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  1. Here's my tour last weekend of CN's Caribou....a.k.a 'The Newfie Bullet' Narrow Gauge Equipment on a short section of remaining narrow-gauge track at Mile 404 at the Railway Society of Newfoundland in Corner Brook. I'd been to Corner Brook previously but always 'off-season' so I was surprised to see the cars open in these Covid Times and finally an opportunity to get 'inside' and able to walk-through the cars and the excellent displays and photo collection in the museum. This was North America's last full-service narrow-gauge passenger train with Coaches, Sleepers and Diner that made it's last run in 1969 Some coaches were still in service for another 20 years on Mixed Trains until the railway was abandoned 1n 1988. But there's been a bit of a play on paint schemes here! Old #593 would never have hauled equipment painted in CN's 1960's era black-white scheme.....and the cars would have had the red 'CN' logo.....not that green-gold 'NFLD Railway' tilted logo that disappeared after 1949 when Newfoundland joined Canada and CN assumed control of the railway. (I must admit that NFLD logo looks pretty cool on the CN scheme in photo 3 ) The Narrow-Gauge Sleepers had 8 Sections and 1 Drawing Room.......where on the Mainland the Standard Heavyweight Sleepers had 12 Sections and 1 Drawing Room. In the diesel era...the Caribou would have been led by GMD NF110 or 210s like #931 here: And here's a typical 'Caribou' consist from the late 1960s GMD NF210 GMD NF210 Steam Generator Unit Storage Mail (wood boxcar) Baggage/Express Diner (as lounge) Coach Coach Coach Diner Sleeper (as Dorm) Sleeper Sleeper Sleeper Sleeper Sleeper (Corner Brook set-out/pick-up) Sleeper (Corner Brook set-out/pick-up) In the fall of 1968 CN had introduced a fleet of new Roadcruiser buses and passengers soon abandoned the train for the frequent and faster bus service that now covered the 900 km run in 14 hours vs the 22 hours the train took. The 'Caribou' was discontinued and and completed it's last run between Port-aux-Basques and St. John's overnight on July2-3, 1969. Here's the CN Timetable from 1969 showing the last 'Caribou'.....Trains #101-102 along with the new 'Roadcruiser' bus service (#500 series):
  2. Marine Atlantic Ferries load from the Bow in North Sydney NS so they must spin around upon arriving in Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland and back-in to unload from the Stern.
  3. Only on the Ocean, Corridor, Maple Leaf, White River and Senneterre/Jonquiere trains. See here: https://www.viarail.ca/en/travel-info/onboard-train/methods-payment
  4. Here's 'Greendale' xBangor & Aroostook RR (closest to camera) in VIA Stripes and 'Greenwald' (xBoston & Maine RR) on the e/b 'Atlantic' at Saint John NB on September 7, 1981. 'Greenwald' would have been in Saint John 20+ years previously running on the 'Gull' from Boston.......and just hours before this photo.....the 'Atlantic' would have crossed over the Bangor & Aroostook route 'Greendale' took to Northern Maine on the 'Potatoland Special' And 'Greendale' and 'Greenock' on the 'Atlantic' at Moncton on November 10, 1981 'Greendale' at Stellarton NS in March 1973. It's the through Sleeper between Sydney and Montreal on the 'Cabot'. It eventually went to VIA
  5. Since July 3rd.....residents of the four Atlantic Provinces have been able to travel between those provinces (NS NB PEI & NL) without having to isolate for 14 days once they cross a provincial border. (anyone coming from outside....say Quebec into New Brunswick still has to isolate) So with that in mind.....after four months at home.....time for a day trip over to Prince Edward Island on Northumberland Ferries. Something we've been doing several times a summer for years! https://www.ferries.ca/ns-pei-ferry/overview/ But a bit different now. You have to register on line with the Government of Prince Edward Island to enter the day before...... then once on the ferry...... the PEI Heath Dept. checks your Photo ID/Drivers License to confirm you're a resident of the Atlantic Provinces. Then you're given a 'pre-clearance' form to hand in when driving off the ferry. Returning that evening....... Nova Scotia just checks your ID....no form to complete. Below is something I though I'd never see.....checks at the provincial borders within Canada and a Form allowing me to enter another province! But hey.....the lockdown has worked and we're seeing the benefits of it now! And the Ferries: This time of the year they're usually full and reservations are recommended on some crossings. Now they are only running at half-capacity to allow for social distancing and something new: they will let you remain in your vehicle down below for the 75 min crossing. Previously a no-no! (we had 12 cars going over + 5 trucks. Capacity is 225 cars) And up on deck.....no 'Islander Big Breakfast' being served in the cafeteria.....coffee and muffins only!....with a curtain now closing off half the restaurant area. And returning to Nova Scotia that evening......again lots of room! And those PEI Beaches!......Lots of room to Social Distance!
