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.


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.


Bill Staiger said...

I found this blog really interesting and am wondering about something. Here in the USA when bus routes wrap their buses with advertisements, I know that the vendor pays the cost of the wrap, as well as a monthly rental charge for having the wrap in use. There is also a yearly term limit for these wraps.

It seems to me, although I am far from an expert, that VIA has to generate revenue from wraps like these on their motive power. It would be interesting to know how much yearly income is received under these circumstances.

A great much appreciated blog. It seems that they get better each and every week. Thank you Eric for your dedication to this project.

Bill Staiger, USA

Eric said...

Glad you enjoyed this post, Bill. I believe there is indeed revenue derived from hosting wraps for various companies and corporations. Whether it's a line item in past VIA annual reports, I don't know. There is the non-tangible value of exposure, many times a day, like a billboard or TV ad.

Thanks for being such a faithful Trackside Treasure reader!

Robert Archer said...

Hello Eric; a very interesting blog entry. I liked how you are able to describe thewraps without any editorial criticism.
I, though, am not neutral about them.
I was disgusted with the "Spiderman 2" wraps and the way they were never removed.
VIA is our national railway and leaving those terrible wraps promoting a Hollywood movie long after the movie itself was forgotten just shows how we neglect our infrastructure.
However; it is an interesting subject for sure and you covered it well.

Eric said...

You raise an interesting point, Robert. Drawing the line between factual posts and editorial content. I've been known to blur the line, i.e. around April 1 each year!

When it comes to wraps, or paint schemes, it's easy to get rail enthusiasts to volunteer their opinions - they don't even wait to be asked! Besides the Golden Turd, each of the other wraps have their own constituencies as to why a specific wrap is their favourite.

I am one of the unabashed fans of the recent three wraps with the big yellow and silver bananas that keep getting renewed wraps. I predict the 2020 wrap will replace 'love the way' with 'please only get on board if you've been swabbed'.

As always, thanks for your comment!

David said...

Hi Eric,

I am a football fan as well as a railfan. The Superbowl train that you have a picture of is not for Superbowl 50. It is for Superbowl 40.

Eric said...

Thanks for that additional information, David. Of course you are correct and the post is revised. XLent comment!