VIA's Canadian has been suspended in 2020 east of Winnipeg due to the pandemic. Boo. Operation of VIA Nos 1/2 Winnipeg to Vancouver resumed in December. Now, Toronto to Vancouver operation is planned for May 2021. Part 2 covered deadhead movements up to the end of 2020 but it got too big, and it was time to add this Part 3. No longer can deadheading cars be sent east or west - the train's not currently operating! And CN requires VIA to use its own power on these deadhead moves. The era of CN or CP co-operating and providing rescue power to VIA for their trains ended years ago!
MARCH 2021 UPDATE - There was an increased frequency of stainless steel car movements on the CN Kingston Sub. I observed 6446, Chateau Closse, Bell Manor, 81x4, 6443, 8110, 86xx heading to Toronto, with diner Emerald heading the other way. On March 21, VIA No 7 left Toronto with 6446, 6435, 6443, 6457 and 6440 are the power. There were no domes in the 11-car consist and it appeared coaches 8112 and 8113 are refurbished.
APRIL 2021 UPDATE: VIA No 2 ex Vancouver on April 2 was really two 11-car trains in one. The 'normal' pandemic consist plus 11 deadhead cars, deadheading to Jasper, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal. The consist: 6427(L)-6442-6426-6428-86xx-8100/8109/8110 (all "D&H")-8509-Imperial-Lorne Manor-Carleton Manor-Laird Manor-Allan Manor-Glacier Park (Prestige). The following cars deadheading: Cornwall Manor-1721-8122-8613-Banff Park-8516-8133-Abbot Manor-Amherst Manor-Yoho Park-8103. VIA No 8 arrived in Toronto on April 13 with four 6400's and 12 cars.
On April 15, 8516-1721 tagged along on the tail-end of VIA No 68. (Image courtesy RailStream, LLC) at Belleville. A rare visitor to the CN Kingston Sub!
On April 16, Skyline 8503 trailed No 64. Thanks to Matt Soknacki for the heads-up and noticing that Action Red paint seems to be showing through the blue letterboard stripe, above and to the left of the Canada flag. A nice vista at Vista Drive:
Also on April 16, 6442 and 6427L trailed No 66, having led out of Vancouver on April 2.
On April 17, an 81xx was eastbound.
On April 18, on VIA No 66, 4114 (D&H) and Skyline 8507 tailed VIA 905L-4 LRC cars-901, seen here at Mi 180 Kingston Sub:
The top line of the Skyline nameplate appears to be black:
MAY 2021 UPDATE: The first Canadian in over a year arrived in Toronto on Friday, May 21, albeit four hours late due to a disabled CP freight train on directional running zone south of Capreol: 6428-6426-6437L-8612-8100-8109-8102 (all 3 "D&H")-8517-Imperial-Lorne Manor-Cabot Manor-Laird Manor-Allan Manor-Glacier Park (Prestige).
The first VIA No 1 ex-Toronto departed on Sunday, May 23 behind 6453-6455-6438 and the same consist. This VIA No 1 was held around Mi. 30 of the CN Bala Sub for four southbound freight trains. Not exactly priority treatment!
The second VIA No 1 departed Toronto on Sunday, May 30: 6432-6448-8608-8108-8129-8110 (all three coaches "D&H"-8509-Alexandra-Draper Manor-Wolfe Manor-Sherwood Manor-Fraser Manor-Prince Albert Park (Prestige).
On May 29, VIA 6416L-6411-Emerald (Churchill wrap)-Empress-Frontenac headed east as VIA No 614 to Rail GD in New Richmond, QC. Annapolis, completed, went west the same day with the same power, Annapolis with new lettering and the "D&H" windowband. VIA awarded the contract for refurbishment of four diners in October, 2018.
On June 6, VIA No 1 departed Toronto 6454L-6428-8621-8112-8113-8102 ("D&H")-8517-Fairholme- Bell, Hunter, Dawson and Carleton Manors-Laurentide Park (Prestige).
June 13's VIA No 1 ex Toronto: 6458-6442-6455-6438-8612-8100-8109-8129 (all three "D&H")-8512-Impérial-Brant, Lorne, Cabot and Allan Manors, Glacier Park (Prestige).
In a somewhat-related story, VIA No 614 brought a combined Renaissance/stainless steel consist into Halifax station on July 13. With the resumption of the Ocean one month away, this consist is in Halifax for crew training, including new hires! 6427L-6411-7009-70230-7208-7516-7507-7506-79526-7314-7401-7303-7601-8124*-8118*-Chateau Radisson-8618 (*refurbished interiors).
On August 11, the above consist left Halifax as the first Ocean in 17 months, albeit with the back-to-back locomotives reversed and consist operating with 8618 leading,
Further updates will be posted here. Watch this space!
VIA has released yet another pdf timetable online as it continues to tweak its schedule and add trains back. They've conveniently printed these convenient combined tables for the reference of Kingston railfans:
The good old days. Dorval railfanning 1975-1991 from the video vault!
And today. Here's CN No 518 coming down to the bay from Ernestown on April 21, the Day of Snow, with cars for Kingston Invista. They were running short on time after doing some switching puzzles out at Ernestown, eight miles to the west. Switch brooms in place on GMTX bluebirds 2163-2323. I feel it's my obligation to take photos at this location, since CN was good enough to zap the south-side pole-line!