Thursday, May 28, 2020

VIA Ex-CP Cars East to Montreal - Part 1

VIA has been repositioning stainless steel equipment formerly used on the Canadian. VIA No 12 was a deadhead equipment move bringing 20 cars from Vancouver (and the Prince Rupert train) into Winnipeg on May 17. Steve Boyko captured this movement from three different angles! With neither the Ocean, Skeena or Canadian running due to the present pandemic, there's lots of HEP stainless steel cars to go around. The cars can now be cleaned, refurbished and inspected as needed and as planned. VIA posted this press release May 6. The final Canadian had reached Toronto March 13.

Another special movement, VIA No 11 Engs 6427-6448, brought five cars into Winnipeg from Toronto around May 19. In the Corridor, several HEP stainless steel coaches, a baggage car and a Skyline had headed west into Toronto on May 9. Cars that came to VIA's Toronto Maintenance Centre from Western Canada are being moved to VIA's Montreal Maintenance Centre, tacked onto the tail-end of VIA No 66 on successive nights. See the end of this post for consists of VIA's first No 12. Thanks to additional information from VIAphile Mark Sampson, you are there!

This is going to be a pop-up post. Each day's coverage of No 66 will have the consist followed by photos of that train.
May 20 VIA No 66 at Kingston OS 1745 May 20, 2020. 918Love the Way-3452-3348Ren-3320R-3335-3345R-919L-Frontenac-Acadian-8609-8144. To get a better, non-80 mph look, Kingston's VIA station was the place to be to see the equipment up-close.

May 21 No 66: 6459-6456-6453-913Love the way-3467-3340-3322-3326Ren-3319R-920L-8104-Glacier Park-Chateau Salaberry-Ch. Maisonneuve-Ch. Jolliet - the last four Prestige Class. Interestingly, the three 6400's in the lead brought the cars into Toronto, but have been remarshalled in the opposite order.

VIA No 66 at 1758 on May 22, 2020 at Kingston: 907Love the way-3460-3303Ren-3356Future-3363-3339R-906L-8606-Tweedsmuir Park-8105-8613:

VIA 8613, er, 613, has an interesting historical footnote in the long history of its VIA service.
VIA No 66 at 1750 on May 23, 2020 at Kingston (Collins Bay): 912Love the way-3462-3360Future-3300-3366F-6404-Strathcona Park-8118-Emerald (with Churchill wrap)-Empress-Kent.

Mark Sampson thoughtfully put a 'Hi Eric' sign in wrapped diner Emerald for me to see!

Earlier on May 23, VIA No 63 had Hunter Manor-Brock Manor-Fairholme-Chateau Jolliet-8509-Assiniboine Park tacked on the tail end from Montreal. It's been awhile since we had this many domes on the Kingston Sub - 1982:
The 20-car consist of VIA No 12 (CN's ID is P01251 15) which passed through Winnipeg on May 17 - each unit is followed by the bracketed date it headed east from Toronto as pictured above: 6453(21)-6456(21)-6459(21)-8118(23)-Strathcona Park (23)-8613(22)-8105(22)-Tweedsmuir Park(22)-8606(22)-Drummond Manor -Elgin Manor-Franklin Manor-8144(20)-Kent(23)-Empress(23)-Emerald(23)-8609(20)-Chateau Jolliet (21-Prestige Class)-Acadian (20)-Frontenac (20)-Chateau Maisonneuve(Prestige-21)-Chateau Salaberry(Prestige-21)-Glacier Park (21-Prestige). The first six cars (8118 to 8606 inclusive) were two three-car trainsets wyed then added at Jasper, along with 6459. The Manors stayed at the TMC. 

In Part 2, we capture a second train's contribution of cars to this Corridor Canadian crossing.

Running extra...

My future son-in-law gave up the chance to stay home and smell the homemade lasagna cooking to accompany me instead to Kingston's VIA station to see the third night's deadhead move of VIA equipment to Montreal. (That run-on-sentence was as long as this train!) It's not too often we see this Trackside Treasure being created - Dustin captured me capturing the moment! Your humble blogger is having a virtual flashback to the 1980's Corridor Canadian, when there was no such thing as a mid-train Park car. Strange times, indeed:
A recent re-watch of the 1963 classic 'The Great Escape' is being followed up by a read of Ted Barris' The Great Escape - the Untold Story. My copy is not lettered 'a Canadian Story' though. Maybe that's what happens when it's a National Bestseller (that is on my copy). The differences between the Hollywood version and the real thing are notable for not off-putting. Spoiler - I've actually worked alongside someone who IS mentioned in the book, by George!
Speaking of tunnelling, I'm tiring of hearing the phrase 'deep dive' pertaining to any newsmagazine expose' or any other normally-superficial account of something. It's become an epidemic, and besides, I prefer a shallow dive. Not just because I'm superficial, but because there's less chance of hitting my head that way.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Vestibule View of Saskatchewan and Alberta,1986 - Part 1

