Wednesday, February 22, 2017

VIA Rail's CANADA 150 Wraps

Ever since VIA Rail Canada wrapped P42 916, the first locomotive in the CANADA 150 scheme, there has been a lot of chatter about this wrapping program. VIA 3356 is westbound on February 22 (top photo). VIA's plan to wrap 44 pieces of equipment: 22 locomotives and 20 cars, has unleashed conspiracy theories as well as positive and negative comments. 
So far, VIA has wrapped P42's 916, 907 and 908; F40 6454, LRC coaches 3356, 3350, 3351 and 3359; and lounge car Glenfraser. I was fortunate to catch Glenfraser in Belleville on February 11:
Glenfraser was likely returning to Toronto Maintenance Centre from Ottawa. On February 7, the 'CANADA 150 Display Train' was at Ottawa for the big reveal and this photo appeared in a CNW Newswire story:
On February 20, a tip from Malcolm led me to check out VIA No 41 at Kingston station, on its way from Ottawa to Toronto. Since No 41 uses the consist of No 648 the night before, and run-throughs are minimal now that stop-blocks have been placed to facilitate high-level platform construction at Ottawa's station. 
Monday's bi-directional train should have included two CANADA 150 coaches. And it did! Arriving at 0735 (above), the consist was 917-3352-3369-3359*-3351*-3452-900. (*= CANADA 150).
 'Breeding pair' 3359 and 3351:
 Close-up of 3351 with city wraps, only two of which might see this car:
Close-up of No 3359 in the shade of the Track 2 shelter. I call this the summer know, the city initials remind me of BBQ'S!
Each car or locomotive lists four station-cities. Lest you think that over 320 cities' names (40 pieces of equipment times 8 names) will be included, VIA has indicated on Facebook that over 40 will be shown, so there will be overlap. Here is the list so far: Vancouver Kamloops Edmonton Jasper Saskatoon The Pas Thompson Churchill Winnipeg Gillam Capreol Sudbury White River Guelph Kitchener Stratford London St Marys Chatham Woodstock Sarnia Brantford Aldershot Oakville Brampton Kitchener Toronto Guildwood Kingston Ottawa Alexandria Montreal Parent Rimouski Jonquiere Quebec Moncton Bathurst Amherst Truro Halifax.
3359 departs westbound(above), with Kingston's cupola capping it off, then 3351(below):
You can see why some detractors have called this the 'silver banana' scheme. I started my own Facebook poll with some sample nicknames and received quite a few neat suggestions to boot:
I tried to start my own conspiracy theories - Budd Canadian ex-CP equipment would be wrapped! P42's would start running out West and down East! LRC's to the Coast! I found it interesting that there was less interest in this type of outside-the-box thinking than there was in inside-the-box carping about how stupid/ugly/needless/costly/meaningless/expensive/wasteful/inappropriate these wraps were. Should railfans be consulted by large corporate bodies before the latter take action? Perhaps this will change. I have my doubts!
Most of the cars being wrapped are high-numbered 3300's not refurbished therefore not receiving the Renaissance scheme and starting to look ratty. Same for the banged-up P42's. Putting some lipstick on those high-horsepower pigs. One last, lingering close-up:
VIA 900 pushes uphill towards Mi 177 Kingston Sub and away west. Don't worry, this consist would return in the afternoon as VIA No 42 before passing a third time in the evening as No 59. A Kingston Sub yo-yo, as it were! Though Business Class car normally trails the locomotive on a regular Corridor train, one can end up ahead of the trailing locomotive on a bi-directional consists. Less horn!
With all those dents and dings, don't be surprised if 900 gets wrapped soon. And here are video captures of the other sides of these two cars that I observed at Trenton on February 22. VIA 3359:
And VIA 3351. Nobody in The Pas, MB will have the opportunity to say, "Hey, there goes our LRC car!" Oh well, we'll always have Gillam. Gillam and Guildwood are two of the most unexpected stations to appear!
Though VIA 916 has been running around in CANADA 150 paint since February 2, and has made numerous trips to Kingston (mostly on the nocturnal VIA Nos 650/651). An early visit to Kingston station on Saturday, March 4 found VIA No 655 awaiting its 75-minute later, relaxed Saturday departure. VIA 916 led 4xxx-4103-4120-4114:
The formerly-white cab numbers (see CNW Newswire photo above) have been superseded by much more visible black numbers.
Some folks who know my data-obsessive tendencies have just assumed that I am keeping track of this information. Well of course I am. Here's what I've got so far. Note to self - prepare to add more rows to the spreadsheet!
Interestingly, 916 made it to Kingston on nocturnal VIA No 650 at least twice recently. Local railfans Logan and Paul did a post-sunset photo shoot and Paul notes that 916's cab numbers have been returned to black lettering replacing the nearly unreadable white lettering. Must have been frustrating for crews and foremen. Thanks to Malcolm, Paul and Logan for assistance with this post.

