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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.

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A good start would be to allow provinces and municipalities to contribute to VIA not just the Federal Government. Also having buses feed the train service of the train service feed the buses is a good hub and spoke model, but the train needs to be on time. 

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Total pipe dream, but I would love it if the BC government subsidized VIA to increase service on 5/6 from Prince George to Prince Rupert (maybe up to 5 or 6/week, leaving PG to Jasper at 3x) and made a move to restore 3/week service on the former BC Rail from Prince George to Vancouver.

 

As for the Canadian, the new schedule will actually be of use, given that Kamloops-Vancouver in both directions will now happen during the day.  Even better if the trains start running something close to on time with the extra hours inserted into the timetable. 

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5 hours ago, Shaun said:

A good start would be to allow provinces and municipalities to contribute to VIA not just the Federal Government. Also having buses feed the train service of the train service feed the buses is a good hub and spoke model, but the train needs to be on time

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.

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On 7/11/2018 at 12:54 PM, cprted said:

Total pipe dream, but I would love it if the BC government subsidized VIA to increase service on 5/6 from Prince George to Prince Rupert (maybe up to 5 or 6/week, leaving PG to Jasper at 3x) and made a move to restore 3/week service on the former BC Rail from Prince George to Vancouver.

Problem right out the gate with a Vancouver-Quesnel-Prince George route is that Rocky operates over it and their attitude to any perception of VIA competition has been robust in the past.

https://www.rockymountaineer.com/train-routes/rainforest-gold-rush

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1 hour ago, dowlingm said:

Problem right out the gate with a Vancouver-Quesnel-Prince George route is that Rocky operates over it and their attitude to any perception of VIA competition has been robust in the past.

https://www.rockymountaineer.com/train-routes/rainforest-gold-rush

Uncle pennybags and Mr. Peanut want the legroom...

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5 hours ago, dowlingm said:

Problem right out the gate with a Vancouver-Quesnel-Prince George route is that Rocky operates over it and their attitude to any perception of VIA competition has been robust in the past.

https://www.rockymountaineer.com/train-routes/rainforest-gold-rush

Then they should probably stop running the Vancouver-Jasper-Edmonton route ... lol ... and if Rocky wants to make a beef about a VIA dayliner service "competing" with them, they'd need to operate that route more than 3 times/month ... 

 

The only plausible beef Rocky can have with VIA is over the "Prestige Class" service, which is a direct play at their market.

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50 minutes ago, cprted said:

Then they should probably stop running the Vancouver-Jasper-Edmonton route ... lol ... and if Rocky wants to make a beef about a VIA dayliner service "competing" with them, they'd need to operate that route more than 3 times/month ... 

 

The only plausible beef Rocky can have with VIA is over the "Prestige Class" service, which is a direct play at their market.

Rocky was a VIA division that was privatized. Here’s some background:

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.theglobeandmail.com/amp/news/politics/tories-mull-privatizing-via-rail-routes/article4101792/

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RMR came out of VIA's short lived tourist-based service in the Rocky Mountains (the name of which is currently eluding me). I'm not sure what that has to do with their operations 18 years later or the possibility of activating passenger service on the former BC Rail (which is pretty unrealistic).  It would be hard for RMR to to whine about competition from a train running with RDCs or something similar ... lol 

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7 hours ago, cprted said:

RMR came out of VIA's short lived tourist-based service in the Rocky Mountains (the name of which is currently eluding me). I'm not sure what that has to do with their operations 18 years later or the possibility of activating passenger service on the former BC Rail (which is pretty unrealistic).  It would be hard for RMR to to whine about competition from a train running with RDCs or something similar ... lol 

Since a lot of the BC rail experience is about what's out the window, maybe Rocky would not object as long as the windows were polarized or otherwise wrapped in such a way that made photography difficult :)

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10 hours ago, cprted said:

RMR came out of VIA's short lived tourist-based service in the Rocky Mountains (the name of which is currently eluding me). I'm not sure what that has to do with their operations 18 years later...…………… 

Launched by VIA 30 years ago as the 'Canadian Rockies by Daylight' in 1988 then renamed the 'Rocky  Mountaineer' in 1989. It didn't make it to a third season because of the VIA cutbacks in Jan 1990 and was sold off.

