Senior VIA News Editor (East) Tim Hayman
VIA News Co-Editor (West) Terry Muirhead
The last VIA F40PH-2, 6453 was released November 20th from CAD Railway Services, concluding the VIA F40 rebuild program right on Schedule, and should be in service shortly. Two weeks earlier, VIA F40PH-2d 6440 was released on November 3rd, and on the 15th Guy-Pascal Arcouette was first to catch VIA 6440 in service, westbound on VIA train 33 at Pine Beach, near Dorval, QC.
Guy Pascal Arcouette snapped good looking VIA F40PH-2d 6454 in charge of VIA train 65 at the Dorval station west of Montreal, QC., July 8th, 2012.
The VIA Rail locomotive roster is back for now as a monthly installment. We’re still working on the formatting and what should and shouldn’t be included so let us know if you have suggestions! We will soon introduce additional historical notes on each locomotive, as appropriate, plus more information on the locomotive classes.
The Canadian Football League trophy the “Grey Cup” is touring Canada on a specialized 6-car train with a 74-day whistle-stop tour. Fully decorated F40PH-2d 6445 and four wrapped cars moved on the Canadian to Edmonton, AB. In Edmonton, two more cars were added: VIA Skyline dome 8502, and VIA “Chateau Dollier”, (these are not wrapped), and the 6 cars and F40 departed with CP ES44AC 8711 leading. On October 5th CP 8711 was removed at Portage La Prairie, MB as the train was transferred to CN trackage. F40PH-2d 6445 and the six cars departed for Winnipeg, MB where Chateau Dollier was removed. The train was then handled on VIA trains from Winnipeg to Halifax, NS arriving October 13th. http://www.greycuptour.ca/
Stephen C. Host photographed the Grey Cup train on display in at Guelph, Ontario during its 100th anniversary train tour of Canada. The cup itself is dwarfed by the VIA F40PH 6445 as they are posed together for the photographers on November 4th. Note that VIA finally added a yellow VIA logo to the nose, after the locomotive made much of its tour with a plain red face. With the Grey Cup game now played, there is word that 6445 has already been “unwrapped”, and should be back in service in standard paint by the time you read this.
Kenneth Borg snapped the Grey Cup Train November 3rd in Sarnia, Ontario at Bayshore Park along the St. Clair River.
On November 3rd, the VIA Rail/Canadian Football League's Grey Cup 100th Anniversary Train was on display near the waterfront in Centennial Park in Sarnia, ON as part of the cross-Canada tour. This is the first time this freight-only spur, which serves the large grain elevator at Sarnia's harbour, has seen a passenger train this far north since the 1995 opening celebration of the new bore of the St. Clair Tunnel when several extra passenger trains parked on [now abandoned and removed] storage tracks about a mile north of where the CFL train was on display. The next morning, the CFL display train would be travelling on the rear of VIA #84 to its next tour stop at Guelph, ON the next afternoon. (You can see the elevator which this spur serves in the background of one of the photos of the train on display. VIA trains routinely used the first part of the Pt Edward spur to move from the station, cross the main line and access the wye in the yard, but the trains wouldn't go any farther than they had to just beyond the control signal for the interlocking.) .
On November 26th the Grey Cup cars and F40PH-2d 6445 were at TMC to have the Grey Cup wrap removed.
During November, Amtrak President Joseph Boardman was in discussions with VIA RAIL President and CEO Marc Laliberte in Montreal about the possibility of using VIA locomotives and cars for service in New York State. That way Amtrak would be able to assist hard hit New Jersey with some spare equipment for commuter service. An agreement stuck with VIA Rail Canada has secured extra equipment for Amtrak, a key solution to the operational strain faced by the railroad. Amtrak’s Adirondack service will be utilizing two sets of VIA Rail equipment between Albany and Montreal over the next two weeks. The VIA Rail sets will consist of five coaches and one Observation-Dome ‘Park’ Car, which will used as a lounge car. This arrangement will necessitate a cross-platform change at Rensselaer between the VIA Rail equipment and regular Amfleet-equipped trains for the Albany to New York Penn Station segment. On November 17th, Amtrak sent two locomotives up (P40 822 and P42 43) to Montreal to ferry the cars down to the Amtrak facility in Rensselaer, NY on November 18th. VIA equipment will be used on the line from Albany, New York, to Montreal with two of #68/69 trainsets are going and two of the NYC/Toronto sets are going. Amtrak will be ready to handle the surge of passengers expected during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday after completing repairs on equipment damaged by last month’s superstorm, the passenger rail system’s chief said November 14th. A New Jersey power substation damaged by Hurricane Sandy, which struck the east coast on Oct. 29, will be fully functional November 13th, and the railroad is borrowing equipment from Canada so it will have enough cars for holiday travelers. Amtrak had been limited to about 24 trains a day through its two tunnels under the Hudson River because a power station was damaged by the storm, Boardman said. The full complement of 38 trains should be running tomorrow, he said. Those tunnels connect New York’s Pennsylvania Station to locations to the south and west. Without Substation 41, as it is known, in Kearny, New Jersey, there wasn’t enough electricity to power Amtrak’s regular schedule. As mentioned Amtrak is also obtaining extra equipment from VIA Rail which will be used on the line from Albany, New York, to Montreal, and Amtrak will then be able to redeploy its own equipment to New Jersey to supplement that state’s rail system, which was damaged in the storm, he said. Boardman spoke after delivering a speech in Washington at a U.S. National Mediation Board conference.
