Wednesday, March 25, 2015

VIA Rail to Return to CP Tracks Along Lake Superior?

Wouldn't it be great to ride a train here?

VIA Rail might be returning to CP tracks in northern Ontario, according to an article in Railway Age. 

The move is being planned after months of late arrivals due to track congestion on CN’s northern Ontario main line, compounded by slow orders arising from CN’s efforts to recover from two recent derailments. 

One option VIA is exploring is shifting to CP tracks between Winnipeg, and Sudbury, Ontario.

According to Railway Age, this is something Via Rail CEO Yves Desjardins-Siciliano hinted at last year.

In the article, he noted that shifting south to CP tracks would provide passengers on VIA’s iconic passenger train, The Canadian, with a more scenic route closer to the Great Lakes. At the same time, it would serve more communities.

If that happened, VIA passenger trains could leave CN tracks in Winnipeg, using the old CN Pine Falls Sub. (now Central Manitoba Railway) to access CP tracks in Transcona.

The trains could return to CN tracks near Parry Sound, Ont. (where the two railways employ directional running on each other’s tracks).

Interest in the idea is growing in Thunder Bay, which could once again host passenger trains for the first time since 1989, when VIA Rail moved to CN ‘s more northerly route.

But before it could happen, VIA would have to develop an agreement with CP, including training engineers to use the line.

Asked if that could happen this summer, a VIA spokesperson told the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal “at this time it would be premature to answer positively or negatively to this.”

CP won’t say if it is in discussions with VIA about the possibility.

At many levels, this is a long shot. I doubt CP is anxious to host passenger service, and CN may be reluctant to give up the revenue. But from a railfan’s perspective, it would be great to have VIA on CP tracks--it's way more scenic. 

If it happens, maybe VIA would also return to CP tracks through the mountains in Alberta and B.C. 

One can only dream . . . .

1 comment:

  1. Kenora instead of Mamaki
    Vermilion Bay instead of Red Lake Road
    Dryden instead of Sioux Lookout
    Thunderbay instead of Armstrong
    Ignace instead of Savant Lake
    Thunderbay instead of Armstrong
    Nipigon instead of Ferland

    I've made my point if people are going to ride the train the train needs to go where there are people