Friday, April 8, 2011

CN & CP Freight Locomotives Rescue VIA

VIA trains operating on CN and CP lines occasionally encountered mechanical difficulties. In such cases, assistance from the host railway was requested, and a freight unit dispatched to help power the VIA train to the next terminal that has replacement VIA locomotives. These occasions resulted in some interesting power consists.

June 27, 1978: CN 3742 hauling disabled Turbo 154-129. A photo of this train at Kingston appeared in the November 1978 Trains magazine.
October 16, 1977: Kingston-based switcher CN 3730 assists a westbound Rapido 3730-6763-6863-6784.
April 5, 1980: CN 2544-6760 eastbound at Mile 179 Kingston Sub:

June 6, 1981: CN Century 2016-6542-9618-5416-5516-3024
June 2, 1982: CN 9526-6905-3312-3324-3300-3332
June 5, 1984: CP 5809 pulls the eastbound Canadian into Portage la Prairie 5809-6606-6652-609-100-3242-502-5703-Clearwater River-Blair Manor-Elizabeth-1371-Bliss Manor-Chateau Roberval-Yoho Park. CP often supplied SD's to VIA, as there were not many spare units at CP terminals.

Aug 26, 1984: CN 3654-6619-609-Mount Royal Club-3208-5581-764-102-126-3209-Cabot Manor-Chateau Salaberry. Classic MLW assists the eastbound Canadian at Kingston:

Sept 20, 1985: CP 5939-6607-6625-3246-5752-Chateau Rouville-Eldorado, partial consist at Calgary.
May 21, 1986: CP 5982-6513-6628-616-609-118-3200-504-Egerton-Thompson Manor-Sherwood Manor-Emerald-Abbott Manor-Hearne Manor-Naiscoot River-Strathcona Park. After limping along at 15 mph for 10 miles, No 1 stopped near Dryden. CP 5982 arrived to haul 6513 and our train into Kenora thence Winnipeg. Vestibule views:

March 30, 1986: CN 4220-CN 9412-SGU-5488-5452-750-5719-Chateau x-Excelsior. CN freight units power the westbound Cavalier, seen at Kingston at 0450.

Rescue units are not the same as CP and CN Geeps and RS's leased or intended for use in passenger service. In early 1986, VIA leased CN 9411, 9412, 9416, 9420, 9423, 9425, 9430, and 9431 while many LRC units were shopped, and VIA's 6400's had not yet entered service. Here's 9416 with an SGU leading a westbound VIA train on a spring night in Kingston:

Oct 11, 1991: CP 1841-6921-3460-3302-3349-3332-3338-3333. Another LRC assist. The CP unit was likely added at Smiths Falls. Alarm bells were ringing in 6921 as a train rider was seen climbing aboard the unit.

Aug 2, 1992: CN 9446 light engine eastbound at 2145, then westbound at 2213 with 6409 and 5 LRC cars.

March 28, 1998: Via train 40 with engine 6426 stopped and headlights extinguished at Mi 178 Kingston Sub, at the Gardiners Road underpass. CN 7043 deadheaded east from Belleville. It passed the disabled train on the north track, changed tracks at Queens West then nosed onto 6426 to haul the consist east:

June 5, 1999: CN 9551-6409-4 LRC cars eastbound. 9551 wears the CNNA map scheme:

Also before the 6400's arrived, the Winnipeg-Churchill trains were subject to problems. Train 93 to Churchill: CN 9168-6615-15489-9663-5707-765-Entwistle. CN F's operated with VIA B-units. On June 6, 1986 CN 9151-6617 were on train 92 arriving Winnipeg. Today, VIA operates mostly on CN lines, and CN seems reluctant to lend VIA spare units. VIA will often load the passengers onto buses, then deadhead a unit to haul the trainset back to Toronto, or couple two trains together to get passengers to their destination.

Running extra...

Election fever is sweeping very small parts of the country. I think there are about three people who are interested, and they're members of the media - it gives them something to talk about. A rally to combat voter apathy on Parliament Hill brought out, you guessed it, four people.

Elizabeth May was riding VIA train 52 today, trying to whip up some Green Party hysteria down the Kingston Sub. Sort of reminiscent of Obama's inauguration special, except he could afford his own train, helicopter and Secret Service escorts, and slow rolls at each station. Elizabeth had three of her cousins in a Smart car with rolled-up newspapers.

Four freshly-painted CNLX cylindrical covered hoppers on the head-end of CN train 305 last night: 7546, 7220, 7003 and 7882 - brown with the CN website, these cars are often used in potash service and can look pretty scrappy.


Zartok-35 said...

A GP40L hauling a passenger train; Yeow! Good post, my friend.

Thoes brown CN cars are just awful; They lack all the wit and sparkle of the classic silver cylinders. But my favorite CN hoppers are the Trenton Bathtubs from the mid-1990s.

Unknown said...

Interesting post. VIA once again leased CN 9416, this time to lead the Chaleur for a month back in October 2009. In 2010 9556 was leased. The need the CN units in the fall because of wet leaves on the track and the shortage of 6400's due to the CADRail rebuilds.

Eric said...

Hi Elijah and Taylor,
While the 'IC dip' website paint is a bit dull, at least these cars were un-graffiti'd and eye-catching. Agreed, silver was the best. Wet leaves and caterpillars can each affect traction, in season. Wouldn't it be neat to see a new six-axle CN unit on a VIA train? I guess that's unlikely.

Thanks for your comments,

Canadian Train Geek said...

Very nice, Eric! I have yet to see a rescue unit on a VIA train.

No doubt you know why the GP40s were leased by VIA, they are geared for higher speeds than the typical freight unit.

Eric said...

Hi Steve,

Yes, the gear ratio on those units was most suited to VIA's needs.

One facet of VIA becoming more independent was the lack of a common connection with the host railways' operational interests, hence the railways' unwillingness to help out VIA trains. Also, VIA's locomotives are newer and less likely to fail now(fingers crossed).

Hey, the word verification for this message was "VIRAI", pretty close to VIA RAIL, don't you think?

Thanks for your comments,