Late word of VIA 6454, the first wrapped F40, reaching Halifax on VIA No 14/15. Tim Hayman kindly shared his photo of VIA 6454 in Halifax. Everyone seems to like that silver nose. Silver and simple but almost everyone wants something 'more' done with it. On the sides,three names only:

**MAY 2017 update - see the complete (I think!) list of wraps here.

Running extra...

I had Too Much Time On My Hands when I snapped tank car STYX 71141 last Sunday. I hoped it would Show Me The Way to more trains but I was just Fooling Yourself so it was time for this Blue Collar Man to go home to see Babe. It seemed to say to me Come Sail Away.
Tomorrow is Oscar night:


Canadian Train Geek said...

I've been quite shocked by the hatred being spewed forth against the wraps and against VIA. For some it seems equivalent to spray painting graffiti on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling or putting a mustache on the Mona Lisa. Amazing.

Personally, I don't care for the look but I'm glad that there will be some variety in VIA's livery and I look forward to seeing the wrapped F40PH-2s coming through Winnipeg. I'm reasonably sure they won't wrap any stainless equipment, but you never know what those heathens at VIA will do! ;)

Love that STYX car - I saw several in Nanaimo, BC of all places. As a long-time fan of the band it was really sweet, Madame Blue, to see the car; this old man thought someone was putting me on.

Eric said...

I think the Mona Lisa may have had a bit of a moustache she grew herself. But I digress. Totally agree with your views on the haters and the nice variety we have to look forward to. Oh, and the Styx references were all for you, Steve!

Jason Shron said...

The vitriol probably comes from the fact that railfans like traditional schemes that echo the lines of the rolling stock. This scheme intentionally smashes through the dominant horizontal lines of the equipment. So it riles people.

I think it's quite striking - I like the evocation of the FP9As and FPA-4s with the monster VIA logo.


Chris BIGDoer Doering said...

Exciting! Hoping to see these "wrapped" cars and locomotives when they pass through Calgary. Oh...wait...

Eric said...

Good tip, Jason. Let's call it VIAtriol! Have you seen the Bell Canada trucks that used to be, let's see, olive and yellow with a sedate Bell Telephone logo, then blue and silver and now all they say is 'Be...' and the rest of the word trails off the edge of the vehicle into thin air? This is avant-garde PR stuff. Focus groups! Graphic designers!

I think it was Mr Mueller who echoed your original LARGE VIA thoughts. It was a monster for its time.

Still waiting to see my Kingston car.

Thanks for your comment,

Eric said...

Chris, I lead a charmed life.

I feel bad for every VIA city that does not have its name displayed. Kingston does.

I feel doubly bad for every city that does not have VIA service. I have suggested a VIA car-of-shame with non-served cities names on the side. Thunder Bay, Calgary, Saint John, etc.

Thanks for your comment,

GP9Rm4108 said...

Eric said...

Wow, that ending really Styx it to them. A sinking of Titanic proportions. I'd call it Come Fail Away!

Thanks, Chris.

Michael said...

Glad to see an F40 wrapped. I will keep an eye out for that one in Ottawa, especially, given my affinity for those older locomotives. I hope to have some Ottawa wrap sightings to share on Beachburg Sub soon. Great post, even the Dennis DeYoung themed finale. Domo Arigato.

Eric said...

Easy to see three CANADA 150 P42's here in one day without really trying! The 6400's may prove to be a more elusive quarry. Speaking of quarries, that's where you'll find stones. And nearby, STYX!

Thanks for your comment, Michael.