It was a particularly greasy afternoon crossing the Canadian prairie from Saskatchewan into Alberta in May, 1986 aboard VIA's Canadian, train No 1. This part of my trip to Steamexpo in Vancouver was scheduled to take about six hours from where my morning began at Wolseley to arrival in Calgary. I spent some time in the open vestibule from Webb to Tompkins. Then it got too unpleasant, rainy and cold and it was time to dry off in the Park car. (Vestibule-riding is now prohibited. At the time, my goal was to see the train ahead, photograph other trains and trackside treasure, especially the well-kept Alberta Wheat Pool grain elevators. It's important to note that this CP route has been rare-mileage since the Canadian switched to CN lines between Winnipeg and Vancouver in 1990.) When the rain stopped, it was back in the vestibule from Crowfoot to Calgary, which we'll complete in Part 2 of this two-part series. 

The fact that it's taken me another ten years to document this intervening part of the day says little about my publication punctuality! Thank goodness for modern photo-editing, which in part allows me to restore some of these views. The greasiness and drabness of the afternoon was especially pronounced in photos taken through the tinted dome glass.
Traversing CP's Swift Current Subdivision, Piapot, SK at Mi 67.1 was named for an Indian chief. For the next 40 miles, the Cypress Hills were visible to the south, though they were 25 miles away. Maple Creek at Mi 84.5:
Maple Creek was the home of stockyards, and was a cattle shipping point using fully-depreciated CP stock cars, even at this late date:
 Pioneer elevators and stock cars at Maple Creek:
Meeting Extra 5776 East at 1223 at Kincorth Mi. 97.3 - named for a village in Scotland.
Meeting No 404 Eng 5624 at Cummings, Mi 109.5 - named for an explorer from Boston!
Crossing the Saskatchewan-Alberta border at Mi. 114, the first of two towns named for notable Royal North West Mounted Police commanders and the March West. Major Walsh has been immortalized at Mi. 115:
 There were no Alberta Wheat Pool elevators that were not kept primly painted:
 Colonel Irvine's legacy is maintained in turquoise and white paint at Mi 125.7:

Dunmore was the site of a large CP Rail yard. The town is named after a predecessor settlement in Scotland.
Reaching subdivision point Medicine Hat, AB at Mi 147.4 at 1320, power in the yard: CP 3075-3070-3109. The first two were a year old, and 3109 was built in 1986. Angus van 434707 is coupled to them.
The sizeable station is at left with van 434570 on the van track as we get out of town.
Now riding CP's Brooks Sub, we reach Tilley an hour later, Mi 52.9. Must've been lunch hour to account for that passage of time! Tilley is named after a Canadian statesman and a member of Canada's first government under Sir John A Macdonald.
Twelve minutes later, it was Brooks at Mi. 66.8. Named for W.E. Brooks, CP division engineer, this was a three-elevator town. 
 I also photographed an Engro fertilizer agency in this area.
Named for an Italian civil engineer, Bassano is at Mi 97.6. Another photo at Bassano leads off this post (top photo).
Though we could have hoped for sunnier weather, it was still a pleasant experience watching our sinewy streamliner negotiate the shower-soaked scenery! Make sure you check out Part 2.

Running extra...

Here's a Government of Canada grain car scheme to keep an eye out for - Jason Paul Sailer kindly shared his photograph of CP  601266 at Alberta's Kipp Yard. Not only is there no Canadian flag, the French version includes 'of' and is missing an 'e'. Wird.

Passenger train photography is not easy these days. With VIA running only one pair between Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto, my sister-in-law was lucky to catch VIA No 63 led by 6404 and tailed by 912 at Mi 183 Kingston Sub. Thanks, Susan! Also, watch for an upcoming post on VIA equipment moves here, enlivening some otherwise predictably pandemic-proportioned consists.
Thirty-six years earlier, it was VIA 6784-6865 leading a westbound at the same location, slicing through a significantly more scenic right-of-way!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

VIA F40 Wraps

VIA Rail Canada has been wrapping locomotives for 30 years, beginning with their F40 fleet, more recently P42's. The most recent wrap is part of VIA's 'love the way/la voie qu'on aime' branding (top photo). But first, some F40ndamentals - what is an F40, more precisely an F40PH-2D? Some statistics:

  • 3000 HORSEPOWER, 16-cylinder 645 DIESEL ENGINE
ACTUALLY, it’s an F40PH-2D . . . . .let’s break it down:

