Thursday, July 8, 2010

VIA's LRC Debut

VIA Rail took delivery of its first LRC's at Montreal's Windsor Station twenty-nine years ago today, on July 7, 1981. By July 27, a trainset was at Spadina coach yard in Toronto for testing, employee training, and public display at Toronto Union Station. Trips to Oshawa were made on August 1, 2, 8 and 9, to Kingston August 12, to London August 15, and Sarnia August 22. On August 28-30, the consist was on display at the Canadian National Exhibition:

The southern Ontario display train comprised locomotive 6901, coaches 3309, 3308, 3306 and locomotive 6904. Parked overnight at Kingston's outer Montreal Street station, the consist returned to Toronto on August 13.

Read more in this related post to the LRC's in service. Conceived by MLW (later Bombardier), Alcan and Dofasco, the bilingually-titled Light-Rapid-Comfortable/Leger-Rapide-Confortable prototype locomotive and coach were built by MLW in 1973. VIA placed orders totalling $93 million in 1980, eventually totalling 30 locomotives and 100 coaches. The wedge-nosed 6900's produced 3700 hp, and the coaches' steps were 10 inches from low-level platforms, compared to 21 inches for conventional coaches. Starting with the fall timetable, the LRC equipment was expected to replace fifty percent of the ex-CN equipment by mid-1982.

The display train made the papers including the Globe & Mail, pictured with VIA Chairman Frank Roberts. Early predictions of LRC trains being used outside the Corridor never materialized.

Historical perspective: A Calgary Herald article for the LRC test train that toured Western Canada years earlier, but never operated there.
Running extra...

Just spent an enjoyable couple of days in Syracuse, New York. At 1300 Tuesday, CSX AC44CW's 325-458 led an eastbound intermodal near Lake Onondaga with lots of CSX and Schneider National double stacks.

John Schneider, co-founder with Marie Osmond of Children's Miracle Network, took part in PBS' thirtieth anniversary A Capitol Fourth on Sunday night; the first without Maestro Erich Kunzel at the podium. That's three Bo's in Washington: Bo Duke, the Obamas' Portuguese water dog Bo, and vestiges of the Baltimore & Ohio, which featured the capitol dome in its logo.

Results of a recent Trackside Treasure poll: Copious Positivity Revealed for this new blog template, and the importance of steak (content) over sizzle (appearance). Another poll with stakes not so high, showed no obvious favourite for an upcoming post on CN retro motive power. GMD-1's it'll be, then, and I'll see if I can post it on the day at exactly Ten-Hundred.


James Eaton said...

LRC service outside the Corridor - when they were first introduced, MLW and Bombardier produced a brochure, which was distributed in the Maritimes, showing an LRC sleeping car's layout, as well as coaches and a diner! Unfortunately, I didn't keep the one received back then...

Eric said...

That's why I keep everything, Jim! But then I end up with so many 'valuable' items in the archives, I can't find anything.

Seriously though, what might have been...imagine an LRC sleeper or perhaps an LRC dome car! And who would have guessed then that those revolutionary cars would still form the backbone of VIA's Corridor fleet 30+ years later?

Thanks very much for your comment,