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Author Topic: Schedule Change for the VIA Canadian
yukon11
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Starting July 26, the timetable for the VIA Canadian train will change:

https://is.gd/OKSEYR

It looks like the total time, on the train, will lengthen for VAN-TOR or TOR-VAN. I kind of like the new arrival and departure times for various towns and cities, along the way.

Richard

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DonNadeau
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Thanks! Had not heard.

Got a security warning about that link.

Use:
Westbound:
https://www.viarail.ca/sites/all/files/media/pdfs/schedules/summer2018/40-41_Toronto-Winnipeg-Jasper-Vancouver.pdf

Eastbound:
https://www.viarail.ca/sites/all/files/media/pdfs/schedules/summer2018/42-43_Vancouver-Japser-Winnipeg-Toronto.pdf

Does give chance to enjoy some different scenery.

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ghCBNS
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The Fraser and Thompson River Canyons in Daylight!

A fine trade off and IMHO equal to some of the mountain scenery that might be missed now by nighttime running in those areas.

Already have a Vancouver – Edmonton trip booked!

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Gilbert B Norman
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Hope they put enough "slop" into that schedule. Just as glad I rode "The Panorama" during '65 when the Winnipeg-Vancouver Roomette fare was CD$65. Funny how it left Winnipeg about 10AM and arrived Vancouver also about 6PM. Only diff; there wasn't 24 hours of additional schedule time.
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palmland
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While it would be nice to see Frazier canyon in daylight, I think I’d rather have a schedule that insures passage through the heart of the Rockies in full light. Depending on timekeeping, it could be difficult to see all of the Rockies, especially in winter when the train is more affordable, allows full access to the Park car (for non Prestige class) and has a more manageable consist size.
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ghCBNS
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quote:
Originally posted by palmland:
While it would be nice to see Frazier canyon in daylight......

What is this 'Frazier' thing? Is this an American spelling? Not the first time I’ve seen it like that here and in posts elsewhere. The River and Canyon were named for Simon 'Fraser'…the explorer who was actually born in what became the United States.

Schedules can’t please everyone. Back in the heyday of CN’s passenger revival….the flagship Super Continental departed Jasper westbound at 6:50pm but you would still need another 2 hours for the best mountain viewing. Eastbound it arrived in Jasper at 9:15am after passing through the best scenery. Back then….you could ride the secondary ‘Panorama’ that did offer better timing in the mountains if viewing was your thing….just as you still can today on the Rocky Mountaineer.

Think I'll stick with the opportunity for daylight Canyon viewing now......a good trade-off but you will still have some fine Mountain viewing even on the new schedule!

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palmland
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Maybe I can blame it on spell check, ghCBN, but I should know better. My nephew taught at SFU.
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DonNadeau
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Urge everyone to travel eastbound.

Even if moderately late you won't miss Jasper National Park in daylight.

Even if slightly late the westbound will miss seeing eastern portion of Jasper National Park in winter & even if on time will miss the beautiful western poriton entirely in winter because of the long time the train dwells at its stop in Jasper .

Note that along the western portion of the Canada/U.S. border the hours of sunshine are 8 hours shorter in winter & even more as you go north.

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yukon11
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Another worthwhile eastbound VIA train, Montreal to Halifax:

https://is.gd/u0aT0g

I wish just one Amtrak train could offer the amenities, food service, and overall train experience that is shown in the above video.

Richard

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Gilbert B Norman
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Much more of Canada's GDP - %tge and maybe even $$$ - arises from tourism than same down here. Hence, there is political strength to operate both the Ocean and Canadian to accommodate that segment - and to provide the expected amenities.

But how much value is either for the passenger who simply rides "Eh to Bee" - and Coach is what they are willing to pay.

Amtrak does a somewhat better job of serving that segment even with the all too often late "one a day @ 0-dark-30".

The day of the secondary train - Scotian. Continental, and Dominion - are gone, be it up there or down here.

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ghCBNS
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VIA is negotiating with CN on restoring an intercity train on the Halifax-Moncton-Campbellton route running six days a week (the Ocean runs 3/week)……and I could see the Ocean eventually discontinued on the Halifax-Moncton portion with the new intercity train providing a connecting service.

