Friday, November 4, 2022

VIA 9300's and 9400's

Two series of VIA combination baggage cars are often mistaken for each other: VIA 9300's and 9400's. Their backgrounds are actually quite discrete and diverse. This post covers their backgrounds, conversions, VIA service, eventual disposition and links. 

Bringing up the rear, VIA 94xx with those latter-day construction markers, west of Georgetown on September 25, 1988 (top photo and below - Trackside Treasure collection). 

VIA 9300's

Four baggage-coach cars, 9300-9303 were converted in 1984 from 1954-built ex-CN CC&F coaches. (Number of coach seats and length of baggage section unknown.)

Spotting features: prominent roof hatch. Window-door arrangement was: six full-size windows-small window-baggage door. 

New and previous numbers, eventual disposition:

  • 9300 ex-5653, cafe coach lounge 3016 from 1964-72, cafe bar lounge 2511 from 1972-84, to Les Trains Touristique St-Laurent, May 1995, to Waterloo-St Jacob's Rly in 1997.
  • 9301 ex-5608, cafe coach lounge 3015 from 1964-72, cafe bar lounge 2508 from 1972-84, sold to Ontario government/ONR, leased to Algoma Central, 1990.
  • 9302 ex-5535, Dayniter 5710 from 1972-84, sold to Ontario government/ONR, leased to Algoma Central, 1990.
  • 9303 ex-5475, Dayniter 5723 from 1972-84, sold to BC Rail, January 1997.
In Service: All four cars operated out of Montreal on the Montreal section of the Canadian in 1985-87 from October to June. In the intervening summer months, one was assigned for Toronto-Windsor service, one for Toronto-Sarnia, and two for (Montreal)-Senneterre-Cochrane service. I saw these cars in Corridor service east of Toronto only briefly, mainly in June-July 1986. The cars were removed from service and moved to storage between 1990 and 1992. VIA 9300 and 9303 were still offered for sale by CANAC in 1993.

My observations at Kingston: date, car, direction:
  • Sep 16/85 9301 WB
  • Jun 13/86 9303 EB
  • Jun 18/86 9302 EB
  • Jul 5/86 9300 WB

VIA 9400's

VIA 9479 stored at Mimico - October 27, 1992

CN (later VIA) 9475-9488 comprised 14 baggage-dormitory cars, each with a baggage section and 14 roomettes.

Built for New York Central in 1948 by Pullman-Standard as 22-roomette cars, the cars were bought by CN in 1959 and renamed the Val-series. Eight of the roomettes at the non-vestibule end were replaced by baggage space by CN in 1973 and renumbered into the high 9400-series. All were transferred to VIA in March, 1978 with some still in service in 1990, but all stored by 1992. 

Spotting features included roof weld lines. Window-door arrangement was: vestibule door-seven full-size windows- then six-foot baggage door. 

New numbers with previous numbers and names, eventual disposition:

  • 9475 ex-2070 Val St Patrice (Sleeper Car Line, June 1995)
  • 9476 ex-2054 Valcartier (Ontario Northland, November 1983)
  • 9477 ex 2065 Valjean (Pacific Railcar Services, San Bruno, CA June 1992)
  • 9478 ex-2066 Valois (L Smith/Rail Voyages Ltd, Washington DC, 1990)
  • 9479 ex-2067 Valparaiso (Nashville, TN June 1995)
  • 9480 ex-2068 Valpoy (L Smith/Rail Voyages Ltd, Washington DC, 1990)
  • 9481 ex-2074 Val St Michel (scrapped 1995)
  • 9482 ex-2053 Val Brillant (Halton Cty Radial Ry, January 1997)
  • 9483 ex-2057 Val D'Amour (Uncommon Journeys, California, August 1995)
  • 9484 ex-2060 Val Douchet, off roster by 1988
  • 9485 ex-2061 Valhalla, off roster by 1988
  • 9486 ex-2069 Valrita (Global Comms, Williamston, MI, Blue Water Chapter NRHS 1983)
  • 9487 ex-2071 Val Gagne (Mountain Vista Railtour Services, July 1990)
  • 9488 ex-2073 Val Rose (Mountain Vista Railtour Services, July 1990)

