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VIA Rail
#46
110 km/h average isn't much faster than today. Toronto to Montreal is 540 km, so that's 4.9 hours - which is about what VIA is doing today anyway, and 20% worse than what it was doing in the 1970's with the Turbo. Very disheartening.

EMU's running at 200 km/h with distributed traction (powered axles in all cars) permitting rapid acceleration removes (or at least lessens) the penalty of more stops, so maybe that's what we need to be looking at, too. This is the magic of the Shinkansen - the thing accelerates as fast as a subway, and you get to 300 km/h in a minute or two, so there's not much harm in adding an extra stop. Meanwhile, GO/VIA trains with big heavy Diesel engines take 10 minutes to get up to speed - so painful.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#47
Does anyone ever talk about acceleration? That does seem way more important than top-speed. Especially if it means not having to skip a number of small/medium cities.
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#48
(04-15-2016, 08:27 AM)SammyOES Wrote:
(04-15-2016, 07:28 AM)MidTowner Wrote: Especially as current speeds are not much worse than car travel, it seems like the train is losing because you can only take it from here to Toronto a few times a day, and even between Toronto and Montreal only ten times a day. If people in London or Woodstock or Kingston (or wherever in The Corridor) could go downtown and catch a train to Toronto at any given hour of the day, then that starts to make more sense than driving.

I think the train speed needs to be noticeably better than car speed for it to really catch on - regardless of frequency.  Cars have a lot of unfair advantages in people's minds:

1. They underestimate the cost of driving [Not to re-open the discussion, but just to make the point]
2. There's a freedom associated with a car that's not associated with taking a train [Even if some of it is a 'false' freedom because traffic/parking considerations wouldn't let them go where they want easily anyway]
3. The pain of driving [traffic] often isn't felt until after the decision to drive is made and you're in the car.

The whole point of VIA Rail's argument is that the freedom is more about schedule flexibility than speed. Schedule flexibility is probably cheaper to achieve than speed as well. And VIA wants to make the additional argument that you can then do stuff in the train which you can't in the car.

(04-15-2016, 08:45 AM)SammyOES Wrote: Does anyone ever talk about acceleration?  That does seem way more important than top-speed.  Especially if it means not having to skip a number of small/medium cities.

Yes, people are focussing on that with respect to high-speed trains in Europe now. Passenger loading/unloading always takes time, but if you can accelerate faster, you don't lose quite as much time at a stop.
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#49
The Japanese have known that acceleration is paramount right from the start - the type 0 Shinkansen in 1964 had every axle powered; the rest of the world has to catch up a bit in that regard. Even the mighty TGV still has an engine at both ends. Only the newest version, the AGV, has distributed traction motors throughout the train for better acceleration.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#50
(04-15-2016, 08:57 AM)plam Wrote: The whole point of VIA Rail's argument is that the freedom is more about schedule flexibility than speed. Schedule flexibility is probably cheaper to achieve than speed as well. And VIA wants to make the additional argument that you can then do stuff in the train which you can't in the car.

Sure, I get that's their point. I'm just saying I don't buy it (at least in the simplistic form).

Once train travel time is slightly better than car travel time - I'd agree that frequency is probably more important. But until then, I think lots of people will just write the train off.
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#51
(04-15-2016, 07:47 AM)BuildingScout Wrote:
(04-15-2016, 07:28 AM)MidTowner Wrote: It’s hard to say whether speed or frequency is more important in this case, since the article doesn’t mention what the actual speeds and frequencies are that are being proposed.

From the article: "Desjardins-Siciliano's plan envisions the construction of dedicated passenger rail lines for trains that would travel at an average speed of 110 kilometres an hour."

The UrbanToronto thread thinks the article is confusing average and maximum speeds, and mph and km/h.
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#52
That seems very likely - much better. That brings Montreal-Toronto down to 3 hours.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#53
That beats driving. If a sole traveler is heading from Montreal or Toronto to an urban location in the opposite city, he would be silly to drive five hours, risk getting stuck in traffic, and then pay for parking, if the alternative is a three-hour train ride during which he has the possibility of doing something enjoyable or maybe even productive.
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#54
(04-15-2016, 09:35 AM)SammyOES Wrote:
(04-15-2016, 08:57 AM)plam Wrote: The whole point of VIA Rail's argument is that the freedom is more about schedule flexibility than speed. Schedule flexibility is probably cheaper to achieve than speed as well. And VIA wants to make the additional argument that you can then do stuff in the train which you can't in the car.

Sure, I get that's their point.  I'm just saying I don't buy it (at least in the simplistic form).

Once train travel time is slightly better than car travel time - I'd agree that frequency is probably more important.  But until then, I think lots of people will just write the train off.

Already is, according to Google Maps and my experience. Google Maps says 5h by train and 5h8 by car from Montreal Gare Centrale to Toronto Union Station.
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#55
Just a note: the current VIA service is already faster than driving.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#56
PM Trudeau being asked about the VIA Rail proposal at Perimeter Institute right now. He hedged support, and didn't want to commit to any one proposal in particular. He was asked about HSR in specific but again he refused to commit.
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#57
(04-15-2016, 10:04 AM)Canard Wrote: Just a note: the current VIA service is already faster than driving.

Although not so much if you take into account the time getting to and from the train station.   At the moment, the train competes with the bus - we can surely do better than that!
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#58
Sammy’s post on the other page about people’s tendency to overstate the advantages of driving is a good explanation of why the train needs to beat the car’s speed, not merely match it. There’s also the issue of reliability: Via is not known for it. If a train if scheduled to take five hours, there’s a significant possibility it will take longer. Most of us who take Via even just occasionally have experienced lengthy delays on hot summer days, or cold winter days, or just whenever. West of Toronto, reliability is pretty poor. It’s not good anywhere I don’t think.

I also feel that bad transit in the cities Via connects undermine it seriously. Not in Montreal and Toronto, necessarily, but in their suburbs for sure. The total trip time for actual humans making travel decisions includes the time to get to the station. And, if they have to get into their car to get to the station anyway, it probably makes a lot of sense for them to continue in their car to their destination. Citing scheduled travel time from station to station doesn’t capture the whole picture.
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#59
(04-15-2016, 10:11 AM)panamaniac Wrote: Although not so much if you take into account the time getting to and from the train station.   At the moment, the train competes with the bus - we can surely do better than that!

Yeah, exactly.  I'm thinking door-to-door time.  

Just as an extreme example, I use to prefer doing an 8 hour drive than doing a 1 hour flight from NYC to my parents place because the door-to-door time was usually a bit faster and more reliable.  Plus much less co-ordinating with other people / modes of transportation.

Edit: Also, I was stuck more in the Kitchener - Toronto mindset and less about Toronto-Montreal.
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#60
Anecdatum: Door-to-door for me to get to the Toronto office from my house in Waterloo is 3 hours by public transit. I've done it twice, and twice have taken the bus instead since it advertised (but did not deliver) superior speed, and had a more frequent schedule that permitted me to actually leave at a time that made sense for the return journey.

None of these journeys were terribly pleasant (though the last time taking the return train it might've been because that was the night the Blue Jays lost the ALDS), but with my wife needing the car, I had no cost-effective choice.

At least the greyhound buses have improved since I was a student. Not in speed, keeping to schedule, or amenities... but at least in legroom and interior appearance.
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