Friday, November 6, 2009

VIA Corridor Consists 1996-2000

Between 1996 and 2000, VIA Corridor consists were no longer steam-heated. The transition from steam generators to HEP (Head-End Power) rendered the last ex-CN blue & yellow cars obsolete. Stainless steel cars originally built for US railroads such as NYC, ACL, RF&P and Southern were purchased by VIA, updated and entered Corridor use. Cars and locomotives received an updated paint scheme including the Canada logo as a politically-inspired initiative. Consists were the most standardized they'd been since the pre-VIA CN era. Amid mostly 6400-led consists of LRC cars, I observed my first HEP car in 1995:

May 24/95: 6410-8618-3468-3335-3343-3324-3366-3339-4004.

And by the summer of 1996, the HEP cars with their yellow/blue striping were becoming more prevalent:
July 6/96: 6417-8622-3456-3360-3351-3322-4117-4121.

August 16/96: 6404-6410-8621-3462-4121-4117-3318-3333-3324-3358-3362. The two HEP cars are behind the VIA 1 LRC car:
My first all-stainless steel HEP consist:

September 7/96: 6404-8621-4000-4106-4102-4119.

November 8/96: 6423-4115-4116-4110-4103-4003.

To commemorate a premiers conference in Jasper, Alberta special logos were applied to the consist the provincial leaders travelled in. Eventually these cars returned to Corridor service. Coaches 4106 and 4112 also had these logos applied.

November 23/96 No 60: 6430-4122-4111-4118(logo)-4114(logo)-4001-8622.
April 6/97: 6421-8137-4123-4117-4109-4005-8618.

August 11/97: 6419-4122-4120-4115-4118-4109-4103-4111-4106-4001-8619-6403.

On August 17, 1997 another 10-car No 57 led by 6418 passes the Bath Spur wye. The long train needed two locomotives, with 6428 bearing the markers:

June 5/98 No 650: 6429-4111-4122-4118.

6429 wears the Home Hardware promotional scheme in August, 1997:
September 1/98 No 52: 6917-3466-3301-3362-3353, No 53: 6905-3460-3308-3371, No 40: 6425-3303-3343-3473. 6430 heads a four-car No 43 through Smiths Falls, Ontario:
LRC locomotives still prowled the Corridor, powering train Nos 52, 53, 66 and 67. At dusk, the Montreal-Toronto LRC-powered express has just crossed the Rideau Canal and screams through sleepy Kingston Mills:
A typical Corridor consist train, 6400-3334-3312-3458 has stopped at Mi 179.6 Kingston Sub, after a fatal collision with a vehicle at Mi 180. The Ontario Provincial Police check out the unit:
Cars begin to appear bearing Canada (C) lettering: November/98: 3314, 3309, 3322, 3475, 3363, 3305, 3359, and January/99: 8619, 4001.

March 13/99: 6450(C)-8622(C)-4001(C)-4111-4124-4113(C)-4105(C)-4112. The Canada logo is visible below dual Kool-Aid logos on 6432 on May 12, 2000:
October 8/99 No 66: 6919-6 LRC cars-6902, No 67: 6919-5 LRC cars, No 68: 6409-4106-4120-4115-8126-8130-4003. At 1825 August 24, 2000, No 66 Eng 6914 and four LRC cars at a crossing west of Trenton, speeding out of the setting sun.
On a summer morning a month earlier, overnight train No 51 passes Mi 179 at an eye-rubbing 0550, with 6404-3 HEP coaches-64xx-two HEP cars-Chateau Lemoyne-Laurentide Park. By 2002, this train would be operating with Renaissance equipment.

Two wacky consists usher us into the new millennium:

July 3/00 No 68: 6417-3358-3314-3315-4119-411o-4109-6451(dead)-6405(working/Kool-Aid)-6411(working/Kool-Aid).
And what's this? An F-unit leading a VIA train at this late date? No, it's unexpectedly bringing up the markers of No 68 at 2019 on July 18/99: 6445-4105-4122-4111-4001-6302. Leased to MUCTC/AMT in Montreal, 6302 is being hauled eastward. A scrambly last sighting of aVIA F-unit in the Corridor.
Running extra...
This is the second in a series of posts on VIA's Corridor consists. Each post will cover a different era (working backwards in time). The eras are somewhat arbitrary but are generally based on the equipment that formed the consists.
What if? What if VIA had refurbished its blue-and-yellow ex-CN cars instead of the Budd equipment built for CP's The Canadian? Now that CN's Agawa Canyon tour train is using former Rio Grande, ex-CN/VIA Tempo equipment, 34 or so of these classic ex-CN cars are no longer used. Are they fully-depreciated, finished their second career and heading for a scrapper?
Listening to Jeff Shaara's The Rising Tide, a Second World War fictional tale of the campaign from North Africa and Sicily. From a macro introduction of history and strategy, the story takes the reader right into the front-line in a convincing account. Wear a poppy and remember our veterans this week.


Zartok-35 said...

I wish I knew my VIA car numbers better...That F-Unit trailing is very nice! And the LRC engine is pretty cool, too.

Robert in Port Townsend said...

Interesting post, and very timely for me. There had been recommendations made to the Washington State Ferry System to sell vessel names to corporations, to raise additonal operational funds. Traditionally, our ferries have been named in honor of indigenous Native American Tribes from this area. Indeed, the first of two 64-car state ferries to be built for our local Port Townsend-Keystone route will be named M/V Chetzemoka, the Klallam chief who befriended 19th century settlers on the Olympic Peninsula, buried in a grave about a mile from my apartment. Under the consultants recommendations the "Evergreen State" would become the "Microsoft" and the "Kaleetan" would become the "Clorox." You get the idea. Well, thankfully cooler heads have prevailed and the whole rotten plan has lost traction. Just how hideous it could have become has been demonstrated with your photos of the "Home Hardware" and "Kool Aid." I am forwarding this post over to my State Representative, so he can see how tasteless the idea was.

Eric said...

Hi Elijah, I've added a list of current VIA cars in the sidebar to help out. Robert, good luck with your campaign. Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto became the Air Canada Centre, and the Montreal Forum became the Bell Centre. Yecch. Thanks for your comments and stay tuned for more VIA vignettes.

Bryan said...

And there was that "Spiderman 2" unit months after the movie had left the theatres...

Eric said...

Hi Bryan, at least Spiderman and Kool-Aid units broke up the monotony of VIA consists a bit. The Loto Quebec unit is pretty dark and unremarkable. GO Transit has also wrapped lots of its bilevel cars. But I hope VIA never wraps a unit with WestJet or Coach Canada!