VIA Passenger sevice is coming!

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Russian

Saskatoon railfan
Hello, not sure if I should post this here or anywhere for that matter, but I thought it was worth sharing...

My Railway town has been lobbying VIA Rail for some time now to provide passenger service. When they refused the first time it made sence, as we only had the tracks on the ground. Since then the town has been built up and a number of CN & CP and detouring BN trains have successfully ran through the town. VIA still wouldn't consider us.

So when they brough in an old FP9u to CN for contract maintenece, the town seized it for the passenger service. Apparently VIA was slow to respond, as another VIA engine, an F40PH-2 made it into town as lease power on a CP train. After negotiating with CP, we made a deal that they would keep the VIA foreign power within the town vicinity so that it could be used for a passenger train anytime. VIA was still skeptical. So we assured them passenger service would suceed, as the town banned airports (except helicopters), marine travel (except sailboats) and bus service that would compete with the railway. Finally VIA agreed to bring service!

The talks started good, since the town agreed to build a passenger station at its own cost and guard the train against graffiti artists with two full time policeman. So VIA gave us one old coach. We then asked for a baggage car, but VIA said we wouldn't have enough traffic, so they gave us a combine.:p Since a combine is 1/2baggage, 1/2 coach, VIA refused to give us another coach now... We then said that the train wouldn't attarct much notice without a sleeper car, so VIA gave us a sleeper as long as we had a diner to go along with it to actually generate some money. There, we lobbyed hard and got 4 cars!

VIA refused to commit anymore locomotives though, except for "old junk" that was scheduled for retirement anyway, namely (all ex-CP) FP7A, FP9A and a F7B. We were also banned from using the F40PH-2, unless we absolutely had to to, since CP paid good money for leassing it. The old CP F units would be leassed to CP anytime we weren't using them either. (They're really powershort, so powershort they even have an old BN C Liner running!)

Thinking creatively we came up with three passenger trains that could run on the layout:
- The commuter:
F unit
coach
combine
F unit
This train broke two VIA rules at once, as it will be using push-pull service and be a commuter, both of which are no-nos. We don't care what VIA says anymore though.:p

- The daily
F unit (maybe two F units, including a B unit)
combine
coach
diner (optional)
Will be running on a couple times a day servicing the city and nearby areas. Here's a photo of a prototype:
http://railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=96562

- The Continental (connecting to another major city)
F unit
F (B) unit
F unit (optional)
combine
coach
diner
sleeper
VIA says if service picks they might have enough cars to make this train longer. What those cars will be though is another question, lickely more blue cars or the old CN Budds, all of which aren't rebuild. At least they all are freshly painted.
We're saying however that if service picks up, we should have a completely "new" Continental with Budd cars, observation car included, and F40PH-2's for power (we already have one of them!)
VIA isn't buying that either though.

Another issue still to be discussed is switching. Is the VIA F unit going to do the switching? CN SW900? CP GP9u?

VIA says they'll be in town in about a week, still thinking of a good welcome ceremony. Maybe I should start building the station?

What do you all think?
 
I think that's a great story! Completely unbeleivable, though! I think they're more likely to be running an Alberta Pacific C-Liner, they have a lot of them in good condidtion.
I think the switching should be done by a CP SW1200RSu.
Matthew
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Hi Roman, an excellent and TRUE sounding story. ( Matthew doesn't understand the politics here in the Maritimes :D )
How many months/years time is being scheduled for the switching discussion?
A word of advice, before you build the station get a contract from Via with a penalty clause in case they pull out with little notice. ;)

Willis
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
Thanks for replying guys!

TrainboyH16-44 said:
I think the switching should be done by a CP SW1200RSu.
Unfortuantely CP understand the need to have a good working switcher fleet, so they rebuild their old GP9's into chop-nose GP9u's. They're great switchers now! Ironically many were in passenger service before.

Since CN and VIA are still government owned, the contract biasedly goes to CN... Their SW900 is old, rusty, weak, breaks down and doesn't have handrails! The good news is though, CN felt compasionate and decided to send us an old SW1200 that is slightly more powerfull. The bad news is, it's partially painted, has no road numbers and no handrails either!

VIA says we should still be happy, as most VIA switching is done by the VIA units themselves (I've sene this many times), thus the VIA F unit with practically no back-up view for the engineer, does most of the work.

