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Date: 01/08/20 21:54
VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: GenePoon

Too long to post here, and Trainorders would strip the photographs anyway.  Go to:

https://www.insider.com/via-rail-the-canadian-great-western-way-meals-food-review-2019-11



Date: 01/09/20 03:18
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: andersonb109

I wasn't aware there is "Business Class" on the Canadian. I'm sure the author is referring to normal sleeper fares.  Second, Amtrak should read this article and then  hang their heads in shame. Not only does Via serve excellent meals, you can actually order your entree prepared the way you want it (well done, no gravy, or even plain pancakes instead of the blueberry ones). And  serving staff is generally friendly and happy in their work, or at least give that appearance. Many have been in the same positions for years so they must enjoy their work and be well compensated. Many remember us "regular" passengers and our food preferences. And the diner actually looks like a train diner.....not a Micky Dee's on wheels. Lets hope they retain that ambiance when the latest refurbishment of these 1954 cars is completed (yes, Amtrak, you can keep old cars running with proper maintenance). Hm, wonder if Streamliner agrees with this review? 



Date: 01/09/20 07:34
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: jcaestecker

Shame indeed.  I look forward to dining on VIA in the future.

-John



Date: 01/09/20 08:34
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: viatrainrider

Article and post above absolutely correct!  My wife needs gluten free.  No problem;  a  call to Customer Relations in advance of the trip and the special food is on the diner including desert.  And not mentioned, the breakfast muffins are made fresh in the diner's kitchen!!   (Remember Southern Railway ads showing such?)  Muffins available at breakfast or in the wonderful Park car.  Last trip I needed V8 juice instead of high sugar orange.  None was on the car leaving Vancouver but per my request it appeared on the diner at Winnipeg.  Serving staff great!  As are sleeper and Park car staff!!  Regulars are often remembered by name!

Not sure how she had brunch so often.  With the exception of one day, my meals were usually breakfast, lunch, dinner.  Or has that changed with three nights from Winnipeg?
  Or did I read that wrong?  And it seems timekeeping has improved although schedule lengthened.  No problem for me!!

Only two problems for me:  1)  A WPG - Vancouver - Toronto - Winnipeg trip seems to put five pounds on me but sure enjoyed every bite!  2) My next boarding date at WPG on March 16, for a WPG - Vancouver - WPG trip trip with wife seems so far off!

I and others feel this is the best regularly scheduled passenger train in North America!



Date: 01/09/20 10:02
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: King_Coal

Alas, VIA won't allow for nut allergies. But I am looking forward to my next trip on the Canadian as I am not burdened with those. After a recent trip on the California Zephyr, I will attest it is a far superior experience in the diner and in attitude in general.



Date: 01/09/20 10:51
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: wtsherman100

Calling this a "regularly scheduled" passenger train is a bit odd.  It's routinely 24 hours or more late.  What is the point of a schedule?  It only runs twice a week (sometimes).  The Canadian runs so infrequenty and so late that calling it a passenger train in the sense that we have for years is a joke.  Its a tourist train like the Rocky Mountain.  

The level of service that Amtrak provides and the miserable food service are both seriously deficient.  But, can we stop comparing it to VIA's TWO LD trains?  Netiher of them is really a form of transit, neither of them are operated as a reasonable way to move from place to place.  At least Amtrak makes some attempt to do that (however inadequate).



Date: 01/09/20 11:49
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: ATSF3751

andersonb109 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I wasn't aware there is "Business Class" on the
> Canadian. I'm sure the author is referring to
> normal sleeper fares.  Second, Amtrak should read
> this article and then  hang their heads in shame.
> Not only does Via serve excellent meals, you can
> actually order your entree prepared the way you
> want it (well done, no gravy, or even plain
> pancakes instead of the blueberry ones). And 
> serving staff is generally friendly and happy in
> their work, or at least give that appearance. Many
> have been in the same positions for years so they
> must enjoy their work and be well compensated.
> Many remember us "regular" passengers and our food
> preferences. And the diner actually looks like a
> train diner.....not a Micky Dee's on wheels. Lets
> hope they retain that ambiance when the latest
> refurbishment of these 1954 cars is completed
> (yes, Amtrak, you can keep old cars running with
> proper maintenance). Hm, wonder if Streamliner
> agrees with this review? 

