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Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
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grobrailman
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Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« on: Sep 2nd, 2012, 11:50am »
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Via Rail Canada's Ocean route lost 35 million according to Marc Laliberte president of Via Rail Canada.  The company remains committed to serving the Maritime region despite chopping its Montreal-to-Halifax service in half.
 
There will now be only three runs a week instead of six.  Ridership dropped to 133,700 last year.


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Norm_Anderson
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #1 on: Sep 3rd, 2012, 2:47pm »
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I appears as though they will be able to operate this service with two trainsets (does the current, every-day-except-Tuesday schedule require three trainsets?).  They might, under ideal conditions, be able to protect the schedule with a single trainset if departures were truly on alternate days, but as it is they seem to be planning service in both directions on Fridays and Sundays.  This may bespeak an appeal to "weekend getaway" patronage.
 
As we in the US have learned, this may be the start of a vicious cycle-- declining ridership triggers a reduction in service; then, as more people discover the train doesn't operate on the days they wish to travel, even more people choose alternate means of getting there, and ridership declines even further.  This may mean, "Ride it while you still can."
 
 
Wish it weren't so,
 
Norm


« Last Edit: Sep 3rd, 2012, 2:52pm by Norm_Anderson » Logged
jmlaboda
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #2 on: Sep 3rd, 2012, 4:44pm »
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"Wish it weren't so, "
 
Depending on how the elections go in the U.S. we may well be seeing the same thing happening by this time next year.  The GOP has made no effort to hide the fact that Amtrak is a target... despite the clime in ridership.


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Norm_Anderson
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #3 on: Sep 3rd, 2012, 9:38pm »
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Taking the ridership and revenue figures at face value (CAD$35 million lost per year on this train alone, and a ridership total of 133,700) yields the following:
 
The six-days-per-week schedule offered 312 potential "sailings" per year, with an average passenger load of between 425 and 430.  Obviously, not all were endpoint-to-endpoint riders-- for this tally, a 16-km ride from Amherst to Sackville (economy fare = $23) carries as much "weight" as the 1346-km ride from Halifax to Montreal (top-end fare = $532.45)
 
$35 million per year, divided among 133,700 riders means that VIA spent an average of $261.78 per rider, over and above the ticket cost (the "subsidy" for a family of four would be $1,047.12, regardless of length of ride).  This subsidy is paid by Canadians who aren't riding the train.
 
Stated differently, 312 sailings, at 1346 km from Montreal to Halifax, means that The Ocean service covered 419,952 km for the year.  The $35 million loss, spread across 419,952 km means that this train cost $83.34 more per kilometer than it received in revenue.  Sustainable?
 
Here in the US, where we have grown accustomed to talking about deficits in the millions of millions of dollars, $35 million sounds like petty cash.  But perhaps in Canada money still means something.
 
Canada's economy and budget are probably a lot like those of the US-- there are so many worthy projects, each dollar spent on "Project A" is a dollar not spent on another worthy project.  It's not a question of heartlessness, but of priorities.
 
"Tax the rich!" is a cathartic slogan, but even if you taxed them all into penury, there still wouldn't be enough cash to give everyone what they want.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


« Last Edit: Sep 4th, 2012, 9:01am by Norm_Anderson » Logged
grobrailman
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #4 on: Sep 4th, 2012, 12:16pm »
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Norm.
 
I agree with you,35 million dollars may seem like not much money but our government here in Canada is trying/to get the deficit under control and is facing some tough decisions and under great pressure.  I still feel bad about seeing rail service cut back because I know what will come next.
 
Via has upgraded (refurbished) many of their passenger cars and that as I see it is one reason for the 35 million loss.  They (via) and the government are all caught between a rock and a hard place.  It is a bad time for any crown corporation that is losing money.  Not everyone loves trains as much as
 railfans.
 
In my life time I have seen far too many rail roads fail, I still have many good memories but there still (to me) is nothing like ridding on a train.
 
Take care,
 
Gord.


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #5 on: Sep 4th, 2012, 1:22pm »
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Norm -
 
Heaven Help Us All! A "rail oriented" thinker with a calculator! In my own ruminating, I spotted it, too. That is, direct subsidy of $261.78 each ticket.  
No, it would not be of much help to add Mail runs to offset it.
 
Gord hints the $35 MM figure may be charges to Capital Budgets, not Operating Costs. This could be so, absent documents here about this figure.  
At the same time, public agencies notorious for misleading reports (they don't follow GAAP protocols).
 
In addition, in your own remarks, (and the computers can easily do it), it questions what the "average length of haul" for the riders using the services.  
Also note the geography tells us end to end is somewhere around an eight hundred mile haul. Your comments note the "end to end" figure misleading.
 
I'm not about to suggest solutions to a CDN issue. We have enough headaches Stateside. By now, most know my, "...take two aspirin..." fix?  
Encourage long riders to board "737" flights! (In a recent post, I noted attractions of air service on Billings, MT - Amarillo, TX.)...
 
.........................Vern....................