CBCNSfan said:
Hi Roman, an excellent and TRUE sounding story. ( Matthew doesn't understand the politics here in the Maritimes :D )
How many months/years time is being scheduled for the switching discussion?
A word of advice, before you build the station get a contract from Via with a penalty clause in case they pull out with little notice. ;)

Willis
Switching negotiations have been going on for a couple months now. CN also feels that if our power fails, we could always borrow a C628.:D We'll have to pay for it though. Still better then using the F40PH-2 according to VIA.

VIA doesn't feel like giving us such a contract. The bus industry though has agreed to pay for the station though, which is a good thing.

That reminds me of railfanning for many hours at Portage le Prairie, MB this summer. We were waiting for the Canadian, which never arrived (more then an hour late), while Greyhound busses arrived and departed the train station every half hour or so. By the end I was so bored I started taking pictures of them!
 
CBCNSfan said:
Hi Roman, an excellent and TRUE sounding story. ( Matthew doesn't understand the politics here in the Maritimes :D )
Willis
You're serious? There are places that would actually ban busses to get a train service that doesn't have anywhere near as much service?
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
You're serious?
Well more tongue in cheek sort of thing :D
When Via started around here it was going through the CN Stellarton yard in the early afternoon, 2 Budd railiners. As the story went it had hit 3 cars two people and was still going back and forth in the yard late in the afternoon. I had to get some supplys from a lumber yard and watched it going back and forth in the yard and that was the story I was told. I guess it was hunting for more victims before it left late in the evening :D. Before CN sold that portion of the line to CB&CNS the Town built a neat passenger station for the Via service. It was built on RR property so according to our law, whoever owns the land owns the building.When CN transfered title to CB&CNS the Town got miffed and built a fence around the station, so no one get's to use it. CB&CNS runs freight and could care less about it and probably doesn't want to waste money in court about it. I have no idea of where Via picks up passengers. I'd say even the bus service is suffering from shuttle service competition at half the price of bus service.

Ah! Roman, CN operated MLW C630's in this area don't know if they ever had C628's. It would be a nice winter project to build one. Acadian Lines building a station for Via, LOL will wonders never cease they must plan on soliciting passengers from the rail line.

Keep it going it's still a good story :D

Willis
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
CBCNSfan said:
Ah! Roman, CN operated MLW C630's in this area don't know if they ever had C628's. It would be a nice winter project to build one. Acadian Lines building a station for Via, LOL will wonders never cease they must plan on soliciting passengers from the rail line.

Keep it going it's still a good story :D

Willis
Well, CN didn't have C628's, but they kind of resemble C630's...:p

Will see how the opening goes.
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
How long has it been since VIA promosed passenger service? A long time...

But the good new is, the cars are supose to arrive tommorrow. Even better yet, VIA is promising to get a baggage car sometime next year, depending on how fast they'll downsize some of their other trains.:eek:

While VIA refurbished their interiros, they didn't put them in, meaning the cars will originally be without them for the first trial run or so. But with time when I finish exams, the interiors will be installed and a 5 car train will be run!:D

On a related note, the VIA FP7A still hasn't had its couplers fixed, meaning it can't really pull the consist, only pose with it. On a related note, VIA is sending us a bunch of replacement couplers, so that the precious F40PH-2 stays on CP for freight service.

And the station building is currently an old CN boxcar. Yuck!
 
Sounds like Calgary's first station! What's wrong with the couplers?
And congrats on getting passenger service back, which is more than we can say!
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
Well, CN didn't have C628's, but they kind of resemble C630's...
Hi Roman, I believe I have one of those C628's downstairs. Yes they are close enough to the CN 630 to modify them. I'll have a look to see what is required for detail parts and if you're interested when I send my order to Tiger Valley I can order enough for yous also.
Cheers Willis
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
CBCNSfan said:
Hi Roman, I believe I have one of those C628's downstairs. Yes they are close enough to the CN 630 to modify them. I'll have a look to see what is required for detail parts and if you're interested when I send my order to Tiger Valley I can order enough for yous also.
Cheers Willis
That's ok Willis, I don't plan to do anything with it. Curently it has the honor of being the only ALCO/MLW, 6axle and mainline CN unit on the whole layout!

Speaking of those VIA cars, they have arrived and look just great! My Christmas present as a matter of fact. I'll try to get good pictures.

