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Urban Sky

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Everything posted by Urban Sky

  1. VIA's website mentions a fleet size of 16 Skyline cars. With peak consists using 3 Skylines each (one for each of the two Diners plus one for Economy class), you would have assigned every single Skyline in the fleet, with zero spares (assuming 4 consists on the Canadian and 2 on the Ocean: 4x3+2×2=16)...
  2. Some more stuff coming back soon: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/as-demand-continues-to-progress-via-rail-announces-the-final-phase-of-its-gradual-service-resumption-plan-856852033.html
  3. I anticipate that a Skyline will return once tourism returns, but the seat orientation of the Skylines is unlikely to be modified for 50:50 or even a rotatable configuration. As for the Renaissance coaches, I believe they just operate one coach facing one and the other the other direction, which allows for a 50:50 split between forward and backward facing without any physical modifications. Not sure which 3 hours you are referring to. Halifax-Truro is less than 2 hours, but IIRC all passengers would have to get off-board in Truro while the train wyes over non-mainline track. That should be less of an issue in Moncton, but that is almost five hours after leaving Halifax...
  4. The picture in that Tweet was already taken on-site at MMC...
  5. Considering how people insist that "even VIA's Corridor services lose money", just because they don't understand the difference between variable and fixed costs (recall that Corridor services recovered 130% of their variable costs and thus contributed many millions towards VIA's overheads), it would be suicidal to burden VIA's operating budget with such a massive operating costs. Much better to have the government pay for the fleet renewal, as its cost will be forgotten soon after the new fleet arrives...
  6. Yes, I guess VIA could do that (provided the federal government allows it to enter a leasing agreement), but what's the advantage over having the federal government pay for the entire fleet upfront?
  7. Leasing doesn't make sense for a public railroad which has an owner with almost unlimited capabilities to borrow money very cheaply. Besides that, I am not aware of any rolling stock owner which offers FRA-compliant intercity rail equipment for lease...
  8. Converting your existing fleet (as ancient as it might be) is one thing. Acquiring a fleet which will then require expensive conversions before they (provided no unforseen major issues arise, as was the case with the HEP1s you mentioned) are ready for service is a completely other thing. And be careful what you wish for: any second-hand solution provides a pretext for the federal government to negate the need for a long-haul fleet renewal...
  9. The problem with both your suggestions is that the last thing VIA needs is yet another fleet type which introduces new complexities into its fleet. Also, every restart of a production line has massive fixed costs which would lead to much higher unit costs than for an active production line (like that used for VIA's new Corridor fleet). Also, any new VIA fleet (new or second-hand) must be accessible. Viewliners seem to are, but not sure about the Amfleets - and converting coaches for Sleeper use is a complete non-starter. Finally, we need to be careful about distinguishing between operating funding (which may be called a subsidy) and capital funding (which should rather be called an investment): increased capital funding would suggest the expansion of non-corridor services (since corridor services already generated a positive contribution towards VIA's fixed costs pre-Covid), whereas increased capital funding implies investments in things like HFR or a non-corridor fleet...
  10. Thank you for this detailed explanation! I guess the main barrier to VIA purchasing Viewliners is the problem that you can only buy what someone is willing to sell/produce...
  11. Strangely, they seem to be built with a platform height of 51", which would not be incompatible with 48", but still leave a 3" gap with the associated accessibility issues which kind of defeat the purpose of level boarding. But in any case, the last Viewliner II was delivered half a decade ago, which raises serious questions whether a production line would be still available for a comparatively small order from VIA...
  12. I was talking about the Viewliners, since we have established that their interiors are modular and their configuration thus flexible, whereas the Chargers have so far not been offered in any Sleeper configuration...
  13. Agreed, but can the boarding height match with the high-level platforms in Quebec, Montreal and Ottawa?
  14. The Venture cars have yet to be offered in a Sleeper version and the Viewliner have far too few bedrooms (as opposed to Roomettes) to be a satisfactory fit for any of VIA's overnight routes...
  15. There is indeed no full third set, but there is at least one spare for every car type (e.g. Baggage - Economy - accessible Economy - Service - Diner - accessible Sleeper - Sleeper - Baggage Transition)...
  16. The schedule requires two sets, but you'd likely want to have a third trainset, to allow for unavailabilities due to maintenance and repairs...
  17. I don't think the sarcasm was lost on him, since he stressed that expanding the port was "much more important to Halifax" (e.g. its people and communities, not just the national or local economy) than whether a thrice-weekly train continues to operate with a panorama car at its tail end...
