Senior VIA News Editor (East) Tim Hayman
VIA News Co-Editor (West) Terry Muirhead
On July 17th, Ron Visockis bagged VIA F40PH-2d 6407 looking terrific following her Cadrail rebuild and leading #50-52 at Belleville, ON.
The remaining VIA Rail F40PH-2’s at CAD Railway Services for rebuild, and listed in their expected order of release are: VIA 6445 , 6435, 6408, 6451, 6427, 6440, 6415 and 6453.
Rebuilt VIA F40PH-2d VIA 6414 (the former Loto Quebec unit), was released in late June.
Guy-Pascal Arcouette caught VI F40PH-2d 6454 at Dorval in July. Note the GPA-30H (the new designation for all rebuilds), replacing GPA-30a as the engine class.
In St-Foy, QC on July 1st Michaël Lussier snapped VIA P42DC 902, VIA HEP-Baggage, 3-LRC cars and VIA Club Car #1750 on the rear of train #620 arriving (Train 27 departing) the station in St-Hyacinthe, QC. Marc was aboard the train for a day trip to Quebec City.
VIA Rail F40PH-2d 6414, formerly wrapped as the Loto-Quebec unit (“the Turd"), was released from Cadrail and looking good! CRO VIA editor Tim Hayman caught it in Moncton leading Train 15 on July 27th.
Ronald Barrett caught VIA F40PH-2d 6446 sporting a new snow plow on May 28th leading VIA train 61 Montreal to Toronto at Kingston ON.
Ron Visockis snapped VIA rebuilt F40PH-2d 6449 and 6436 leading train #15 at Moncton, NB on June 9th, a former Amtrak coach on the rear.
On June 24, Tim Ball photographed the Ocean at Miramichi NB with an unusual tail-end arrangement. A Chateau sleeper had been added behind the Renaissance consist, and the usual Park car was replaced with Skyline 8501.
Deane Motis photographed VIA #2 (The Canadian) running late at Ashcroft, BC on July 7th. The second photo shows VIA 6446 at Thompson Bridge.
In July, dubstep/electronic musician Skrillex, along with several other artists, embarked on a Canadian tour using a specially chartered VIA Rail train. The idea for the tour was inspired by the classic “Festival Express” cross-Canadian tour in 1970, as well as the recent “Railroad Revival” tour in the states, both of which employed chartered private trains. The artists traveled between shows by train, and disembarked to perform at the venues (which were Blues Festival in Ottawa, Montreal Jazz Festival and Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver). You can read more about the train here: http://fullflexexpress.com/
The chartered train (VIA #3) operated with the following consist:
8202 Chateau Bienville
8203 Chateau Brulé
8410 Diner Frontenac
8702 Assiniboine Park
This offered a unique opportunity to see HEP-1 equipment, including a Park car, operating in the Corridor. Photos of the train in Ottawa were captured by Larry’sTrains on Flickr:
Adam Walker caught the Full Flex Express at Plug Hat Road (Beare East) on the CN York Sub.
Andre St-Amant took these great shots of VIA train 601/603 crossing the high and long trestle in Ste. Ursule, QC., with “Strathcona Park” adorning the tail end on May 25th 2012.
In late June, VIA Rail announced a series of dramatic upcoming service cuts. These include the reduction of service on The Ocean to 3 days a week year round, the reduction of service on the Canadian to 2 days per week during the off-season, and cuts to a number of trains in South-western Ontario. The cuts represent a dramatic reduction of VIA Rail’s services across the country, and are resulting in the loss of 200 jobs across the country.
Most recently, VIA Rail notified the engineer’s union that ten regular assignments and four spareboard positions will be eliminated in Toronto this October. A number of stations will also be going unstaffed, with only self-serve ticket kiosks available for passengers use. The stations losing their ticket agents include Kitchener, Guelph, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines ON, as well as Sackville NB and Amherst NS.
If you missed the details of the cuts, you can review them here: http://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/media-room/latest-news/1819/27-june-2012-via-rail-continues-its-modernization-and-takes-action-to-better-meet-customer-demand
These cuts are likely to be only the beginning, as VIA Rail’s budget is to be reduced again over the next several years. This year’s cuts were $6.5 million, which will be followed by $15.1 million in 2013-2014, and $19.6 million in 2014-2015. It is impossible to yet speculate on what the future will hold for VIA Rail, but it is not promising. If there are any particular train trips you have been yearning to take, our VIA editor respectfully suggests that you may be best to do them sooner, rather than later. If you are upset with these cuts, consider writing your local MPs and to VIA Rail, to demonstrate your support for passenger rail funding.
As usual, check out the updates on VIA’s Capital Investment Projects page: http://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/capital-investment
Notable updates include further information on the introduction of e-ticketing, and photos of the new pedestrian overpass at Oshawa station.
VIA Rail also announced last month that they have entered a new partnership with Air Transat, in an effort to offer vacation travelers the option of a more convenient train-air connection. You can read the press release here: http://www.viarail.ca/en/about-via-rail/media-room/latest-news/1826/19-july-2012-new-intermodal-partnership-air-transat-and-via-rail-facilitate-travel-for-their-clients
See all the updates HERE
One of the last yellow-nosed F40PH-2d’s (VIA 6451) races along the double track mainline past Cana Junction, just east of Melville, Saskatchewan, on CN's Rivers Subdivision with VIA train No. 2 bound for Toronto, Ontario. 6451 would only be weeks away from rebuilding. Rebuild No. 6419 is the second unit in the consist. This is a short nine car winter consist for the Canadian, taken on February 7, 2012.
© CRO August 2012