Thursday, January 11, 2024

VIA Ventures in Service, Part 1

As of January, 2024 and with the delivery of the twelfth Siemens Venture set, I split this Siemens Venture post originally published on September 21, 2021.  Siemens Venture sets in service on CN's Kingston Subdivision (Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto) were maintained in this post until May, 2024 when a third post emerged from the original post. Below is the ever-growing list of Trackside Treasure posts on VIA's Siemens Venture trainset implementation:
For your ticket-booking benefit - Venture car seating diagrams: Business, Economy, and cab car. The direction of travel changes during booking, so disregard it here. Someone's selected seats are in yellow. Purple means premium, X for groups of three or four, green available.
Seats with no/poor window views (all rows shown include seats A,B,C,D):
  • Car 3: Rows 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15.
  • Car 4&5: Rows 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 16.
APRIL 2022 UPDATE: VIA's first Siemens trainset made its way west on CN's Kingston Subdivision this week, passing through Kingston at 0900 en route to Toronto, London, and Windsor! Westbound as VIA No 649, eastbound at 1900 on Thursday heading back to Montreal as VIA No 628. Coupled to GO 654 at TMC, VIA rolled the dice by backing the consist around the east leg of the TMC wye, the most treacherously-curved track in VIA operation! The speedster tackled the 30 mph CN Oakville Sub back east to Toronto and survived!

AUGUST 2022 UPDATE: Set 1 was testing in SW Ontario Guelph Sub, arriving in Toronto August 6, 2022 at 1130, through Kingston at 1430 (top photo). Sometime after arrival at the MMC, locomotive 2201 became the power for Set 1, with 2200 kept at the MMC.

NOVEMBER 2022 UPDATE: After a couple of employee-only runs between Montreal and Ottawa, the first Siemens revenue run took place November 8, with 2301 leading VIA Nos 33 and 26 on the same run. Further unannounced revenue runs took place into December, resuming again in mid-January still on 33/26.

MARCH 2023 UPDATE - VIA 2301-2202 (Set 2) made a test run to Toronto on March 8, returning east on March 9. Here is the westbound VIA No 627 at 1355, (image courtesy Railstream, LLC):
APRIL 2023 UPDATE: Another VIA all-stops test run with Set 3 (leader 2203/cab car 2302) was made from Montreal to Toronto and the TMC on April 4 as VIA No 627. The test train will be returning east all-stops on April 5 as VIA No 656. Fifteen minutes after sunset westbound at Mi 179 Kingston Sub at 1955:
MAY 2023 UPDATE: Set 3 made a test run west from Ottawa to Toronto as VIA No 649. Departing Fallowfield 1620, Brockville 1739, Kingston 1836 (below). Thanks to Michael Judge for the heads-up! Set 3 returned east the same night: Belleville 2240 and Kingston 2315. Set 3 may now be in service on VIA No 24, meaning two days' worth of two Siemens sets as the rotation is VIA Nos 20/37/24, though not on Tuesday's 33/26 as before.
Belleville at 1907 (image courtesy Railstream, LLC):
Inquiring minds want to know - about 'spare' locomotive VIA 2200, according to this Access to Information request from May:
JUNE UPDATE: Set 4 made a test run from Ottawa through Smiths Falls to Brockville on June 6, then from Ottawa to Montreal the next day. 

I'm going to officially call them Venture consists, not Siemens consists from now on!

JULY UPDATES: The sod-turning for the new Venture fleet maintenance building under contractor Buttcon Limited at the TMC was held July 10. Featured in the photo-op, Set 4 made a trip from Montreal to Toronto as VIA No 657 on the evening of July 9 through Kingston around 2050, departing Toronto around 2000 west to Windsor on July 10 as No 667 behind VIA No 79, and returning to Montreal. After stopping in London for a $25 million station funding announcement, Set 4 went east through Kingston around 1800 as VIA No 656. Trainset deliveries are meeting the anticipated 4-6 week interval, with a commercial launch predicted for September to coincide with the reinstatement of VIA No 651 (and possibly other pandemic-suspended trains in Southwestern Ontario), ending the year with 10 trainsets on the property.

AUGUST UPDATE: Set 2 was observed at the TMC over the long weekend in August, there for crew training. Set 2 was eastbound through Kingston on August 31, running east as VIA No 656.

