a hell of a lot of traffic between Calgary and Vancouver and the two existing modes (air and car) carry it all...
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  #128  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2019, 6:23 PM
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Originally Posted by manny_santos View Post
That’s still a lot of driving in one day, and not everyone would be comfortable with that (myself included).

My point is that there does need to be an alternative available to driving or flying between two of Western Canada’s largest cities.
Why? Given the geography and sparse population rail would never make sense on that route. Freight already clogs it up for the excursion trains plying it.
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  #129  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2019, 8:22 PM
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Just reminding everybody that the Canadian is one of the world's top tourist trains.

It may not be great for intercity transport but it serves an entirely different purpose.

Calgary-Edmonton is the most likely candidate for the re-introduction of passenger rail service. And then there is Calgary - Banff as well. We can't keep pumping more cars into our National Parks.
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  #130  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2019, 10:27 AM
SaskOttaLoo SaskOttaLoo is offline
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REM and Via

Has anyone been paying attention to the REM's plans for the Mount Royal tunnel in Montreal? From my reading, it seems like their plan to convert the tunnel to a light rail technology will end the ability to easily travel from Toronto to Quebec City, greatly reducing the attractiveness of the line. Via Rail trains don't operate on the same technology, meaning that someone from TO will need to arrive in Montreal, transfer to a REM train, then transfer again to another one headed for Quebec City.

Please tell me I'm misreading this. If I'm not, how is there not a massive pushback on this plan?

http://www.cat-bus.com/2016/10/via-t...regional-rail/

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=166840
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  #131  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2019, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by SaskOttaLoo View Post
Has anyone been paying attention to the REM's plans for the Mount Royal tunnel in Montreal? From my reading, it seems like their plan to convert the tunnel to a light rail technology will end the ability to easily travel from Toronto to Quebec City, greatly reducing the attractiveness of the line. Via Rail trains don't operate on the same technology, meaning that someone from TO will need to arrive in Montreal, transfer to a REM train, then transfer again to another one headed for Quebec City.

Please tell me I'm misreading this. If I'm not, how is there not a massive pushback on this plan?

http://www.cat-bus.com/2016/10/via-t...regional-rail/

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=166840

I have travelled to TO from Montreal by rail, and from Montreal to QC, and I have never used that tunnel... the former goes through the southwest and the Pointe and the latter goes over the Victoria, no?
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  #132  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2019, 1:14 PM
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Originally Posted by CityTech View Post
If you look at the financials, you can see that the Toronto-Vancouver route has about the same farebox recovery rate as the Corridor services and due to less overall service, a substantially cheaper cost in absolute terms. Even the mandatory services, while having atrocious farebox recovery rates, cost significantly less than the Corridor services in absolute dollar terms simply because of volume.

It's also notable the Toronto-Vancouver route has significantly improved its farebox recovery: from 45.9% in 2014 to 64.8% in 2017.



I’m happy to see that my figures (originally posted on Urban Toronto and a separate discussion in the Ottawa section here on SCP) have already found their way here without me even knowing about this thread!


One could maybe add that the cost-recovery rate (CRR) of the Canadian even exceeds that of the Corridor during its peak summer season:


Compiled from: VIA Rail Quarterly Report 2018-Q3 (p.5)


Quote:
Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
Just reminding everybody that the Canadian is one of the world's top tourist trains.

It may not be great for intercity transport but it serves an entirely different purpose.
Thank you for pointing out the obvious fact that tourism is the only major customer group which would be willing to endure travel times which are (together with punctuality, or the lack thereof) dictated by the track speed limits and freight congestion and highly uncompetitive with other modes (and even pay premium prices for that experience):



Quote:
Originally Posted by GoTrans View Post
It is time to get rid of transcontinental train service and replace it with reasonable regional service with multiple daily frequencies between large centres of population. A transcontinental train will likely never operate on time and will always service many locations during the night due to its nature.
I’m not saying that the current transcontinental offering can’t be improved, but what is exactly the problem you are actually trying to solve?


Quote:
Originally Posted by wave46 View Post
The most efficient way of transportation might be (I'm speculating here):

Within a dense, large city: LRT/Subway (and bus for outlying areas)
Within a small city: bus
In rural areas: electric automobile

Between cities:

Between large cities <1000km apart: high-speed rail
From a small city to a large city: Intercity coach
Between large cities >1000km apart: Airplane
I'm afraid you are overestimating the effectiveness of building HSR infrastructure for creating rail ridership (and underestimating the energy costs which grow exponentially with speed):


Basically, only just over 10% of rail ridership can be explained through the scale of the HSR network:

Note: use the previous table to identify countries. Canada is shown as a read dot (with a per-capita ridership of 59 km, which is still higher than a HSR nation with 594 km of HSR infrastructure: Turkey)...
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  #133  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2019, 1:56 PM
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I am amazed that the Canadian comes so close to turning a profit. I always assumed it was a giant money pit. But I guess the hefty sleeping car fares aimed at international tourists go a long way to paying the train's costs.

