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Urban Sky

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  1. My best bet would be that they are looking into making the seats/benches in the Skyline Dome reversable to make them useful for bidirectional operations…
  2. My expectation is LRC first (because of their severe underframe issues - quite a few had already to be pulled out of service), then Renaissance (because they are only 2 sets) and HEP last…
  3. The Renaissance fleet is extremely unreliable and requires special (metric) tools which are only available at MMC. Therefore, it’s best to have them pass through Montreal as often as possible, which makes QBEC-MTRL-OTTW services the ideal deployment area…
  4. By my own count, VIA currently operates just under two-thirds of its regular Corridor schedule, which (despite some glaring omissions like the morning KGON=>TRTO train) should be pretty similar to what GO currently operates: Source: Cross-post from Urban Toronto I really don’t understand the resistance against private-sector involvement: if the last decades of under-investment and periodical cuts have shown one thing in the intercity passenger rail networks in this country, then it’s that governments of all stripes (and of all levels of government) lack the will and attention span to envision and invest into a more rail-reliant future, as these investment don’t fit into an election cycle of 4 years. Sure, we could ask the governments of Germany, Italy, France or the UK to design and build a 21st-century rail network, but it’s much better to ask private sector companies with decades of experience with such projects and an investment horizon of 40+ years… If I had to summarize the rationale for a private-public partnership for such a (for the modest standards of this country) complex, ambitious and pioneering project, I would probably come up with something like this post: https://urbantoronto.ca/forum/threads/via-rail.21060/page-812#post-1800819
  5. VIA does not exercise any control over transit operators. Rail stations with infrequent and often-delayed service are notoriously difficult to connect with any bus service which isn’t entirely dedicated to connect with rail services (like Amtrak‘s Thruway service)… Yes, it worked fine in 2019. However, back then the Ocean was still mostly REN and thus more HEP1 cars available for the Canadian, so not sure there are still enough cars available…
  6. VIA does not own its two busiest stations (TRTO and MTRL) and (to the best of my knowledge), it doesn't own much of the land around most of the other busy stations (incl. OTTW as its third-busiest station). Therefore, Brightline's real-estate-centric business model would not work...
  7. That is quite plausible, but the only thing I‘ve seen written by VIA was that the third frequency is not going to be restored all the way to Toronto, as that would require a fifth trainset under the current schedule:
  8. How good or bad a course of action is, always depend on the quality and availability of alternatives: If this were Germany, then DB Engineering & Consulting (DB E&C) would be in charge of the planning, while the Federal and State governments would provide the funding (complemented by Deutsche Bahn's own funds and often additional funding by the European Union), the Regierungspräsident or Bezirksregierung would chair the approval process, and courts would process the unavoidable legal complaints. Once the green light has been received, DB E&C would divide the project into smaller lots and then tender these out to general and specialized construction companies (who then subcontract to entire ecosystems of suppliers). Finally, DB Netze would assume ownership of the infrastructure, on which then DB Fernverkehr or any Open Access operator (like Flixtrain) would operate their trains. The crucial point here is that all these actors and institutions have decades of experience with projects far more complex than HFR and developed a very established and throughout (though not necessarily fast or efficient) framework. Conversely, nothing of this exists in this country, which leaves only two options: either you try to somehow translate these institutions and processes into something which fits with the legal, political and cultural subtleties of this country (a incredibly lengthy and painful path full of regrettable errors!) - or you turn to the experts of other countries and ask them to lend you their expertise, ideas and processes. If I understand you correctly, you seem to be most concerned about the prospect of VIA's Corridor operations being privatized. Having worked 7 years at VIA, I'm inclined to say that the biggest barrier against faster and more frequent trains is neither CN nor the federal government, but the bureaucrats at Transport Canada who will go at extreme lengths to avoid making any decision or assuming any risks. You are welcome to disagree with me, but I can't imagine how intercity passenger rail could ever thrive again in this country for as long as VIA's dependency for operating subsidies puts them at the mercy of Transport Canada. For all the issues I have with the scope creep, overly aggressive requirements and counterproductive incentives present in the HFR RFEOI document, the fact that it is the only realistic chance to free intercity passenger rail travel from the shackles of TC still remains for me as HFR's strongest selling point...
  9. Indeed, whatever laws the lawmakers in the US create to strengthen Amtrak’s hand when dealing with its host railroads could also be replicated by its peers in Canada to benefit VIA. Conversely, courts can only apply those laws which happen to have been enacted within their jurisdiction…
  10. Why would a court battle in the United States and governed by US laws set any precedent for Canada?
  11. I don't think that CN is resisting a full restoration of the third frequency, but you would need to completely change the schedule (i.e. departure times and days of operation) and if you can't provide the tour operators with something like 18 months notice, you risk that they just cancel the spaces they already committed to (because they are not going to be enthusiastic to reorganize their itineraries around your change of mind) and losing further goodwill. Therefore, I don't see a chance for the third round-trip to be fully restored before April/May 2024 (given that it hasn't been operating during the winter since 2012). Furthermore and as unpopular as the April 2019 schedule change was, it almost entirely solved the OTP issue (at least from a tourist's and tour operator's perspective) and I simply don't see how you could maintain an OTP which is remotely acceptable to tour operators while running three round-trips per week with only four consists. Unfortunately, the levers which are necessary to make thrice-weekly viable again (difficult to believe that this didn't even require a fourth trainset prior to 2008!) are held by the federal government, not VIA. In any case, let's watch if the tourism-driven business model of the Canadian stabilizes as international tourism hopefully normalizes next year and then see whether it is still the best which can be done with the little resources (and hostile operating environment) which are available...
  12. I would expect it to return in 2023, but only West of Edmonton, as had been the case in the 2019 Summer season...
  13. Thanks for providing the reservation fee for a spot on the bike rack at Amtrak! As for the Maple Leaf, I assume that it would make for an interesting test bed to figure out appropriate policies and procedures before the new fleet arrives...
  14. I have no idea, but given that it would now be self-serve (store in the car and retrieve by yourself) rather than a checked-bike-in-the-baggage-car service, the industry standard would be to charge a nominal reservation fee (maybe $5-10) per bike and trip...
  15. That sounds like a very interesting rail-bike-rail excursion, if the Renaissance cars (and thus checked baggage service) are to return on the QMO services! https://www.velopistejcp.com/carte-interactive The cycling path is of course the former ROW which VIA used for its twice-weekly Quebec-Chambord service until the November 1981 cuts:
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