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2 hours ago, Shaun said:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/pressure-via-rail-return-social-media-thunder-bay-greyhound-1.4750453

What would it take for via to service Thunder Bay? Could they extend the service from white river? 

  • Would need CP to agree to it and whatever trackage $ would be required.
  • Operating $ to fund training engineers over the route
  • $ to have additional equipment available (tricky since several fleet refurb arrangements are in play)
  • $ for passenger access/facilities at any stops en route

I'd rather VIA try and co-operate with Kasper on their White River-Thunder Bay route extension if the timings work out right. Might even lead to some co-operation between the two companies in Winnipeg.

 

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Saw an interesting discussion on railroad.net about the build quality of the ACS-64 from Siemens. Doors that don’t close well, stickers coming switches, compressors failing. Hopefully the Chargers are better put together - and whatever VIA receives if they give Siemens their business.

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14 hours ago, dowlingm said:

Saw an interesting discussion on railroad.net about the build quality of the ACS-64 from Siemens. Doors that don’t close well, stickers coming switches, compressors failing. Hopefully the Chargers are better put together - and whatever VIA receives if they give Siemens their business.

I guess that we shouldn't be overly surprised although to be honest I am. When the ACS' first arrived on the property, the mechanical forces couldn't sing their praises loud enough - components appeared to be sturdy, well laid out and easily accessible, with much thought given to maintainability. And yet both San Fransisco and Calgary have been having all sorts of issues with their new Siemens cars - I'm not sure that the San Fran cars are cleared for MU operation yet after all this time.

 

I hope that in the long run these issues work themselves out and that they get a product that ends up more like the AEM-7 in terms of its reliability and longevity than the HHP-8.

 

Dan

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4 hours ago, smallspy said:

I hope that in the long run these issues work themselves out and that they get a product that ends up more like the AEM-7 in terms of its reliability and longevity than the HHP-8.

Well said - although it appears MARC are having another kick at the HHP-8 can. Bombardier did some sort of refurb/upgrade of 4910. Given their sensitivity to both cold and heat I always felt Caltrain should have come in for them :)

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10 hours ago, dowlingm said:

Well said - although it appears MARC are having another kick at the HHP-8 can. Bombardier did some sort of refurb/upgrade of 4910. Given their sensitivity to both cold and heat I always felt Caltrain should have come in for them :)

All 6 are being upgraded. The changes are mostly electrical upgrades, such as replacing the GTO inverters with IGBT. Not sure who's paying for it though.

On 7/23/2018 at 6:27 PM, dowlingm said:

Saw an interesting discussion on railroad.net about the build quality of the ACS-64 from Siemens. Doors that don’t close well, stickers coming switches, compressors failing. Hopefully the Chargers are better put together - and whatever VIA receives if they give Siemens their business.

Well Siemens is still probably their best choice when it comes to readily available Tier 4 passenger locos. BBD has yet to make anything that's Tier 4 compliant (or suitable for VIA to use), the EMD design is a disaster, and neither Talgo nor Stadler have any readily available North American designs.

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8 hours ago, WMATAC40LF said:

Well Siemens is still probably their best choice when it comes to readily available Tier 4 passenger locos. BBD has yet to make anything that's Tier 4 compliant (or suitable for VIA to use), the EMD design is a disaster, and neither Talgo nor Stadler have any readily available North American designs.

The ALP-45DP is Tier 4 compliant. No reason why it couldn't be adapted to become just a diesel.

 

Stadler does make Tier 4 compliant equipment - it just doesn't happen to meet FRA specs. If they've made the shortlist, they've probably figured out that hurdle too.

 

Of course, you're also assuming that whatever they've offered - or whatever VIA chooses - will have a loco. I'm still not confident in that.

 

Dan

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  • 2 weeks later...

Worth noting that two weeks into Train 1/2's new schedule, things seem to be going better, at least west of the Rockies.  Today's train 1 is on track to put into Vancouver on-time (possibly early) and the last couple of 2's out of Vancouver have also been on time or even early by the time they get to Jasper.  Not sure how things have been further east, but out here the new schedule seems to be delivering good on-time performance. 

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Hudson Bay Railway repairs could start by September as long as some else pays for them, owner says
Ian Graham / Thompson Citizen

Quote

AUGUST 9, 2018 03:28 PM

Hudson Bay Railway (HBR) president Sergio Sabatini told the Canadian Transportation Agency Aug. 1 that his company has begun soliciting bids to repair the section of the line between Gillam and Churchill but doesn’t have the money to pay for the repairs itself.