  • F = EMD passenger/cowl series designation
  • 40 = based on EMD GP40-2 roadswitcher
  • P = Passenger service
  • H = Head-End Power
  • 2 = upgraded Dash 2 electrical systems from original EMD models (actually more like a 50 than a 40)
  • D= desktop controls

  • GPA-30a 6400-6419 DELIVERED NOV/86-JAN/87
  • GPA-30b 6420-6429 DELIVERED THROUGHOUT 1987
  • GPA-30c 6430-6458 DELIVERED APR/89-JUL/89
The F40's replaced older GMDD and MLW cab units, and were used across VIA's system. The 6400’s had slab sides and square noses that lent themselves to promotional wraps. The rear of the locomotive is not always wrapped! Advertising revenue for the wraps no doubt added to VIA's bottom line. Photo credits (TR =Tim Reid, PM =Peter Mumby) from my collection or (ON =online auction site photo).

1990's AND EARLY 2000's

In 1990, VIA 6400 led cross-Canada 7-car branded train in partnership with MuchMusic/MusiquePlus,  departing Vancouver June 7 – arriving Halifax June 24 with live concerts aired from train. Hello Hornepayne! There were five flatcars of Isuzu Troopers on TV commercials but only one on the actual train)(ON):
In 1997, 6429 wore Home Hardware paint and led a cross-country promotional train. It then continued wearing the wrap in Corridor service at Kingston,  on August 9, 1997:
A Kool-Aid Kool Train contest for kids ages 4-6 in conjunction with Kids World Magazine in March 2000 led to 6404, 6405, 6406, 6411, 6424, 6432, 6433, 6439, 6453 and 6454 wearing a colourful livery (TR): 
6432 on VIA No 65 on May 12, 2000 with the kids:

The contest even made the papers!
In 2002, carmine-wrapped 6403 led the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s fiftieth anniversary nine-car train (and OTTX 93344 generator flatcar) and made 20 stops across the country. 6403 wore the CBC wrap until rebuilt in 2010. While on the CBC display train, 6403 led 6412, later 6449 (PM):
6429 was also wrapped for a TELUS golf tournament special to Huntsville on June 22, 2002 later modified by replacing a flower image with a 2010 Olympic Games banner. 6429 wore various wraps for 13 years! (PM)
Interestingly, released from Alstom Montreal on May 22, 2002 6429 made a trip east on the Ocean, reaching Moncton on May 24, in logo-less green paint behind 6404! Lettering  then applied in Toronto. Youtube video capture by the late David Othen at Halifax:
Operation Lifesaver/Direction 2006 safety campaign, crossing signals decorated 6411 in 2003. Some nose decals were later removed during shopping. Westbound at Kingston (TR):  
In May 2004, 6401, 6406, 6408, 6413, 6424 and 6434 wrapped for May 19-July 15, 2004 Spot the Spiderman movie contest. Kids on board received Spiderman2 activity books. I rode Mtl-Kingston  behind one (6401 or 6408) on VIA No 69 but no photos! 6406 at Belleville in September, 2009 (ON):
Budweiser’s ruby red colours coated 6424 in 2005, wrapped for NFL 40th Super Bowl Tailgate party train to Detroit. At Kingston (TR):

LATE 2000'S

Commonly referred to as ‘the golden turd’ and almost universally-disliked, Loto-Quebec’s “La Poule aux Oeufs d’OR” promotional scheme was applied to 6414 in 2006 (PM):  


In 2011, Coors Light ‘Silver Bullet Express’ imaginative vinyl motorhead artwork was applied to 6408 and 6445 for a special promotional train, unique for each unit. The special train departed Edmonton April 15 with stops in Jasper, Kamloops and Vancouver.
Then, for the first time in 15 years, the 6400’s were being rebuilt and were artwork-free.  Briefly.  In September 2012, 6445 received artwork and logos on a grey background to celebrate the centenary of the Grey Cup. Local railfan Paul Hunter caught the consist deadheading west at Kingston at October 12, 2012:

 6445 was the first rebuilt unit to be wrapped (both photos - PM):

