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Charlevoix Light Rail Transit

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Train léger de Charlevoix banner from RéseauCharlevoix.com

No, it is not an april's fool nor a Christmas gift!

I came over this service last week while looking for XC-ski shuttles. It completely went under my radar; an hybrid ski shuttle/rail transit service has been running for a whole year now, provinding service between town of Baie-Saint-Paul and Le Massif ski resort, as well as to remote waterside communities with reasonable frequency ― communities forgotten by the profit-oriented coach lines as they are on dead-end roads off route 138.

The thing reminds me of the Mont-Tremblant bus transit system; it's oriented towrads town/resort service, but serves also local movements.

The railroad is owned by Groupe Le Massif via its subsidiary Train Touristique Charlevoix, that bought Chemin de fer Charlevoix from SCFQ in 2009. The service is operated by a NPO whose administration is shared with local actors. Le Massif wants its resort expansion to profit to Charlevoix.

The stations are the same as the Le Massif sightseeing train, which links Montmorency Falls in Québec with Casino de Charlevoix from spring to autumn for a whopping 370 $.

The material bought in 2011 in Germany is very peculiar. It consists in two sets of 2 DMU railcars, the two single-class 628.1 prototypes ever built for Deutsche Bundesbahn ― two of the three 628.1 ever produced. That kind of material is quite a rare sight in North America, it just now is romantic.

They were retrofitted with additional lights and horns to fit northamerican standards. Personnel has to place ramps at the stations in order to fill the large gap between the cars and the platforms, which were built to accommodate Le Massif's Pullman cars and RS-18 locos.

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Pictures from BonjourQuebec.com

Ridership was under the estimates for last year, but the service has since been rebranded into "Transit" instead of "Shuttle". I just can hope for the best for this service, but the ticket price cannot just make it : 20 $ (up 6$ vs last year ― and 10$ cheaper than in summertime) for a 20-km/12-mi (35 min) ride is just too expansive IMHO, but the incredible scenery offered and the ski-in/ski-out concept worth the try.

Service is expanded throughout summer to La Malbaie (62-km/38-mi, 105 min), with terminus just in front of the Fairmont Richelieu hôtel-casino complex. Ski racks then transform into bike racks (with a 5$ supplement).

I started wiki content yesterday, if you have any infos or pictures to add : http://www.cptdb.ca/wiki/index.php?title=Charlevoix_Light_Rail_Transit

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Picture © Nicolas Houde, hosted on Railpictures.ca
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Ski-in/ski-out directy at Grande-Pointe station! Picture from Centre d'expertise sur la construction commerciale en bois.

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Laissez-Passer Métropolitain and PLU Mobile monthly passes are now accepted aboard Train de Charlevoix between Sainte-Anne and Québec, and aboard Montmorency falls aerial tramway. With its commuter-friendly schedule, passengers can transfer to the cable-car and then hop aboard a Metrobus, Express or regular bus towards downtown.

This new feature is said not to be a pilot project, but rather a first step towards an all-week, faster commuter service. The train actually runs only from Wednesday to Sunday and its speed is limited by the numerous unsignalized crossings along its way.

http://www.lapresse.ca/le-soleil/actualites/transports/201607/12/01-5000496-au-boulot-en-train-ou-en-telepherique.php

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As an update to this, I spoke with a worker (who turned out to be a manager) at the Montmorency Falls station this summer and I asked a ton of questions. The old bilevel cars that were converted to dining cars are now stored here. I'm curious if they'll ever run again, as was the guy who clearly knew a lot about the train that I talked to. He was suggesting, however, that winter service might be coming back this year after several years of no service to the ski hill. Grabbed a photo of the train crossing the bridge over the river and the entrance to platform for the Train de Charlevoix.