VIA Rail choice to continue operation of the 1950's Budd built cars has more to do with it's inability to order/develope state of the art rolling stock. A problem that probably has more to do with monetary issues then any desire on VIA's part to operate a rolling passenger car museum. 
The $$ losses on the VIA Canadian are probably significant and are not helped by high maintenance rolling stock that often require custom made parts. Further, there are inherent capacity issues that affect the efficency of these trains which also may contribute to the inability to easily reach a break even point.
Think of it this way: An Amtrak Superliner train, say one with 4 coaches and 2 sleepers has a capacity of around 75 in a coach, and up to 44 in a sleeper. So that would be 476 passengers.
A VIA rail train with Budd rolling stock would require arond 5 coaches (62 seats each) and 4 sleepers (22 beds on average) to equal the Superliner train.

The weight difference? Here is a comparison without non-revenue cars:
Amtrak 6 car Superliner train would weigh around 480 tons. (I used 80 tons per car as an average)
VIA Rail 9 car train would weigh around 585 tons. (I used 65 tons per car as an average)

Let's add the food and beverage cars:
The reality is that the Via Train would be further disadvantaged by the low capacity of an observation sleeper, diner, and dome cafe. The dining cars low capacity of 40 seats vs 72 in a Superliner diner. Once the Via train expands beyond a certain capacity, an additional diner may be required. A Superliner diner has sufficent capacity for most consists.  (A Budd diner probably also weighs more per seat then the Superliner diner. )
In addition, while the addition of the VIA train dome cafe does offset some of the diner capacity requirements, the low capacity of the dome area means many riders barely have a chance to sit in the dome, especially in the high travel months. A Superliner lounge has much more viewing space as well as a cafe. 

So, a newer generation of Superliners or similar, could even offer more efficencies then existing Superliners have, could significantly reduce the costs of to operate The Canadian without compromising comfort. 
The real question is this; which will last longer, The Canadian, or the slowly decaying Budd stock that will sooner or later be beyond the realm of economic repair or upgrades.

I've said it before, and will do so again........operating the 1950's Canadian would be akin to Air Canada deciding to return to Constellations and VIscounts.
Sure I'd love to ride in a Constellation again! But should I? 
I rode The Canadian twice, once under CP and the last time under VIA, and both trips were great and memorable. I ofter recommend The Canadian. 
But if we're talking about survival of this train, then holding onto the past will probably not yield the desired result. 

Anyway, all of this is of course IMHO. 



Date: 01/09/20 12:09
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: DrawingroomA

wtsherman100 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Calling this a "regularly scheduled" passenger
> train is a bit odd.  It's routinely 24 hours or
> more late. 
...
To claim the Canadian is "routinely 24 or more hours late" is simply an untruth. There was a period where very late trains were frequent, but recent schedule adjustments and the reduction from three to two trains per week - except three per week Edmonton-Vancouver in peak season - has resulted in a huge improvement. The evidence can be seen on the transitdocs site. 

I have had a few trips when I have been up to two hours early into major cities (Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto) but I wouldn't say the train is "routinely two hours early" because of that.
 



Date: 01/09/20 13:07
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: NYC4096

I can't wait for someone on this board to refer to VIA services as "experiental" or mainly intended for "foamers".
VIA provides a reliable, dignified and competitive service for travellers who prefer to use pax train services.
The VIA marketing and OBS people clearly understand the value of positive customer service and provide quality and comfort.



 



Date: 01/09/20 13:48
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: viatrainrider

Yes, today's #1 ls seven - that's 7 minutes late for Minaki!



Date: 01/09/20 18:35
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: PRSL-recall

NYC4096 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I can't wait for someone on this board to refer to
> VIA services as "experiental" or mainly intended
> for "foamers".
> VIA provides a reliable, dignified and competitive
> service for travellers who prefer to use pax train
> services.
> The VIA marketing and OBS people clearly
> understand the value of positive customer service
> and provide quality and comfort.
>
>
VIA certainly has my respect. Even running at 2x weekly as does the Canadian or 3x weekly for the Ocean they are certainly regularly scheduled trains serving travelers and tourists and with a fully-detailed timetable serving many intermediate points (in contrast to the Rocky Mountaineer). The Ocean is run with tighter economics but from all I've heard the food is very acceptable and palatable. Yes the fact that they can maintain older equipment in great condition shows that there is an interest in the service - and it shows that it can be done. Further I believe VIA has 4 trains in the long-distance category. Besides the Canadian and Ocean, certainly the Hudson Bay (Winnipeg-Churchill) and Skeena (Jasper-Prince Rupert) also qualify even though the latter does not carry sleepers in favor of a hotel overnight. VIA does not appear to have management types like Anderson / Coscia and Gardner. THAT makes a huge difference.  
>
>  



Date: 01/09/20 18:54
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: agentatascadero

I've long maintained that Amtrak should retain VIA in order to learn how to run a similarly great operation.  Other than both are passenger train operations, there really is no comparison in their operations, VIA is superior in just about every way, from call centers to station and on board staff, all demonstrate that they value their customers.  I'd be happy if I could do all my train travel in Canada, but my destinations are all in the US.

