Friday, August 21, 2009

Winnipeg Union Station layover railfanning

From 1979 until 1981, VIA's Canadian and Super Continental operated through Winnipeg and made some long layovers ranging from one to four hours. This not only allowed for inter-switching and servicing the trains, but also some schedule padding in case one train was late arriving. Both eastbounds have arrived in 1980: Emerson, CN-painted 6764-6632-6528, and the Canadian with 1403-8515-1402-Chateau Rouville at right. Travel Manitoba published this folder to encourage travellers to explore the city during the layover:
It reads, "VIA Rail's transcontinental trains have to be serviced in Winnipeg. The regular stop for westbound and eastbound trains is approximately 2 1/2 hours. Why not take this opportunity to have a look at the capital city of Manitoba. Should your train be running late, the duration of the station stop may be reduced. So, please check the departure time shown on the train board in the station and make sure your watch indicates the same time as the station clock i.e. CENTRAL TIME." Strangely, there was no mention of one of the best ways to spend this layover - on and around the platforms of Winnipeg Union Station itself.
Another 1980 layover: 6505 on the westbound Super and 1432 on the westbound Canadian. CN's two-track Rivers Sub bypassed the trainshed, providing a stream of mainline freight as well as switching moves heading in and out of Symington Yard, located east of the station. 9494-9413-9558 eastbound in 1981 with containers:
9597-5274-5223 with 96 cars and caboose 79612 on June 24, 1982:
and 5272-5079-5157-5173 westbound in 1980:
There were lots of goodies in and around the trainshed, including head end cars and spare cars for VIA's transcons and remote services. Although passengers weren't supposed to be roaming around in large numbers unescorted for safety reasons, what's the occasional railfan now and then? Spare cars Mount Tekarra, 100 in fresh VIA paint, and Bedford in 1980:
There were other places of interest nearby - the HO model layout in the station concourse, the Hotel Fort Garry, United Army Surplus, and the East Yard coach yard a few steps down from the platform.
On the platform, a 1900-series CN GMD-1 shuffled coaches, while cases of beer and pop, snacks and other menu items were loaded through small doors in the meal service cars. Tractors and baggage wagons brought linen and baggage, low wagons laden with ice blocks for the older cars' cooling systems, and water tanks were filled. Windows were cleaned by a four-man crew, and car-knockers tapped every pipe, wheel and anything else they could hit with a ball-peen hammer under a passenger car. CN 7224 runs past the car department building as it trundles to the other end of the station in 1978 to switch the head-end of our train:
Then there was the coming and going of old and new power. 9163-9158-15484 arrive from Symington to power VIA N0 93 to Churchill:
On June 6, 1986 9151 and 6617 are cut off VIA No 92 from Churchill. Before the advent of VIA's new 6400's, VIA was getting the last few miles out of the F's, resulting in such unusual power consists.
Three westbounds share the trainshed just before sundown in September, 1985: No 93 to Churchill, No 7 from Capreol behind 6307, and No 1 with 6305-6627:
Servicing and switching complete, it's departure time eastbound from Winnipeg. Looking back from the Park car dome, we've left Winnipeg's downtown in the distance:
Running extra...

I've added Google Search and Top Posts gadgets to my sidebar, to make web-searching and finding favourite posts easier.
Jakob Mueller correctly identified both locations in my first anniversary post: the Moira River bridge, looking westward in Belleville, Ontario and Benjamin's Cut, looking eastward just west of Mi.184, both on CN's Kingston Sub. Congratulations, Jakob.
Just finished listening to Heart of a Soldier by James B. Stewart. The book retraces the life of Rick Rescorla, head of security for Morgan Stanley in the World Trade Center. The name of the author is not to be confused with the aw-shucks James Stewart who starred in The Glenn Miller Story with dewy-eyed June Allyson.


Canadian Train Geek said...

You were right, I did enjoy this post!

I wish I could see two passenger trains at once at the station. I shouldn't complain, though - there are many more trains here in Winnipeg than there were in Fredericton.

Eric said...

Thanks for your comments Steve. Although not mentioned in the layover railfanning post, Wpg has both CN and CP, not to mention that BNSF GP-30 you caught on video. Cool, classic F's back in the day.

Zartok-35 said...

Gotta love thoes old F7u engines...But they look so out of place on the passenger trains.