Senior VIA News Editor (East) Tim Hayman

VIA News Co-Editor (West) Terry Muirhead



Locomotive News

The remaining VIA Rail F40PH-2’s at CAD Railway Services for rebuild, and listed in their expected order of release are:  VIA  6408, 6451, 6427, 6440, 6415 and 6453.  VIA F40PH-2d 6445 was released from CAD in late July, and VIA 6435 was released in early August. 


In August VIA Rail announced on their FB page that they were planning on testing the P42DC’s in pairs on the “Ocean” run (Trains 14/15  Montreal -Halifax) in the next few weeks, confirming earlier rumors. Currently, pairs of F40PH-2d’s are assigned to these trains.   It does not appear, however, that this will be happening, as CN has indicated they are not interested in allowing the P42s on their tracks east of Quebec City. One report we received suggested CN claimed there is too much lateral forces on the Genesis locos which tend to sway and rock when operating on meandering reverse curves. We are still awaiting confirmation of whether the P42s will in fact head east.

VIA Photos

Walter Pfefferle visited Toronto July 10th and snapped this panorama view of VIA TMC in Mimico showing some of the equipment on hand.

Ron Visockis snapped VIA F40PH-2d 6426-6448 leading #14 “The Ocean”  with  Renaissance cars at Moncton NB June 12th.

Edward Brain snapped the last departure of VIA train #92 from Niagara Falls on July 28th, 2012, led by VIA P42DC 920.  The renaissance equipped train consisted of baggage car 7008, coach 7129, service car 7301, business class coach 7113, and coaches 70213, 7102, 7106, and 7215.

Through much of July and into August, VIA had added a single Manor sleeper to the back of two Ocean consists, immediately in front of the Park car. VIA editor Tim Hayman caught VIA 14 with Dunsmuir Manor on the rear ahead of Strathcona Park.

In early August, VIA editor Tim Hayman made a round trip on the Ocean (trains 14/15), and had the opportunity to ride in and photograph one of VIA’s new modified “accessible” coaches. VIA has made handicap-accessibility upgrades to a number of  Renaissance coaches, some of which involved simply removing seats and adding wheelchair tie-downs. A few coaches have received additional modifications to make them fully accessible. These modifications include:

-The addition of a large washroom with powered sliding doors

-Exterior windows adjacent to washroom removed

-Hallway moved to side to avoid washroom

-Removal of seats at the front of the coach for wheelchair tie-down

-Seats at front lowered to floor level

-Removal of mid-coach luggage racks

-Addition of extra luggage racks at rear

The coaches have also been renumbered with a 5-digit number. They have now received a “0” inserted into the old number (in the same way that accessible sleepers have added a “9”), such that they are now number “70XXX”. Tim took these photos below, showing the new window arrangement outside as well as the new interior modifications.

On August 18th, Dan Tweedle caught a rare consist on VIA 72 at Hamilton West. P42DC #906 and rebuilt F40PH-2d #6437 double-head a 6-car LRC consist, including 2 rebuilt coaches.

VIA News

The Canadian Football League trophy the “Grey Cup” will tour Canada on a specialized 12-car train with a  74-day whistle-stop tour, and Decorated F40PH-2d  6445 will lead. The National Post story below shows a mock-up of how the locomotive will look. The train will be making stops in 100 communities across the country, and will feature stops in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Halifax, Moncton, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, and Toronto throughout September, October and November. The train will also feature wrapped equipment. A photo of a wrapped coach (apparently a CP smooth-side car) has already surfaced.

History: Way back in 1948, the Calgary Stampeders defeated the Toronto Argonauts to claim the very first Grey Cup, the first for a city west of Winnipeg.   Toronto was soon overrun with cowboys, public jamborees, horses and chuck wagons parading through downtown, and an impromptu flapjack breakfast on the steps of city hall. In the raucous post-game celebrations, western-suited fans famously rode horses into the lobby of the Royal York Hotel.  This is the reasoning for the train.  To celebrate the trophy which has inspired so many pilgrimages.  It will take to the rails when the CFL loads the Grey Cup into this specialized 12-car train for the  74-day coast-to-coast whistle-stop tour.

VIA F40PH-2d 6445 has received promotional graphics for the upcoming Grey Cup 100th Anniversary Train. The first photos of the unit have surfaced, and we expect to have more to share by next month. This makes 6445 the first rebuilt unit to be wrapped, and it will be interesting to see how long it remains in this scheme. Michael Da Costa snapped her at TMC on August 29th.

VIA and Canadian Pacific’s classic streamliner train “The Canadian” will be featured on Canada’s $10.00 bills starting in 2013. The train was chosen to represent Canada’s greatest technological achievement in the building of the first transcontinental railway across the country, the longest railway ever built in the world at the time. The bill will feature Sir John A Macdonald on the face and The Canadian in the Rockies on the back.

More of VIA Rail’s Chateau sleepers and Park cars that had been sent to Avalon Rail for rebuilding into premium cars for the Canadian are on their way home, with the rebuild work unfinished. On August 16th,  Chateau 8210 and two Park cars (8706 and another) were sighted in Milwaukee being handled by a Union Pacific switcher. The cars had received exterior modifications but were unfinished inside, and were en route back to VIA’s Toronto Maintenance Centre. The company responsible for the rebuild work has reportedly gone bankrupt, and so the cars are being returned incomplete. This is likely responsible for VIA’s delay in implementing their planned new “premium” class of service on the Canadian, and the removal of information about that planned class from their website.  UPDATE:  the total number of cars is eight Chateau Sleepers and four Park Cars.  Three of these have already been moved Quebec City (as of August 30th), and are destined to CLN Industries in Levis, QC, for completion.   

Update on Upcoming VIA Rail Cuts

 If you missed the details of the cuts, you can review them here:

 VIA president Marc Laliberte was in Halifax on August 3rd to talk to employees about the upcoming cuts to the Ocean. Upset by the handling of the situation by VIA management, and fearing that the Ocean cuts are little more than an attempt to “demarket” the service in preparation for future cuts, more than 100 employees chose to boycott the meeting.

 VIA management are expected to meet in Halifax late in August to discuss plans for the Ocean as the cutbacks to service take place in October. It is yet unclear how VIA will choose to run or marshall the train under the new schedule, although the 3 per week schedule will allow for one Renaissance consist to be removed from service.

Capital Investment Projects Update

As usual, check out the updates on VIA’s Capital Investment Projects page:

 Some updates of interest this month include:

 -Photos of the new Manor and Park interiors

-A preview of VIA’s upcoming “on-board entertainment” system

 See all the updates HERE

VIA Vignettes

Warren Calloway snapped the VIA Turbo Train at Dorval Station in 1976.

GREAT SHOT!   Ron Visockis recorded this covered wagon "meet" with VIA 6505 leading the Super Continental (from Vancouver BC). passing his Ottawa-bound train at Alexandria, ON  May 28th, 1978.


At Coteau, QC, Ron caught VIA 6537 enroute to Ottawa May 28th, 1978.

©CRO September 2012