CANADA 150 and VIA40

While I don't consider these 2017-present word-wraps to be wraps in the context of this post, I'm including them here because I find them interesting! VIA was able to use the same large, yellow 'VIA' wordmark on the selected F40's below, as well as much of the P42 fleet, for two successive logo wraps - marking Canada's sesquicentennial, VIA's "40th" anniversary and now the latest 'love the way' ad campaign. Here are the nominal dates I have for first observations of these word-wraps:
  • 6402 CANADA 150 Mar 13/17; VIA40 Apr 29/18; LOVE THE WAY Aug 16<>Sep 27/19
  • 6416 CANADA 150 Apr 22/17; VIA40 n/a; LOVE THE WAY Jul 29/19
  • 6436 CANADA 150 May 12/17; VIA40 Mar 9/18; LOVE THE WAY Nov 5/19<>Jan 19/20
  • 6437 CANADA 150 May 3/17; VIA40 Apr 3/18; LOVE THE WAY  July 25/19
  • 6454 CANADA 150 Feb 24/17; VIA40 Mar 26/18; LOVE THE WAY Jul 20/19
  • 6420 LOVE THE WAY Dec 17/19
  • 6427 LOVE THE WAY Jan 8/20
  • 6445 LOVE THE WAY <Mar 31/22
Different combinations of VIA city station names adorned the five units, such as 6416 at Kingston on VIA No 68 on March 28, 2018 (above). I was able to add to Don McQueen's comprehensive article, published in the BRS Branchline which lists all city station name combinations. VIA 6436 wore the 40 Ans/Years wrap on VIA train No 46 in May 2018 (below):
Some railfans don’t ‘love the wrap’. Other side - en francais: ‘la voie qu’on aime’
Interestingly, VIA 6420 and 6427 were outshopped following Churchill, MB line wreck repair on Dec 17/19 and Jan 8/20, respectively. They are the first two units to wear this wrap without previously wearing the Canada 150 and VIA40 wraps. VIA 6445 derailed on December 31, 2019 while on CN's Gladstone Sub and also received the wrap. The consist was: 6425-6445-8615-8125-8135-8510-Chateau Lasalle. The derailment was found to be due to a broken rail.

JUNE 2024 UPDATE: VIA 6454 returned to service six months after hitting a truck in Northern Quebec. The cab-side numerals were applied in white (engineer's side).


Based on information kindly shared by Don McQueen, VIA 6400's that received various wraps are shown with road number, paint scheme, and the time span during which the particular paint scheme was worn. Some 6400's wore multiple paint schemes, while many unwrapped units remained in their original VIA paint scheme until rebuilding, at which time the Renaissance scheme was applied.

6400 Diet Pepsi: Apr/90 to Jun/90
6401 Spiderman: May/04 to rebuild
6403 CBC 50th: Sep/02 to rebuild
6404 Kool-Aid: Apr/00 to Aug/00
6405 Kool-Aid: Apr/00 to Aug/00
6406 Kool-Aid: Apr/00 to Aug/00
6406 Spiderman Apr/04 to rebuild
6408 Spiderman: May/04 to Apr/11
6408 Coors Light: Apr/11 to rebuild
6411 Kool-Aid: Apr/00 to Aug/00
6411 Operation Lifesaver: Apr/03 to rebuild
6413 Spiderman: May/04 to Dec/05
6414 Loto-Quebec: Aug/06 to rebuild
6424 Kool-Aid: Apr/00 to Aug/00
6424 Spiderman: May/04 to Nov/05
6424 Budweiser: Nov/05 to Mar/06
6429 Home Hardware: Aug/97 to Apr/02
6429 Telus (no graphics): May/02
6429 Telus (with flower): Jun/02 to Feb/03?
6429 Telus (with 2010 Olympic bid): Mar/03 to rebuild
6432 Kool-Aid: Apr/00 to Aug/00
6433 Kool-Aid: Apr/00 to Aug/00
6434 Spiderman: May/04 to Sep/06?
6439 Kool-Aid: Apr/00 to Aug/00
6445 Coors Light: Apr/11 to rebuild
6445 Grey Cup 100th: Aug/12 to Nov/12*
6453 Kool-Aid: Apr/00 to Aug/00 
6454 Kool-Aid: Apr/00 to Aug/00

*6445 first rebuilt unit wrapped

6408 and 6421 received NR (Nassau Railways) lettering on blue stripe for filming of 'New York Minute' in the GTA, Aug/03
I've featured the F40's in two of my books, Trackside with VIA: Cross-Canada Compendium and Research and Recollections. Many VIA fans who are too young to remember cab units will certainly remember these boxy beasts, now in their fourth decade and still putting on the miles! 


At the October, 2019 monthly Associated Railroaders of Kingston meeting, I had the pleasure of co-presenting with Paul Hunter on the subject of the F40 wraps. I covered the prototypes, while Paul showcased his pioneering modelling in HO scale. These units were painted and decalled by Paul - he also rosters Rapido factory-painted units in other wrap schemes.
Diet Pepsi Taste Drive Highball Graphics decals, Walthers unit.
 Telus wrap using Circus City decals:

Running extra...

Fellow Kingston modeller Mike Shirlaw shared some streetscapes of his scenicked St. Margaret's layout. Check out the streetcar wiring and the North Toronto station, which Mike notes is now an LCBO. So, a toast to his fine modelling. We often discuss the virtues of more vs. less wiring. (I'm the less guy) and Mike notes that the citizens of St. Margaret's are wisely social distancing - inside.