Thursday, March 5, 2015

LRC locos lead the Canadian, July 1982

I've been told that LRC locomotives used to lead the Canadian. VIA Rail's Canadian operated between Toronto and Montreal over CN's Kingston Sub from November, 1981 to June, 1985. I was skeptical. How was this possible? Then, VIA car attendant Mark Sampson sent me the photo above, the result of an Ebay auction. The location is in suburban Rouge Park - Pickering, east of Toronto, where CN's Kingston Sub bridges the Rouge River. The train in Mark's photo was an eastbound VIA No 2/44/54, due out of Toronto at 0900, following No 2's arrival in Toronto at 0700. Oh, snap!
A cropped view of Mark's image shows the consist in good detail: 6901 and another LRC locomotive, stainless steel baggage car, four blue & yellow coaches, (the first a club car), two stainless steel cars, a blue & yellow, a Skyline, another blue & yellow, then five stainless steel cars, the last being a Park car:
Now here's the thing...I now believe I know the consist of this train. How? Recently, I came across four books of VIA consists that my Dad recorded - from 1981 to 1986. He apparently started recording these because the Canadian started operating through Kingston, and he was happy to make many trips trackside to record consists including Budd equipment! On Wednesday July 21, 1982 he recorded, "Eric and I went to Toronto on RDC at 7 a.m. Kingston: 6117-6111. We viewed CN Tower and then toured CN (VIA) roundhouse and tracks. I was in cabs of 6541, 6773 and CN 8512. We returned on LRC Rapido leaving Toronto at 6 p.m: 6906-3338-3340-3302-3343."

The next evening, Thursday July 22, he recorded the "Canadian West" at Mi 184 Kingston Sub at 8:10 p.m.:
6902-6901-9670-5508-5626-106-116-3211-503-5744-Frontenac-Chateau Rouville-Chateau Latour-Laird Manor-Assiniboine Park. That is two LRC's on the Canadian, my friends! No photo, though.
The following day, Friday July 23 at the same location, the "Canadian East" at 11:52 a.m., a little behind the scheduled arrival time at Kingston of 11:42:
6901-6902-609-Laurier Club-5485-3212-5508-125-107-3230-500-5704-Acadian-Chateau Dollier-Chateau Lemoyne-Stuart Manor-Kootenay Park. Notice how this consist matches the one in the photo? Fortunately, my Dad also snapped a photo (above) of the train as it approached - even a puff of MLW smoke emanates from 6901. Cropped image:
Interestingly, he recorded the above consist as the "Canadian West" at 7:46 p.m. back on Thursday, July 15. Except for two blue & yellow coaches: 5487-5534. Other than that, the consist stayed the same all the way to Vancouver and back, before it ventured east on the Kingston Sub on that Friday, when it would be photographed crossing the Rouge River, and where I'd pick up the story 32 years later.

Thanks, Dad.

Now, if anyone has any other sightings of LRC locomotives pulling the Canadian, I'd like to know. Otherwise, I'm convinced these were the only two! This arrangement definitely could not take place during winter, as the LRC would need a steam generator unit to provide heat to the conventional consist and hot water including the diner's dishwasher. The diner drew the heaviest electrical load due to refrigerators, freezers, A/C, exhaust fans, lighting and sound system. If the batteries or generator gave out, there could be a problem. Probably not an issue in warm weather. The diner had 100-pound propane tanks to provide gas for the stoves. Solving mysteries like this one and Sceneramic tiny lettering has been very satisfying here on Trackside Treasure. Of course the C-P-R principle applies...relatively low Relevance Factor! But I'm maintaining an open mind on this subject!

Running extra...

While we're wallowing in 1982 nostalgia, here are three very interesting VIAdeos from that year, posted by Montrealer Bill Morrison. The first shows a Kingston Sub Canadian, the second includes Montreal Central Station switchers going to work, and the third takes us to the switchman's tower for some Amtrak views!

Finding serendipitous slides on Ebay is not Mark's only pastime. He also just got married in beautiful Banff, Alberta - CP country. Congratulations to Mark and his new bride Shileen!
Check out Lance Mindheim's re-designed blog via my sidebar. A nice marriage of prototype and modelling realism.


elie said...


Eric said...


It's one of my jobs as a conscientious Canadian blogger to post weird stuff!

Thanks for your comment, Elie!

Michael said...

I'm surprised they had enough faith in those things to operate them cross country. I take it, though, their reliability issues were mostly weather related. Do you know if anyone has preserved any of these units Eric?

Eric said...

Whoa, Michael! Only as far as Toronto. In fact, it was probably a leap of faith allowing the LRC locomotives to operate as far afield as Windsor and Ville de Quebec from the Montreal shops.

Now that you've raised the notion, I would like to have shot a photo of the Canadian rounding curves on Lake Superior headed by LRC locos as I was fortunate to with F-units. But I'm afraid THAT didn't happen.

The units had real teething problems, requiring rescue units, train riders and incomplete use of the train's features for many months and years. One has been preserved at CRM in St-Constant and another by TRHA in Toronto.

Thanks for your comment!

Guy-Pascal said...

That's unusual power for a Canadian..There now only 2 LRC locomotive still existing..6921 at Exporail,can be operated,but,radiator are busted ad 6917 preserved by Rapido Trains team at THRA and are in working condition.

Eric said...

Indeed, G-P!There is little evidence it happened very often. I'm glad to have Mark's and my Dad's to prove that it did...this time!
Great to have you aboard,

Anonymous said...

6917 and 6921 are preserved