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  1. VIA Rail Canada

    Maybe I'm a bit cynical but I suspect some of that decision is some pork barrel politics throwing economic benefit to areas of Quebec where the Liberals may want to earn some votes in the next federal election. If they get started now they will be able to unveil the refurbished cars just ahead of the next election. If they bought new as they are to replace the LRC cars via the RFP route, it's likely the winning bid would be from a U.S. or other foreign company with little if any of the work coming to Canada.
  2. VIA Rail Canada

    For comparison, albeit U.S. dollars, Amtrak is paying $371 million for 137 brand new cars from the Siemens which works out to US$2.71/car. At $3.18 million/car the business case for rebuild is weak unless the intent is to make the all vintage stainless steel flagship train The Canadian accessible.
  3. VIA Rail Canada

    Sadly this has been normal for the past few months. It would be more newsworthy had the train been on time. I was on it a few weeks ago, 8 hours late into Saskatoon, the funny thing was the yard was so packed with waiting freights Via had to go around on the main line and back in to the station. We lost about another 4-5 hours overnight somewhere between Melville and Winnipeg. Into Winnipeg, apparently they were having problems with frozen switches and once again ended up going around the station on the main line and backed in. After a quick crew change and restocking supplies in Winnipeg lost another half hour switching locomotives around and a further hour due to "freight congestion" ended up pulling out of the station 15 hours late. After that we made good time, to Redditt when our locomotive crew timed out and we waited about a half hour for a new crew to be driven in. We made good time after that only a couple of times did we have to wait more than a couple of minutes in a siding for a passing freight. . I think we were almost 16 hours down at one point and ended up only 12.5 hours late into Toronto. Only a couple of times did we have to wait more than a couple of minutes in a siding for a passing freight after Redditt the longest was about 40 minutes in Gogama for a couple of long freights. Highball signals most of the way. Just like the article our service crew did a great job taking care of us. They kept us informed, especially folks with connections in Toronto. Ultimately I'd blame CN for all the delays except leaving Winnipeg where we wasted time switching on an extra locomotive, that probably could have mostly been taken care of while the train was being serviced before passengers were re-boarded.
  4. VIA Rail Canada

    Washington DOT might be looking for another Talgo set after the wreck on I-5 in December.
  5. Ask and ye shall receive ... https://www.diynetwork.com/shows/alaska-off-the-grid and a few others.
  6. The ONR segments follow the similar formula to Railroad Alaska. The CP segments have some of that disaster stuff but not quite as bad and in many cases the consequence is "it will cost money because a ship will be delayed", I don't think they could afford any more creativity from the writers. The characters are a little more believable, they're still kind of caricatures but somewhat grounded in reality and not as farcical as Railroad Alaska. It's very white-bread in the CP segments but the ONR segments do feature a few FN in Moosonee and Moose Factory. What I found most infuriating about Railroad Alaska was it was all white-bread except for two black characters that were pretty much playing the caricatures a house slave and a field slave. I don't know if it represents reality but it seemed like there were more women featured than I would have expected for the industry.
  7. Ah, after some googling, you're right. My bad for not researching better. I was right that there was never a 1400hp model. Instead I'll accuse GM/EMD's marketeers of misleading advertising by rounding up 50hp on the original F units.
  8. I stumbled across 8 episodes on-line, I think it's the full season that will start airing on the Discovery Channel. It follows various train and maintenance of way crews on the CP around Revelstoke and the ONR. The version I found had a British narrator, I don't know if that's the same narration it will have on Discovery. It seems like it was filmed in the late winter through early summer last year. Rocky Mountain Railroad at discovery.ca It's not bad for a "reality" program, standard reality show problem where the most routine, trivial things are made out to be a major crisis some of the narration details are just plain wrong like the F in F unit stands for fourteen hundred horsepower. The British narrator is annoying, hopefully the have a better narrator when it airs for real. It also perhaps paints the CP as a bit too happy in the shadow of the Hunter Harrison era. Too much "if I make a tiny screw up I'll be fired in spite of x years of perfect service but that's a-ok".
  9. VIA Rail Canada

    Could the couple be coincidental to the smoother ride from the MUs providing their own discrete propulsion working simultaneously? Yes. Renaissance baggage transition car
  10. VIA Rail Canada

    Just from reading the Wikipedia description there seems to be little advantage and lots of disadvantages like compatibility and strength. At least with knuckle couplers just about anything can couple to anything else in North American and draft gears deal with slack where it matters. What benefit would there be to justify the incompatibility?
  11. VIA Rail Canada

    I'm pretty sure they refuel in Saskatoon, each of the last 3 times I've departed or arrived from Saskatoon there was a bulk fuel delivery truck (the same kind that delivers to farms) waiting on the platform for the train to arrive. I don't know if that means anything, if it's a custom blend for Via or just the same generic diesel the deliver to everyone else.
  12. VIA Rail Canada

    Unless we get someone with first hand expert knowledge of the issue it's anybody's guess. It could have just been a pretty simple problem that's hard for a train crew to troubleshoot and repair on a half frozen train in the middle of nowhere. I found this web page with some great information on HEP systems while looking for information how much power might be needed: http://www.nwrail.com/HEP_config.html This article on Global quoted one passenger saying "some of the cars got cold", it sounds like they lost power to one electrical bus and didn't have enough capacity to supply the whole train. I presume the reason for 3 locomotives on the Canadian in the winter when it's shorter vs 2 in the summer when it's longer is for a backup HEP in case one fails.
  13. VIA Rail Canada

    Nice idea but that theory is a stretch. We've had colder weather in SK since they've been rebuilt. I didn't even need to break out my -60C gloves yet.
  14. VIA Rail Canada

    Thanks! That's actually a pretty robust design, assuming each car can select which bus it's drawing from. Everything I found researching this talked about Amtrak equipment with a single bus and some references to GE locos that could with great difficulty synchronize HEP generators. The Via design is way more elegant for it's simplicity and reliability.
  15. VIA Rail Canada

    In one article, it was describe the train was close to the SK/MB border and then reversed back to Spy Hill so that would suggest it wasn't gelled in the tank and the prime movers were getting fuel. It was a brutally cold night so they would have needed all the HEP to keep things warm. I doubt they could have carried on to Winnipeg without making things at best extremely uncomfortable for passengers. A couple questions for you Dan or someone else who knows their way around HEP systems: do you know if they can supply HEP from any one locomotive or just the last one? Can only one loco supply HEP? I'd assume only one loco can provide HEP because it's AC and multiple AC machines would have to be synchronized in both phase and speed to work in parallel. That's difficult although not impossible.