Even if you factor in the capital costs it's probably not too grim since Via inherited a fleet of cars for the Canadian from CP, and has only totally rebuilt the fleet once in the 40+ years that they have owned it.
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  #134  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2019, 3:32 PM
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If the objective is to reduce the total value of the subsidy provided to VIA, then cancelling services will achieve that, sure. However if you follow that rabbit hole all the way down then you will just end up scrapping the whole VIA network - mission accomplished, no subsidies!

However if you accept the notion that transporting more people by rail is a good thing for a number of reasons, then we have a good shot of reducing the per rider subsidy by increasing services. That will of course cost some money, but it could also save money if fewer roads need to be built etc.
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  #135  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2019, 3:47 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
That’s my issue with VIA rail.

Mobility should be a right that is guaranteed by a public service; train travel is not a right.

VIA should be the Federal government’s agency tasked with the responsibility of maximizing intercity mobility options for Canadians. Very little of this should involve trains. Some of it will involve buses. In some cases it might even involve subsidizing and regulating operators of private vans, bushplanes, and whatever else is the most efficient way of providing affordable alternatives to relying on the car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
I am generally a supporter of passenger rail, but one has to admit that bus (motorcoach) does have a certain number of advantages, not the least of which is a much lower outlay in terms of infrastructure - it can much more easily use what's already there than passenger rail can.
Agreed, but there are options that might make doing this more efficient or politically easier. The bus services could be contracted out and VIA would not need to set up its own buses everywhere. For example, there is a Red Arrow bus service in Alberta between the major cities, and if VIA setup a similar service then not only could that be inefficient, Red Arrow might also have a case for unfair competition from a crown corporations (and Albertans would blather about government interference etc). So tweak the route a little to integrate the services, and give that private operator a contract for the line for a number of years (if they want it).

To make this happen a national ticketing system should be created allowing seamless through ticketing from these bus services to VIA. GO, exo, West Coast Express and others could be integrated into this too, then going anywhere on this combined network would be simple.
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  #136  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2019, 4:41 PM
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Originally Posted by SaskOttaLoo View Post
Has anyone been paying attention to the REM's plans for the Mount Royal tunnel in Montreal? From my reading, it seems like their plan to convert the tunnel to a light rail technology will end the ability to easily travel from Toronto to Quebec City, greatly reducing the attractiveness of the line. Via Rail trains don't operate on the same technology, meaning that someone from TO will need to arrive in Montreal, transfer to a REM train, then transfer again to another one headed for Quebec City.

Please tell me I'm misreading this. If I'm not, how is there not a massive pushback on this plan?

http://www.cat-bus.com/2016/10/via-t...regional-rail/

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=166840

Pretty sure that VIA takes the south shore route to QC
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Mont...46.8138783!3e3

It appears to cross at Quebec Bridge to St. Foy and continue downtown QC: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Mont...138783!3e3!5i3
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  #137  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2019, 5:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MolsonExport View Post
Pretty sure that VIA takes the south shore route to QC
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Mont...46.8138783!3e3

It appears to cross at Quebec Bridge to St. Foy and continue downtown QC: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Mont...138783!3e3!5i3
I can vouch for that.
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  #138  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2019, 5:11 PM
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Originally Posted by MolsonExport View Post
Pretty sure that VIA takes the south shore route to QC
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Mont...46.8138783!3e3

It appears to cross at Quebec Bridge to St. Foy and continue downtown QC: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Mont...138783!3e3!5i3
Yep I’ve seen VIA train on that route whenever I use A20 to get to Quebec City.
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  #139  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2019, 5:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaskOttaLoo View Post
Has anyone been paying attention to the REM's plans for the Mount Royal tunnel in Montreal? From my reading, it seems like their plan to convert the tunnel to a light rail technology will end the ability to easily travel from Toronto to Quebec City, greatly reducing the attractiveness of the line. Via Rail trains don't operate on the same technology, meaning that someone from TO will need to arrive in Montreal, transfer to a REM train, then transfer again to another one headed for Quebec City.

Please tell me I'm misreading this. If I'm not, how is there not a massive pushback on this plan?

http://www.cat-bus.com/2016/10/via-t...regional-rail/

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=166840
I replied to this many times, there are currently tracks that go around the mountain that take less than 15 minutes from Central station. Québec trains may go directly to Central Station from the North Shore. VIA stopped using the tunnel two decades ago because of operationnal issues.

There are about 600 daily users of the QC train and hundreds of thousands for the REM. Choice was easy to sacrifice 15 minutes for QC train users.

How many users would do Toronto to Québec in the first place? Both have airports...
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  #140  
Old Posted Feb 12, 2019, 5:26 PM
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I took a look at the Canadian's timetable and it is absolutely staggering how slow the train is. It was never fast but it looks like they have slowed it down considerably since my student days when I would occasionally ride it.

From Vancouver to Winnipeg, you leave Vancouver at 12:00 noon and arrive in Winnipeg at 7:00 pm. Two days later.

You can drive the same distance in 24 hours, vs. the 53 it takes by train. You could literally stop and spend two nights in hotels and still make it to Winnipeg before the train does.
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