Saturday, September 12, 2015

CP leases VIA locomotives, 1994-1995

In March, 1994 CP entered into a lease with VIA for some of their surplus power - some high-numbered F40PH-2D`s. The rate was reportedly $800 per day, per unit. Initially, the four original units were expected to power Montreal-Toronto intermodal train Nos 928 and 929. CN was also power-short and leased a wide variety of locomotives between 1994 and 1998. But here`s a fun fact - the VIA 6400's were the only units that CP leased that were equipped to lead. Most of those rent-a-wreck leased units were merely junk-in-the-trunk of CP locomotive consists!Tim Mayhew kindly shared his photo of CP No 921 Eng VIA 6449 followed by a blanked-window Century at Dorval, undated (above):

Though I was not able to observe and photograph these leased units myself, my Dad was at CP's station Smiths Falls, ON at 1115 on April 14, 1995, where he photographed a stopped westbound freight led by CP 5595-VIA 6457 (above). I included all the photos he took in this subsequent post. Notice something about the next photo? Not only is there a CP freight with leased VIA unit, but his photos of the freight include passing VIA trains. I have not seen any photos so far that show VIA 6400s in CP service AND in VIA service in the same frame. There are only a limited number of places where this could be seen, and Smiths Falls was one of them! (Below) 6404 tails LRC cars on VIA No 43 heading for its station stop, passing the stopped freight.
A summary of F40's leased from VIA by CP In 1994:
March - 6438, 6452, 6454, 6458
April - 6438, 6452, 6454, 6458
May - 6438, 6452, 6453
June - 6454, 6458 (In June, CP was leasing 108 locomotives)
August - 6448, 6452, 6454, 6458
September - 6448, 6452, 6455, 6458 (CP leasing 123 locomotives)
October - 6448, 6449, 6452, 6453, 6455, 6456, 6458
November - 6448, 6449, 6450, 6453, 6454, 6455, 6456, 6458 (CP leasing 149 locomotives)
December - 6448, 6450, 6453, 6454, 6455, 6456. Returned to VIA for maintenance and the Christmas rush were 6449, 6453 and 6458.

Leased in 1995:
January - 6448, 6450, 6451, 6452, 6453, 6454, 6455, 6456
February - 6448-6456
March-  6448-6450, 6452-6456
April - 6448-6453, 6456-6457
May - 6448, 6451-6454, 6456-6457 (CP leasing 200 locomotives)
All the 6400s were returned to VIA by early-July.
Initially operating in pairs, 6438-6452 powered Detroit-Toronto 510, Hochelaga-Toronto 503, Montreal-Toronto 903, 918, 928 and 929. The Alliston turn had 6454-6458, as did Montreal-North Bay 471, Montreal-Toronto 907 and Toronto-Windsor 915. While in Toronto, 928`s  power often powered a morning transfer run such as the Vaughan Transfer between Obico yard and their Vaughan intermodal facility. At least once, 6449 and 6458 bracketed a CP Geep to Havelock, ON! Due to insufficient power and the chance of running out of fuel due to their smaller tanks, other CP and leased units would operate with the 6400s.
VIA 6453-HATX 520-VIA 6450 at Guelph Junction on April 29, 1995 (above)
CP 5679-8239 and 8238 sandwich VIA 6451-6229 emerging from the tunnel under the Welland Canal on February 22, 1995 (above).
Campbellville, ON sees a local led by VIA 6456 in March 1995 (above) and 6456-6450 (below - these are online auction site photos) are also shown at Campbellville in June 1995:
Ross Wakefield was set up at CP Lovekin, fortuitously catching VIA 6449 rounding a curve with a four-car Cobourg Turn (video capture - undated):
On March 26, 1994 VIA 6458-6454 lead a CP C424 also at Campbellville:
And on March 30, 1994 VIA 6454-6458-CP 5021 are at CP's Toronto terminal in Vaughan (next three photos are online auction site photos):
On April 29, 1994 three of the four leased units were on one intermodal train in Toronto - VIA 6454-6438-6452:
On November 23, 1994 VIA 6453-6456 led this freight:
CP No 921 has VIA 6451-CP 4204-CP 6457 at Guelph Junction on April 23, 1995:
In March 1995, VIA 6453-6450 and a SOO sister lead CP train No 505 at Smiths Falls:
 Bob Heathorn photo (above). Bob kindly shared two more photos taken at Smiths Falls:

