When VIA was created, there were two transcontinental trains, one on CN tracks and The Canadian, on CP. They ran daily. Then the government cut completely the one on CP (through Calgary) and shifted The Canadian name to the train running on CN tracks. Then service was cut to three days a week, then to two in the winter months and now to two all-year round. There is now no reliable train service for residents of Western Canada.
There are many things that can be done about this, and one of it involves rerouting The Canadian for the Toronto to Winnipeg segment onto the CP main line north of Lake Superior and off of CN.
Here are advantages of the switch to CP (with population figures in 000’s for communities along the way):
(1) A downtown stop in Sudbury (160k in the metro area) instead of 10 km east at Sudbury Junction with no transit connection to downtown,
(2) Fantastic scenery along the north shore of Lake Superior, assuming the schedule is adjusted to run there in the daytime,
(3) Picks up populations centres of Thunder Bay (122k area), Dryden (6k), Kenora (15k) plus several smaller communities, Chapleau (2.1k), Marathon (3.4K), Nipigon (1.6k), Terrace Bay(1.5k), while on the CN line losing only Sioux Lookout (5k) with most of the other communities under 1K,
(4) Several hours in total travel time can be due to the significantly lower freight volume on the CP line since CP routes most of its traffic through Chicago to southern Ontario – especially if the government pays to guarantee that sidings are lengthened to accommodate the longer freights, leaving VIA to stay on the main line, and
(5) By using the GO line to Barrie and using a short part (7 mile) of the Collingwood line to connect to CP, The Canadian would conveniently add the huge population in York Region to the market.
Transport Action will continue to closely monitor this situation and advocate our prospective solutions and ideas to appropriate key decision makers.