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Canadian Railroads > Farewell to Nova Scotia...


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Date: 01/07/19 15:24
Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: DavidP

My wife and I returned from Halifax to Ste. Foy January 2nd on #15.  We were lucky enough to have brilliant sunshine and an all Budd consist, as shown in CN6218's award winning video :-) posted yesterday.  Anyone thinking about a VIA overnight trip but struggling with the Canadian's cost and timekeeping woes should consider the Ocean as an alternative. A few thoughts and pictures -

- Both our eastbound trip using Ren equipment, and the westbound with Budd equipment served pre-prepared food as is the norm on the Ocean.  It's quite good - certainly more than adequate for this trip.  Unlike Amtrak, VIA doesn't go cheap as possible with the presentation, instead using real china and cutlery.  I'm not sure if they get much of a labor savings vs. an Amtrak diner, as the Ocean's 48-seat diners were staffed by six people, but perhaps tighter controls on inventory and waste help reduce the cost.  Amtrak should consider this model for Eastern trains.

- There's always plenty of discussion here about the relative virtues of Renaissance vs. Budd.  I found the experience to be as others have reported.  The Ren cars are very smooth riding, quiet, and the room amenities well thought out.  But the small loading gauge makes for very narrow aisles and low ceilings.  The Budds on the other hand feel much roomier, but are showing their age in terms of ride quality.  Its really a matter of individual preference.  Of course, from an purely aesthetic standpoint, watching a seventeen car all-Budd consist from the Park car dome can't be beat.

- Ridership was pretty good, but I was surprised how heavily it skewed toward the coaches.  On our westbound train the Park car attendant said they had over three hundred in coach, but only fifty-one in sleeper.  The coaches seem to really fill up in New Brunswick - so much so an extra coach attendant works Moncton - Montreal.  Historically sleeper passengers made up a larger percentage of the customer base, but cheap flights and higher fares may have eaten into this business.  We chatted with various people we met in Halifax, and while most were aware of the train and spoke well of it, they also cited various instances in recent years where they had chosen to drive due to the less than daily schedule and fare cost.  As in the US, tri-weekly schedules seem to suppress ridership among those seeking transportation generally rather than rail transport specifically.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the westbound trip -

1-2) Sunset from the front window of Assiniboine Park's dome.

3) Moncton, NB

Dave








Date: 01/07/19 15:31
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: DavidP

A few more....

4) Nearing Sackville, NB

5) Shubenacadie Grand Lake, NS

6) Christmas lights in Tremblant Park on #14, Dec 29th.








Date: 01/07/19 15:35
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: DavidP

Three more arriving snowy Ste. Foy at 6:15am on January 3rd.

7)  The long Ocean consist requires a double stop at Ste. Foy, with the coaches and baggage car being the first

8-9) Ste. Foy station.








Date: 01/07/19 15:42
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: DavidP

Lastly, here’s a video made up of three clips taken from the Park car dome.  The first part is along Bedford Basin leaving Halifax, the second near Cumberland, NS and the third between Amherst, NS and Sackville, NB.

Dave

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Date: 01/07/19 16:01
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: kevink

Looks like you had a nice trip. All your images are great but I really like #3.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 01/07/19 16:08
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: stevelv

DavidP Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>Of course, from an purely aesthetic standpoint, watching a
> seventeen car all-Budd consist from the Park car
> dome can't be beat.

That's exactly what I was thinking when looking at your great post with an enjoyable video at the end.  Thanks Dave.



Date: 01/07/19 18:27
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: cn6218

Here ar a couple stills, taken just a few moments after the last clip in David's video ends, as the train crosses the Tantramar Marsh west of Amherst, heading for Sackville, NB.

GTD






Date: 01/07/19 18:56
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: Parkcar

Gorgeous shots and video, David.  I concur with all your thoughts on riding the train, and the differences between the Budd equipment and the Renaissance consist.  Having rode The Canadian a good number of times, one of my desires was to ride The Ocean and experience other passenger equipment. That opportunity came last summer when we flew from Calgary to Montreal, then the train from Montreal to Halifax for a family wedding and also our 40th Anniversary.  Due to train scheduling, it buggered up our plans but the train was important enough not to miss, even though it cost us a LOT more money and a day of sightseeing.

