VIA Rail Canada 6400-6458

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VIA Rail Canada 6400-6458 are GMDD F40PH-2D locomotives.

Engine Horsepower Gearing Top Speed Passenger heating
EMD 16V645E3C 3,000 hp 58:19 90 mph 500kW alternator driven by CAT C-18 engine



The F40PH locomotives were purchased to allow for the retirement of much of VIA's run-down and antiquated locomotives that they received from CN and CP. The fleet was meant to become the primary long-distance motive power for VIA, with the LRC locomotives providing the bulk of the Corridor service. Three orders were made for a total of 59 units, with deliveries occurring in 1986, 1987, and 1989. Like most EMD locomotives destined for the Canadian market, they were built at the GMDD factory in London, ON.

These units are amongst the last F40PH locomotives built, and are some of the most advanced. While they are classified as -2's, they are closer in technology to 50-series units, with radar wheelslip systems. Much as most other F40PH units, the HEP alternator was gear-driven from the prime mover, meaning that the prime mover must run at a constant RPM regardless of the speed of the actual locomotive. The "D" at the end of the model designation signifies the desktop control stand that the units are equipped with.


In the late 1990s, most units had a livery update, featuring large Canadian flags applied to the sides, a thicker blue stripe, and a "Canada" wordmark added.

The clean air room air intake vents on the roof of the units changed to a different style over the years. Most were re-equipped by the early-mid 2000's, but unit 6414 carried its early style intakes until (at least) late 2007. A few units were retrofitted with an extra high-output spot beam just below the main headlights, before this became standard through the mid-life rebuild program.

All units were delivered with the Nathan K3L 3-chime horn. During rebuild, these units received additional 5-chime K5CA-LS 'emergency' horns, mounted on two brackets above the cab, in compliance with new Transport Canada regulations. This type of horn plays the first three bells in 'soft' mode, while all five bells play in 'emergency' mode. In recent years, train crews have been using the 'soft' mode of the K5CA in lieu of the original K3L horns, due to the ineffectiveness of the original horns especially when the locomotive is travelling at full speed.

The Canadian train was featured on the $10 banknote released by the Bank of Canada between 2013 and 2018. Unit 6403 was displayed in the artwork as the lead engine. In order to avoid the number being "immortalized" with an accident, the locomotive was renumbered to 6459 on July 23, 2013.


The F40PH fleet serves on all long-distance routes, including all trips on the Canadian, Ocean, Churchill-Winnipeg, Montréal-Jonquière, Montréal-Senneterre, and Prince Rupert-Jasper routes, as well as some service along the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor.

As the F40PH fleet was equipped with head-end power (HEP), initially most units had to operate in service with either a steam generator car or another locomotive equipped with steam generators, as VIA still had a significant fleet of steam-heated passenger cars. By the 1990s, most of the steam-heated passenger cars had been retired or rebuilt with HEP, which eliminated the requirement to operate with steam generator cars.

Some surplus units were leased to power-short Canadian Pacific in the 1990's to operate in freight service, often combined with other CP units or lease units on freights.

In the 2000's, most of the lower numbered units were assigned to the east out of Montreal, and most of the higher numbers to the west out of Vancouver for maintenance. A few higher numbered units were assigned Winnipeg as well.

Advertising wraps

During the late 1990s and 2000s, a number of units were given special full body wraps and paint schemes for promotional and advertising purposes. The length of time the wraps were applied varied depending on the promotion and contract details. The Spiderman 2 wrapped units lasted longer than normal: apparently, when VIA tried removing the wraps on two of the wrapped units it damaged the paint underneath, hence the wraps were left intact on the remaining units until the rebuild program.


In the mid-2000s, the fleet was approaching 20 years of age, with heavy usage, and a major mid-life overhaul was required to keep the fleet in a good state of repair. 6400 was sent to CAD Railway Industries Lachine, Quebec to be used as a prototype for a major rebuild program, and was completed in 2006.

Features of the rebuild program included a new prime mover, new traction motors and electricals, plug-in layover system, and a computerized control and diagnostic system. Rebuilt units were also repainted in the new "Renaissance" livery, and received and extra high-output spot beam just below the main headlights.

Pleased with the performance of 6400, in late 2007 VIA announced that the rest of the fleet would be similarly rebuilt. The remaining units would receive refurbished prime movers and a separate HEP genset (instead of an alternator driven by the prime mover), in an effort to make the units more fuel efficient and reliable. CAD began the overhaul of eight locomotives at a time once the testing and debugging process was completed. All units were completed between 2009 and 2012. It is expected that rebuilt units will be able to provide another 15 years of reliable service.