My strategy, in recent years, is to try to make one direction of a transcontinental trip across Canada, and visit all my destinations in the US on the "other direction"......via Amtrak.  In every case, my big bonus treat is the trip across Canada.

AA

Stanford White
Carmel Valley, CA



Date: 01/09/20 20:42
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: PHall

agentatascadero Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've long maintained that Amtrak should retain VIA
> in order to learn how to run a similarly great
> operation.  Other than both are passenger train
> operations, there really is no comparison in their
> operations, VIA is superior in just about every
> way, from call centers to station and on board
> staff, all demonstrate that they value their
> customers.  I'd be happy if I could do all my
> train travel in Canada, but my destinations are
> all in the US.
>
> My strategy, in recent years, is to try to make
> one direction of a transcontinental trip across
> Canada, and visit all my destinations in the US on
> the "other direction"......via Amtrak.  In every
> case, my big bonus treat is the trip across
> Canada.
>
> AA

So how many trains does VIA operate vs the number Amtrak runs?
The Montreal - Toronto - Windsor Corridor is VIA's version of the NEC. Service outside of the corridor can be considered minimal.
So comparing Amtrak to VIA isn't really fair.



Date: 01/09/20 22:02
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: pdt

OMG...

At least 1 person here has a brain.

VIA overnight train departures per week    10
Amtrak Over night train departures per week  about 125.
So are you all advocating that we reduce amtk overnight service to the CS 3 days a week, and the CZ 2 days a week, and NOTHING ELSE,
I expect there will be plenty of money for the foodies here to have there fine meals. 

So please answer me...is that what u want...10 departures a week, and better food service.  Id really like an answer from everyone here saying that if via can serve better food, so can amtk.   There is absolutely no comparison.  Ppl here want to have their cake and eat it too....



Date: 01/10/20 00:15
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: NYC4096

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> OMG...
>
> At least 1 person here has a brain.
>
> VIA overnight train departures per week    10
> Amtrak Over night train departures per week 
> about 125.
> So are you all advocating that we reduce amtk
> overnight service to the CS 3 days a week, and the
> CZ 2 days a week, and NOTHING ELSE,
> I expect there will be plenty of money for the
> foodies here to have there fine meals. 
>
> So please answer me...is that what u want...10
> departures a week, and better food service.  Id
> really like an answer from everyone here saying
> that if via can serve better food, so can
> amtk.   There is absolutely no comparison.  Ppl
> here want to have their cake and eat it too....

It's pretty obvious that VIA's quality dining services as well as other onboard services and best practices are part of a solid and successful business plan.   Their leadership has created a product that pleases the patrons and is consistent, reliable and stylish.  It has nothing to do with the amount of departures a week.  It has all to do with leadership, planning, training and positive customer service attitudes.  IMHO if VIA had 125 departures a week each trainset would be clean and presentable, OBS and food/beverage would be top shelf.  VIA's leadership has presented an enviable first class operation which benefits many.  And they are going to continue to provide quality.



Date: 01/10/20 03:02
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: ghCBNS

Canada has 1/10th the population of the US. On a per capita basis.....VIA carrys more passengers per year than does Amtrak.

Someone posted that Amtrak has 125 overnight departures a week where VIA only has 10...so about right. I was on the Ocean yesterday and it is NOT a tourist train. It was well used...making stops in the small towns especially in northern New Brunswick and eastern Quebec.

Posted from Android



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/20 03:10 by ghCBNS.



Date: 01/10/20 05:40
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: joemvcnj

The Canadian and the Ocean are two very different services. The Canadian is a hybrid.
There are no Prestige cars on the Ocean. Coach passengers cannot use the diner. 
There are only 1 - 3 coaches on the Canadian and it only runs twice a week. 



Date: 01/10/20 06:18
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: ghCBNS

Coach passengers can use the diner on the Ocean.. and a set price is noted in the menu.

Posted from Android



Date: 01/10/20 06:52
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: webmaster

The Canadian was the best train ride I have taken.  The experience is as close to a 1950s streamliner as you can get.  Nowhere else can you still ride a Vistadome and dine in a dining car with made on board meals.  I wouldn't care if the train was 20 hours late, when we went we did not want the experience to end. Unfortunately, our train arrived on-time in Vancouver.  That was 2008 wen the economy was falling apart.

 

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com



Date: 01/10/20 07:01
Re: VIA Rail Canadian food review
Author: King_Coal

You'd think at the higher frequency, Amtrak would be better at it.



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