Friday, October 15, 2021

Kingston-Portage Aboard VIA - June, 1980 Part 1

In June, 1980 was it an alien concept to send a 16 year-old halfway across the country on his own? What could possibly go wrong? It was Point A to Point B, although those two points were some 1,450 miles distant from each other. But with station-to-station ticketing and only one connection, my biggest concern was hefting my heavy Samsonite suitcase in and out of luggage racks on the train from Kingston, at Toronto Union then onto the Super Continental. 

I left Kingston early that morning. Not only would that get me to Toronto ahead of the 1320 departure time and protect the connection, but it would give me some time to explore Toronto. Again, the wisdom of letting a 16 year-old loose on his own in Toronto? Of course the precious time would be spent at the scintillating, sprawling railway lands near the CN/VIA Spadina Shops. Just one day before departure, I had a job interview at the Bath Road McDonald's restaurant. It went well, and I could foresee a career under the Golden Arches. But a conflict arose. Training sessions were being held while I was to be travelling out West. An assessment of my priorities took place. No surprise here, the train trip won! My subsequent summer jobs would not involve the frying and flipping of hamburgers. The same night I wrote, "Can't wait to leave".

Departure from Kingston was aboard the Ontarian at 0700, in window seat 60 in VIA 6115 along with 6002-6351, all in VIA colours. My Dad, brother and sister all turned out trackside to see me off (top photo) before they went off to their day's work. Arrival in Toronto after making seven stops en route, all listed in my well-thumbed (and oddly brown-and-yellow with daffodils publicizing Floralies 1980) April 27, 1980 VIA system timetable. That put our average speed at 52 miles per hour, which is exactly our speed for 6 miles west of Kingston station. The whipping-by of telegraph poles told the true story, with some tangent track travel at over 90 mph! Such speeds were not the case as we passed the Continuous Welded Rail gang on the south track around Mi 185 of the Kingston Sub. I jotted a few notes but saved my film for Spadina. 

The cost of the trip? Sample fares listed in the timetable were $14 Basic One-Way Fare Kingston to Toronto; $95 7-30 Day Fare Toronto to Winnipeg; $61 roomette Toronto to Winnipeg. Total fare was $152. Accommodation was $122. VIA's Fare-For-All Plan stipulated that the 7-30 Day Fare was one-way fare plus ONE THIRD (block caps in the timetable!). The Canrailpass was also available, but since the territories were Winnipeg and East, Winnipeg and West and I was getting on and off in Portage la Prairie, I didn't travel with a Canrailpass on this trip.

I put my luggage in coin-operated locker 3297, then spent my few hours in Toronto traversing both sides of the Spadina Avenue bridge. At the time, all manner of VIA, Tempo, CP Rail (Empress of Agincourt on a 30-car westbound transfer!) and GO Transit movements were readily visible. The Turbo and ONR Northlander reposed in the tantalizingly-close coach yard. A three-unit set: VIA 6541-6621-6629 was on the ready track and would power my No 3 north shortly. 

(In an upcoming post, I'll include photos and my observations during my morning at Spadina.)

After lunch in the station, I boarded 6-6-4 sleeper Green Lane, designated as car 350. Roomette 10 had two shades of yellow walls, a brown window sill, red toilet foot rest with CN hanger and a purple upholstered seat.


Two consists - Nos 1 and 3 at Sudbury:

Dinner was in the diner three cars back, and on arrival at Sudbury it was time for some twilight head-end photography (above). Interestingly, I was travelling in a timetable twilight zone. From April 27 to June 8, the Canadian (VIA Nos 1 and 2) operated Montreal-Sudbury, where it was combined with the Super Continental (VIA Nos 5 and 6) operating Toronto-Sudbury. At Winnipeg, the Canadian operated on to Vancouver as VIA Nos 1 and 2, while the Super Continental become Nos 3 and 4 between Winnipeg and Vancouver. 
Northern lake sunset (above) and leaving the lunar landscape of Sudbury behind with ex-CP coach 113 deadheading on the tail end. Yellow-wall roomette reflection in the setting sun and definitely not a Park car on the tail-end (below):

