Private car Pacific made another stop in Kingston tonight. If there's such a thing as a post-postscript, this warrants it. The car glinted in the sinking sunlight, bringing up the markers of VIA No 48: 903-3463-3323-3304-3314-3300-Pacific. I had seen the car as it headed to Toronto Monday night trailing VIA No 67 for some routine maintenance, but at 80 per, photography was suboptimal in the dusky drizzle. As the train eased to a stop tonight, chances were better. Much to my surprise, Paul Higgins Jr., ensconced in the elegance of Pacific, energetically emerged to engage this blogger in some discussion about the car and the Mother Parker's Remembers campaign:
Paul was graciously complimentary about Trackside Treasure's coverage of Pacific and the campaign, which to date has raised $300,000 of its $1 million goal for Alzheimer's research. Good going! He proudly described the work done to ensure Pacific was railworthy, and the compliments paid by VIA staff in Toronto when the car rolled over the pit during its inspection. Thoroughly classy yet thoroughly modern. Although today's railways are less able to handle non-operational details like private cars, there's no denying this car is serving a noble purpose. On its way tonight to a media day in Ottawa, another media day in Toronto will follow after the Canada Day weekend, as the car heads west on No 59 on July 4.
All too soon, No 48 whistled off toward Ottawa. The co-CEO scanned the track to the east then headed back in, but not before dropping off a can of fine Mother Parker's coffee. Something my waiting wife and daughter in our minivan will enjoy - good arm Paul, and thanks! The clear signal beckons as the marker lamps show the end of a train as it is surely intended to look.
Pacific will get a chance to stretch her legs some more, heading for the Atlantic (interestingly Jakob Mueller recently mentioned that Atlantic was the name of CNR's other such car, which eventually became Track Evaluation Car 15100, and was photographed in Port Jervis NY in 2007 in VIA-like blue and yellow paint) and her namesake, the Pacific in August and September. Highball, Pacific!