The sleeper business out of Halifax has pretty well dried up except during the summer and over the Christmas holidays. Just too much competition (4 airlines) at a fraction of the cost and 2hr vs 24hr to central Canada. But the Ocean still serves a considerable amount of local traffic in the Maritimes….especially on the overnight portion between Moncton and Montreal where the sleepers are still well used.

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yukon11
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VIA has announced still further changes in the schedule for the Canadian, starting in April, 2019:

https://is.gd/efPESx

A longer train ride from TOR-VAN and VAN-TOR. However, I like the new arrival and departure times for VAN-JASPER and for JASPER-VAN.

Eastbound: Leave Vancouver @ 3:00 PM and arrive in Jasper @ 11:00 AM.

Westbound: Leave Jasper @ 9:30 AM and arrive in Vancouver @ 8:00 AM.

It should allow a lot of daylight for viewing the Canadian Rockies.

One drawback: "This schedule will not permit a Panorama dome to be added between Vancouver-Edmonton on every Canadian, unless the third such car VIA owns is pulled from its current, every-other-round-trip assignment between Jasper and Prince Rupert, British Columbia."

Richard

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Gilbert B Norman
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97.5 hours Toronto to Vancouver!!

Two a week with an extra Edmonton to Vancouver.

What they really should consider is simply scrapping the timetable and institute "it runs when it runs and gets there when it gets there". Instead of booking a date of departure, you'd book a "run number". The passengers would be notified when that run will depart a particular station.

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yukon11
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:

Two a week with an extra Edmonton to Vancouver.

*******************
Maybe there is a reason, but I sure can't understand why just 2x a week between Edmonton and Toronto, even during the summer months.

I guess hoping for a daily Canadian is futile, to say the least.

Richard

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Gilbert B Norman
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Richard, betcha it has much to do with availability of "museum pieces".

I must wonder how much a national concern is needed to operate the several "only way in or out" services and the Quebec-Windsor corridor. I have always been baffled with a Parliamentary system; is national support needed to the extent as it is for any part of Amtrak to be viable?

If a private sector operator thinks they can make book on a scenic excursion through the less scenic passge over the Rockies, let them have a sit-down with the CN.

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David
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
[QB] Richard, betcha it has much to do with availability of "museum pieces".
...

QUOTE]

No, Mr Norman, that is not the reason. Although I can't provide a link now, VIA has said that CN is undertaking major track-work on the prairies next year, e.g. installing longer sidings and more stretches of double track. It is in VIA's interest to co-operate with CN for obvious reasons.

As for the "museum pieces" they are generally in good shape and very reliable. The backbone of the Canadian is the Manor sleepers, of which there are 40. During the peak season all 40 are in service; therefore there isn't a single spare. There are only eight sleepers and four Park cars that have been rebuilt as Prestige cars and, again, all 12 are in service simultaneously. Inevitably one is going to be bad-ordered. There are non-Prestige Park cars that can be used as a substitute and non-Prestige Château sleepers that can substitute for bad-ordered Manor sleepers. The configurations are different, of course, so there will be problems. In the case of the Château sleepers, two may be needed to replace one Manor sleeper in order to provide enough "cabins for 2".

The problem I have noticed with these antiques is the noise in many of them. There can be squeaking, rattling, banging noises, etc. But this isn't always a problem. I have just returned from a four-night trip on the Canadian. I splurged on a double cabin for myself and I was surprised at how quiet it was.

I do understand why you refuse to ride the Canadian, Mr Norman. For probably different reasons I refuse to ride Amtrak. But I do not go on-line and criticise an organisation I do not support through paying fares or through taxes.

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Gilbert B Norman
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David, I do note the maturity and respect with which you present your thoughts, and I thank you so much for it.

Unlike the USA, it appears that Canada (which I've been eleven km away from twice during each of the past five years) is willing to subsidize this tourist excursion train, which apparently needs such even with its stratospheric fares.

I of course recognize that tourism comprises a far greater part of Canada's GNP than does same down here. But how they can continue to obtain bookings from third party tour operators with the existing schedule reliability and then the absurdity of a 97.5hr Toronto-Vancouver schedule. Grief, you can drive the 4400 klicks in 39 hours, which leaves 58.5 hours for "tying up" and sightseeing - and have a "dead heat" with the train - if it's on time.

Further, what happens when a tour operator puts together some kind of a rail-cruise-air package, and a major component of such cannot be relied upon even to show on the day it is scheduled?