A VIA-laden montage by ex-Kingston railfan and modeller in this Rik Berryere video, and a VIA-led John Reay video, a Geep-led John Reay video and lots-of-links:

6438-6453 at Montreal in June, 1994
6438 at Newtonville (incorrectly-dated September, 1989)
6438 on same train at Port Hope (correctly-dated August, 1994)
6448-6449 at Milton March, 1995
6449 behind CP 3041 on the Moonlight, 3/2/95
6450 at Tilbury with CP 4242-64xx-ETR switcher in February, 1995
6452 trails at Puslinch in March, 1995
6454 at London in December, 1994
6455 at Newtonville in October, 1994
6455 at London in November, 1994
6458 and 6452 at Newcastle (incorrectly-dated September, 1992)
Two sets of 6400's in an October, 1994 Bill Thomson photo!

Not all was uneventful. The Toronto Star included a photo (below) of a derailment involving two VIA units! VIA 6452-CP 4712-VIA 6454 were operating the Obico Yard "Day Coach" assignment, which normally used the power from CP No 929. Making a reverse movement out of West Toronto Yard, heading east toward Parkdale to make a lift, the locomotive consist was pushing the west end of 12 cars at noon on May 19, 1994. The trailing wheels on one side of CP 4712 derailed on a curve, causing the 6452-4712 to list, resulting in a fuel leak and minor injuries to the engineer. Rerailed by CP Speedswing and hi-rail crane, VIA 6452 was taken to the Toronto Maintenance Centre on May 20 and returned to operation on CP for new trucks and a new rear buffer plate, the work performed at CP's Toronto Yard.
CP's lease of the VIA units is reminiscent of their famous borrowing of GO Transit units to supplement their fleet around 1978. Definitely unexpected and unique moments in Canadian railroading that are unlikely to be repeated.

Running extra...recently photographed:
CN No 518 slides up the hill to switch Kingston Invista, slickly scooped by a sailing 149 (above) then backs bashfully down the cat-tailed Cataraqui Spur across busy Bath Road:
A sultry September sunset shines on the sides of eastbound tank cars at Kingston:
Put down that device! says Kingston Transit van-bus 1476 - shot from my front step:


Canadian Train Geek said...

Great post as usual, Eric! The only VIA unit I've ever seen in freight service was when VIA 1 was stuck west of a CN freight that derailed in Transcona. The lead F40PH was detached and pulled the string of containers west to clear a couple of crossings.

Eric said...

Thanks, Steve. An F40 hauling containers? I would not be able to contain myself - that would have been cool to see, also!

Michael said...

I've often seen Vias with CN or CP power but never saw Via helping with freights. An educational post to be sure. Glad to see the Smiths Falls content. Makes me want to head back there!

Eric said...

Just wait til I post the rest of my Dad's April 1995 photos, Michael. Imagine a CP RS18u chopnosed roadswitcher leading intermodal with an ex-MP SD!

Thanks for your comment,

Manny said...

Hi Eric. Thank you so much for this excellent writeup. That was a great time for sure and I am grateful you and your dad made the effort to preserve and share it.

Eric said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Manny. These units are a favourite, and to think they're getting towards 30 years old!


Unknown said...

The VIA 6400s even strayed on to the branches a few times. IIRC, three made it through to Owen Sound, One trip on the "Tech Train" and two trips on the way freight. - Peter Bowers

Eric said...

Would be neat to see photos of that, Peter!
Thanks for your comment,