Beginning three days prior to my boarding, higher summer travel volumes led to VIA not inter-switching the trains. The westbounds (Canadian No 1, Super Continental No 3) stayed in Sudbury for 80-90 minutes, but dwell time in Sudbury eastbound for both was only five minutes for Canadian No 2 and Super Continental No 4. The other-worldly part of this arrangement is that both full trains ran 20 minutes apart over CP between Sudbury and the outskirts of Winnipeg, where they headed over to the CN station. At least once, waiting in the siding along the way, I can remember the Canadian pulling into a siding behind us for a meet. What a way to run a railway! Bedtime was at 2230 after a long first day, about 20 miles west of Sudbury. 

The next day found us 90 minutes late at Marathon and Thunder Bay. Rushing, roiling river rapids near Marathon around 0830 (above) and curving around a lake east of Schreiber:
Pulpwood logs east of Schreiber:

One of the sharper curves along Lake Superior is at Jackfish tunnel:

Passing terminal elevators at Thunder Bay at 1400:
Station stop at Thunder Bay. Lounge Reverie is in foreground, with my sleeper Green Lane four cars ahead of it:

I was in the vestibule for 16 miles out of Thunder Bay. The eastbound Canadian with ex-CP power pulled in during our stop at Ignace (below). The two trains would normally stop at Ignace 50 minutes apart.

Dinner was a hot roast beef sandwich and raisin pie. Sunset was west of Kenora: 

Awesome...on-time arrival of 2050 at Winnipeg. Not so awesome...the 45-minute scheduled servicing stop became a three hour-late departure. My aunt and uncle were real troopers, picking me up at the Portage station at 0200 the next morning! 

Here are my notes from the trip, with equipment of different types separated by semi-colons. Freight cars are listed by railway name and/or reporting marks by type: BO (boxcar); HiCBO (Hi-cube boxcar); HO (covered hopper); RE (refrigerator); TA (tank car); FL (flat car); AU (autorack); BU (bulkhead flat car); CO (hopper car); CON (COFC container); TRA (TOFC trailer) etc. Four-digit numbers with or without reporting marks are locomotives.

NOTES - JUNE 11, 1980

Mi. 184 Kingston Sub - CWR gang on south track, track machines spike puller 483-15, 672-64, 672-65, 672-66, 672-60, 685-3, 685-21, 141-72, 141-73, 165-13, 193-14, 193-00. The RCO  is next to us on the south track, and the crew has halted their work (above).

Eastbound led by CN 5034, Procor TA.

Napanee - SR 114200, TT 82156 BU.

Belleville - CN crane 50473; caboose 79577; SR BO; Domtar and Canadian Liquid Air TA; CN 9411, 4536(New orange cab paint scheme), 3118N.

Cobourg - BCH 622 and CP BO.

Oshawa - CN switchers 7178, 7179, 1256, 1326N; cabooses 79867, 79868; EL, CN, GT, SP, SF, CR, SSW AU; GT, SR, NW, UP, HiCBO; PC, SSW, Chessie B&O, C&O BO.

Don Yard? - Jeffrey Mine Asbestos Quebec HO; CN switchers 1244N, 1237, 8235, 8181, 1240N; caboose 76561; GO 507-2024.

Toronto Spadina - GO 907-1007-1068-9559-1093-9969-9366-702, 706, 506, 904; CN Tempo 3152-3154, 8519N, 8518, 8517, 8232N, 8236, 8514, 8516N, 3117N, 4574-3649-3115, 4016, 4017; cabooses 79715, 79491, 79613; VIA 6541-6621-6529, 6771, 6625, 6637, 6763-6859, 6869, 6858, 6771, 15302, 6623, steam generator 15456V (in VIA paint); VIA RDC's 6204-6005-6101, 6106, 6114V, 6209V, 6104; CP  8921, 8785-8798-8769, 8142, 6529, 7063; CP business car Mount Stephen; CP vans 437482, 437238, 437270, 437138 end-cupola, 434420, 434124; CP Jordan spreader 402891; Tempo train 3150-321-340-368-363-376 and 365-370-341-323; ONR 1508; six steam generator units - 3 each in CN and VIA paint.

