Thread: Via rail
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Old Posted Jan 24, 2019, 4:38 PM
CityTech CityTech is offline
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Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
Although what's strange about that remark is that the HFR route they are promoting bypasses the small towns they currently serve and something like 1/2 as many total stops. Therefore, it doesn't see as if the small towns on the current route see much (any?) improvement in frequency as that route will still be owned by CN and crippled by freight traffic. Great for people traveling between major centres through because fewer stops means higher average speed and the major centres will be on the new route even if many small ones won't be.
The intermediate communities, especially Kingston, will see a significant improvement, for several reasons:

1) Lower fares. VIA uses a YM system to maximize fare revenue. This means that fares for trips to the intermediate stations can be quite expensive, because a seat sold to someone at an intermediate station is a seat that can't be sold to a through traveller. Prices from Kingston to Ottawa are often about the same as from Toronto to Ottawa! With the big haul intercity travel moved to the HFR line, the local services along the Lakeshore route don't have to compete for seats like this anymore.

2) Better scheduling for the needs of local communities. If you look at the train schedule between Toronto and Kingston, or Ottawa and Kingston, you'll note there is a large number of trips, but very badly spaced. There's 6 trains a day from Kingston to Ottawa, but the first trip of those 6 gets you into Ottawa for... 11am. So anyone from Kingston who wants to get into Ottawa before start of business day literally can't take the train. The existing trips are also poorly spaced; lots of situations where two trains to Toronto leave Kingston within 30 minutes but then a 2.5 hour gap.

3) Reliability will still improve, even with CN/CP track sharing. Because trains will start and end at Kingston, there's fewer distance for each train to cover, reducing potential for delay. Right now a Toronto-Montreal train will be 20 minutes late by the time it gets to Kingston and then 40 minutes late by the time it gets to Montreal; with the local service, that train would at least start on time in Kingston and then only be 20 minutes late by the end. Also, with clockface scheduling around the day, in theory it should be easier to coordinate scheduling with CN.

One thing that I do note though is that from Kingston to Toronto; current travel times vary from about 2 hours 20 minutes for express trains that go straight from Kingston to Toronto or have only one or two stops (typically Belleville or Oshawa), to 2 hours 40 minutes for milk runs that stop in Port Hope, Cobourg, Napanee, etc. The chart says 12 trips a day per way on the new Kingston-Toronto local line; that translates to a frequency of 1.5 hours. I hope those trips alternate between all-stops trips and express trips (that stop only at Belleville & Oshawa along the way), so that Kingston residents still get some express trips; also, 1.5 hour service would be an insane improvement for the smaller stations, even 3 hour service would be huge for the likes of Napanee and Trenton which now only get a handful of trips per day.
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