Rapido Trains Inc. aficianados en route to a product launch at Exporail in St-Constant, QC, Skyline 8501 is coupled to No 62/52 approaching Kingston on October 11, 2015. (top - video capture by Erika Gagnon)
CANADIAN PACIFIC SERVICE
VIA RAIL SERVICE
Around 1982, VIA redesigned the Skylines, replacing the below-dome buffet seating with a take-out snack bar, replacing the coach section with tables and chairs in the now-rear section, with lounge seating in the short section. The sit-down dining section served as an additional dining area for extra-fare passengers. The dome seats were reversed, so that the car operated lounge forward. Some refer to this conversion as a dome-coach to dome-coffee shop transition.
Since there would have been minimal leg room at the new front of the reversed dome, the first pairs of seats were left facing rearwards and two game tables were installed in the resulting four-seaters. Stairs to the dome now ascended toward the front of the dome and the rear of the train. Some contend this floods late-night dome denizens with unwanted light pollution, and removes the ‘best seats in the dome’ for forward-facing dome travel. The redesigned Skyline now separated extra-fare passengers in Dayniters and sleepers from the Canadian’s coach passengers.
With the drastic cuts to VIA Rail in November 1981, there was less demand for a full diner during the off-season. In fact, the Canadian often ran without a diner in winter, with the train’s Skyline providing food service. An eastbound Corridor Canadian consist photographed at Kingston in early 1982 (above) shows a Skyline operating with the long section forward (train departing to the left of photo).
VIA publicized their reconfigured Skylines in early-1984. Other than that, the entire 1982-1984 period during the reversing of the Skylines continues to be an under-reported and under-documented time. Railfan pubications of the time did not contain that type of detailed information. Few VIA documents, confirmed shop dates or captioned in-process conversion photos have ever surfaced. Perhaps they never will, now that forty years have come and gone.
The ‘onion’ domes of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Brandon, MB form a stately backdrop for VIA No 2’s Skyline 516, its dome nearly empty on June 2, 1984:
This configuration is still in use over 30 years later. When Skylines served as diners, as they did on the Chaleur and Hudson Bay, this configuration made sense.
Discovery Channel is free for the month on our Cogeco! Avert all the dramatic airliner crises and clean up those hellish highway messes you can possibly want!
Don't bother watching The Curse of Oak Island on History Channel. Seems the boys have got bogged down in indigenous jurisdictional issues? A show about finding treasure should not have lasted 10 seasons! Cut to the chase. Show us the gold! American Pickers, also on History Channel, is your best bet. Entertaining, educational, eclectic.
Gotta get this posted quick. Lawrence Welk re-re-re-reruns at 7 pm on our local PBS station, coming on soon!. Hokey yes, but their musicianship and versatility is unparallelled, and worth the cringeworthy brightly-coloured wardrobe.