The report to the Canadian Transportation agency (CTA), which ordered HBR to begin repairs by July 3, said that the process began with an inspection of the track June 11 and June 12 by AECOM, which was retained by HBR to prepare a request for proposals (RFP). The RFP was issued June 28 to six pre-screened contractors with the necessary experience to perform the repairs and four of those contractors sent representatives to a mandatory site visit July 12 and 13. Over the course of July, AECOM responded to technical questions form the contractors, with final answers provided July 31. Bids were due Aug. 3 and AECOM said it was “confident there will be multiple bids and methodologies to consider."

HBR says it believes a substantial amount of the work to repair the line can be done this year and the rest by mid-2019. Its goal is to restore limited service sometime this winter and full services after the repairs are complete.

However, the report took pains to spell out HBR’s position that it doesn’t have money to fund the work, which AECOM estimates could start by the first day of September.

“As the agency is aware HBR does not have the financial capability to undertake the full repairs of the damage to the railway caused by the spring 2017 flood,” Sabatini wrote. “HBR and its shareholders have been in discussion with the federal government and a potential buyer with the objective of ensuring that the necessary funds are in place to fully repair the Gillam to Churchill line and resume operations as expeditiously as possible."

 

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How do they not have the funds? Should they default on the repair the line should be handed over to the government. Which can either maintain the line themselves or choose to sell it to a buyer who is capable of performing the repairs, to bring the line back into operating condition. 

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On ‎8‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 4:20 PM, cprted said:

Worth noting that two weeks into Train 1/2's new schedule, things seem to be going better, at least west of the Rockies.  Today's train 1 is on track to put into Vancouver on-time (possibly early) and the last couple of 2's out of Vancouver have also been on time or even early by the time they get to Jasper.  Not sure how things have been further east, but out here the new schedule seems to be delivering good on-time performance. 

Yeah u would think they would have changed schedule long time ago.

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On 8/10/2018 at 12:32 PM, Shaun said:

How do they not have the funds? Should they default on the repair the line should be handed over to the government. Which can either maintain the line themselves or choose to sell it to a buyer who is capable of performing the repairs, to bring the line back into operating condition. 

Problem with this argument is that whoever owns the HBR is facing down not only repair costs but significant operating losses in the future. This is not some prize jewel Omnitrax are haggling for a good price on, it's something they want a sucker to take off their hands and let them walk.

At some point you have to ask who really needs the railroad. I think the entity who needs it most is government, specifically Manitoba and Canada, because of the communities who depend on it - Manitoba - and the strategic value of northern communities - Canada (not sure it bothers Sask much either way). However, Canada in particular will not want private operators to think they can dump lines on government without pain if they judge the government will face political grief for their closure, which possibly explains their dogged insistence that they will not pay the bill here.

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But a court order is law. There is no arguing that. They have to fix the line as ordered. 

If they don't have the money then prove it.  

I'm sure the line has potential, it's just about realizing it and making an effort for it to make money.  

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19 hours ago, Shaun said:

But a court order is law. There is no arguing that. They have to fix the line as ordered. 

If they don't have the money then prove it.  

I'm sure the line has potential, it's just about realizing it and making an effort for it to make money.  

Here is the decision: https://otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/ruling/conf-11-2018 where the CTA seems to be saying the HBR could just follow the discontinuance process - is the CTA accusing HBR of using force majeure to put the line on ice but free to reactivate it later?

One way to side step the time requirements for discontinuance would be to enter CCAA (s142 sub2.1) but that would impact the whole HBR business rather than that section alone. 

As for the quote above: I don't know why you think private businesses are not interested in making efforts to make money. Omnitrax were already trying to offload the Churchill line before the washouts occurred. If freight isn't being shipped, are Omnitrax meant to invent new freight flows, especially when HBR would now be in the hole for the capital expense, which AECOM estimated at $43.5m and probably more now that time has gone by without stabilizing repairs?

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On 8/6/2018 at 6:20 PM, cprted said:

Worth noting that two weeks into Train 1/2's new schedule, things seem to be going better, at least west of the Rockies.  Today's train 1 is on track to put into Vancouver on-time (possibly early) and the last couple of 2's out of Vancouver have also been on time or even early by the time they get to Jasper.  Not sure how things have been further east, but out here the new schedule seems to be delivering good on-time performance. 

It's been arriving early at Union station here in Toronto lately which is mildly annoying from a railfanning point of view.

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On 8/14/2018 at 9:48 AM, skyfirenet said:

It's been arriving early at Union station here in Toronto lately which is mildly annoying from a railfanning point of view.