Toronto eastbound at 1035: CN 2307N-2334N-2555 with NSR 432, UP, Chessie BO; NW, CR, LV 50947, Sclair, PC, NW TWGX HO; Bay Line 7186 BO.

Leaving Toronto - CP switchers 6537 (CP Rail scheme) and 6538 (script scheme):

Orillia? - CN cabooses 78781 end-cupola, 79587, 79208; BCR BU; 4524N; CN 70792 MoW baggage car. 

Eastbound at 1633: CN 9631-5507 with CN TRA, FL, BO and caboose 79785; CN 5528-9628.

Sudbury - CP 8125 with end-cupola van 434027; CP 5003, 7090, 4511, 4553, 4714; vans 434037, 434009, 434030, 434596; CP business car Ontario.

NOTES - JUNE 12, 1980

Marathon - Eastbound CP 4224-5024, Chessie-B&O, SOO, MP, NW, PC, P&LE, EJ&E, Alaska RR, LM ?BO; IC GO; with van 434317. CP 5745-5715-5795-5540, 4562-4726-4563; ACR GO; Sperry Car 147.

Eastbound at 1105: CP 5511-5504-5670 with CP GO, BO, RE and van 434463.

Thunder Bay - CN 1900, 1906N, 1378N, 1377; CN caboose 76565, CN Jordan spreader 50943; CP 8619, 8166, 8128, 4721, 4572, 5595, 5688, 7062, 5948, 6598, 6580, 5628, 8708; CP vans 434513, 434605; PGE, BCR, GN, UP, Milw, SOO, CNW BO; ACR, BN, TH&B, EJ&E 84024 GO; GT FL; CTI, CP CON; PTLX, NAHX, Canadian Wheat Board, CNWX, CPWX HO; CP auxiliary crane 414473 with boom car 421300, CP Service cars with clerestory roofs 411753, 411700 and 411736 (smooth side); ship at anchor Canada Steamship Lines Baie St-Paul.

Eastbound CP 5608-5586-5646-4718 with CP FL, van 434508 (below); CP 4715, 5531.

Near Ignace - met eastbound VIA No 2 at 1804

CP 5930-5527-5571 and van 434614.

Dryden - CP Service cars 411730-411732 (smooth side) and 411750; CP 6555. 

Kenora - CP snowplows 400798-400799; MDW BO; CP 6547; CP end-cupola van 437020.

Winnipeg at 2343 - Eastbound CN 1353-4129-4276-1371 with NW AU; CNW TRA and caboose 79265 possibly from BNML interchange ; Westbound CN 9581-9527-9540 with BCR BU; SR TRA; Cast, APL and ML CON; caboose 79524.

CN 1370N, 7224N.

Eastbound at 2327 - CN 4224-caboose 79704; CN 5144-5218 and caboose 79631. 

NOTES - JUNE 13, 1980

Westbound at 0041 - CN 5205-5024 with orange ballast cars and caboose 79801.

Of the next nine days, four were all-day trainwatching. That means 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the same as my uncle's dental office hours, with 90 minutes for lunch. I observed between 13 and 17 trains per day.   

(In Part 2, join me for the return trip aboard VIA No 4.)

Running extra...

Eric Clegg's railway memorabilia website is live! Check out Memorailia for rare original CN items, books, art, souvenirs and timetables:

After undergoing two organ transplants, with the last one lasting 20 years so far and likely decades of service to come, I decided to become less organ-ized Thanksgiving Sunday. I hung up the keys, and took my foot off the pedal. I wish my successor all the best (hymn or her). This photo, taken by my good wife, seemed to suit the occasion. The sign was changed from its previous iteration, "This Sunday's sermon "'What is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice!"

