Sunday, March 1, 2009

VIA's Winnipeg-Edmonton Panorama, 1984

On June 3, 1984, VIA launched a new service in the Canadian West: The Panorama. VIA Train Nos 3/5 Winnipeg - Edmonton, becoming triweekly VIA No 5 Edmonton - Prince Rupert, and VIA Nos 4/6 Edmonton - Winnipeg, from triweekly VIA No 6 Prince Rupert - Edmonton. VIA's promotional brochure extolled the virtues of the train's consist: "Enjoy the magnificent scenery from our dome car (summer months only) or through the picture windows of a comfortable coach or sleeping car. Meal service and refreshment facilities are available for your enjoyment."

I was able to record the transition from the unnamed VIA No 109 to the Panorama. On June 2, 1984, the last No 109 arrived in Brandon's CP Rail station at 1400. The consist was 6510 - 9616 - 3216:

On June 4, the second westbound Panorama arrived in Portage la Prairie for its station stop, beside a CN freight at 1400. The consist was 6511 - 9475 - 5439 - 5533 - 504 - Entrance:

On an equally gloomy June 5, VIA No 3/5 scooted across the prairie heading for Brandon. The consist was 6506 - 9488 - 5514 - 501 - Elliston:

While visiting the cab of CN 9566 on a CN freight, waiting for VIA No 4/6 at East Tower, I snapped the eastbound passenger hustling by, partly framed by 9566's bell. 6514 was hauling the deadhead consist from the last VIA No 109 back to Winnipeg, plus the regular eastbound Panorama consist:

On June 6, some CN executives may have been sampling the new service in car 15000. The consist included two E-series sleepers: 6510 - 9477 - 5585 - 510 - Excelsior - Evansdale - 15000:

An Amtrak Superliner test consist was used on the route in September-November 1984. The consist was Amtrak F40 319 - Superliner coach, Superliner baggage-coach, Superliner sleeper, Superliner diner - VIA Tempo electrical generator car 15301. In June 1985, the Super Continental was reinstated between Winnipeg and Vancouver over CN trackage. On September 20, 1985, the westbound Super was at Portage at 2240, with: 6306 - 6604 - 9637 - 3204 - 510 - Excelsior - Elgin - Chateau Iberville - 764.
Running Extra...
Winnipeg author Peter Lacey is working on a new book on the Midland Railway of Manitoba. This interesting railway was one of a handful of American railroad lines in Canada. Peter's work is still in the research stages, but promises to be a well-researched account of what would become Burlington Northern Manitoba Limited, now operated by BNSF. The seemingly out-of-place operation reminded me of the presence of a castle full of rebellious French knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. King Arthur: "Well, what are you, then? Man: "I'm French. Why do you think I have this outrageous accent, you silly King!" Sir Galahad: "What are you doing in England?" Man:"Mind your own business!"


Anonymous said...

Great pictures!

Eric said...

Glad you liked them, even in the uncharacteristic overcast weather conditions.