Saturday, January 30, 2010

VIA Corridor Consists 1976-1981

VIA inherited CN's passenger equipment for use in the Corridor. Consists were virtually unchanged from the CN era, including baggage cars, club cars and meal service cars. Some sample consists from the pre-VIA era:
April 17/76 WB: 6532-6620-9650-Empire Club-5478-5503-2512-5634-5544-5651-5452-5489-5573 (above left).
April 17/76 EB: 6771-6777-9657-Hamilton Club-5642-5529-2511-5654-5598-5531-5620-5498.
June 11/76: 6762-6860-6862-8106(baggage)-Club Laurier-5650-5506-5637-5573-5186
Aug 21/76: 6771-6616-3124-9603-Boulevard Club-5534-5651-2503-5452-5542-5635-5622-3038 (above right)
Aug 28/76: 6788-6782-9603-Boulevard Club-5508-5569-2509-5650-5511-3034-5402-Bonheur(club lounge)

The VIA/CN corporate image was unveiled in April, 1976. VIA could be used in either English or French, and initially implied that passengers would travel "via [by]CN". First VIA-painted cars seen: 5525 on June 21; 2508 and 5437 on October 11; Saint James's Club on November 7. First VIA-painted locomotives seen: 6516 on July 28; 6618 on July 29; 6628 on July 31; 6858 on November 11; 6787 on December 12; 6765 on December 19.

Aug 29/76: 6780-6616-9673-Club Laurier-5649-5473-2501-5648-5602-5587 (above left)
Sept 4/76: 6782-6625-9652-York Club-5537-5636-2503-5452-5610-3032.
Sept 4/76: 6777-6623-6870-5220-9673-Club Laurier-5648-5649-2501-5508-5654-5219.
Sept 12/76: VIA 6516-6634-6786-9653-Boulevard Club-5663-5596-2509-5621-5651-5635-5637 (above right)

CN and CP stopped advertising individual passenger services in March 1977, and VIA was fully responsible for managing passenger services, including all CN's passenger cars by June 1977. Painting was well underway, with May-June 1977 seeing the first all-VIA consist, while all-CN consists could also be seen. Other equipment used in the CN to VIA transition era included the CN Turbos and Railiners:
Aug 11/76 at Belleville 1157 WB: Turbo 126-151 (above left)
Aug 1/76: 6114-6002-6118 (above right)
Apr 15/79: 6351-6001-VIA 6117-VIA 6003-6121

Mar 24/77 6760-6869-VIA 9600-VIA Saint James's Club-VIA 5536-5446-VIA 2512-VIA 5591-VIA 5508-5574-Great Slave Lake. GSL was one of six buffet-club-lounges: Caribou, Muskoka, Ontario, Lake Couchiching, Lake Makamik, in service in Corridor from at least May/76 to Sept/78.

The years 1977-1979 saw most of CN's equipment painted into blue and yellow. In 1979-80, there were still consists with two to four CN cars, but by 1981, many trains only rostered one CN car. The majority of locomotives received the VIA scheme by mid-1980.
Apr 13/79: VIA 6780-6860-6519-4105-all VIA...9602-Saint James's Club-5732- 2512- 5536-5441-5542-5633-434-5489-5574-5452-5573-5580-5631 (above)
Apr 29/79: 6513-VIA 6611-VIA 6624-VIA Muskoka-VIA 5733-VIA Club Laurier(partial consist):

The Turbos were suffering increasing unreliability, and were temporarily pulled from service after an onboard fire on May 29, 1979. The Turbos were replaced by short conventional consists, without baggage cars:

June 9/79 Turbo Replacement: VIA 6537-3112-VIA 5447-VIA 2502-5584-VIA 5504-VIA Club de la Garnison
June 15/79 Turbo Replacement: VIA 6516-VIA Club de la Garnison-5584-VIA 5447-VIA 2506-VIA 5504:
Units still in CN paint had their nose logos painted out, such as 6770 and 6773. The diagonal yellow nose with CN logo gave way to the vertical yellow nose, then red and in a few cases, blue VIA nose logos.
June 19/79: 6758-6862-VIA 9602-VIA Mount Royal Club-VIA 5727-VIA 5571 (partial consist):
By 1981, the Turbo's demise was looming, while the LRC's debut was on the horizon. Some units retained CN colours, such as 6866 and 6867 in October 1982 and some would be retired still wearing them.

Feb 9/80: 6785-VIA 6620-baggage-rest of consist VIA (below, at Benjamin's cut Mi 184 Kingston Sub)
Mar 14/81: 6535-all VIA...6614-9613-5482-5618-2502- CN Club St-Denis-all VIA...3024-5649-9641.
Finally, here comes a matched consist of blue and yellow, passing through the limestone rock cuts at Queens, Mi 174 Kingston Sub. May 9/81: all VIA...6523-2509-5580-5494-5654-Club Laurier :
West of Toronto, CN Tempo equipment carried on, with the Tempo cars receiving blue and yellow striping. June 22/81 Bayview Jct WB: 3150-321-343-367-354-361-362:

Battered CN units helped out too. June 23/81 Bayview Jct EB: 4017-3107-VIA 5433- CN 5423-all VIA...5641-5630-4888-5562-2508-5594-5506-9628

Some all-VIA consists round out this pre-LRC era:
Sept 12/81: 6528-9628-5522-3035-5474
Oct 24/81: 6787-5748-765-5504-5486-5437
Nov 15/81 6533-6635-5542-3200-4888-5518-5465-5504-5641-2514-5737
Those clean yellow noses look pretty good in the morning sun, as the head-end crew brings their coffee back from the club car:

From November 1981 until 1985, VIA's Canadian ran Montreal-Vancouver. Below, an eastbound combined No 2/No 44 makes it station stop on the north track at Kingston. A partial consist of one of the first such trains, totalling 14 cars:
Nov 21/81: 6542-6634-6532-baggage- CN Club St-Denis-all VIA 122-116-118-505-Ellerslie-Chateau Salaberry-Strathcona Park
VIA in its infancy experienced more corporate change than equipment change. While necessary, new equipment waited until VIA gained its footing, although its mandate has remained murky. This brings to a close VIA's Corridor consist series, spanning the six eras of VIA trains in the Corridor. Someday I'll collate all the consists I have from VIA's various eras. No doubt this era's consists would be the most interesting.

Running extra...

Listening to Stephan Talty's Empire of Blue Water. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum, ye dogs! It's the tale of Captain Henry Morgan and some fantastic feints of strategy against overwhelming odds. Buried treasure meets Trackside Treasure.
Pieces of eight, you say? The Empire Builder, Great Northern's pre-eminent streamliner, passed through eight states, or at least pieces of eight, and was also the nickname of James J. Hill. Omaha Orange and Pullman Green adorned the cars, with the train's name writ large, in script larger than "Great Northern".
Am I the only person in North America who hasn't seen that freaky movie Avatar? Reminds me of a switching crew's radio transmission about to make the joint "half a car". That'll do.


Anonymous said...

I first noticed the dang bell on the roof of cab units in 1957, when re-numbered power packs showed up in Prince Rupert. Some genius in Winnipeg probably reasoned it would be easier to hear. When I first heard one, I kept looking to the heavens to see where the dinging was coming from! I think it look dorky.

Anonymous said...

"Dorky" looking perhaps, but the bell on the roof was the best solution to the problem of snow packing into the bells when they were in their original position - under the floor, beside the frame! I prefer CN's rooftop solution to that of some US roads, who cut notches out of the noses of units for the bells, to get them up out of the snow.

Eric said...

A., I agree with your thoughts on the other anonymous poster's comment. The bells are exactly where they should be for Canadian service.

When the engine bell started ringing at Kingston, you knew the train was about to move. If powered by MLW's, that often meant smoke. If GM's, there would be some nice 567 chatter. Often, all this cacophony was accompanied to a toot-toot on the air horn. Awesome sounds filling the air!

Thanks for your comment,

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