Image.jpg

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Since Rocky doesn't operate by night (I believe) then maybe an overnight passenger and post train service, arriving in Vancouver in the early morning and departing at around 6pm could work without treading on too many toes while forming a sort of Whister-Vancouver commuter service? (Service may have to be suspended during full moons!)

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The case to be made is that the RMR is only for tourists who want to travel between Vancouver and Whistler or Jasper. It's not for local transportation between those communities. VIA would make several stops and have flag stops for remote communities, like a bus. 

That's why they don't compete for the same customers. 

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Main issue to contend with is the business case - why would B.C. pay the huge amounts required to maintain a heavy rail service when 1. Ontario, Manitoba, and Quebec don’t pay into their rural/mandatory services and 2. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to simply subsidize the Greyhound routes? Even with affordable service, you still need local buses or rides to get people to destinations not directly on the rail.

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Rocky's gripes with VIA haven't been given much traction in the past.  VIA launched Prestige Service over Rocky's objections with a Conservative government in power (RMR has pretty solid ties to the CPC), so if it didn't make a difference then, I have no idea why anyone would think Rocky's objection would matter now. Not only is Rocky an infrequent, tourist targeted trip which does not make any stops along it's route: It is also seasonal. The thing runs May-Sept only. 

 

But as I've said in every post about this idea--while I'd love it to be reality--there is essentially a <1% change of the Cariboo Dayliner service being reactivated. So it's really just a hopes/dreams discussion as opposed to something that's actually on the table.

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3 hours ago, Charlie said:

Question: With the Siemens/Alstom Rail merger, is it possible that will affect both of their bids for the new Via Rail rolling stock?

Alstom didn't bid. (Which in a way could mean "yes")

Meanwhile... http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/business/single-view/view/competition-concerns-trigger-full-european-commission-review-of-siemens-alstom-merger.html

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1 hour ago, dowlingm said:

Ah whoops, had thought Alstom had bid.

Interesting article, not really what I was expecting considering that they are both European companies with a very large presence economically in Europe. Would think the commission would want the merger...

-Charlie

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4 hours ago, Charlie said:

Ah whoops, had thought Alstom had bid.

Interesting article, not really what I was expecting considering that they are both European companies with a very large presence economically in Europe. Would think the commission would want the merger...

-Charlie

The European Commission can be quite aggressive against large market distorting entities (ask Google and Microsoft), and ultimately S-A being dominant in Europe is a valid concern for a European regulator. Until Europe forces some sort of divestment, it’s probably a good idea for Alstom not to put capital into a contender against Viaggio for VIA and Amfleet, but already have Avelia and might turn up as a contender for new Superliners (assuming the blueprints for Surfliner are still around somewhere)

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1 hour ago, Shaun said:

Who owns those blue prints? 

Who owns those blue prints? 

Bombardier owns Superliner II (from when it bought Pullman Standard). Not sure about Surfliner as to whether Amtrak owns it or Alstom does. Of course, the next generation bilevel was supposed to be the ones Nippon Sharyo were constructing before they failed the strength test.

 

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10 hours ago, dowlingm said:

Bombardier owns Superliner II (from when it bought Pullman Standard). Not sure about Surfliner as to whether Amtrak owns it or Alstom does. Of course, the next generation bilevel was supposed to be the ones Nippon Sharyo were constructing before they failed the strength test.

Amtrak owns the designs for the Superliner, Amfleet and Viewliner cars. They in turn give access to those designs to the manufacturers, and can (and will) charge for third-party access.

 

Dan

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On 7/18/2018 at 8:46 AM, smallspy said:

Amtrak owns the designs for the Superliner, Amfleet and Viewliner cars. They in turn give access to those designs to the manufacturers, and can (and will) charge for third-party access.

I knew Amtrak owned Viewliner and Amfleet but for the S-IIs I was going on the wiki article referencing a Trains piece which I guess is wrong

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superliner_(railcar)#CITEREFJohnston1993

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