Saturday, March 11, 2017

Some quick thoughts about Via Rail

Since starting this blog, I have noticed that most readers don't tend to get all that excited about Via Rail. Local railfans here in Ottawa  seem to resent that Via Rail is pretty much the only game in town if you want to watch trains in the city.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see so much excitement (both good and bad) regarding Via Rail's commemoration of Canada's 150th birthday. As I have noticed in recent weeks, there are a lot of people that don't care much for the scheme, and I can understand why, even if I don't necessarily agree. Yes, it's a bold, somewhat atypical scheme for a railway to have. It's bright and loud and not at all in keeping with railway tradition.

My first Via 150 wrap on Train 55, westbound out of Fallowfield Station earlier this month

But given that Via Rail is by no means a typical railway, I wonder why we sometimes expect it to be. I am as guilty as anyone. I don't like the look of double-enders where two locomotives are at either end of a train. I don't like the Via Rail renaissance scheme. I think the green and school bus yellow colours are a big step down from the silver blue and yellow of the previous Via Rail scheme. I don't mind the rebuilt stainless steel Budds painted with dark grey stripes, but I'd rather see the old streamliners in the blue and yellow. I really dislike the look of P42s. I could go on, but these are pretty surface complaints.

Via Rail is a railway that is perpetually at the whim of its political masters, which is a shame. I really would love to see the railway with a stronger presence in Western Canada and am surprised that there doesn't appear to be any prospects for intercity rail out west. I would love to see underserved cities regain their rail service, like many towns in Eastern Quebec and my hometown of Sarnia, Ontario.

I think maybe we might be missing the point with the Canada 150 scheme. This company, for better or for worse, is doing a pretty good job, given the thankless task it has to fulfil each day. These wraps are bold and are something different. I applaud Via Rail for recognizing Canada's birthday and celebrating the service it provides. I love the fact that it is listing the cities it serves on the side of its trains.

I guess my point is I would rather worry about Via Rail the company than gripe about its paint scheme. Although, if anyone from the company reads this, bring back the original blue and yellow scheme!


DaveM said...

Hi Michael,

There are some positives that people overlook. After trying two different days to catch a CPR train on the Winchester sub and being completely skunked, you start to appreciate some recent additions such as tsimobile.


Eric said...

Agree with your VIAppraisal, Michael. We need to look at the bigger picture. VIA is still alive. It stall has a network, albeit skeletal. This just in - watch for a Business Class car with the 'leaves' scheme a la Glenfraser!

Maybe more Biz class cars will be so attired!

Michael said...

What I neglected to mention in the post is let's all celebrate that there is an additional reason to look out for Via Rail trains. That's worth a cheer, particular if you have limited railfanning choices like me. Thanks for your comments, Eric and Dave.

Unknown said...

Yep. Car 3476 wrapped last week. I know cuz I help wrap it.I don't know if we're doing any more biz class cars like that though. So far everythings been the typical 150 silver yellow scheme.

Eric said...

Good to hear! Did you wrap some of the coaches, too? I'm always looking for car numbers and station names. Caught two tonight traversing CN's Kingston Sub.

Eric Gagnon
Kingston, ON

Ted Lumley said...

This week LRCS 3343 and 3355 were wrapped with usual silver yellow scheme. Takes 4 highly experienced installers most of the day to wrap one.

Eric said...

Did you happen to catch the city station names on 3343/3355, Ted?
Would be great to know,

Ted Lumley said...

3355 was Ottawa/Vancouver/StMarys/Sackvillet on left side and SteFoy/Parent/Toronto/Miramichi on right side. 33443 was Quebec/Matapedia/Kingston/Vancouver on left and Edmonton/Joliette/Jasper/Amherst on right.

Ted Lumley said...

Also we did 3366 which is identical to 3355 at least on the left side (the side I wrapped) not sure about the right side. And there's 3360 with Brampton/Bathurst/Quebec/Saskatoon on left. I don't know if there's any rhyme or reason to the city names. You might know more about that than I do.

Eric said...

That is gold, Ted! Thanks very much for that information. I've added it to the chart I'm keeping of these bright additions to our Corridor trains. Much appreciated!

Michael said...

Ted, thanks for the additional info. Keep up the good work. We're all watching for these cars trackside.