You'd think that after sitting through that many sermons I'd be ready for sainthood or at least canonization. (I'm more likely to get shot out of a cannon!) Am I preaching to the choir here? Because of pandemic precautions, the congregation extended me the Right Boot of Fellowship to stay on the safe side! They know I'll continue on the right track; on the straight and narrow (gauge). The other side of the sign read, "Thursday Night at 7 p.m. Low Self-Esteem Group meets - enter by the back door."

Friday, October 8, 2021

CN-CP Connection at Smiths Falls

CN's Smiths Falls Subdivision from Ottawa to Napanee made a unique crossing under CP tracks at Smiths Falls. These photos taken in August, 1974 are kindly shared here courtesy of the photographer, Bob Meldrum. What really catches the eye is the grade that the short passenger train from Ottawa has to ascend at a location called CN Smiths Falls East. It rises up from low level to gain the CP Belleville Sub at high level, before proceeding to the Smiths Falls CP station. From there, the train takes the CP Brockville Sub to Brockville, where it connects with CN's Kingston Sub to complete its trip to Toronto.
The train is stopped at the switch (top photo) and ascends the grade (above). CN's track to Napanee continues to the bottom of the photo, where it enters a 'tunnel' under the CP.  Actually, there were three through (plate) girder bridges spanning the CN, two for the Belleville Sub and one for the Chalk River Sub. An archival view of the location, showing the CN track to Ottawa passing under the CP Belleville Sub, including a CP train passing overhead (below). The telegraph poles are on the south side of the CP mainlines at the west end of Smiths Falls:
Bridges carrying both CP mainlines over the CN are visible:

THE POOL TRAIN ERA

CN's Ottawa-Toronto route was freight-only at the end of the Pool Train era on October 31, 1965.  At that time CN did not operate passenger trains between Toronto and Ottawa. Those two cities were connected exclusively by CP. With the end of the pool agreement, service was drastically reduced to a single CP RDC run each way between Toronto, Havelock and Ottawa. This new and unimproved service appears in the CP system passenger timetable in April, 1966. The CP trackage was abandoned between Tweed and Glen Tay in 1971.

On its Smiths Falls Subdivision between Ottawa, Smiths Falls and Napanee, CN instituted daytime trains between Ottawa and Smiths Falls in January, 1966. CP granted running rights on its rails from Smiths Falls to Brockville to connect with the CN Kingston Sub - the route currently operated by VIA. There is more research to be done on how this CN-CP connection was built.

There's an interesting theory that is sometimes suggested regarding CP's sudden willingness to grant Smiths Falls-Brockville running rights to CN!  Many Toronto-area Members of Parliament rode the pool trains to and from Ottawa, and they were dissatisfied with the new CP service. So, a deal was worked out allowing CP to exit the Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto routes in exchange for granting running rights to CN between Brockville and Smiths Falls. CN began running two daytime Ottawa-Toronto trains on January 24, 1966, and started an overnight service three weeks later.

CN’s new Ottawa – Toronto overnight train started in mid-February 1966, but didn’t run via Brockville. It stayed on the former Canadian Northern through Smiths Falls, stopping at the CN station, then joining the Kingston Sub at Napanee to continue on to Toronto. CN had already been operating an overnight except-Saturday express train on the Smiths Falls Subdivision so just added coaches and sleepers. After CP exited their Toronto-Ottawa service, CN instituted Nos 213/214 as overnight passenger trains named 'Capital' over their Smiths Falls Sub. Appearing in the April 24, 1966 CN system passenger timetable, they were mostly mail and express with a 6-6-4 sleeper, a buffet sleeper and one coach. Upper and lower berths, roomettes, compartment and drawing rooms were listed in the timetable. Departing Toronto at 2340, the cars were open for occupancy at 2230. Arriving in Ottawa the next morning at 0640, the cars were parked until 0730. Westward, departing Ottawa at 2300, the cars were open for occupancy at 2200. Arriving in Toronto the next morning at 0615, the cars remained parked until 0800. These times allowed sleeping-car passengers to get a good night's sleep whether the train was stationary or moving.