The VIA Rail app is your friend when railfanning VIA.  Takes all the guess work out of it :)

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19 hours ago, cprted said:

The VIA Rail app is your friend when railfanning VIA.  Takes all the guess work out of it :)

It's not so much a guess work issue. Some of the more photogenic spots to catch it arriving in Toronto are very car unfriendly which require a long lead time to get to. So the Canadian being an hour or two early can throw those plans out the window.

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13 hours ago, skyfirenet said:

It's not so much a guess work issue. Some of the more photogenic spots to catch it arriving in Toronto are very car unfriendly which require a long lead time to get to. So the Canadian being an hour or two early can throw those plans out the window.

Use the map feature where it shows the precise current location of the train.

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Interesting motion by Lilloeet at the Union of BC Municipalities conference. From the Vancouver Sun:

Quote

Lillooet proposes provincial study for passenger rail line between North Van, Prince George

Lillooet is asking the province to work with VIA Rail to fund and conduct a study to see whether it is feasible to reopen the former B.C. Rail corridor between North Vancouver and Prince George for passenger trains. Greyhound’s impending departure from Western Canada has prompted Lillooet to renew its call for the former B.C. Rail corridor between North Vancouver and Prince George to be reopened to passenger trains.

Updated: August 17, 2018
 

The district has asked the Union of B.C. Municipalities to lobby the provincial government to work with Via Rail to determine the feasibility of restarting passenger service along the line, which ceased in 2002.

“With the loss of Greyhound, this has now really put added stress on so many communities all the way up and down the line — especially those along Highway 97 to the north,” said Lillooet Mayor Marg Lampman. “It’s my hope that the premier will see this as a good venture for the B.C. government to work with Via Rail.”

Greyhound announced last month that it plans to pull out of B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northern Ontario at the end of October, blaming millions of dollars in losses from a 46-per-cent drop in ridership since 2010 for its decision to end service.

Only a bus route between Vancouver and Seattle will continue.

Lampman has been advocating for the return of train service through the corridor for the past three years, but she said the departure of Greyhound will exacerbate the transportation issues for communities along the route.

“My community has never had bus service, and when the train was taken down, it left us with only one option, and that is by vehicle, and it put many hardships on my community members and surrounding communities,” Lampman said.

She said the rail line, which is now owned by Canadian National Railway and used for freight, sits empty most of the time, and she believes there could be benefits for tourism, for local businesses, for the environment, and for people who don’t drive but need to travel safely between cities.

Lampman envisions a service similar to the Cariboo Prospector, which ran for 46 years using diesel-powered Budd cars. She said it would not be prohibitively expensive, so it would be an option for people who previously relied on Greyhound.

“It would not be feasible for it to be outrageous,” she said. “This is a train for the average person.”

Lampman has requested a meeting with Premier John Horgan during the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual conference in September, so she can discuss the proposal. She would like the province to fund and conduct a feasibility study in partnership with Via Rail, which is a federal Crown corporation.

Lampman said she has broad support from mayors, councillors and regional district directors along the line. In 2016, Squamish brought forward a resolution at that year’s UBCM conference asking the province to consider re-instituting passenger rail service between North Vancouver and Prince George. It was endorsed at the convention.

She has also had discussions with her local MLA, the region’s MP, and Via Rail.

In an emailed statement, the provincial ministry of transportation said it appreciated the resolution put forward by Lillooet, but that it is not consulting with Via Rail at this time.

A representative from Via Rail could not be reached for comment.

The village of McBride and the Central Kootenay Regional District have also put forward resolutionsthat mention Greyhound — one about addressing the “vital passenger transportation void” in northern B.C. and the other regarding patient transfers in rural areas. The UBCM executive plans to bring forward a special resolution on the loss of Greyhound.

The Passenger Transportation Board announced after Greyhound’s pullout that it was introducing a simplified application package for operators who want to run intercity buses on corridors that have already no service or will be without service at the end of October. As of Friday, one operator had applied: Trail-based Silver City Stagelines.

Silver City plans to introduce a reservation-only Nelson-Kelowna route that runs a minimum of six times per week and stops in Castlegar, Trail, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Midway and Rock Creek. It will replace the company’s Trail-Castlegar route.

“Greyhound’s recent announcement that they will no longer be servicing Western Canada effective Oct. 31, 2018, will leave many rural towns with no bus service to larger city centres,” the applicant wrote. “I deeply understand how valuable it is to have a reliable means of transportation from the rural towns in the West Kootenays to Kelowna.”

jensaltman@postmedia.com

twitter.com/jensaltman

 

 
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