In Service: The 9400's saw widespread use with VIA.  From 1976-89, CN practice was followed with 9400's used on Nos 11/14/15/16/17 in the Maritimes, and Nos 9/10 to Prince Rupert.  In 1985, 9478 was on No 73 at Windsor. In 1986, 9476 made it to Churchill. In 1989, 9475 was on No 8 at Hornepayne. In 1990, 9482 was on VIA No 107 at Capreol, and 9481 was on No 1 at Jasper. VIA apparently kept five of these baggage-dormitories past the January 1990 cutbacks (9475, 9479, 9481, 9482 & 9483) and used them on the Skeena until the end of the steam-heated era.

I took some photos on my trip between Jasper and Prince Rupert in 1985 with 9487 ahead of me. No 5’s consist at Edmonton: 6514-9487-5512-752-and two E-series sleepers.  

My observations at: date, car, train, location:

  • Dec 30/79 9483, Christmas rush, Kingston
  • Jan 1/80 9483 Christmas rush, Kingston
  • Jun 13/80 9478 Winnipeg
  • Oct 26/80 9475, 9481 Wpg
  • Aug 22/81 9480 on my No 3, off Capreol
  • Jun 10/82 9477, 9480, 9483 Wpg
  • Jun 22/82 9481 on No 109 Portage
  • Jun 24/82 9477, 9479 Wpg
  • May 24/84 9481 Wpg
  • Jun 4/84 9475 first No 3/5 Portage (below)
  • Jun 5/84 9488 No 3/5 Portage
  • Jun 6/84 9477 No 3/5 Portage
  • Jun 7/84 9482 Wpg
  • Sep 27/84 9480 Royal Train Kingston (above)
  • May 24/85 9480 No 1/55 Kingston
  • Sep 17/85 9477 No 7 Wpg
  • Sep 23/85 9486 Edmonton
  • Sep 27/85 9477 Wpg
  • Sep 30/85 9482 No 107 Wpg
Here's the first Panorama arriving at Portage. The consist was 6511 - 9475 - 5439 - 5533 - 504 - Entrance:


Ex-VIA 9479 and Clearwater River are land-locked in Nashville, TN wearing dark grey with blue striping.

Running extra...

As you may have noticed, I'm trying out some new titles for this blog, to make it more hip and relevant to the online crowd. So far I've tried iTrackside Treasure and Trackside Treasure Tok. Watch for more....maybe even a Trackside Treasure Twit!

The first quasi-revenue run of the new Siemens trainset departed Montreal for Montreal on October 18. The youtube video shows a few interior views as well as some of the fields and fall colours! I'm not sure if these were VIA employees or not, but I didn't see or hear any toddlers or old people, so I think so.

Rail Fair Kingston, hosted by the Associated Railroaders of Kingston and last held in 2019, drew healthy crowds including your humble blogger. Though I picked up many items at Bob Farquhar's table, I missed this one, which appeared later among some of the remaining items - Walthers' Red Wing Milling!


Jeffrey said...

9486 became the Bluewater Michigan Chapter's "Haverstraw Bay", used on many excursions. I spent the night on this car before a steam excursion in the mid-80s. There was some movement, as the train set was wyed during the night. I do remember that the ventilation was off, and someone in the roomette across the hall was smoking all night long!

Eric said...

Hi Jeffrey,

We often forget smoking on trains and how stifling it was. I can remember the glass partitions that did not reach the aisle, therefore only 2/3 of the width of the car. Smoking and Non-Smoking sections were effectively one!

Thanks for your comment,

Elijah said...

9486/Haverstraw Bay fortunately has been acquired my friend Gary Southgate, for use in his prospective tourist train at East End, Saskatchewan.

Eric said...

Hi Elijah,

Is he your good friend? If so, can ya tell him to hurry up and get something going with that plethora of blue & yellow goodness he has accumulated? Is that a possibility?

Thanks very much for your update and comment!