Rolly Martin Country blog post by my brother David includes this 1968 CN employees' timetable page for the Smiths Falls Sub, showing the 40-series day trains, overnight 213/214 and daily freights 445/446 which continued their nocturnal freight runs. There were no scheduled meets anywhere on the subdivision.

"I think I can, I think I can", says the fully-equipped five-car train with baggage, club, cafe-bar-lounge and coaches on the up-and-up (above). That is one steep grade up to the CN-CP interchange track! The CP Chalk River and Belleville Subs' trackage are at right (below), with the divisional offices and station just beyond the microwave tower:
THAT 'CAVALIER' ATTITUDE!

By April, 1969 the overnight Ottawa-Toronto trains appear in CN's system passenger timetable as the 'Cavalier', Nos 48/49, but are still on a separate schedule from Nos 58/59, the Montreal Toronto Cavaliers. The timetable issued on Feb 1, 1971 shows the trains combined between Toronto and Belleville yet retaining their identities. In the subsequent timetable issued in October, 1971 only the named Cavalier trains remain. 

CN FREIGHTS ON THE SMITHS FALLS SUB

A CN train order issued at Belleville in April, 1975 is provided to all Smiths Falls Sub trains 'east of Newburgh' and was delivered at Napanee. The crossing in question is some 50 miles east of Napanee, but still west of Smiths Falls, near Forfar:
Bob Meldrum also caught this westbound freight, usually nocturnal No 445, passing the connection to CP at Smiths Falls East in August, 1974. Its late running may be due to its lengthy consist.
Looking south from atop the CP, the single-unit train continues south-west into Smiths Falls:

THE VIA ERA

The overnight Ottawa-Toronto Cavaliers operated on CN Belleville-Smiths Falls-Ottawa until October, 1978. Thereafter, the Ottawa-Toronto Cavaliers operated over CP from Brockville to Smiths Falls and Ottawa.
The CN-CP connection is being negotiated by an eastbound VIA train led by FPA4 6790 in this undated CSTM photo (above - MAT 004366). The connection is shown in Tom Nelligan's VIA Rail Canada: The First Five Years, on page 16. C.W. Newton took multiple photos of a VIA train led by VIA 6778, negotiating the CP to CN connection eastbound i.e. down-grade. Without context, it's hard to place the location, even befuddling Jason Shron in September, 2001 - prompting a question in the infancy of the Canadian-Passenger-Rail Yahoogroup. Here's an online auction site photo looking up the interchange track  towards CP at 'Smiths Falls East' in 1983. The switch is lined for CN, though their track is decidedly weed-grown:
Spurs in the area in which the connecting track was built were known as Smiths Falls Junction Mi. 34.1. CN and CP shared interchange track A-88 for CN traffic. CN also had tracks A-89 and A-98 in the area. This was Beckwith Street North. In 1955, Billie Construction Co. Ltd. had a track entering their property. In the 1960's, Tillsonburg Pipe Co. Ltd. was served by rail, as was a Texaco tank farm. An undated blueprint image of the area shows several tracks and the interchange:
The blue building with racks of pipe (below) may be the pipe pipe company or a successor. On 
February 26, 1982 VIA No 43 is heading through Smiths Falls to Toronto in this series of photos kindly shared by Gordon Smith:
With CP tracks in foreground, VIA No 43 approaches the CN past a spur switch (above). It seems that the photographer had time to walk a little east along the CP to take the following photos, while the crew phoned the dispatcher and signed the train register at Smiths Falls East before starting up the grade:
The head-end trainnman opens the switch to the interchange track as beautiful steam seeps into the late winter air (above). Changes to the block signal system on the CP Chalk River Subdivision/west switching lead at Smiths Falls were made in 1983. The west lead from Smiths Falls yard ran directly into a CN-CP interchange track, thence the CN Smiths Falls Sub with grade revisions. In 1985, a meeting was held re: optimum VIA operations through Smiths Falls though no changes were made.