  18. Process is indeed painfully slow, but it seems like you've missed quite a few steps...
  19. Let's do the maths (very superficially, of course!): A one-way trip on the Ocean is aproximately 21 hours, therefore 3 round-trips per week are 126 hours per week and 6570 hours per year. For the Canadian, it would be 96 hours and 2 round-trips per week (ignoring trains 3 and 4 for the sake of simplicity), thus 384 hours per week and 20,023 hours per week. For the Churchill, it would be 44 hours and 2 round-trips per week (ignoring trains 690 and 691, for the sake of simplicity), thus 176 hours per week and 9,177 hours per year. In total, that would be 686 labour hours per week and 35,770 labour hours per year. Let's assume that every guard works 40 hours a week, has 4 weeks of annual vacation and misses another 4 weeks due to things like sick leave or training. That leaves 1760 of policing hours per guard, which leads to 20.3 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs), so good guess, but recall that is really a back-of-the-napkin calculation with best-case assumptions. With VIA Rail's Annual Report 2019 showing "compensation and employee benefits" of $340.8 million and 3,308 FTEs for that year, this translates to $103,023 per FTE or $2.1 million for 20.3 FTEs. However, keep in mind that there are lots of indirect labour costs, such as for recruiting, training and all kinds of administrative tasks. This is simply not how the laws of demand and supply work: ticket prices won't increase because prices are already set (at least in theory) at their revenue-maximizing point and passengers' willingness-to-pay is not influenced by changes in VIA's cost structure. Instead, VIA's operating costs would go up and its cost-recovery rate would decrease, thus increasing VIA's subsidy need...
  20. Small reality check: the distance between Capreol and Winnipeg is 1499 km by rail (i.e. slightly longer than between Penzance in Cornwall and Thurso in Upper Scotland, which is the longest distance you can travel by train in the United Kingdom). Have a try with Google Maps and see how many police stations you can identify in communities through which the Canadian passes on its journey across Northern Ontario. Oh, and good luck waiting for a response for your emergency-reporting texts if you can go multiple hours without any cell reception... Not directly, but it can still help with arresting a violent passenger after he fled a train and with preventing him from boarding a train again. And, in some cases, this may act as a deterrent against violent misconduct in the first place... I am fully aware that different people can have very different priorities, but as far as I am concerned, I'd rather not travel with (let alone: work for) a rail company which prioritizes passenger convenience over the safety of anybody who happens to be on board a train...
  21. I have the impression that some essential context is missing here: Bisson added that Via employees can sometimes anticipate which passengers will cause trouble “because they’re acting a certain way and when this is taking place, you know if you’re going to have a good trip or a bad trip,” Bisson said. “You know if you’re going to call the cops at one point or not call the cops.” But he said that employees have also recommended some solutions, such as requiring mandatory ID checks, when verifying tickets. Right now, he said that employees are only required to check ID before serving alcohol. You may want to read the entire article first before concluding that this is exaggerated: https://globalnews.ca/news/6551471/via-rail-violence-greyhound/ To put things into perspective: VIA Rail's most recent Annual Report shows an Operating Loss of $280 million in 2019 and of $415 million in 2020. How much do you think can introducing ID checks of all passengers boarding at four different stations possibly cost? This is definitely a very effective measure - at least if your goal is to copy the aspects of air travel which makes travellers hate themselves for not having a better alternative to travel...
  22. I recall RDC tests on the Guelph Sub, but I am not aware of any plans to deploy RDCs anywhere outside of Southwestern Ontario in the Corridor and the progressing fleet renewal while demand for rail travel is still depressed by a pandemic obviates the need of doing so: http://www.railpictures.ca/upload/an-extended-via-85-hurtles-past-me-at-mile-50-gexr-guelph-sub-todays-consist-was-via-f40ph-3-6446-the-usual-2-hep-cars-then-f40ph-3-6401-rdc-4-6251-rdc-2-62https://cptdb.ca/messenger/08-and-rdc-1-6105-the-rdcs-were Nevertheless, CN seems to own and use at least one RDC for testing purposes, which can be seen here on the Fergus Subdivision between Guelph and Cambridge: http://www.railpictures.ca/upload/testing-the-branches-for-the-first-time-cn-1501-is-southbound-on-the-former-cnr-fergus-subdivision-railiners-rdcs-would-have-plied-this-line-until-sometime-in-the-1960s-by-1969-railiners-oper Edit: I found a rail fan's report from October 2017 claiming that "Three RDC’s recently spent time testing on the Alexandria sub in Ottawa"...
  23. No worries, I just wanted to highlight that (just as with Gaspé or on Vancouver Island), it will take considerable investments into the infrastructure before a return of passenger operations becomes viable - and that is the responsibility of the respective host railroads and of the various levels of government, not VIA...
  24. The line was closed in 1985 (i.e. at a time where various services cut in 1981 reappeared, such as the Atlantic, the Super-Continental west of Winnipeg and service to Sherbrooke or Havelock were restored) because it had become too uncompetitive and unattractive for a number of reasons, including: - a series of deadly collisions at level-crossing - the inability to achieve travel times and frequencies which would have been competitive against the car or the bus - the inability to serve Edmonton with a station more central than its “South Edmonton” terminus in Strathcona Are you aware of any plans to fix these issues, which would be prerequisites for restoring VIA service?
  25. Great, but who has volunteered to pay the (at least) $326 million to restore the rail infrastructure to safe conditions? There are very good reasons why this service has been suspended for almost a decade by now: I will never understand why every commercial failure of a private bus service in this country is followed by demands for spending big bucks to replace the bus through a much more expensive, less flexible and (sadly also) slower VIA train rather than demanding a modest operational subsidy to keep the existing bus service in business. And if the province couldn’t be bothered to pay for fixing the infrastructure within a reasonable timeframe, why should the federal taxpayer pay for its operation should the province suddenly change its mind...?
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