Senior VIA News Editor (East) Tim Hayman

VIA News Co-Editor (West) Terry Muirhead




Breaking News: VIA Rail Service Cuts Announced

Following VIA’s annual public meeting in Winnipeg back in May, rumours of upcoming service cuts had been running rampant. On June 27th, VIA officials confirmed that dramatic service cuts would indeed be coming later this year, branded as part of VIA’s “modernization”, and necessitated by budget cuts from the federal government. Service on Trains 14/15 The Ocean is being cut to 3 days a week, a full 50% reduction from its current service, year round. This will begin in November of this year. The Canadian will also see cuts, but only in the off season, from 3 to 2 departures per week. A number of trains are also being cut in the Corridor, particularly those overlapping with existing GO commuter services.

 You can read the full, official release from VIA here. It details all of the specific cuts, some rationale behind them, and lays out the projected timeline. Some of the changes are dramatic.




From Tim Hayman VIA Editor: 

With the final non-rebuilt F40s now in the shops at CAD, we have nothing but rebuilds in service, and by the end of the year the entire fleet will be rebuilt. I recall that in the past we had had some debates about what the new units should be called...whether they are F40PH-2, -3, etc. 

So I got in touch with someone at VIA, and asked about what the OFFICIAL terminology was from VIA Rail for the rebuilds. This is what I was told:

In terms of the EMD designation, these units remain "F40PH-2d". Even with the rebuild, VIA retains the original EMD classification.

As far as VIA is concerned, these units are differentiated from the non-rebuilt units by the "GPA-30h" designation, as printed under the cab side number (rather than -30a, b, c, or d). The "h" indicates the addition of the separate HEP generator.


Tim Hayman


The VIA Rail F40PH-2’s at CAD Railway Services for rebuild and listed in their expected order of release:

VIA 6414 (Loto Quebec), 6445 (Coors Lite), 6435, 6408 (Coors Lite), 6451, 6427, 6440, 6415 and 6453.

Rebuilt VIA F40PH-2d  6420 was released from CAD in early May and 6424 in late-May.  

The last of the yellow nosed F40PH-2’s, VIA 6453 was delivered to CADRAIL May 31st. Under a threatening sky, Guy-Pascal Arcouette photographed  VIA F40PH-2 6453 in Montreal on May 30th, 2012 on her ominous last revenue assignment in yellow nose paint!

First Wrapped Rebuild on the Way:

The Canadian Football League has announced that they will be having a special train to celebrate the 100th Grey Cup this year. The train, to be operated by VIA Rail, will make stops in cities all across the country (including Calgary and Regina, which will mean some rare VIA action on CP tracks out west!). It is also expected that at least one locomotive will be “wrapped” in promotional graphics for the occasion. If this does happen, it will be the first rebuilt F40 to wear a promotional wrap! You can find out more and keep updated here:

VIA Photos


Former CN private car “Pacific”, now owned by Mother Parker's Tea and Coffee, was on the rear of VIA 64 at Kingston, ON June 5th.  The photo was taken by Kenny Cairns who is a VIA Service Manager on #14/15 "The Ocean". During the June campaign, this car was used for handicapped fund raising on the rear of several VIA trains in the Montreal – Toronto corridor.

Approaching Fraser River Junction at Mile 141 on the BNSF New Westminster Sub, Andy Cassidy snapped Amtrak F59PHI 467 (a frequent visitor here), leading northbound Amtrak 510 on the south end of the Fraser River Bridge on January 12th. On the tail end of the Vancouver bound Talgo Trainset is Non Powered Control Unit, AMTK 90340.

Ron Visockis snapped VIAF40PH-2d 6424 and 6406 with #15 getting fueled at the station in Moncton, NB June 8th.

On June 23rd, VIA and CN held a Safety Day in Moncton, NB. As part of the activities, VIA ran a special train between the Moncton VIA station and CN’s Gordon Yard. The train, comprised of F40PH-2d 6439 and HEP-1 coaches 8142 and 8147, made five trips, carrying a total of nearly 1,000 people over the course of the day. The equipment was then wyed and sent out on VIA 15 that afternoon. Wendell Lemon caught the train on one of its trips, carrying many happy passengers (despite the rain!).

Capital Investment Projects Update


As always, our readers are encouraged to check in on VIA’s Capital Investment Projects page here:


Some of the major updates this month include:

-RDC overhaul continued series, new article
-New article about Track Jargon (part 2)
-Toronto Maintenance Center's new fuel distribution system
-Update of the new triple track work
-Winnipeg Station work announcement
-Article about VIA's new "Fare Matrix"** booking grid
-Ask VIA: Trains, video response
-Windsor station build update

 **This has involved changes to how VIA’s online booking engine displays train departure options. Feel free to try a sample booking on to see how the system has changed.

See all the updates HERE



Pre-VIA Vignettes

Terry Juuti photographed CP #2 “The Canadian” arriving at the station in Calgary in the summer of 1976. Up front are passenger GP9’s, 8517 in fresh Action Red and sister in the previous script scheme. The second Geep had not yet been modified and still sported the barrel headlights on each end. The CP crew was about to take over this train in Calgary, when Terry took this shot. GP9's were seen frequently on the Canadian in the west, as most CP F-units were assigned east of Winnipeg, MB.

© CRO July 2012