With the City of Montreal in the background, Kevin Burkholder snapped Amtrak’s two complete VIA Rail stainless steel train sets - 5 coaches/1 Park Car in each, and moved them from Montreal to Albany behind Amtrak P40 822 and P42 43. Train is seen leaving Montreal at St-Lambert, QC. on the CN Ste-Hyacinthe Sub, November 18th
Francois Jolin took these images on November 18th, all taken in L‘Acadie, QC and in Port Kent, New York on the D&H. There are eight VIA 8100 coaches, HEP-II coaches 4121 and 4122, and Dome-Observations "Tweedsmuir Park" and "Evangeline Park"
Listing of the VIA Rail equipment being leased to AMTRAK:
8101 – HEP1 - 62 seat coach; built as Canadian Pacific Railway 101 in 1954
8116 – HEP1 - 62 seat coach; built as Canadian Pacific Railway 116 in 1954
8142 – HEP1 - 62 seat coach; built as PRR 4055 in 1946; later Penn Central
4055 (1968-1973); Amtrak 5434 (1973-1984); and Eagle Canyon Tours 5434 until
The Adirondack is beautifully posed in front of the Montreal skyline, decked out with leased VIA equipment.
It's hard to show off the leased VIA equipment on Amtrak's Adirondack any better than in this photo. Passing the South Bay causeway at the upper end of Lake Champlain in Whitehall, NY on November 20, the string of silver and blue HEP1s (with a single HEP2 in the mix) look like they were meant to go behind the silver and blue P42!
On a cold morning November 15th, Frank Jolin snapped Amtrak’s Adirondack with leased VIA Rail stainless steel equipment after departing the Island of Montreal and rolling south in St-Lambert, QC.
Luke Bellefleur caught five VIA Units on a J-Train arriving at Union Station (Toronto) on November 25th.The VIA J-Train or VIA 73, moved into Union Station with VIA 6445, VIA 915, facing forward, eight LRC cars, and VIA 6438, 6433 and 6457 reversed at the rear. (Luke has other CP CN highlights on this video).
In late November, VIA used their own power on several ballast trains over the Alexandria Sub. The ballast hoppers are owned by Sersa Total Track, and power is usually provided by CN. In rather unusual fashion, VIA 6433 and 6457 are seen in this video, top and tail on the ballast train at the entrance to CN’s Walkley Yards in Ottawa.
Daniel Bouchard submitted this photo of a new fuel rack recently been installed at VIA’s Montreal Maintenance Centre, with a quartet of locomotives around it.
VIA Rail officially opened the new station in Windsor ON, on November 16th. You can read the official press release here:
The NRHS BC Chapter’s restored heritage coaches from the Braid Street warehouse for the “Vancouver North Pole Express” event in December at Pacific Central Station in Vancouver. With the support of VIA through the staff at the VIA Vancouver Maintenance Centre, a special move was made Yesterday morning (November 22nd), to bring the classic coaches plus a Steam Generator Car from the warehouse in New Westminster to the VIA terminal. They sent out the VIA 6456 (GMD F40PH-2) to pick up the short train. So here we get a rare view of the 6456 visiting the Ex VIA 6300 (GMD FP9u), at the entrance to the warehouse. (The 6300 wasn’t accompanying the rest of the train this trip due to other commitments). After exchanging pleasantries, the 6456 pulls the string of cars from the warehouse and out onto the CN line at Braid Street.
The consist is as follows: VIA 6456, Steam Generator Car 15448, Coach 601 (Mount Cascades), Coach 803, Coach “Grand View”, and Coach 301, as seen here at Mile 145.2 on the CN New Westminster Sub. The consist is as follows: VIA 6465, Steam Generator Car 15448, Coach 601 (Mount Cascades), Coach 803, Coach “Grand View”, and Coach 301, as seen here at Mile 145.2 on the CN New Westminster Sub. If anybody is interested in attending the event, you can find more info at the following site:http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/272971
CLN INDUSTRIES continues to refurbish the interiors of the two VIA “Park” cars and four “Chateau” sleepers in Charny, QC The cars are VIA 8206 (Chateau Denonville), 8213 (Chateau Lauzon) and 8709 (Laurentide Park). VIA 8207 (Chateau Dollard), 8226, (Chateau Salaberry), and 8708 (Kootenay Park). CLN and Services Ferroviaires Julien have been contracted to complete the interior refurbishment, but the all the car exterior work will be done at another repair shop.