Even if I'm of age (77) to "do groups", I don't. But with that said there are plenty out there who are willing to pay big $,€,¥,£ to do so, for the privilege of "follow the little flag; don't get ours confused with some other party's", or the best one I can remember was last August in Salzburg where I briefly talked with a gal from SC on a Globus tour while at my hotel. I asked her "where's next stop"? She didn't know; "that's the Guide and Driver's concern".

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George Harris
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Mr. Norman:
I don't "do groups" either. Two reasons: My interests usually don't match any likely group and Cost. I have found that by using the locally available transportation systems I can travel for less, and usually far less than a group covering the same general sights. Our best trip of a lifetime was 6 days in Japan with a Lonely Planet guidebook for Japan, a Japanese Railways system timetable (in Japanese), a Railway Pass, and a general outline that was firmed up day by day. Almost every station of any size has a Japanese Travel Service office where we could find people that spoke and understood English and we could make hotel reservations for the next night. With this system, we could set our own pace, so on the day my wife wanted to take it easy, she stayed in the hotel and I went out and simply rode trains so that I could say I put a foot on all the main islands of Japan.

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David
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Mr. Norman, on my recent trip on the Canadian - as with others I have had since the schedule was lengthened to four nights - I have met many people. Not one of them had any concern that they could drive across the country faster than the train. Those in a hurry will fly. People are buying an experience, not mere transportation. In the six-month peak season the passenger loads continue to do well. Between Vancouver and Edmonton there are a minimum of 12 "regular" sleeping cars; between Edmonton and Toronto it is a minimum of eight. In addition there are two Prestige sleepers and one Prestige cabin and accessible cabin in the Park car. On most peak departures all cabin accommodation is sold out; a few berths are all that is usually available. In the off-peak the train is much shorter, but the only cabin accommodation available on my trip was two Prestige rooms (at $8700 each).

One of my other passions is Atlantic crossings on Cunard. From the time of my first crossing to the "mother country" in 1973 until the mid-1990s, major ships did the crossing in five days. When the price of fuel increased yet again, the last remaining Atlantic liner, the Queen Elizabeth 2, had its crossings lengthened to six days. When the Queen Mary 2 began service in 2004 the crossings were six days. A few years later they were lengthened to seven in order to save fuel. Everyone knows they can fly from eastern Canada and the U.S. to England in seven hours. That is not the point. Those of us who prefer to cross by sea are buying an experience, just like those who take the Canadian. I admit we usually have to fly one way across because there are not enough crossings to make a round-trip by sea feasible at the time we would like it, although we have been able to do so a few times.

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Gilbert B Norman
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
......But how they can continue to obtain bookings from third party tour operators with the existing schedule reliability and then the absurdity of a 97.5hr Toronto-Vancouver schedule.

Further, what happens when a tour operator puts together some kind of a rail-cruise-air package, and a major component of such cannot be relied upon even to show on the day it is scheduled?

David, while both Mr. Harris and I are on record as "we don't do groups" (while that lady I met in Salzburg likely knows nothing other), what should be of concern to VIA is that if the third party "wholesalers" (think that what they are known as) cannot rely on The Canadian to arrive in time for the next activity, then they simply will have no alternatives other than to offer "motorcoach". What if next "activity" is a cruise and the Love Tub sails with or without the delayed tour party? That is hardly going to help VIA's business.
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David
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
......But how they can continue to obtain bookings from third party tour operators with the existing schedule reliability and then the absurdity of a 97.5hr Toronto-Vancouver schedule.

Further, what happens when a tour operator puts together some kind of a rail-cruise-air package, and a major component of such cannot be relied upon even to show on the day it is scheduled?

David, while both Mr. Harris and I are on record as "we don't do groups" (while that lady I met in Salzburg likely knows nothing other), what should be of concern to VIA is that if the third party "wholesalers" (think that what they are known as) cannot rely on The Canadian to arrive in time for the next activity, then they simply will have no alternatives other than to offer "motorcoach". What if next "activity" is a cruise and the Love Tub sails with or without the delayed tour party? That is hardly going to help VIA's business.
I can add myself to the people who "don't do groups" except our own group of friends which of course is not an official group. As an aside, like you Mr. Norman, I fly only in the posh side of the curtain except on very short flights - and I also have a penchant for classical orchestras.