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ClydeDET
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #6 on: Sep 10th, 2012, 10:31pm »
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on Sep 4th, 2012, 1:22pm, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Norm -
 
Heaven Help Us All! A "rail oriented" thinker with a calculator! In my own ruminating, I spotted it, too. That is, direct subsidy of $261.78 each ticket.  
No, it would not be of much help to add Mail runs to offset it.
 
Gord hints the $35 MM figure may be charges to Capital Budgets, not Operating Costs. This could be so, absent documents here about this figure.  
At the same time, public agencies notorious for misleading reports (they don't follow GAAP protocols).
 
In addition, in your own remarks, (and the computers can easily do it), it questions what the "average length of haul" for the riders using the services.  
Also note the geography tells us end to end is somewhere around an eight hundred mile haul. Your comments note the "end to end" figure misleading.
 
I'm not about to suggest solutions to a CDN issue. We have enough headaches Stateside. By now, most know my, "...take two aspirin..." fix?  
Encourage long riders to board "737" flights! (In a recent post, I noted attractions of air service on Billings, MT - Amarillo, TX.)...
 
.........................Vern....................

 
Umm, IF (and a Devil of san if that is) you wanted to go direct to Amarillo (having been to, or rather through, Amarillo a few imes, it has few attractions) from Billings, an airplane would probably be the best way. Even for a railfan like yr ob't servant here writing.


« Last Edit: Sep 10th, 2012, 10:32pm by ClydeDET » Logged
HwyHaulier
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #7 on: Sep 11th, 2012, 11:46am »
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Clyde - All -  
 
I have little enthusiasm of straying this from the initial intent of thread. Simply a quick "back to you" that a long known  
phenomenon of US Rail: On traffic West of "the River", it an East - West pattern dating to the Transcon Railroad. It does  
not do well on North - South moves...
 
Still another example with Lubbock, TX - Fargo, ND. In the Rail days, it was a challenge then. Yet, today, it should be  
a good commercial traveler lane.
 
P. S. Latest intelligence reports? One can still get the huge Steak Dinner in Amarillo!
 
...........................Vern.......................


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ClydeDET
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #8 on: Sep 12th, 2012, 2:15pm »
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on Sep 11th, 2012, 11:46am, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Clyde - All -  
 
I have little enthusiasm of straying this from the initial intent of thread. Simply a quick "back to you" that a long known  
phenomenon of US Rail: On traffic West of "the River", it an East - West pattern dating to the Transcon Railroad. It does  
not do well on North - South moves...
 
Still another example with Lubbock, TX - Fargo, ND. In the Rail days, it was a challenge then. Yet, today, it should be  
a good commercial traveler lane.
 
P. S. Latest intelligence reports? One can still get the huge Steak Dinner in Amarillo!
 
...........................Vern.......................

 
About that steak dinner - yes, it is still to be had. If you are up to it (I'm not even going to try, myself). At least it was last September as we saw a billboard advertising it as we went through town.
 
As to north-south runs west of the Father of Waters, the decent ones were the Santa Fe Chicago-Texas services and the Rock Island Twin Cities- Houston services that ended with the Twin Star Rocket's demise in the mid-60s. I never rode that train north of Dallas, but it was a good one in the late '40s and through the '50s.


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #9 on: Sep 12th, 2012, 2:48pm »
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Clyde - All -  
 
Well, first get past the "Chicago radial" of ATSF. I don't immediately recall much significant North - South, other than ROCK ISLAND (Texas - Twin Cities),  
and C B & Q (C & S, F W & D). So that: Midland, TX - Spokane always a challenge?
 
......................Vern.................


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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #10 on: Sep 13th, 2012, 3:15pm »
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on Sep 12th, 2012, 2:48pm, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Clyde - All -  
 
Well, first get past the "Chicago radial" of ATSF. I don't immediately recall much significant North - South, other than ROCK ISLAND (Texas - Twin Cities),  
and C B & Q (C & S, F W & D). So that: Midland, TX - Spokane always a challenge?
 
......................Vern.................

 
Yeah, Midland, TX to Spokane, WA would be a problem at any time I'm familair with.
 
Gulf Coast to Denver was workable, even fairly fast woth only a change at Dallas or Fort Worth. From Denver, prolly have to be two trains. Denver to Omaha on train of choice, Portland Rose or City of Portland from there.
 
Of course there were LA-Pacific NW trains on the SP at most times.  But in the middle of the country, if you didn't want to go through Chicago (and i can see why you might not), Tejas to the Twin Cities was the longest N-S route without changing trains and whatever lay-overs were required to do it. Decent connections to the far northwest at the Twin Cities, of course.
 
I don't know if there wasn't more market than was served direct if somebody had just tried, or  if "The Chicago Hub works, so we'll just keep on using it" was the mantra.


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #11 on: Sep 13th, 2012, 4:51pm »
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Clyde -
 
SIGH! We are getting so far off track from original intent here of Rail to and from CDN Maritimes!
 