VIA Rail was very proud to receive a prestigious honorary award from Heritage BC for the restoration of its Pacific Central station in Vancouver. The award was in recognition of the high standards of quality and the commitment to the preservation of heritage shown in the building's renovation, which was completed in December 2011. VIA received this honour alongside the projects' architect and consulting firms, Thibodeau Architecture + Design and Donald Luxton and Associates, at Heritage BC's 2012 awards ceremony on Friday. The station was restored following strict rules to preserve the heritage features of the building, erected in 1919. In addition to making it even more beautiful, the work helped improve the station's energy efficiency and safety.
Private car "PACIFIC" was on rear of VIA train 14 in Sackville, NB, on the way to Halifax, NS. The car is on a coast-to-coast tour in an attempt to raise $1,000,000 for finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Read more about it here: http://www.motherparkersremembers.ca/
Pacific was not the only private car traveling with VIA over the last few months. Back in October, private car “Inspection Car Navy 118” made it’s way into Northern Quebec on VIA 600/604. The heavyweight business car is a former Union Pacific office car, built by Pullman in 1914, certified for mainline operation on Amtrak & Via Rail Canada (PPCX 800188). It is owned by a retired US Navy Chief Petty Officer and his wife. From time to time, they provide the use of their private car to support Navy or Navy-related events. André St-Amant photographed the car on October 18th.
A case can be made for restoring passenger rail service through Thunder Bay for the first time since January 1990, according to a transportation researcher and consultant. Greg Gormick, a member of the national transportation advocacy group Transport Action, said CP Rail proposed reinstating its former Canadian passenger train all the way to the west coast but it was never followed up. “Putting it back on the CPR line, at the very least from Toronto to Thunder Bay to Winnipeg, is thoroughly doable, and in fact CP went to VIA several years ago with a proposal,” he said. Gormick will speak at a public meeting in Thunder Bay Saturday as part of a national project garnering feedback from Canadians on their vision for passenger rail. According to Gormick there has never been a plan outlining where VIA should operate, and how. “We'll be designing a blue sky vision for VIA. A sketch of what VIA should and could be, which is something that it's never had,” said Gormick. The meeting takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday at the 55 Plus Centre on River Street. Thunder Bay-Superior North independent MP Bruce Hyer will also attend. Hyer has long advocated for the return of Via Rail to the line along the north shore of Lake Superior. He said most other industrialized countries are investing in passenger rail, and Amtrak breaks ridership records in the U.S. (CBC News)
VIA Rail railcar refurbishment work is set to resume in Moncton, NB, but that work will not be performed by Industrial Rail Services Inc. Moncton Court of Queen's Bench Justice Zoel Dionne approved a settlement agreement yesterday morning that will see another Canadian company take on a portion of the contract Via signed with IRSI in spring of 2009. When that deal was announced in May 2009, it was stated the contract would pay the Moncton company $98.9 million for a full overhaul of the 98 cars in VIA's Light, Rapid and Comfortable fleet; which run between Quebec City and Windsor, ON; and another $5.8M to upgrade 21 of the Renaissance cars, which run between Montreal and Halifax, to make them more accessible to people with mobility issues.
In March it was reported that IRSI had found rust and corrosion where the seats are bolted to the floor, and temporary layoffs were issued to approximately 200 workers at the company's Humpyard Road headquarters, off Salisbury Road. IRSI president Richard Carpenter said at the time he hoped the layoffs would be temporary and a quick solution could be found. Shortly after, VIA COO John Marginson said IRSI was late delivering the cars and questioned the need to lay off workers. At the beginning of March he told Brunswick News 27 refurbished cars were due, but VIA had received only 10. Soon after, Via Rail cancelled the contracts, and the provincial government successfully petitioned the court in April to have the company placed into receivership. Ernst &Young Inc. was appointed by the court to take over operation of the Moncton company and rail yard.
Bill Thomson photographed VIA 54 (to Montreal) and 44 (To Ottawa) at Brockville, ON on June 1st, 1982.
The Brockville Station in this picture is hard to find in the Brockville of today. All of the tracks to the North (right) of the station would be removed, and a third track added on the south. Brockville continues to be a busy place, but the level of passenger operations of that day, like the GMD and MLW units in the photo, are long a thing of the past.
VIA number 73 departs Toronto at Bathhurst Street led by FPA4 6762 and F9B with blue fleet consist.
LRC 6921 slips VIA train 60 through Kingston, ON September 20th, 1984.
©CRO December 2012