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Canadian Railroads > Hudson Bay Train - Train to Churchill


Date: 08/05/19 20:54
Hudson Bay Train - Train to Churchill
Author: jp1822

How many train sets are needed for the train to/from Churchill and Winnipeg and then the one that does a short turn at The Pas? So there's twice a week service from Churchill and Winnipeg and then once a week service between Churchill and The Pas. How does that service and train set swapping work per say and how many train sets are needed altogether? I would imagine the Winnipeg to Churchill service is geared more toward expansion with the tourists going to Churchill for the Polar Bears and Northern Lights? 

In recent Trains Magazine and as announced by VIA, Skyline Car is subbing for the Diner (the Skylines or at least certain ones have a grill and functioning kitchen area under the dome and then seating either in the cafe with tables or lounge area aka "coffee shop" as originally laid out with couches); the Hudson Bay trains now including a Park Car (all Hudson Bay trains can be outfitted with a Park Car since VIA has extras). There are plenty of Park Cars to go around to outfit the Hudson Bay Trains year-round if VIA wanted to. It's Diners that are short due to the overhaul they are getting, and Skylines that are being spread thin due to their subbing for Diners and peak Canadian train season. Typically the VIA overnight trains have more sleeper than coaches, but the Hudson Bay train had only one Chateau sleeper and at least two coaches (local traffic can be steady due to the necessity of the area the train serves. Course there are are three double bedrooms in the Park Car and one triple bedroom. It was mentioned that additional Chateaus would be added during peak season which is I think upon us right now - or at least the later part of the year till like November/early December (Northern Lights).    

Anyone have any recent pictures of the Hudson Bay Train? Does the Park Car and Skyline Dome make the train more interesting or exciting to take, as opposed to the old standard consist that was just a baggage car, few coaches, full service diner (seasonally), and one to two Chateau cars? I realize people have commented that the scenery can be a little dull or monotonous, especially with a top speed of like 40 mph.......The latest schedule of this train is not necessarily the best if it operates on the schedule, but rarely does (long day-time layover in one direction at Thompson, and then early morning arrival departure the other way). VIA still preserves the arrival and departure time at Churchill, but at the expense of Winnipeg (the 8:30 pm departure from Winnipeg northbound so as to do a same day connection with the Canadian is gone, and so to is the early morning arrival southbound). All lengthened schedule now days. 



Date: 08/06/19 03:10
Re: Hudson Bay Train - Train to Churchill
Author: andersonb109

Even if there were a planned connection with The Canadian at Winnipeg, it would rarely be met, even with the again lengthened schedule given the never ending poor time keeping of the train. As for the domes, they would greatly enhance the trip no matter how boring the scenery. 



Date: 08/06/19 04:30
Re: Hudson Bay Train - Train to Churchill
Author: DrawingroomA

Because of a recent police search for two murder suspects who were seen in Gillam, there had been some photos of the Churchill train available on-line. I can't locate any of the  good photos of the Churchill train with a Park car, but a Google search led me to this grainy one. I have seen  a better photo whch clearly shows a Skyline car, two Chateau sleepers and a Park car.
 




Date: 08/06/19 05:46
Re: Hudson Bay Train - Train to Churchill
Author: CNStratford

I am going to answer your question based on personal experience on a tour organized by Rail Travel Tours of Winnipeg  http://www.railtraveltours.com/
As far as I could tell, there are three complete train sets.  There must be some extra Chateau cars as our travel group was given an extra sleeping car.
On Sunday July 7 we set off - two units, baggage car, two coaches, Skyline(in place of a dining car which is undergoing refurbishment),two Chareau cars, and a Park Car.
The crews did an amazing job via the Skyline of feeding our tour group of 38 plus another tour group of 40 who got on at Thompson .  I figure the cook was a magician.

Because of excess heat, the speed limits on the southern Manitoba subdivisions were quite low.  We were already late by Dauphin.  By cutting the Thompson stop short, we gained some time but we were still several hours late into Churchill. Because the VIA head-end crew required eight hours rest, the southbound train left late.  Thie train set we came up was only going back as far as The Pas.

Our travel group had a great time in Churchill - good tours.  We were stunned by the fact that our bus had a gun above the driver to tell Polar Bears to stay away.  The driver took it with him whenever we were out looking at things.

While we were in Churchill, the service train with the groceries in refrigerated vans arrived.

Our tour was to leave Churchill at 19:30 on Thursday July 11.  However the train from the south which had left Winnipeg on Tuesday came in almost 12 hours late.  Our departure was scheduled for 3am to give the VIA locomotives crews their mandatory rest.  Still, the VIA on-board crew was kind enough to let us board at midnight.  Interestingly we got to see Gillam in daylight.  Hard to realize that the town would become so famous a few weeks later.

At Thompson, the northbound train which had left the Pas earlier with the train set we had taken up to Churchill was sitting on the south leg of the wye into Churchill.

We finally got to Winnipeg at 3am on Sunday July 14.  Because the station was not open,we were allowed to sleep on the train until 6am.  We checked into our nearby hotel at 6:30am.  Our train set which had 87 faults logged against it was repaired and on its way ionly 30 minutes late for its next trip to Churchill.