Fleet number Thumbnail Date Serial Status/Disposal Notes
6400 Via Rail Canada 6400-a.jpg 11/1986 A4597 Retired
2010 - Wrecked
  • Rebuilt in 2006 - first unit completed.
    • Rebuilt without separate HEP.
  • Involved in derailment on February 25, 2010 at Saint-Charles-de-Bellechasse, QC.
6401 VIA Rail Canada 6401-b.jpg 11/1986 A4598 Active
6402 VIA Rail Canada 6402-b.jpg 1986-87 A4599 Active
  • Rebuilt in 2009 (see: before photo).
  • Equipped with an extra high-output spot beam just below the main headlights.
  • Equipped with additional "emergency" horn.
6403 VIA Rail Canada 6403-a.jpg 1986-87 A4600 Renumbered to 6459
  • Rebuilt.
  • Featured on $10 bill.
  • Renumbered to 6459 on July 23, 2013.
6404 VIA Rail Canada 6404-a.jpg 1986-87 A4601 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6405 VIA Rail Canada 6405-a.jpg 1986-87 A4602 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6406 VIA Rail Canada 6406-a.jpg 11/1986 A4603 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6407 VIA Rail Canada 6407-a.jpg 1986-87 A4604 Active
6408 VIA Rail Canada 6408-a.jpg 1986-87 A4605 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6409 VIA Rail Canada 6409-a.jpg 12/1986 A4606 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6410 VIA Rail Canada 6410-b.jpg 1986-87 A4607 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6411 VIA Rail Canada 6411-a.jpg 1986-87 A4608 Active
  • Equipped with additional "emergency" horns.
  • Rebuilt.
6412 VIA Rail Canada 6412-a.jpg 1986-87 A4609 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6413 VIA Rail Canada 6413-a.jpg 1986-87 A4610 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6414 VIA Rail Canada 6414-a.jpg 12/1986 A4612 Active
  • Had experimental horn enclosure at front in the early 1990s.
  • Rebuilt.
6415 VIA Rail Canada 6415-a.jpg 12/1986 A4613 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6416 VIA Rail Canada 6416-a.jpg 1986-1987 A4614 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6417 VIA Rail Canada 6417-c.jpg 1986-87 A4615 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6418 VIA Rail Canada 6418-a.jpg 1986-87 A4616 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6419 VIA Rail Canada 6419-b.jpeg 01/1987 A4617 Active
6420 VIA Rail Canada 6420-a.jpg 1987 A4695 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6421 VIA Rail Canada 6421-a.jpg 1987 A4696 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6422 1987 A4697 Retired
January 2001 - Wrecked
  • Involved in accident on November 9, 1999 at Acton, ON.
6423 1987 A4698 Retired
July 1999 - Wrecked
  • Involved in accident on April 23, 1999 at Thamesville, ON.
6424 VIA Rail Canada 6424-a.jpg 07/1987 A4699 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6425 VIA Rail Canada 6425-a.jpg 07/1987 A4700 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6426 VIA Rail Canada 6426-b.jpg 1987 A4701 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6427 VIA Rail Canada 6427-a.jpg 07/1987 A4702 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6428 VIA Rail Canada 6428-a.jpg 08/1987 A4703 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6429 VIA Rail Canada 6429-a.jpg 08/1987 A4704 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6430 1989 A4631 Retired
January 2001 - Wrecked
  • Involved in accident on November 23, 1999 at Bowmanville, ON.
6431 VIA Rail Canada 6431-a.jpg 1989 A4632 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6432 Via Rail Canada 6432-a.jpg 04/1989 A4633 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6433 VIA Rail Canada 6433-a.jpg 04/1989 A4634 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6434 04/1989 A4835 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6435 VIA Rail Canada 6435-a.jpg 1989 A4836 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6436 VIA Rail Canada 6436-a.jpg 1989 A4837 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6437 VIA Rail Canada 6437-b.jpg 04/1989 A4838 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6438 VIA Rail Canada 6438-a.jpg 1989 A4839 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6439 VIA Rail Canada 6439-a.jpg 1989 A4840 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6440 VIA Rail Canada 6440-a.jpg 1989 A4841 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6441 VIA Rail Canada 6441-a.jpg 1989 A4842 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6442 VIA Rail Canada 6442-a.jpg 1989 A4843 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6443 VIA Rail Canada 6443-a.jpg 1989 A4844 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6444 VIA Rail Canada 6444-a.jpg 1989 A4845 Retired
2012 - Wrecked
  • Rebuilt.
  • Involved in derailment on February 26, 2012 at Burlington, ON.
6445 1989 A4846 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6446 VIA Rail Canada 6446-a.jpg 1989 A4847 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6447 1989 A4848
November 1998 - Wrecked
  • Involved in derailment on March 9, 1997 at Biggar, SK.
6448 VIA Rail Canada 6448-a.jpg 05/1989 A4849 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6449 VIA Rail Canada 6449-a.JPG 1989 A4850 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6450 1989 A4851 Retired
January 2001 - Wrecked
  • Involved in derailment on January 1, 2000 at Miramichi, New Brunswick.
6451 VIA Rail Canada 6451-b.jpg 1989 A4852 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6452 1989 A4853 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6453 VIA Rail Canada 6453-a.JPG 1989 A4854 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6454 VIA Rail Canada 6454-a.jpg
VIA Rail Canada 6454-b.jpg
1989 A4855 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6455 1989 A4856 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6456 VIA Rail Canada 6456-a.JPG 1989 A4857 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6457 VIA Rail Canada 6457-a.png 1989 A4858 Active
  • Involved in a derailment on February 25, 2010.
  • Rebuilt.
6458 1989 A4859 Active
  • Rebuilt.
6459 VIA Rail Canada 6403-a.jpg 1986-87 A4600 Active
  • Rebuilt.
  • Formerly numbered 6403.


