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  1. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    Not just bus/rail but air/bus and air/rail too. Lots of opportunity to offer better service for passengers in a way that captures more business for the transportation companies. Ride share services could even play a role when that sector matures.
  2. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    I agree with M. Parsons, provinces would be better off looking at bus service over rail but I think the overall business model needs to change. The Canadian is nowhere near the level of service required for the prairies and BC to be anything beyond a niche even if they could stick to a schedule. What makes more sense would be an integrated network of independent van/car service to feed the network of larger cutaways and coaches and maybe even Via. The van/car services would be small operations run by members of the communities they serve with a vested interest in the service to the communities they serve, a variety of ownership structures are possible from individuals to non-profit consortium to co-op. Sort of how short line railroads work integrate with the Class I's. There was an article on CBC today that indicates Greyhound lost 20% ridership on the Yellowhead and Trans Canada corridors when the Saskatchewan Government shut down STC last year. That tells us the STC network servicing small communities fed 20% of their traffic. Unfortunately service to all those small, ever shrinking communities runs at a loss because there aren't enough passengers for the traditional bus service business model. There is no business model for a single provider big network servicing small communities. Small regional networks alone can't offer seamless end-to-end inter-regional transportation. Governments should step up to stimulate the industry but they don't need to get deeper into the transportation business. I'm not sure they should immediately jump to subsidies. Legislation is a good place to start to better encourage and accommodate smaller players and startups. Maybe the feds could bootstrap a non-profit corporation that runs on cost recovery like Nav Canada to provide booking/scheduling solutions/service to a national network of independent transportation providers. Via could bring value to solve the problem not with it's trains but it's ticketing, scheduling and logistics capabilities. Amtrak runs Cascades trains between Vancouver and Seattle twice a day but they also contact Trailways to run "throughway" coach service several more times/day to connecting with Cascades trips that don't run all the way to/from Vancouver. Via or a spinoff could be a facilitator of inter-regional non-rail ground transportation on a break-even basis without government investing in running a fleet of buses.
  3. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    I was on #2 in March when it was nearly a half day late from Winnipeg. The scenery through Ontario was way more interesting. Lots more interesting geological formations vs the usual trees and lakes. No one takes that train to get anywhere fast. On my trip people were agitated about possibly losing hotel reservations or missing flights not the fact the train was late. A realistic timetable will prevent unhappy passengers. Running through scenic areas during the day is a value add. On my trip we made up a few hours highballing it once we got past Winnipeg even with a nearly hour long wait for a new crew after ours timed out. The most time was lost on the Melville sub, Wainwright sub and Edson sub. CN has a bunch of double track projects in Saskatchewan and Alberta that could help the Canadian so it doesn't have to wait as often for long freights.
  4. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    More details The TL;DR is 16 passengers, 5 crew, baggage car + 2 locos on the ground about 3am, crew injured, no passengers injured, all taken to Hudson Bay, SK for medical assessment, remote section of track 37km north of Hudson Bay, TSB says train hit washout at 50km/h.
  5. dbdb

    VIA Rail Canada

    They could do it the old way and run second train set as another "section" of the full train. If it's a regular occurrence expand the schedule to add additional trips which could in turn attract more passengers turning it into an advantage.
  6. This is great news. Getting that line back up and running and most members of the ownership consortium with a vested interested in the success of the communities along the line and not just the line itself will make a big difference in how it's managed.