Just like a year ago, I headed to Toronto on July 9 aboard VIA No 651. Morning coffee is now $2.25 and the new paper timetable came in handy, along with my Boarding Pass. The QR code is under the timetable and it gets scanned by the crew member just before you get your hatcheck. If you're sitting beside the emergency window, a separate colour hatcheck is added to show that you got 'the talk'. Though I'm in VIA Business Class car (651's consist was 906-4003-4104-4101-4111) this early train does not include that level of service. This is primarily a commuter run into Toronto (ssshhh, VIA doesn't run commuter trains).
Napanee station was just outside the south side window (above). BCOL 4601 was the middle unit on a westbound intermodal, likely No 121, during its crew change at Belleville (below) looking out the north side window. Yard power CN 4018-7038 was resting at the yard office.
At Pickering Junction, CN's York Sub takes Kingston Sub freight trains to MacMillan Yard. Passing over GO Transit's double-track and Highway 401, notice that plywood is in place to prevent ballast from hitting traffic below.
At Toronto's Old City hall, an ALRV heads west past the cenotaph. A nice blend of modern and classic:
Walking from Union Station's Great Hall to the skywalk to the CN Tower (and my rush-hour trainwatching spot) I passed the terminal for the Union Pearson Express which began operating in June. Previously boarded-up last October with hoarding, under construction, the terminal is now open and beckoned me to the UP arrivals/departures track. Of course I went in. At least long enough to see one train arrive.
At the airport-inspired over-priced gift shop: a set of six pencils for $18? Three commemmorative UP pins for $18? I didn't stay long. The hall view:
A sample of VIA action under the daylighted, tarnished trainshed, as seen from the skywalk VIA 902 and five cars departed west at 1636.
The exterior of the UP terminal. A two-car A-A set (1005-1002) is arriving while GO Transit prepares to leave:
You may wish to read the rest of the story of my 110 minutes at Union. It's the filling of this Toronto sandwich. (The two pieces of bread are my trips to and from The Big Smoke.) Two letters? Meet two letters:
VIA's Canadian behing 6406-6434 arrived eight hours late at 1738 - a nice surprise for this 'country mouse' visiting the big city. After a quick unload, the train headed for servicing and a 0200 departure west, thwarting my hoped-for trackside viewing under the trainshed. Classic and classy Budd day coach 8103:
Lots of folks got off with big suitcases. Stewardess-like hostesses circulated in the terminal, assisting passengers.
Cobourg station train view, not trackside view, as the evening shadows lengthen. Can you spot the F40 bulge shadow?
Morningstar Road, just west of Trenton Junction. What's that backhoe for? CN and CP crossing protection doing their job! CP saves money by only having one gate!
Happy 50th to Trackside Treasure reader, fellow VIAphile and 1980s-era photographer Brian Schuff. Brian was an instrumental contributor to my second book on VIA Rail, and has been sharing OS reports of VIA Nos 1 and 693 from Diamond, MB on Facebook. Enjoy your sixth decade - 50 really is just a number. OK, it's a really big number!
Gladys Knight and the Kpips (the K's are silent) backed up Midnight Train to Georgia 40+ years ago. Currently in the Peach State, ex-VIA 8-4-4 E-series sleeper Edmundston built 60+ years ago (or is it Edmunston, at least sometimes?) is Rapido Trains' latest project. It's a big project (Rapido Trains photo, courtesy Charley Pults - in blue base coat, above). But hey, the extremely elfin envelope of extant E-series examples engenders extra effort. It was running back to Saskatoon in 1981!
E-series names were featured in Trackside Treasure's Fourth Anniversary Contest! Watch for our Seventh Anniversary Contest! Coming soon...
Travel Advisory! Due to scheduled work programs by the infrastructure owner, all trains between Montreal and Toronto may be delayed approximately 30 minutes from July 21 to 28, 2015 inclusive. Please note that train 66 and 669 will be delayed approximately 45 minutes, like tonight's No 669 - 28 minutes down!