An approach signal between CN and CP tracks would have been a better outcome of that meeting. A well-publicized (and videotaped!) near-collision between VIA No 43 and CP 4222 switching empty flats for CFB Petawawa at the west end of the yard (and an unauthorized movement onto CN) occurred in 1991. The VIA train was approaching the Highway 15 crossing north of Smiths Falls, slowed from 90 mph and the CP freight reversed, reaching 9 mph thus avoiding a collision. 
It's the 'Little Engine that Could' once again as the VIA train gains CP trackage (above) and the tail-end trainman or conductor is safely aboard and visible in the open Dutch door:
A close-up view shows the through (plate) girder bridges more clearly (below). Surely at this time the fate of the CN line was sealed, though the CP bridges overhead were still in place. The CP Chalk River Sub branches off past the signal at right:
Bonus Gordon Smith photo! Taken the same day, it shows the eastbound Corridor Canadian at Gananoque Junction:
Must. Stay. On. Topic. CN applied to abandon the Smiths Falls Sub as early as 1981, though work trains and freights operated for at least another year. 

A 1991 VISIT TO THE SITE

Compare the view below with Bob Meldrum's photos. Due to the snow that was present when my Dad and David visited the site on February 21, 1991, the CN Smiths Falls Sub right-of-way (centre) and existing connection to CP (at right) are visible - four photos by L.C. Gagnon. (I'm sure my Dad did not appreciate the tree growing in the foreground, but the alternative to this photo angle was likely a snowy, slippery sloping slide to oblivion down the embankment!)
A reverse view looking back up to the CP, with the CN 'tunnel' now filled in with a culvert. The CP trackage and its telegraph poles are visible at top of photo:
The duo returned the next month, on St. Patrick's Day! Top o' the afternoon to ya! Compare this photo with Bob Meldrum's tail-end photo with caboose. Two unofficial whistle post markings were painted on the rock-cut and my Dad is standing on the CN former right-of-way:
Clearly, drainage was no longer an issue on the pulled-up CN line, and deep ditches lined CN and CP tracks here. Beyond this location, the Smiths Falls Sub reached the CN station (now the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario), a bascule bridge over the Rideau Canal, then the Smiths Falls golf course along Highway 15, continuing on toward Napanee. Again atop the CP, this composite view captures the CP mainlines in foreground, the Chalk River Sub at centre, and the section-house and road crossing on the CN-CP connection at right. Just to the right of the mid-point of the composite piture, the former CN right-of-way is visible, in line with the black-roofed structure:
VIA vacated the CP station, building a stationette on the connecting track. We traversed the track on a trip from Kingston to Ottawa in 2011. Here's one last comparison of the connection, 1946 and 2021 aerial views, showing the present or former CP-Belleville Sub (CP-Be), CP-Chalk River Sub (CP-Ch) and the CN:
Thanks to Gilbert Lacroix for sharing the blueprint image and additional information in this post.

Running extra...

When Bob Meldrum responded affirmatively to sharing his views here, check out how he worded his response to me: 

"Please feel free to do whatever with these pictures. At 80, I keep looking at the door marked Railfan Heaven and realize that no-one is going to do anything with all my slides. It brings me a lot of pleasure to look at them again and learn a lot from others especially where the notes are wrong!"

I've really enjoyed writing four articles for John More-Curran and Our Lakes e-magazine. The October issue is now online and includes two articles - one is my fourth article in the Rails & Lakes series (above, beginning on page 27), the other is a Q&A which will interest those considering writing and publishing, beginning on page 43. You can do it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

VIA's New Siemens Trainset Through Kingston


Thanks to an early morning OS from fellow VIAphile Matt Soknacki, I headed out to Collins Bay to catch VIA's new Siemens Charge SC42 locomotives and Venture cars heading east from Toronto as CN train No 698. Based on the train's speedy transit east from California, I knew it would be spritely. If not for the trains I encountered as I waited, it probably would have been sooner. Arriving at Belleville shortly after 1130, I was predicting 1215. The deadhead movement was running at track speed, with few delays en route aside from refuelling or recrewing. I took up my position on Kingston's Railfan Walking Trail, planning to take video on my point & shoot with tripod, and stills on cellphone.

