Via Rail's Renaissance fleet
When I was in the habit of shooting Via Rail corridor trains at Ottawa's main station back in 2013, it was not uncommon to find a number of the railway's new Renaissance cars operating. Like this converted baggage car linked up behind a P42 in the fall of 2013.
Here's another shot of some of these sleek cars pulling into Ottawa's main station on a train from Montreal. This was shot in October of 2013.
These cars, as most know, were purchased in 2000 and put into service in 2002, according to the Via website. There were 139 of these cars purchased, of which 64 were operational. The remainder were assembled in Canada. Interestingly, Via states on its site that there are only 33 Renaissance coaches in its fleet.
These cars, which were purchased from British concerns, were originally intended to comprise a train between London, England and continental Europe via the Chunnel. The train, to have been called the Nightstar, never happened, which meant that these cars were in storage in England for several years before Via Rail bought them after conducting tests.
The Canadian Public Transportation Discussion Board states that "the cars have been far from reliable. They have undergone numerous modification campaigns, the most recent ones being undertaken by Industrial Rail Services, Inc. in Moncton, N.B."
Update: I did manage to catch a glimpse of some Renaissance cars in active service on a trip to Montreal recently. The shot below was taken as a P42 was backing this consist into Montreal's Central Station. I will have more on this in an upcoming post. These cars are in fact being used somewhere, although it's not in the Ottawa corridor, to the best of my knowledge.
The curious case of this little train
Back in 2013, I arrived at Via Rail's main station on a break and was treated to three trains. As you can see from this photo, though, one of them was a bit of a curiosity. I should point out that, usually, it's common to find one consist either idling or parked on one of the station's main tracks. But this one, consisting of F40 6435 and two stainless steel coaches, was backed up against the bumpers of a track that, until that day, I had not seen used.
Mystery hook up
Final shot is from Sarnia's Via station in 2014. This was beside the spur that abutted the station (now removed, as per my brother's latest observations - Thanks, Marc). The track was used to park passenger cars in the past. I am guessing this mechanism has something to do with that. It looks to me like it was a hose hook up for water, possibly something to do with the old passenger cars and their steam generated heat? Does anyone know what it is and what it does? Or what it did?
As I have mentioned before, I am no expert so I am throwing these questions out to the readers, so I can learn something and we can have a little fun.