The reliability of the Canadian is a concern, to be sure. I am taking a cruise (even though we prefer Atlantic crossings, once in a while we want to go somewhere else) from Vancouver in the spring. I wouldn't risk a tight connection between the Canadian and ship and I don't want to go to the expense of arriving in Vancouver three days early. So we will fly.

Flying is not reliable either, of course. I wouldn't dare fly the same day from Toronto to New York to catch a ship. New York airports are notorious for being unable to handle the traffic which they book, so they look for any reason to return a plane to its origin. It has happened to me! On flights to or from Vancouver I have been delayed five or seven hours a few times and even 10 hours once. So leaving at least one day with no plans is prudent.

The confirmation of the latest VIA schedule was very late this year and I think it may impact tour operators for next year. They like to book long in advance.

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palmland
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Half the fun of taking the trip is planning it. So, no, we don't do groups except for a daytime excursion, usually in a van of 12 or less. We found them well worth it last year for both visiting the Normandy battlefields and Tuscan hill towns (when our 'group' totaled 4). The key for us is traveling light (we both had a suitcase that fits overhead and a backpack for our 3 week trip. This gave us some room for purchases that we didn't mail). A good guidebook helps too - we usually rely on Rick Steves' for 'the independent traveler'.

We last took the Canadian in 2013 before the schedule was lengthened and Prestige class restricted access to the Park car. I think I may choose to remember that trip (which arrived Vancouver about 30 min early) rather than deal with the uncertainties and expense of the current version. Although with a nephew working on Salt Island north of Victoria, never say never.

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Gilbert B Norman
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OK I lied.

https://www.panoramatours.com/en/salzburg/tour/?subType=regular-tours

I confess I have done tours, namely Sound of Music, Salt Mine, and Eagle's Nest, with this outfit. But after signing up, I was told I couldn't go on the Salt Mine account my age and being unaccompanied, so I went on an "Alt-Tour" to Koingsee, which was simply to "dump you" into a pit of tourist traps - including a "shrine" to actress Romy Schneider ("The Train").

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palmland
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Ok, GBN, I think you can be forgiven. I’m sure we all agree a one day excursion where we choose time and place is not the same as letting someone else do the planning for the itinerary and all activities, lodging, and meals.

Although, I have been intrigued by this company that seems to be a cut above most, if pricey. I chose this selection for you.

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Gilbert B Norman
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I have neighbors , he 71, she 69, who went on a Rhodes Columbia River Tour last year. To questions like "where are you flying into", "what kind of vessel", "sailing which direction", all I got was "who knows, it'a a Rhodes Scholar".

She needs to be "wheeled" at airports, he should be.

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yukon11
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I found your link to "Road Scholar", Mr. Palmland, interesting. Especially the "North of Napa" tour of Lake County. It seems, to me, that it might be cheaper to fly Alaska, into Santa Rosa, then rent a car for a trip up to Lake County. You could branch out to other interesting spots, such as Fort Bragg and Willits for the Skunk Train. A little further to the northwest would be Mendocino, which has great restaurants and was used for many scenes for the TV series, "Murder She Wrote" (with Angela Lansburgy). Also, plenty or wineries along the way. One caution, the Lake County area (along with much of Northern Calif.) seems to get a lot of really bad grass and forest fires every summer. Fires which could be abbreviate in areas burned and intensity if preventative management could be practiced, in my opinion.

Mr. Norman: I'm not familiar with the Rhodes Columbia River tour. I went on a Columbia River tour, sponsered my American Cruise Lines, a few years ago. Fun but I was overwhelmed by the cost. Something like you might pay for an expensive ocean liner cruise ship.

Richard

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Gilbert B Norman
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Richard, much as I like Lib and Dave in this life, their approach to travel is simply too passive for me. They just call a travel agent, give an idea of when they'd like to go, how much they want to spend, and "she takes it from there".

Even my Sister, for whom Australia (daughter and grandchildren) has become as regular a junket as mine to Austria, simply calls a travel agent even if just a flight only. However, I must say she told me this agent got her an LAX-SYD-LAX Business Class fare on Delta for $4K. That looks like a deal. Of course she still has to get to LA and back, but she has her favorite Jet Blue (I've flown 'em; theyr'e OK) for that which she is willing to do in Coach.

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