Anyway, I agree that the Budd's do not ride as well, but there is much more room.  I felt claustrophic on The Ocean; everything was tight, small, low.  The meals weren't as good as on The Canadian, but they were sufficient and nicely presented.  My craw was how tight our bedroom was and how everythingon the Ocean just seemed cramped, thus most of our time was spent in the Park car at the rear.  Once was enough but I'll gladly climb on The Canadian any day, the sooner, the better.  Here's a couple shots from our trip last year.  The VIA crew told me that they would be shelving the Renaissance equipment this winter as it perfoms miserably in the cold and freezes up regularly.  Looks like that came to fruition.

Out of Montreal on time and also at St Foy. One of the things someone can maybe assist me with is understanding what happens near St. Foy, as we got there after dark.  I recall that it seemed like we diverged from the mainline and headed ??? for about 15-20 minutes, across a viaduct and stopped in the middle of what seemed like nowhere, along a freeway.  Is that St. Foy?  The trip from diverging off the main and heading somewhere, then backing all the way out wihtout the use of headlights on the rear must be tough on the tailend Conductor (or spare engineer?). Thisoperation seemed counter-productive as we lost about an hour of time here and I'm not quite sure what the operation was.  Anyone enlighten me so I understand?
Cheers
Glen
Okotoks Alta








Date: 01/07/19 19:46
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: DavidP

Geoff, thanks so much for posting those pictures.  I can’t quite see myself in the dome window, but I was definitely there!

Glen, your trip into Ste. Foy crossed the St. Lawrence on the Quebec Bridge, infamous for collapsing not once, but twice, during construction in 1907 and again in 1916.  It currently has three highway lanes and a single track.  The Ocean deviates from the CN mainline at Charny, QC.  Both #14 and #15 head forward across the bridge, then reverse back after the Ste. Foy stop.  I haven’t seen numbers, but would venture a guess that it’s the route’s busiest intermediate stop with the possible exception of Moncton.

Historically CN trains to the Maritimes deviated from the main on a branch that served the ferry pier at Levis on the south shore, directly across from the old city of Quebec.  On our first Quebec trip in 1981 we used this connection.

Dave



Date: 01/07/19 20:07
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: gaspeamtrak

Excellent !!! I have travelled on the "Ren's" in coach on "The Enterprise" between Montreal and Toronto and it was "tight" for me at 6'6" tall and about 290 lbs. 
I would never go to halifax by coach, only in a sleeper...
The food  looked good....
Thank you for sharing !!! :):):)



Date: 01/07/19 20:38
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: moonliter

Glen, here is a map showing what DavidP explained.

1:Red Line Your train headed east thru West Jct on the Drummondville sub to Charny where it moved onto the Bridge sub now heading north across the Quebec Bridge, then west to the St Foy station.  The Ottawa/Montreal - Quebec City trains will continue west to Cap Rouge then then northeast on the Bridge sub to Gare du Palais.
(If your train would have stayed on the Drummondville sub (4) it would have stopped in Levis and passengers would have taken a ferry across to Quebec City.  I alway enjoyed the night view of the Chateau Frontenac, but unfortunately this line was abandoned.)
2:Green Line After all the station work is done your train reversed all the way back across the Quebec Bridge, thru Charny and continueing backing thru West Jct. 

3:Blue Line At this point your train continued its eastward journey thru Joffre Yard on the Montmagny sub passing St Charles.

4:Pink Line This is the old route would take on its way to Halifax. Today the line is severed.

Gerry Gaugl
Ottawa ON 




Date: 01/08/19 07:42
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: joemvcnj

I don't spend money on sleepers.I have avoided riding the Ocean to Halifax because I do not find REN coaches comfortable for overnight travel, having done so a couple of times on the Enterprise. They are day coaches, as are the LRC and HEP-II's.

Seeing a LD VIA train with 6 coaches, loaded, is unique to the Ocean. Unlike the Canadian, it is a means of transportation, not a novelty.
It should also run 6 - 7 days a week. When frequency was cut 50%, ridership declined 50%.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/08/19 07:49 by joemvcnj.



