The Chaleur crosses a bridge at Grande-Rivière, Quebec in 2010.
|Service type||Inter-city rail|
|Status||Operating; service suspended east of Matapédia, QC (August 2013)|
|Current operator(s)||Via Rail|
|Distance travelled||1,041 km (647 mi)|
|Service frequency||3 trains per week|
|Train number(s)||16, 17|
|Class(es)||Standard and sleeper class|
|Seating arrangements||Reserved coach seat|
|Catering facilities||Dining car|
|Rolling stock||See consist description below|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
Service east of Matapédia, Quebec, was suspended by Via Rail in August 2013, owing to poor track conditions between Matapédia and Gaspé. Replacement buses between these two points operated until 17 September 2013, after which the bus service was withdrawn. Via Rail will make an announcement when rail service has resumed.
In 1907 the Quebec Atlantic Oriental Railway was built from Matapédia through New Carlisle to Port Daniel, and gradually extended until it reached Gaspé. Before that, inhabitants had to drive by horse or sleigh 180 miles (290 km) to catch the Intercolonial Railway from Matapédia to Montreal, a journey of four days.
The train left Montreal in the evening and arrived in Gaspé at about noon the following day. The train departed Gaspé mid-afternoon and arrived in Montreal in the morning.
In latter years the train was normally merged with the Ocean between Montreal and Matapédia, Quebec . The Montreal–Gaspé train in recent years was composed exclusively of cars built by the Budd Company, many originally used by the Canadian Pacific Railway's Canadian.
This had been the case until 2004 for the Ocean as well, but the introduction of the Renaissance cars on the Ocean resulted in both trains operating separately during the summer months (when trains were longer) and combined during the winter; the reason for this policy appears to be related to the braking effort of a combined train.
When operating separately, the Montreal–Gaspé train would run several minutes ahead of the Ocean. When combined, the trains ran together as far as Matapédia, Quebec, before the Ocean continued to Halifax, Nova Scotia and the Montreal–Gaspé train proceeded to Gaspé.
Suspension of service east of Matapédia
On 22 August 2013, Via Rail announced that as a result of Société de chemin de fer de la Gaspésie (SCFG)'s rail infrastructure problems (including rail corrosion and malfunctioning crossing signals), service between Matapédia and Gaspé would be suspended. Service resumed about a month later as buses were used to transport passengers until the track upgrades were completed. As of 17 September 2013, both rail and bus service in the affected portion were suspended and no timeline for re-establishment has been released.
The tracks this train operated on have changed ownership several times in recent years. Until 1998, the tracks from Montreal to Gaspé were owned by Canadian National Railway (CN). That year, CN sold the lines between Rivière-du-Loup and Matapédia, as well as Matapédia to Gaspé to Quebec Railway Corporation which established two subsidiary companies, the Chemin de fer de la Matapédia et du Golfe (Matapedia & Gulf Railway) and Chemin de fer Baie des Chaleurs (Chaleur Bay Railway) respectively. In 2001, CFBC sold the portion of the Matapédia to Gaspé line east of Chandler to Chemin de fer de la Gaspésie (Gaspé Railway) which is owned by local municipalities with maintenance contracted to CFBC. In 2007, CFG purchased the remainder of the line from Matapédia to Chandler after the CFBC listed it for abandonment. In 2008, CN purchased the CFMG line from Rivière-du-Loup to Matapédia, returning ownership of this line after QRC encountered financial difficulty.
- Gagné, Gilles (20 December 2009). "Liaison Montréal-Gaspé: Via dénonce les manifestants" (in French). Retrieved 2010-05-16.
- "Via Rail service between Matapédia, New Carlisle and Gaspé suspended" http://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/media-room/latest-news/66251/22-august-2013-via-rail-service-between-matapedia-new-ca (Accessed 26 August 2013)
- Marguerite Syvret, "Jersey Settlements in Gaspé" 1961 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise
- "Montreal-Gaspé train – Description". Via Rail Canada. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- "By Rail to the Gaspé, Via The Chaleur; A Return Trip in 2005", by John C. Dahl, Empire State Express, 2005. Published by Hamburg: Niagara Frontier Chapter, NRHS
- Media related to Montreal – Gaspé train at Wikimedia Commons