The couplers appear to be short. Specifically the cpupling part. If lets say a regular coupler is lenght 5, this one is lenght 2, meaning it's not long enough, so the other coupler uncouples when it feels like it. So I'll have to change it to a new coupler. My feeling is that the owner simply put some broken couplers on it before selling it at the show. Can't blaim him though, it was the only VIA classic round F unit at the show.
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
From the very start VIA is proving very expensive to maintain. As soon as the train took off it derailed. Apparently since the body is so long and swings out so far, it hits the power connecting to the track. So that means it cannot travel the mainline in that spot. That leaves only one route for VIA on the layout - through the passenger station.
I then ran the train over its desired route only to find an uncoupling problem on my hands. 4 cars would enter the curve, only two would come out...:( I then switched two older 18" radius's that were used for two newer ones and the problem dissapeared. While detouring I also found out that an 85foot car can go through a 15" Radius curve without derailing.

I then though that the power connecting 18" Radius could be moved to another part of the layout in order to completely free up the mainline. So I removed it only to find my power drop about 70% for some reason. I.e. 3 locomotives would be crawling at 70miles for hour and stalling regularly.:(
I then switched back, but the LL F40PH-2 that was powering the train didn't come back on. So I had to take CN up on their offer to have the C628 leading. Having CN on the train meant I couldn't use a CP F7B. Oh well. With time the F40PH-2 came back to life stronger then before and the train ran just fine along its route. Another cool thing I noticed with the passenger cars, they did not derail on back-up moves. I guess its because they're so long.

Anyway here are some pictures, they didn't dome put too well, neither did a movie I made, so I won't bother posting it.
View attachment 2404
View attachment 2405
View attachment 2406

Thus VIA RAIL IS OFFICIALLY IN MY TOWN!:D
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
UPDATE

VIA 6410 LL F40PH-2 is curently the mainline power as VIA FP9Au is curently in the shops. The cars are getting restored interiors as well. Curently work is being done on the coach, next up is the sleeper.

In the meantime it has been discovered that CN 7008, Athearn SW900 is great not only with switching, but with light duty as well! It can really zip by on the branchline with a combine and a coach at 60miles/hour easy. So we'll be leassing it for that, no point dragging the poor old F units around.

Previously CN has been dissapointed with the unit, as it stalled when dragging 10+ cars and generally performed very poorly compared to the big C class ALCO's and other mainline power in switching duty. Now that CN has found a new use for it, the switcher is restricted to 8 cars, so that it will not burn up. It has been sitting as spare power prior.
 

Amtrk14

Member
Hey Russian, it's coming along well. If you ever want to update your Via Fleet, I would Suggest these:

Brand New Walthers F40PH w/ upgraded motor:
http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/931-332

New Silver Via Rail Passenger Cars from Con-Cor (I would tell you to get the Walthers ones, but you would need at least 24" Radius Curves to run them):
http://www.walthers.com/exec/search...rds=Via+Rail&instock=Q&split=30&Submit=Search

Athearn Special Edition Via Rail P42....Only available through Pacific Western Rail Systems
http://www.pacific-western-rail.com/view_product.php?ProductID=24948

New Via Rail 8-Car Set
http://www.pacific-western-rail.com/view_product.php?ProductID=37878

Sean
 

Russian

Saskatoon railfan
The staniless steel car problem is one of the reasons my 4 car fleet will be extended further by adidng a IHC 85' baggage and observation, to go with the combine, diner, coach and sleeper that have already arrived on the property. That way I could model VIA's "big blue trains" before the Budd cars became the standard. The only two cars that will not be running under any circumstance is the observation and mail cars, as VIA never had either.:eek: However if I see a CN old style Pullman at a train show at a good price, it could always be added to a fleet, as VIA didn't repaint all of their cars overnight.

With "tight" 18" Radius, as you point out, Walthers cars don't fit and I don't want to run Con-Cor's without interiors. Again and again at model shows I see windows covered with shadows of people inside, but that's just not the same as an interior.

Needless to say, routing will be revised now that a 2 car service is present. According to VIA, running a SW900 with 2 cars is cheaper then two RDC's, but that's debatable.

Here're some photos of the SW900, both in freight and passenger duty.
View attachment 2462
View attachment 2463
Thanks for looking!
 




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