Date: 01/08/19 14:18
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: snoopy51

mmmmmmmm
What type off Eng is the 6345 ??



Date: 01/08/19 15:31
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: moonliter

snoopy51 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> mmmmmmmm
> What type off Eng is the 6345 ??

Built as a F40PH-2 by GMD in 1987, 6435 was rebuilt by CAD Lachine, QC between 2006-09 and re-designated as a F40PH-3.

Gerry Gaugl
Ottawa ON



Date: 01/09/19 10:54
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: Parkcar

Gentlemen, thank you immensely for filling in the 'gap' for this western railroader.  Being that it was dark and I am not familiar with the territory, this little off-the-main sojourn caught me quite by surprise and I had no idea what we were doing or where we were.  You explanations make perfect sense now and I appreciate you endeavor to edumacate me.  Still, this VIA operation seems counter-productive so I'll ask the question 'if the passengers from QC already have to take a transit to St Foy, to simply take them over to the mainline at Charny and save this train from the odd maneuver?  As a Conductor/Engineer, I keep thinking about the safety of the reverse movement in the dark, across the bridge and public crossings, with ho headlights or horn. 
Cheers
Glen 
Okotoks Ab



Date: 01/09/19 20:58
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: DavidP

Parkcar Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Gentlemen, thank you immensely for filling in the
> 'gap' for this western railroader.  Being that it
> was dark and I am not familiar with the territory,
> this little off-the-main sojourn caught me quite
> by surprise and I had no idea what we were doing
> or where we were.  You explanations make perfect
> sense now and I appreciate you endeavor to
> edumacate me.  Still, this VIA operation seems
> counter-productive so I'll ask the question 'if
> the passengers from QC already have to take a
> transit to St Foy, to simply take them over to the
> mainline at Charny and save this train from the
> odd maneuver?  As a Conductor/Engineer, I keep
> thinking about the safety of the reverse movement
> in the dark, across the bridge and public
> crossings, with ho headlights or horn. 
> Cheers
> Glen 
> Okotoks Ab

Glen,

I think VIA’s Charny station is located on bridge sub, so would require a backup move as well.  It’s also much smaller and unstaffed.  Ste. Foy is a sizable suburb - much more integral to the Quebec urban area.  It’s also home to Laval University, which I would expect is significant traffic generator for VIA.

Dave



Date: 01/10/19 04:57
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: DrawingroomA

It was only a few years ago that VIA started this manoeuvre to Sainte-Foy. Since the ferry to Levis was no longer an option, VIA had been using Charny. A shuttle service was provided between Gare du Palais and Charny.



Date: 01/10/19 07:14
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: joemvcnj

Can you reserve a Ste Foy - Gare Palais shuttle ? 



Date: 01/12/19 22:17
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: jp1822

The Ocean/Gaspe trains always did have descent patronage between Charny/St. Foye. Coach passengers between these two points were typically relegated to the coaches of the Gaspe train when the two were operating together, as I recall. 

Has St. Foye patronage given a boost to ridership on the Ocean? Better stopping here than at Charny? Longer travel time as a result, but I would think the increased patronage would pay off. They no longer have to do the split of the train to Gaspe and Ocean at Matapedia.

And to ask the dumb question - why not just back it all the way in to Quebec Station? I am sure there is a reason, but curious to know what it is. 



Date: 01/13/19 04:15
Re: Farewell to Nova Scotia...
Author: DavidP

jp1822 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> And to ask the dumb question - why not just back
> it all the way in to Quebec Station? I am sure
> there is a reason, but curious to know what it
> is. 

The public timetable shows scheduled time between Ste. Foy and Gare du Palais as between 24 and 26 minutes.....it’s a very circuitous route.  So that alone would add nearly an additional hour to the transit time.  In addition, I’m pretty sure Gare du Palais lacks platforms long enough to handle the Ocean, which sometimes runs with 20 or more cars.  Being a stub end terminal, double stopping isn’t an option.

As far as Charny vs. Ste Foy goes, I think the latter offers a much more substantial station with parking and checked baggage facilities.  Dwell time is about 30 minutes, which would tie up public crossings in Charny.  The extra backup time to reach Ste. Foy is about ten minutes in each direction.

Dave



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