The Danish-designed, German-built Israeli State Railways-operated Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) IC3 Flexliner was on loan to VIA and Amtrak, with the two three-car trainsets touring the country to promote commuter rail systems. Built by ADtranz, a partnership of ABB and Daimler-Benz, the Flexliner trainset operated on diesel or overhead electrical power. Both versions could operate together and uncouple 'on the fly' at junctions. Rubber 'donuts' improved the IC3's safety and aerodynamics, but not its looks! Top speed was 112 mph, and in a luxury configuration, 109 passengers in coach and 32 in first class could be accommodated. A westbound Flexliner approaches Collins Bay in April. 1997 (top photo). The next six photos were scanned from prints shared by Kingston's Ron Barrett. Thanks, Ron! Ron snapped the Flexliner with VIA markings on the north track at Kingston's VIA station:
The demo consist in the morning sun (below) with a nice view of the Public Utilities Commission propane spur at right, served by CN's Aluminum Spur.
One of two rotations for the two sets was a Monday-Friday Kingston-Toronto, Toronto-Ottawa round trip, with a Saturday run from Kingston-Toronto, then one more Ottawa-Toronto-Kingston cycle over the weekend, in place again for Monday morning in Kingston. The second run was a Monday-Friday Stratford-Toronto, Toronto-London, Toronto-Kitchener, Saturday Stratford-Toronto and Toronto-Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls-Toronto-Stratford weekend operation, in place again for Monday morning in Stratford.
With the Flexliner's pitfalls and problems, VIA did not pursue the Flexliner after the demonstration period. A postscript with some more Flexliner photos here.
- intrepid Kingston-area railfan Rik Berryere posted video of the Flexliner in use at Kingston and Smiths Falls.
- or, watch the best $3 garage sale find ever found - Flexliner in HO scale!
- or, watch it in the Northeast Corridor - both sets on Boston's Fitchburg line
- or, watch it in Israel - too many sets MU'd and I frankly lost count!
- or, watch it alongside the Mediterranean - shaky but scenic!
- crashworthiness - does a herd of livestock count? Don't watch this if you're vegan.
- slide show - the Flexliner at the beginning of a VIA slide show, includes interior views.
Running extra...most recent thoughts here.
Speaking of on track, a colleague shared a photo of the re-railing of an SRLX covered hopper at Kingston's Invista plant back in November (scroll a bit in this post to see non-crane rerailing efforts). The plant is shipping outbound product for the first time in recent memory, including new extra track being added on the lake side of the plant.