450px-Entrance_to_the_Quebec_(Chute_Mont       1280px-TrainDeCharlevoixCrossingMontmore

 

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Anyone know what it would take to move the terminus of the Charlevoix train closer to the city? I get that having it all the way in the Gare du Palais would be tricky given the present non-FRA rolling stock. I do see quite a few grade crossings which doesn't help unless it could be operated more like a streetcar/very light rail with a minimum of aggravating bells, horns and lights, since it is likely that cutting the line under the roadways is more money than any level of government has lying around.

Ironically, Environment (and Climate Change) Canada and Transport Canada are located in a building adjoining the line just about where conflicts with freight might start getting more intense: https://goo.gl/maps/i7Dvx2nAZNAFGBfXA

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8 hours ago, dowlingm said:

Anyone know what it would take to move the terminus of the Charlevoix train closer to the city?

Until 1977 (two years after the VIA branding took over and one year into modern VIA as we know it), VIA Rail operated a train from Gare du Palais (and subsequently Ste-Foy/Limoilou once Gare du Palais was closed for several years) all the way to Clermont. So in the past, it was fine, and that was a once daily train with a seriously large number of trains leaving Palais (along at least six routes) so it shouldn't be impossible to consider that happening again. 

When talking to the Train de Charlevoix guy (again, he was a manager so he was in on what's going on in terms of planning) at Montmorency, he was saying that Train de Charlevoix can't get to Palais for the exact same reason that VIA Rail's services on any CN trackage are guaranteed to be delayed significantly - CN Actively opposes any attempt o bring passenger service back to their rails because, let's face it, a twenty-eight car Canadian is probably earning less revenue than a single double-stack. And since CN is now private, all they care about is profits and have no responsibility to passengers to improve infrastructure. Train de Charlevoix really wants to get to Palais, even VIA wants them at Palais - VIA recently teamed up for marketing purposes with the Train de Charlevoix, bringing association of VIA Rail back to the North Shore of the St. Laurence for the first time since 1977.

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On 9/29/2019 at 11:14 PM, InfiNorth said:

He was suggesting, however, that winter service might be coming back this year after several years of no service to the ski hill.

For the moment, the "winter service" you're referring to is mostly charter touristic service during the first week of December.

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12 minutes ago, webfil said:

For the moment, the "winter service" you're referring to is mostly charter touristic service during the first week of December.

That's better than the nothing provided over the last few years. Also, in the next few years with the opening of a new Club Med up at the Massif they expect to reinstate regular, though still tourist-oriented service.

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Charlevoix Train to extend schedule through winter when Club Med opens, late 2020.

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1151727/train-charlevoix-club-med-train-charlevoix-hiver

New rolling stock was acquired from Deutsche Bahn, a 628.2/928.2 DMU.

https://www.lecharlevoisien.com/2019/04/09/le-nouveau-train-est-arrive-acces-privilegie-a-latelier-video/

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10 hours ago, webfil said:

Charlevoix Train to extend schedule through winter when Club Med opens, late 2020.

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1151727/train-charlevoix-club-med-train-charlevoix-hiver

New rolling stock was acquired from Deutsche Bahn, a 628.2/928.2 DMU.

https://www.lecharlevoisien.com/2019/04/09/le-nouveau-train-est-arrive-acces-privilegie-a-latelier-video/

 

Guess  I won't have to go Germany for those DMUs. Those are one of my favorite European rolling stock.

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3 hours ago, GojiMet86 said:

 

Guess  I won't have to go Germany for those DMUs. Those are one of my favorite European rolling stock.

Charlevoix has been using this particular stock for quite a few years now, and the news posted above is nine months old. 

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12 hours ago, Shaun said:

Are these certified by transport Canada to run with regular freight? Or did they get a waver?

Why? Act to ensure safety in guided land transport does not require a Transport Canada certification.

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On 1/24/2020 at 11:50 PM, InfiNorth said:

Charlevoix has been using this particular stock for quite a few years now, and the news posted above is nine months old. 

They been using 628.2/928.2 since 2019. The "particular stock" you are referring to are 628.1/928.1 Class.

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