I'll get a P/M or E-Mail to you on some of the issues you noted. Part of it being the earlier "CAM" (Air Mail Contracts) were on a  
"Chicago Hub" concept. So that Joe Braniff ran between CGO and Oklahoma, and so on (and as just one example). The routings,  
of course, tended to replicate established rail...
 
There are a great deal of related issues, of course. And, tell us why someone would want to ride from Midland, TX to Butte, MT  
(among other city pairs)...
 
.......................Vern.................


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ClydeDET
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #12 on: Sep 13th, 2012, 5:12pm »
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on Sep 13th, 2012, 4:51pm, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Clyde -
 
SIGH! We are getting so far off track from original intent here of Rail to and from CDN Maritimes!
 
I'll get a P/M or E-Mail to you on some of the issues you noted. Part of it being the earlier "CAM" (Air Mail Contracts) were on a  
"Chicago Hub" concept. So that Joe Braniff ran between CGO and Oklahoma, and so on (and as just one example). The routings,  
of course, tended to replicate established rail...
 
There are a great deal of related issues, of course. And, tell us why someone would want to ride from Midland, TX to Butte, MT  
(among other city pairs)...
 
.......................Vern.................

 
 
Well, topic drift will happen - but the Canadian experience in many ways reflects or echoes ours, so issues can be related. In Canada, of course, almost all development (including rail) is east-west in the southern part of the nation, very little call for north-south operation.
 
As to why somebody would want to go from Midland to Butte in rail-dominant days, canlt imagine one. Now,m there are people who have oil and gas production and exploration expertise who might have call to do that. But i imagine an airplane would be the way to do it. Since we have aiplanes now...


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #13 on: Sep 13th, 2012, 5:41pm »
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Clyde -
 
Yep! I like the mea culpa here. You do raise vital points. Beats me what ever to happen with the Maritimes Services.  
I suspect the "long" riders (tho no one sent me the data) is heavily "tourist" in character. The segment is notoriously  
seasonal, too.
 
I'll wager the operators are doing the best they can with the cards dealt. Well, it is their problem...
 
...........................Vern.........................


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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #14 on: Sep 14th, 2012, 12:49pm »
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Well, we were planning to take the Ocean a few years ago, but things happened that caused us to drop that plan. Would have been very much a "tourist" thing, one-time trip, one way. Would, i suspect, still like to do it, but I doubt it will happen. Of course, would also like to take the Canadian all the way across. Doubt that will happen either.

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HwyHaulier
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #15 on: Sep 14th, 2012, 1:25pm »
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Clyde -
 
Indeed! There is much to be said for Tourist travel on the CDN Lines. I suspect on the Ocean Route, it is quite active with the group of riders.  
They actually want to look out the windows, and see the passing scene. Can't do that well on a 737!
 
.........................Vern......................


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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #16 on: Sep 14th, 2012, 11:09pm »
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No, not much to see from a 737. but a better view than a C-141 or Herky-bird...
 
Ocean, in the right season, has a Park car (Dome-sleeper), so there are some really good views to be had as you glide up the St. lawrence Valley and then on into Nova Scotia. We were going to fly to Montreal, or possibly Quebec, and then take the train to a stop short of Halifax, rent a car, take the ferry to Prince Edward island and tour a bit, then go to a nephew's wedding (he was engaged to a Canadian girl). Fly back. Uncle screwed that up, sent Michael's unit to Ashcanistan several months earlier than originally panned, so they rush the wedding up and made it a smaller deal. We didn't go.
 
I still think a trip on the Ocean would be a good ride. Thinking of domes, Amtrak needs to re-acquire a few, refurbish them and put them on the Cal Zephyr. It is a good ride with a some good views fromn Superliners, but a dome would be better.


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HwyHaulier
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #17 on: Sep 15th, 2012, 9:46am »
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Clyde -
 
Alas! The DOMES! AMTK inherited large numbers from (and incl.) CB&Q, ATSF, et. al. In most instances, very solid BUDD cars.  
With upkeep and repair, the Cars would last forever...
 
..........................Vern........................


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ClydeDET
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Re: Via Rail Ocean Route chops service in half !
 
« Reply #18 on: Sep 15th, 2012, 7:04pm »
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on Sep 15th, 2012, 9:46am, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Clyde -
 
Alas! The DOMES! AMTK inherited large numbers from (and incl.) CB&Q, ATSF, et. al. In most instances, very solid BUDD cars.  
With upkeep and repair, the Cars would last forever...
 
..........................Vern........................

 
Yep, that they did. Didn't keep them that long, though. Never did understand why. I believe most were acquired by folks who wanted private cars and a good many are still operating.
 
Grand Canyon Railroad has some, we rode  one when we went to the Canyon in '09. Wonderful ride, if too short. oh well. Amtraked to Chicago from Temple in '75, and there was an ex-CZ Sleeper-dome-obs on. Not too many people bothered to go back and climb up, but i can assure you I was not one of the folks who didn't take advantage. Great view as the train went through the Arbuckles as it headed for OKC from Ft. Worth.  
 
I figured the trip on the ocean would be better in a dome... As would the run west, especially once into the mountains.


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