Below is a summary table of VIA F40PH-2 wraps, listing the wrap livery, units wrapped, timeframe and other important notes. Some units were briefly wrapped for a promotional tour or train and never saw regular revenue service, others wore their wraps for years or until rebuilt by CAD Rail.

Wrap/Livery Units Years Notes
Diet Pepsi 6400 1990 (brief)
  • Part of Diet Pepsi promotion across Canada.
  • Used on special train with Pepsi-painted steam generator car.
  • Livery removed after (did not wear in regular service).
CBC 50 Years 6403 2002-2010
  • Red/Maroon wrap livery for CBC's 50th Anniversary.
  • Lasted until rebuild.
Operation Lifesaver 6411 2003-rebuild
  • Modified normal scheme with Operation Lifesaver graphics and lettering.
  • Lasted until rebuild.
Home Hardware 6429 1997-2000?
  • Yellow livery for cross Canada trip contest.
Telus 6429 2006-2011
  • Green wrap livery with Telus and flower, which was later replaced with Vancouver Olympic 2010 bid lettering.
  • Lasted until rebuild.
Kool-Aid 6404, 6405, 6406, 6411, 6424, 6432, 6433, 6439, 6453, 6454 2000 (brief)
  • Multi-coloured Kool-Aid wrap Filery on sides with lettering.
  • 10 units done.
Spiderman 2 6401, 6406, 6408, 6413, 6424, 6434 2004-various
  • Large Spiderman graphics on side.
  • 6 units done.
  • Wrap removed early on 6413 & 6424, other units left with wrap on until rebuild.
Budweiser 6424 2005-2006
  • Red wrap
  • Wrapped for Budweiser Super Bowl Tailgate Train, promoting Superbowl XL in Detroit, MI.
Coors Light 6408, 6445 2011
  • White/silver/black
  • Wrapped for Coors Light.
  • Wrap differed slightly on each unit.
  • Lasted until rebuild.
Canadian Football League 6445 2012 (brief)
  • Red and grey wrap with CFL graphics.
  • Wrapped for cross Canada Grey Cup tour train in 2012.
  • First rebuilt unit wrapped.
Canada 150 6402, 6416, 6436-6437, 6454 2017
  • Silver livery with large yellow VIA logo.
  • Featured Canada 150 logo and names of four cities served by VIA on each side.
VIA 40th Anniversary 2018
  • Silver livery with large yellow VIA logo.
  • Featured VIA 40th Anniversary logo.
Love the Way 2018-current
  • Silver livery with large yellow VIA logo.
  • Features "love the way/la voie qu'on aime" slogan on each side.


VIA Rail Logo.png
Current Routes
Corridor Montréal-Québec - Ottawa-Montréal - Sarnia-Toronto - Toronto-Montréal - Toronto-Ottawa - Windsor-Toronto - Toronto-Kingston - Toronto-London - Ottawa-Montréal-Quebec City - Maple Leaf
Long Distance Canadian - Prince Rupert-Jasper - Montréal-Gaspé - Montréal-Jonquière - Montréal-Senneterre - Ocean - White River-Sudbury - Churchill-Winnipeg
Current Fleet
Locomotives 201-204 900-920 6401-6402 6404-6459
Passenger cars 1720-1722 1750 3248 3300-3372 3451-3475, 3477-3478 4000-4009 4100-4125 7000-7011 7100-7113 7200-7232 7300-7316 7400-7402 7500-7526 7600-7602 8100-8147 8201-8229 8301-8342 8401-8418 8500-8517 8600-8616 8618-8623 8702-8718
Canadian Railroads
Canadian National
Canadian Pacific
VIA Rail
West Coast Express