I will make a new posting with pictures since you are interested.
Bob Meldrum
Ottawa



Date: 08/06/19 08:45
Re: Hudson Bay Train - Train to Churchill
Author: jp1822

CNStratford Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am going to answer your question based on
> personal experience on a tour organized by Rail
> Travel Tours of
> Winnipeg  http://www.railtraveltours.com/
> As far as I could tell, there are three complete
> train sets.  There must be some extra Chateau
> cars as our travel group was given an extra
> sleeping car.
> On Sunday July 7 we set off - two units, baggage
> car, two coaches, Skyline(in place of a dining car
> which is undergoing refurbishment),two Chareau
> cars, and a Park Car.
> The crews did an amazing job via the Skyline of
> feeding our tour group of 38 plus another tour
> group of 40 who got on at Thompson .  I figure
> the cook was a magician.
>
> Because of excess heat, the speed limits on the
> southern Manitoba subdivisions were quite low. 
> We were already late by Dauphin.  By cutting the
> Thompson stop short, we gained some time but we
> were still several hours late into Churchill.
> Because the VIA head-end crew required eight hours
> rest, the southbound train left late.  Thie train
> set we came up was only going back as far as The
> Pas.
>
> Our travel group had a great time in Churchill -
> good tours.  We were stunned by the fact that our
> bus had a gun above the driver to tell Polar Bears
> to stay away.  The driver took it with him
> whenever we were out looking at things.
>
> While we were in Churchill, the service train with
> the groceries in refrigerated vans arrived.
>
> Our tour was to leave Churchill at 19:30 on
> Thursday July 11.  However the train from the
> south which had left Winnipeg on Tuesday came in
> almost 12 hours late.  Our departure was
> scheduled for 3am to give the VIA locomotives
> crews their mandatory rest.  Still, the VIA
> on-board crew was kind enough to let us board at
> midnight.  Interestingly we got to see Gillam in
> daylight.  Hard to realize that the town would
> become so famous a few weeks later.
>
> At Thompson, the northbound train which had left
> the Pas earlier with the train set we had taken up
> to Churchill was sitting on the south leg of the
> wye into Churchill.
>
> We finally got to Winnipeg at 3am on Sunday July
> 14.  Because the station was not open,we were
> allowed to sleep on the train until 6am.  We
> checked into our nearby hotel at 6:30am.  Our
> train set which had 87 faults logged against it
> was repaired and on its way ionly 30 minutes late
> for its next trip to Churchill.
>
> I will make a new posting with pictures since you
> are interested.
> Bob Meldrum
> Ottawa

Thank you - very nice! Great info and thanks for taking the time to explain. It's my impression Winnipeg now has some extra Chateau sleepers to "add on" to the trainset specifically for tour groups as needed. I would think this train is more "appetizing" with the Skyline Dome and Park Car as opposed to just the Diner as being the main "service" car. VIA certainly doesn't have to "staff" the Park Car. 

I remember the days that the Canadian would pull into Winnipeg at 2:30/3:00 pm like clock work, and be out by 4 pm. Then the same day connection was made with the train to Churchill that would leave at 8:30 pm. Sometimes it would be in the station when the Canadian would leave at 4 pm. This is back in 2005 or so. Back before the 2010 Canadian schedule change (when things went really off the rails with scheduling) and before the Churchill train was further lengthened in trip time. Connectivity among the VIA long distance trains is at its worst now, even with the poor time-keeping. There was a time not too long ago - even in the 21st century - when it all could be done. VIA was even sentimental to have the overnight Enterprise in place to establish a link between the Ocean-corridor train-Canadian. 



Date: 08/06/19 16:28
Re: Hudson Bay Train - Train to Churchill
Author: 4489

andersonb109 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Even if there were a planned connection with The
> Canadian at Winnipeg, it would rarely be met, even
> with the again lengthened schedule given the never
> ending poor time keeping of the train. As for the
> domes, they would greatly enhance the trip no
> matter how boring the scenery. 

PLEASE provide proof to another one of your Canadian bashing posts!!!!  Getting tiring!



Date: 08/07/19 06:46
Re: Hudson Bay Train - Train to Churchill
Author: CNStratford

To Bruce Anderson and other VIA bashers, please just enjoy what we have.  People often ask me about getting annoyed with the tardiness.  My answer is "No it usually gives me more time to enjoy the train experience."  Certainly a late train is more fun than waiting in an airport for a delayed flight.

The attached picture is interesting.  The bridge in the background is CN Rail's bridge over the Red River in Winnipeg.  While watching an excellent ball game between Winnipeg and Denver, ten huge intermodal trains passed.  One had to wait for almost 20 minutes to get a track to proceed.  I figured each one carried millions of dollars of merchandise.  No wonder passenger trains get delayed.

On the north trip much of the delay was attributable to slow orders to mitigate "heat kink" worries.  Who cares?  More time to enjoy the train and the companionship.  Somehow the crew always managed to feed us even when the delay necessitated extra meals.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/19 06:47 by CNStratford.




Date: 08/08/19 14:36
Re: Hudson Bay Train - Train to Churchill
Author: viatrainrider

Thanks to all who provided info on VIA 693/692 as I am departing on my 21st trip there Oct 6! I hope I get lucky enough to have a Skyline and non Prestige Park!
As for Bruce, I don't think he is Via bashing and believe he loves Via 1-2! I am getting tired of Bruce bashing! While I may not agree with everything he has said over the years, his VIA comments run close to my experiences and I am a huge fan of VIA!! HUGE!!!

Posted from Android



Date: 08/08/19 14:36
Re: Hudson Bay Train - Train to Churchill
Author: viatrainrider

Thanks to all who provided info on VIA 693/692 as I am departing on my 21st trip there Oct 6! I hope I get lucky enough to have a Skyline and non Prestige Park!
As for Bruce, I don't think he is Via bashing and believe he loves Via 1-2! I am getting tired of Bruce bashing! While I may not agree with everything he has said over the years, his VIA comments run close to my experiences and I am a huge fan of VIA!! HUGE!!!

Posted from Android



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