SEPTEMBER UPDATES: Set 4 is in service. Some reports say Toronto crews have been trained, that includes running trades and on-board service. Other reports note that a Montreal crew operate the train to Toronto, where it can be fuelled and watered and run back to Montreal, at least until maintenance facilities are built. A report from Quebec of VIA Nos 26 and 28 may mark the first day two sets were in use - September 18. Set 3 was the first revenue run on the Kingston Sub (Montreal-Toronto) took place on September 21. I'll now be able to track implementation, rotation and sets in service through Kingston. That's much more of interest to me than just Quebec-Montreal-Ottawa.

OCTOBER UPDATES: Posted to social media par Luc - the location of Sets 2 to 6 as of Friday, October 6. Note that Set 3 has stayed in Toronto since it arrived in the first, and only revenue run to Toronto as VIA No 63. There are also reports explaining Set 6's very late 0119 arrival at Ottawa after mechanical failure re: brakes on what may have been a VIA No 37 (perhaps Set 5?) earlier on Friday. Sets 2, 5 and 6 are in service in the Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec lanes. Set 3 returned from TMC on October 17 as VIA No 40. The first revenue Toroto-Ottawa Siemens run, and no doubt getting into position for further Kingston Sub revenue runs beginning October 24.
 Sets 3,4 6 and 7 are in use on the eve of the regular Ottawa-Toronto service:
On October 24, it was Set 3 entering regular service here, operating as VIA No 41; on October 29 Set 2 was operating as VIA No 43, looking like a change of Sets after the weekly trip to the MMC on this first Friday. Six sets in recent service!
Six sets again after another weekend change at MMC with Set 6 operating on VIA No 43 November 5:

  • Another weekend, another change of sets with Set 6 operating as No 43 Sunday, November 5 and likely the week to come. 
  • Still in service November 12, though. No change of set this week.
  • Sunday, November 19th saw Set 3 on VIA No 43. Some have noted that the SIIX reporting marks are now being removed.
  • Sunday, November 27th saw Set 7 on VIA No 43.
    • Sunday, December 3rd it was Set 4 on VIA No 43, and again on December 10. 
    • Siemens rotation changes afoot on December 11 (see excerpt from diagram by Doug Bardeau (below) with seven sets  (Sets 2 to 8) in use. Set 6 on VIA No 43 Fri. Dec.15!
    • Sun. Dec. 17, Set 2 was VIA No 43; Tues. Dec. 19 Set 7 was VIA No 41-46; Set 6 was VIA No 41-46 on Tues. Dec.26.
       JANUARY 2024 UPDATES: 

    Effective December 28 - now a two-set per week schedule on the CN Kingston Sub (above - despite still being dated December 11)
    • Mon. Jan.1 Set 2 was VIA No 45 Tues. Jan.2 Set 7 was No 41, Set 4 was No 43 on Fri. Jan.5
    • Sun. Jan.7 Set 4 was VIA No 43; Wed. Jan.10 Set 6 was VIA No 41.
    • Tues. Jan. 16 Set 4 was VIA No 41; Thur. Jan.18 Set 7 was No 41.
    • Sun. Jan. 21 Set 4 made an equipment move from MMC to TMC as VIA No 657, with LRC consists operating as No 43-646; Set 4 was No 43 on Jan.26.
    • Wed. Jan. 31 Set 4 was still in use on No 41. As the month ends, VIA's roll-out of newly-delivered sets remains glacially slow. Only six sets in regular service at any given time.
    • Set 8 was VIA No 41 on Thurs.Feb. 1.
    • Set 6 was VIA No 45 on Mon. Feb. 5; Set 4 was VIA No 41 on Wed.Feb.7; Set 8 was VIA No 41 on Thurs. Feb 8. and 43 on Fri. Feb.9.
    • Set 8 was VIA No 48 on Mon.Feb.12. The last of eight sets commissioned, with four in commissioning; Set 1 used for testing is awaiting a major retrofit. Set 9 was in use as No 646 on Thu.Feb.15.
    • VIA Nos 43(returning as 668) had Set 9 and 63(*new returning as 54) had Set 5 on Fri.Feb.16. This appears to be the beginning of two sets per day, with Ventures expected on 643-46 on Sat.Feb.17 (*new-until now no Ventures on Saturdays), 43-646 and 45-668(*new) on Sun.Feb.18, and Mon.Feb.19 Nos 45-48 and 61-46(*new). Two consists are not yet reflected on VIA's New Fleet webpage. Oops, they must have read this - now posted Tuesday, February 20! Here's the new two-set summary and first week's Sets in service if known, followed by diagram by Doug Bardeau:
    • Mon 45-48 Set 7 Feb. 19; 61-46 Set 9 Feb.19
    • Tues 41-46; 45-48
    • Wed 41-46 Set 4 Feb.21; 45-48 Set 9 Feb.21
    • Thu 41-646 Set 4 Feb.22; 45-668 Set 9 Feb.22
    • Fri 43-668 Set 4 Feb.23; 63-54 (LRC Feb.23)
    • Sat 643-46
    • Sun 43-646; 45-668
     The second week of the two-set schedule (unconfirmed in brackets):
    • Mon.Feb.26 61-46 was Set 2; 45-48 was Set 4 
    • Tues.Feb.27 Set 2 was (45)-48; 
    • Wed.Feb.28 Set 3 was 41-46; Set 2 was 45-48
    • Thu.Feb.29 Set 4 was 41-646; Set 2 was (45)-668
    At the end of February, there were routinely seven sets in use, possibly eight! Following the ground-breaking last July, demolition at VIA's Toronto Maintenance Centre continues (Trackside Treasure collection) with the last of the left-hand building extension gone by Feb. 28:

    • Fri.Mar.1 No 43 was Set 4 (above); nine minutes later, 63-(54) was Set 2 (below). I would venture to say they seem strangely similar. Friday is the only day of the week this timing occurs. Streetcar-like headway! With the three-consist schedule (see below) No 643 will be one hour earlier, meaning three westbound Ventures in about an hour on Fridays!
    • Sat.Mar.2 VIA No 643 was Set 2
    • Sun.Mar.3 No 43 was Set 3; No 45 was Set 2; (Set 11 inaugural trip in service to Quebec City)
    • Mon.Mar.4 No 48 was Set 3; No 61-46 was Set 2
    • Tue.Mar.5 No 41 was Set 9; No 54 was Set 11 (third trip in Corridor)
    • Wed.Mar.6 No 41 was Set 9; No 643-54 was Set 11; No 45 was Set 2
    • Thu.Mar.7 No 41 was Set 3; No 643 was Set 11; No 45 was Set 2; 
    • Fri.Mar.8 expect No 43 to be Set 3; No 643 to be Set 11; No 63 to be Set 2.
    What's this? A third set on the Kingston Sub (in Doug Bardeau's diagram)? Later posted to VIA Rail website effective March 3:
    Now that we're almost a week past the introduction of three daily trips through Kingston, I'll wait until a fourth set is introduced, or new sets like Set 10, or Set 12 and above are put in service, to track more updates.
    • Set 12 made a test run to SW Ontario and was in London on March 11.
    • As of mid-March, there are eight sets routinely in use:
    • Southwest Ontario soft launch! March 19's VIA No 73/78 were covered by Set 2. First revenue run west of Toronto! Looks like it was a one-off though, not the beginning of an extended rotation. 
    • Set 12 was still in Toronto as of March 27 and beyond.
    This could be a first. All of the first 11 sets have recently been in service as of Saturday, March 30. Note Set 1 arriving at Quebec City as VIA No 26 (at 2023 h):
    It was expected that an eighth Venture set will replace the last LRC consist in the Quebec-Montreal-Ottawa lane on April 16. (This leaves the Q-M-O lane all Venture except for a lonely Ren set). Additional trains through Kingston will be on Nos 61-54 Sat and 643-54 Sun. The rest of the week, this eighth set will run M-O-Q. Reports of the last non-Ren (LRC) consist operating M-O-Q were on April 8, and this new schedule actually debuted one week sooner than expected. The only discrepancy between Doug's April 9th diagram and the listings on VIA's new fleet schedule page is a visually confirmed Venture-equipped No 53 departing Ottawa at 1148 on Wednesdays, not No 45 departing Ottawa at 1027. TBD.

    Sets 3 (with passengers) and 4 (deadhead) were a J-trained VIA No 61 on Monday, April 22. Video link and thanks to Lion Liu for the heads-up. Reason for the first-on-the-Kingston-Sub (not including the far east end beyond Coteau) Venture J-train were not initially known, some accounts indicate a fire, though apparently not serious. Arr. Toronto 2 hrs late. Set 4 continued west in service on April 23 as No 83, likely returning as VIA No 70 on April 24, then staying at the TMC until at least May 1.
    Nine sets in use as of April 23. Note neither of the J-trained sets left Toronto for 24 hours. Ten sets are in regular use:
    Set 13 left the TMC, as non-revenue VIA No 636 on April 25, for the first time after its delivery there on Feb.18. 


    Mike said...

    Yup, I can confirm that I am on a Venture set VIA#46 departed Toronto at 1532 today, March 13. Nice train!

    Eric said...

    Enjoy the ride, Mike. Thanks for the report!