  6. I notice the flat sides of the power cars do not match the contours of the following passenger cars.
  7. The intent it seems is to have reversible seats. Here's a quote in the Moncton Times & Transcript from a VIA Press Release: ”The solution involves using a 'hybrid' train that includes locomotives equipped with features allowing for back-to-back operations, so the trains don't need to turn around” ”Passenger cars used will have seats that can turn to align with the direction of travel to “ensure optimal comfort for passengers” When I rode the Ocean in March just before the service was cancelled they were already using a 'Hybrid' type train on one of the two consists (the other was all Ren except for the Park). It had the Budd Stainless Steel coaches which have reversible seats. There were no Renaissance coaches and in fact the only seats on the train that weren't reversible were the 24 dome seats in the Park Car and the 'Cabins for One' (Duplex Roomettes) in the Chateau Sleepers. There were also a couple of Renaissance Sleepers being used and those Bedrooms are already set up so half the rooms face the direction of travel and half face away. Yes....just leave the Park Car off but if there is any intent to market the Ocean to tourists other than a point to point coach/sleeper corridor type train....it needs a 'Signature' or 'Feature' type car and this could be accomplished (as noted above) by replacing the existing seating with 24 reversible seats in a Skyline Dome. A Skyline could also provide meal service in the off-season instead of a full diner.....just like the CP Rail Skyline did for years on the Atlantic Limited. The kitchen is still there. >>>>>>> The Ocean was inaugurated in 1904 and for it's first 80 years it only had a run-of-the-mill Lounge Car. The first Domes or Park Cars weren't used until 1984.....after VIA obtained them from CP Rail. For a couple of years in the '60s....the Ocean did have a 'feature' type car.....an exMilwaukee Road 'Skyvtop' but they didn't last long in service. Here they are in the dead-line at Halifax awaiting disposal in the '70s:
  8. If they keep the 'Park Car'....the rounded end observation would be facing into the locomotive in one direction. A 'Skyline Dome' could be used instead......and the existing seats replaced with reversible type seats (flip over backs) similar to these: https://soul-amp.blogspot.com/2007/11/metra-train-reversible-chairs.html This is how CP Rail did it on the Atlantic Limited. The Skyline Dome was not turned in Saint John, New Brunswick.
  9. You would need cables thru the cars.....so dedicated cars required. Easier to just have the locomotives back to back and run them around the train to the opposite end.
  10. I believe the plan would be to have the locomotives back to back and just run them around the train to the opposite end in Halifax.
  11. No need....looks like VIA has already decided to reconfigure the consist for bidirectional operation. Probably the most cost efficient.
  12. Yes.....here's the TSB Report: https://www.bst-tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/rail/1999/r99s0100/r99s0100.html
  13. The only other jointly operated VIA train I can think of was the International between Toronto and Chicago. For a number of years both Amtrak and VIA provided locomotives and cars. You could find VIA LRC's and Tempo's in Chicago and Amtrak Bi-levels in Toronto. There was also the Niagara Rainbow.....an over night train between New York and Toronto that ran on weekends only for a couple of years around 1994/95. But unlike the Maple Leaf...which uses Amtrak equipment......the Amtrak cars were attached to a VIA train between Niagara Falls ON and Toronto.
  14. The jointly operated overnight VIA/ON Northland was discontinued with the big VIA cuts in January 1990 leaving only the daytime Northlander......and as before it was entirely an Ontario Northland operation. No VIA involvement. In April 1989 the northern endpoint had been changed from Timmins to Cochrane .....and the exTEE trains were replaced by rebuilt exGO single-level cars in 1992. (below at Huntsville on CN in Oct 2007) The Northlander lasted until 2012 when it was replaced by an ON operated bus service.
  15. Money!! Just guessing here......The exTEE trains were available at a good price. It was only the cab car at one end that didn't meet Transport Canada requirements....and doing a loop through Union Station didn't really pose any problems. (Barrie did get service only one way though!)
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