VIA No 63 Eng 905 went west (above) and CN No 518 (below) with ailing CN 4789 and GMTX 2284 carrying about 10 KIMCO scrap loads on the south track. With only one engine online and 4789 not loading, the KIMCO cars were all the Little Engine That Could could handle up the hill at Mi 178. Their lift at Ernestown was made off the main to eliminate the need to lift the whole train up and out. CN No 271 took it easy with 518 occupying the south track just ahead!

Five hours from Sarnia to Toronto, with a normal freight train transit time of 10 hours. Only 24 hours from Chicago. And we thought only hogs could clear That Toddlin' Town without changing trains! CN 8869 had taken over at Battle Creek, MI and departed Flint at 2315 on Tuesday night. Elmer Ogden's  granddaughter was called for the train out of Toronto at 0800. CN 5638-2204 led CN No 271 at 1238 coming up on CN No 518 lifting at Ernestown, taken from the south side of Bath Road (below). I could not scan the train - I had to keep my eyes on the wheels of cars on CN No 271, concerned that 698 might slip by. Worse than not getting a photo would have been not knowing the short train had sneaked by me, obscured by the all-encompassing auto racks! 

VIA No 40 was eastbound on the north track before 698 appeared on its block, also on the north track. (CN No 368 was following 698.) A break in road traffic and ETU squawks alerted me to 698's presence in time for me to cross Bath Road with tripod and all without being flattened.
Siemens Cinema! Watch my my Youtube video of 698.

The consist: locomotive 2200, Business Class/Classe Affaires cars 2600 and 2700, coaches 2800 and 2900, cab car 2300 and locomotive 2201.   Business Class car 2700 is at right (below). Notice the Business Class cars have slightly darker grey paint. Good luck to railfans trying to find the car numbers on these CTC (Caved-in Tin Can) cars!


The train continued east to Montreal. Railfan reports: Whitby 0915, Darlington 0945, Clarke 1000, Belleville 1130, Kingston 1300, Prescott 1425, Cornwall 1525, Dorval 1630. Since the Business Class lounge at Ottawa station was just reopened, I can't imagine the new trainset will spend much time in Montreal before heading to Ottawa for a photo op with a plethora of politicos.

This preview of new VIA Rail Canada technology cast my mind back to the debut of the LRC! VIA quickly posted this photo sans CN 8869 at VIA's Montreal Maintenance Centre. Reporting marks SIIX 2200 and classification SC-42 showing. They've ordered 32 of the new consists. CN 8869 returned west on a more pedestrian assignment, CN No 369 about 24 hours later, accompanied by 'BC Rail' 4648 in the blue scheme.

Lots o' video links:

Running extra...

It's a little unusual to find two contemporary, not retro, posts on Trackside Treasure. Ripped from the headlines of today! I can't help myself. These two recent railway-related events just happened to occur in and around Kingston. To observe each one, I had an hour to spare during my grandson's midday naptime. So conveniently-scheduled!

This is going to take some getting used to: VIA getting new equipment! Not recycled, not refurbished, not second-hand. And a poorly-kept secret, photographed and video'd by railfans across North America and along CN's Kingston Sub. I'm sure if 698's crew had been playing Railfan Bingo, they could have won with a Full Card! Malcolm! Andre! Paul! Zack! Of course the middle spot on the card would be decorated with crossbucks!

Speaking of poorly-kept secrets, CP 8757 makes its debut today, mysteriously wrapped and not-so-surreptitiously transported to Calgary (the wrap blew off in the wilds of Alberta!) in honour of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: