VIA Rail's 8-day Corridor Canrailpass was available for a mere $85 in 1984, providing eight days of travel in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor. This month 28 years ago, I travelled through the March snows to five cities in five days aboard LRC, RDC and conventional consists. Little did I know that I would lose a valued travelling companion while travelling. In a two-part series, I'll share the trains I travelled on, with photos and observations from along the route. Most of these consists did not make it into my VIA Rail book, but I've cross-referenced my original notes with my original tickets to clarify my itinerary.
DAY 1 Monday, March 5
VIA No 655 0700 dp Kingston
VIA No 663 1100 dp Toronto
VIA No 76 1650 dp London
VIA No 656 2010 dp Toronto
VIA No 651 was conventional equipment this day: 6787-5652 (my car)-3220-4894.
Belleville - CN 3671
Cobourg - QC boxcars 74098, 74019, 74718, MP/C&EI boxcar 256590
Oshawa - BN, L&N, Rock(GTW), DRGW, SP, CNW, IC, UP, Seaboard, MILW, DTI, MP auto racks. Conrail, Chessie, GT, SR, ATSF, ICG, WP 86028 hi-cube boxcars. GTW, TH&B, CP, CR gons.
Guildwood - CN 8521-76560.
Toronto - CN 1384, 2566, 9523, 9654, 8520, 8518, 8517; GO 1104, 704, 703-2137-2105-2024-2125-2049-908; VIA 6775, 6919, Grand Codroy River, Glace Bay; ONR Northlander; Amtrak 28305.
VIA No 663 was RDC's 6113 (my car)-6005-6123.
Spadina - VIA 6133, CP 437069 end-cupola van and 4734:
Bramalea - met VIA RDC's 6213-6003-6120-6110.
Guelph - CN 7164-76559 (below).
Stratford - CN plow 55370, small Jordan spreader 50988.
London - CN 8165, 8235, 8210, 8223, 8232, 4511, 4507, 4156, 4130, cabooses 79537, 79735.
After kicking around London, with a visit to a local hobby shop and lunch at Harvey's, it was time to return to Toronto. VIA No 76 was conventional 6781-5495 (my car) - 3241-Empire Club.
Burlington - CN 79265
Toronto - GO 905-2144-2119-2101-708; ONR Northlander 1987; CN caboose 79608.
VIA No 656 was RDC's 6211-6004 (my car) - 6132. Under-floor equipment on one of the RDC's caught fire, and the Belleville fire department responded, before the rest of the trip to Kingston.
Oshawa - CN 7028
Cobourg - CP 5554
Belleville - CN 4529 (orange cab, no stripes), 1215.
DAY 2 Tuesday, March 6
VIA No 60 0952 dp Kingston
VIA No 69 1750 dp Montreal
VIA No 60 was LRC equipment 6902-3300-3348 (my car)-33xx-69xx.
Coteau - CN 3696, 5196-5192 on westbound freight.
Baie D'Urfe - CP 4219-CP van 434688
Turcot - CN 9506-9452, 3739, 1390, 8045, 3687, 1292, 79395
CP's Dorval station, complete with train order signal:
I travelled around Montreal by Metro and bus, at one point becoming completely and utterly lost. A stop at CP's Glen Yard found four tracks of VIA stainless steel cars, CP gallery commuter cars, express boxcar in Tuscan red CP 29106 (below), historic collection Baldwin locomotive 8000, and Amtrak 340. A stop at Hobby World netted an HO-scale PC auto rack and REA reefer. Prior to departure from Central Station, a club sandwich and fries hit the spot.
VIA No 69 was conventionally-equipped 6764-2508-5493-4887 (my car)-Club Richelieu.
Montreal - Amtrak 207-baggage 1184-sleepers 2858-2052, Amdinette, coaches 4725-4605, Amfleet 25801; CN 7170, 8186, 7151, 8037, 7235. Eastbound at 1755: VIA 6531-5 cars with an RDC on the tail end; CP 8519.
In Part 2, I'll travel the Corridor some more, including the details of the untimely passing of my friend of 6 years.
Last weekend's Kingston Rail-O-Rama train show was a very successful experience as a first-time vendor. Besides selling some items and buying a few, plus copies of my VIA Rail book, it was great to work alongside Amazon-bound bookseller Paul, the very organized Bytown Railway Society booth, HO modeller Bob and his precise vehicle modelling, and dealer John from Napanee. The Belleville model railway club's trains kept me entertained during lulls. Thanks also to show convenors Peter and Graham for their assistance.
I usually 'do' the Kingston show in 60-90 minutes. Furtively glancing about, looking for deals, gliding from booth to booth, I now know what I look like from the other side of the show table! Never thought I'd spend 15+ hours at the show talking trains, the astounding breadth of knowledge and experiences in the rail enthusiast community and the individual niche interests we are passionate (overused word, like epic and iconic) about.
It's barbecue season again. After scraping some grease, and while the burgers were flipping yesterday, a woodcock flew into our backyard, undoubtedly seeking his own supper (of worms) from under our cedar hedge. A unique bird, long-billed, squat of body, perfectly camouflaged for the leafy forest floor or woodland meadow, this fellow was likely migrating and was a nice change from the chirrupy robins.