Thursday, June 20, 2024

Kingston-Toronto Return Trip, June 2024 Pt 2

In Part 1 of our June 1 trip, we reached Toronto on VIA No 61. About three hours later, we were returning east on VIA No 46. Fortunately, our equipment was not substituted by an LRC or HEP consist, nor bustituted nor cancelled due to lack of Toronto-Ottawa crews. As a result, we were riding one of VIA's new Siemens Venture trainsets! This is Set 6 with locomotive 2206 - cars ending in '5' - cab car 2305.
When we checked in at the Departures concourse of Union Station, we were directed by a helpful VIA staff member to Alcove F. From here, we were invited to pre-board. That was great, because one of our greatest concerns in the Big City was being separated from our grandsons in the madding crowds. Ripley's Aquarium was a bit of a zoo.  Pre-boarding made escalator ascent easy and trouble-free.
Shaky "I'm walkin' here!" boarding shots:
Aboard our car - our seats marked in red:
Accessible space at left, all seats facing centre of the car. Wye not:
Forward-facing seats behind us. Our car 2905 operating as car 3 in which we occupied seats 8A-8B, 9A-9B:
Various views of VIA down the aisle. I'm not going to do a detailed review on seat comfort, ride quality and all the usual criteria first-time Venture riders usually venture to include. I highly recommend this post by Tim Hayman if you'd like to know more. If we had one complaint, it would be window-spacing which seemed rather random.
We're ready to GO. Those table drink holders are rather shallow, but unlike rocking and rolling in LRC or HEP cars, we Economy riders didn't have a chance to test the sloshworthiness of the tiny Business Class coffee cups.
Quad seating across the aisle (above) and one of the ceiling-level displays indicating our route schematic, (relative, not exact location - it doesn't move along in real time!), time, train and car number, green or red person washroom indicator, and speed. The latter is the most interesting. I think we reached 153 km/h at our fastest:
Window placement? Often misaligned - this is not that. Our quad seating had one good window and one...bulkhead. My grandson was able to see where we were going (sitting backwards, looking forwards) by trying this approach:
Venture Set 14 led by cab car 2213 was heading west at Oshawa, likely No 47. We also scooped an eastbound intermodal on CP west of Port Hope.
Likely CN No 322 switching Oshawa with 8911 and 26xx. Morningstar Road crossing* just west of Trenton (below). Was trentonrailfan there Instagramming? Hard to tell at this speed!
I conjured up cold but convivial congregating in the company of Bob Fallowfield, Jason Shron, Jordan McCallum and Barry Silverthorn here on the Platforum. Was it really four years ago?
The Gibbard District is taking shape, developed by Doornekamp Construction Ltd. Canada's Most Scenic Trainwatching Spot is right here:
With a couple of tuckered-out grandsons awake and ready to disembark, we arrived in Kingston. North track arrival meant we didn't have to navigate the escalators and tunnel:
On to Ottawa, 46!
The grey stripe is slowly turning the colour of...road grime.
*A memory from Morningstar Road. I think the phone box is no longer on that pole.

*CPR's dispatcher phone box stood trackside 
for years
Contents conveying messages up and down 
for years

Now it is silent
eerily empty
unhinged unforgotten
world-weary wooden

Weathered worn
here, it still stands - a shell
where, what it once was - vital
there, if needed - when needed

In cinders and smoke
and each new year, if only just.
Surrounded by now-new sumac,
poplars winking in the day's late light

we, lucky enough to spend time here
qui vive
alert to its presence
qui vive

we, standing together, transcribing trains
roaring past
it still stands trackside
for years 

Running extra...

Hey, it can't hurt. Why whine and complain about the demise of passenger travel? Got 30 seconds to register your displeasure and wish for better service, and of course in the process guarantee Unifor jobs?Unifor has an e-way to contact your MP and federal Minister of Transport:
Now you know about VIA's new trains. OC Transpo 4707 (Transit Toronto photo posted to social media) will look after the rest:
Now, old trains. When I was a 17 year-old travelling solo aboard VIA Rail to visit my cousins in Lachute, QC long before map apps, my Montreal-raised Dad drew me this handy 'hand-drawn facsimile' to enable me to find my way after disembarking at Montreal's former CN Central Station. This simple map got me over to the former CP Windsor Station, where the 'North Shore' Dayliner would depart for Ottawa, travelling over CP's Lachute Subdivision.


Andrew Ferguson said...

Good morning Eric. Thank you for the mention, but that wasn't me @trentonrailfan_6431 at Morningstar on June 1. I didn't catch 46 that day.

Eric said...

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for posting what you catch on Instagram. I didn't actually see anyone out there, we were flying and I had a sleeping grandson on my lap, trying to snap a photo at speed of the crossing!

We made quite a few three-generational trips to that crossing about 20 years ago, when my own son was just a little bit older than our eldest grandson is now!

It's a great spot, though I'm sure it's grown in since then, but at least there's not a lot of traffic with drivers gee-gawing at us while we're out there snapping train photos!

Thanks for your comment,

Bill said...

Eric, great writeup on the trip. I was particularly impressed with the photo you included of the Transit Toronto bus promoting the new equipment. It is rare that things like this appear for the public to see.

Just wondering, do you have any knowledge of the total number of buses that are dressed like this to promote the new equipment? Usually the advertiser has a term contract for a specific number of months to have it displayed.

I really enjoyed this writeup nearly as much as you did taking it and letting us know how it went. Thanks.

Eric said...

Hi Bill,

I don't know the term or conditions of the VIA contract. VIA seems to choose certain markets at certain times for such advertising, not always national campaigns. It's hard to assess how much they advertise online - I think a lot of it is targeted i.e. Yahoo email when one has previously clicked or communicated in some way about VIA's services.

Glad you enjoyed sharing in our trip, even if as only an armchair traveller - that's the kind of traveller I am usually!

Thanks for your comments,

Michael said...

I find it interesting that the windows on the new Siemens Ventures would still fall victim to the same issues that many of the old HEP cars. I say this because I was recently on an old ex-CP HEP car and my window made photography very difficult! The more things change...

Eric said...

Hi Michael,

I don't know what the seating/window alignment was in the HEP cars acquired from the US roads, which had varying window widths. My memories of the ex-CP Canadian Budd coaches was that the seats were much better aligned with the windows, and the windows were very wide.

It's hard to make every seating row photography friendly, but the Ventures seem to have taken an existing shell and dropped seats into it with little regard to connecting the two.

Once VIA provides seating diagrams for seat-booking with windows shown, perhaps our passenger photo pursuits will provide improvement providentially!

Thanks for your comment,